05:00PM, Friday 29 April 2022
Aiden Higgs was on target for Flackwell Heath in their final league game at Arlesey Town. Photo: Glenn Alcock.
Flackwell Heath's 2-1 win over Arlesey Town in their final league game probably should have been more convincing, but assistant boss Paul Shone felt the three points were all that mattered as the club switches its focus to this Saturday's league cup semi-final against Ardley United.
The Heathens finished their Spartan South Midlands Premier Division on a high, with Aiden Higgs and Sam Coles scoring in the win over an Arlesey side beset by injuries and absentees.
However, they were pipped for fifth place by Harpenden, despite the two clubs finishing level on 68 points and plus 24 goal difference.
It still marks an impressive turnaround for the Heathens who were drifting in mid-table when manager Chris Ayres and Shone took over from Marcus Richardson in October.
They'll now look to round off an encouraging campaign with some silverware when they travel to Ardley United on Saturday for the Premier Division Cup semi-final. The winners will face either Hadley or Tring Athletic in the final.
“Against Arlesey, we played some good stuff and probably could have been more than 2-0 up at half-time, but we didn’t take those chances,” said Shone.
“Frustratingly, we were quite flat at the start of the second half and credit to Arlesey, for a team down to the bare bones, they came out with a bit of fight and a bit of character.
“They didn’t have any substitutions to use and were just seeing the season out, but they got themselves a penalty and they converted it well.
“We probably made hard work of something that didn’t need to be but, at the end of the day, it was our last league game of the season so just getting the win was what really mattered.
“We finished in a good position. The boys have showed some great consistency this year by stringing some good wins together, some undefeated runs together, and being able to bounce back after defeats.
“They have really bought into the football we want to play and that only stands us in good stead for next season.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s cup match, Shone added: “We’ve got another training session this week to be readily prepared for our cup semi-final.
“If we can get to the final and even go on to win, that would be a fantastic end to the season for everyone involved with the club.
“First and foremost, we need to win this Saturday and that will be a tough ask because Ardley are a very good, very competitive team.
“It will be tough, but the lads are looking forward to it. Once that cup competition is over, there’s no such thing as down time for the management team.
“The managers and the coaches will be preparing for next season trying to get one or two players in and sorting a few friendlies out.”
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