Having not reached the heights of what many may class as a successful 2016/17 season, Chatteris Town A have still achieved progress.
The A Team won 11 from 24 league games this campaign, six more than the previous year, and finishing one place higher in eighth, with an increased number of fixtures played compared to last season’s 18 matches.
Just over two goals a game were scored in all competitions on average, which adds to the impressive record the A side had at West Street, losing just four games on home turf, including an unbeaten run lasting over four months.
And with such a good-looking set of statistics, manager Roger Manchett is proud of what his players have accomplished one year after narrowly avoiding relegation.
“The A Team has had the best season in years”, he said.
“(Home form) was very important and we had a lot of support this year.
“We have improved our goal rate on previous seasons and as a team, created many chances with good attacking football.”
Manchett’s men were front runners during the first period of the season, but slowly fell away into mid-table, which he believes was down to one main reason.
It’s very hard when players get taken and none come back down – Roger Manchett
“We lost players at crucial times”, he added.
“Before Christmas, we were top of the league and then we lost two players – my goalkeeper and right-back/goalkeeper to our Under 18 manager who left the club – which was a big blow for us.
“I then found another goalkeeper only to lose him to the Reserves due to their ‘keeper being injured.
“Sadly for us, this happened when we were playing the top teams in the league.”
Despite losing key squad members, young forward Matthew Walshe was one of the most influential players for the A Team, netting 16 times in 23 games in all competitions, finishing as the team’s top goalscorer.
With Walshe’s impact on the side, Manchett feels fortunate to have kept him for as long as he did, but also thinks other areas of the team, particularly in defence, should be optimised for improvement.
“Matt Walshe is a player that always has a goal in him.
“We were very lucky to keep him this season as I believe he should have been with the Reserves, and when he did get the chance, he progressed to the first-team.
“He is a bright young talent.
“The loss of the ‘keeper didn’t help with goals being leaked and we are always looking to improve on this home and away.
“I want to improve on fitness, start training a lot earlier and want to train the A Team and develop them as a team.
“It would be nice to have a good cup run as it creates that winning mentality, which is always a good thing.”
Even higher expectations are set ahead of the new season as Manchett wants to develop the A Team further, but being able to even field a line-up could prove to be a major stumbling block.
“My ultimate aim would be to gain promotion, but as the A Team are the third team (in line), it’s very hard to when players get taken on a Friday or Saturday and none come back down”, he said.
“As a club, this needs to improve or the A Team will just get further away from the Reserves and then it’s too big a step up or down for players.”
For next year to be an even greater success, it seems the ever-present player shortage issue that looms over Chatteris Town A has to be minimised if development is to become a realistic possibility.