Stony left sweating but hope for better next season

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A LONG and difficult season comes to an end for Stony Stratford Town on Saturday, and the club are now making plans for the future in the hope of not repeating what’s been a miserable eight months.

Stony have long been destined to finish their South Midlands League Division One season at the foot of the league table, but hopes are still alive that the club will avoid dropping into Division Two by default, and the 2011/12 campaign might bring a change in fortunes.

Stony finish this season with a daunting trip to AFC Dunstable, and although they will do extremely well to take anything off the league’s second best team, they will at least end the campaign on something of a high following last week’s surprise 3-1 win at mid-table London Lions.

That was just their sixth success of the season, and although it’s certainly raised morale at Ostlers Lane, the nature of their win tells its own story as Stony’s reserve team had to cancel their fixture as several players were called up to the first team at short notice. And that makes their win in London all the more surprising given that the reserves have also finished bottom of the SML Reserve Division Two table.

However, there have been some positives for the club this season as Stony’s Ladies reached two cup finals - the Berks & Bucks Senior and the Thames Valley League Cup - in which they were only beaten by a strong MK Dons side on both occasions. The first team have also finished second in Division One of the Thames Valley League, while the reserves won Division Four North.

Stony’s Sunday team also enjoyed a year to remember as they comfortably won the Premier Division title. And all may not be lost yet for the senior men’s team who may still retain their place in the SML Division One if no club in the second tier can fulfil the League’s ground grading requirements which include being able to stage evening matches under floodlights.

One of those Division Two clubs hoping to take advantage of Stony’s on-field plight are Padbury United - the side put together of former PB (MK) players who dominated the North Bucks League for several years have comfortably won the second tier and have high hopes for the future.

Stony won’t discover their fate until the League’s AGM in June, but whatever level they end up playing in, club chairman Rob Fisher says the Ostlers Lane outfit remain in a sound financial position off the pitch, but it’s on the field where the major work needs to be done.

“Whichever division we find ourselves in that will not change my aim for the club to provide football at all levels,” he said. “One of the things that attracted me to the club is that every penny coming in is reinvested in support of football.”

Stony’s woes weren’t helped this season by going through three different managers as Steve Orchard first made way for Fisher to have a spell in charge, before the reigns were handed over to Gary Marling.

Now the chairman is seeking to appoint a permanent first team boss, plus a director of men’s football, director of ladies’ football and an U18s manager as he looks to shake things up for next season.

“I’m looking for a team to work with me to rebuild the club from top to bottom over the next few years,” said Fisher.

So if you’ve got the same passion he does then Fisher would like to hear from you on 07812 149529 or

Stony may have enjoyed a surprising win on Saturday, but it was a day to forget for the rest of the city’s SML sides.

New Bradwell St Peter went down 3-0 at home to AFC Dunstable but will still finish the season in a respectable mid-table place ahead of their home game against Welwyn Garden City, and Cranfield lost 4-0 away at Harpenden Town.

In Division Two, Bletchley Town lost 3-1 at home to Pitstone & Ivinghoe, while Old Bradwell fell 2-0 to Padbury United and MK Wanderers drew 1-1 with Mursley United.

Swans chairman thanks Shrieves

DESPITE being criticised by him about a lack of ambition, Newport Pagnell Town chairman Geoff Cardno has deciding not to hit back at his departing manager, but to thank him instead.

Cardno admits he was disappointed by the manner in which Terry Shrieves told him he was stepping down as first team boss after six years following the Swans’ Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy victory last week, but the Willen Road chief believes there’s no point in ‘crying over spilt milk’.

He said: “I would like to thank Terry for all his hard work and commitment over the last six years and for increasing the standard of senior football at the club.

“With two third place finishes in the United Counties League, plus two Berks & Bucks Trophy wins from four finals and a League Cup final appearance, it really has been an exciting time at the club and by far the most successful period in our history.

“It’s a shame he felt the club couldn’t match his ambitions, although in truth he is most probably correct. Whilst getting the club to a higher level is something we are all striving to do, it most probably is not possible in the timescale he required.

“With a lack of funding, planning problems and a general unwillingness for people to get involved, the committee always faced an uphill battle to increase the budget and have ultimately paid with Terry’s resignation.”

The Swans were 1-0 winners over S&L Corby in Shrieves’ penultimate home game in charge, the only goal coming from Darren Lynch in the final minute to make certain of a top three Premier Division finish. This Saturday they go to Peterborough Northern Star.