To think that one team can achieve so much in nine months may be a long shot away for any team. But for Chatteris Town, that is not the case.
The aim at the start of the 2015-16 season, according to manager Ashley Taylor, was to “win every game”, which although this was not accomplished, an eye for glory was soon to be seen. With challenges arriving on and off the pitch throughout what proved to be a memorable campaign, the main intention of earning success was grasped with ease. Even though the term ‘eased’ may be a fair representation of a side who looked mostly comfortable against the opposition, even when the going did get tough, detemination and commitment to gain a rare feat that does not come around so often should be credited.
One commodity for the Lilies has been a consistent run of results. Since their 3-1 defeat at Soham United in Kershaw Senior A, Taylor’s men enjoyed a 15-match unbeaten streak in all competitions that stretched back from the end of March. As well as this, league form would not intervene with their cup heroics, which winning the treble may have come as unexpected to some. With most clubs, from amateur to the top of the professional game, victories can well turn into barren spells without a win due to cup involvement. But for Taylor, not only do results come with quality, but a squad that “trains weekly” and “plays week in week out”, proving that changes do not always make a difference.
Not only did consistency act as a catalyst for Lilies success, but their impressive home form. Only once had Town failed to taste that winning feeling at West Street; eventual league champions Outwell Swifts being the only visiting side to be victorious. Away days also resulted in general success, having lost just three from 17 fixtures in both league and cup, an achievement that Taylor, his staff and his players should be proud of. In terms of long-term progress, points at home could well be pivotal when facing tougher opposition, especially if Taylor’s side can “consolidate in the Premier Division” to achieve the future ambition of “Step 6 football”.
Something that Lilies fans have enjoyed celebrating on a regular basis is the abundance of goals. On their way to gaining promotion, Town netted 95 goals, earning the status of the league’s highest scorers. Alongside this total, 71 in all competitions were converted at home, with 21 being conceded, which sums up the defensive solidity this term. Stability in the backline has been evident, where consistent partnerships have led to a small number of mistakes. 27 chances found a way into the Lilies net in the league, which is something but a minor blot on the Chatteris playbook.
What arguably was the main cause for such an accomplishing season is the firepower of Taylor’s first-choice front man Craig Gillies. The former Doddington United striker scored 47 in 33 appearances for the club, a statistic that some may feel led the team to the final outcome. Although some may think Town were a one-man force, “every player stood out” within a “massive team effort”, according to Taylor’s thoughts, outlining the overall togetherness of the squad.
Acquiring new players and upgrading facilities are just a couple of improvements both on and off the pitch for next season. But one thing that is for certain is that after a truly historic season, Chatteris Town will be spoken about for all the right reasons.