Appleby calls for festive focus as Wisbech Town enter Christmas competing on four fronts

MANAGER Steve Appleby has told his troops to stay focused for a crucial Christmas period as Wisbech Town continue to challenge for silverware on four fronts.

The Fenmen breezed into the quarter-finals of the Red Insure Cup with a 2-1 victory over Thetford Town on Tuesday night.

A win at high-flying Walsham-le-Willows tomorrow would move them into the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division top three and they are still vying for honours in the Cambs Invitation Cup and FA Vase.

Appleby said: “I’m quite happy to still be competing in these competitions because it breeds good habits - winning games.

“If we can win any competition it’s an achievement and the fixtures will also give everyone game time.”

The Fenmen chief fired a warning at his players on Saturday after Scott Johnson’s stoppage-time strike spared their blushes against Kirkley & Pakefield.

Steven Reid and Chris Bacon were also on target in the 3-3 draw - but Appleby viewed the result as two league points dropped, rather than one gained.

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“After Saturday we had a few harsh words,” he said. “We weren’t up for the league game like we were the FA Vase game against Thackley and that upset me a bit.

“We can’t do that. Our foot has to be on the gas for every single game if we want to win things.

“We know it’s a vital point in the season where it can go one of two ways. It’s time to knuckle down and start getting results - even if we do it ugly.”

Appleby got a reaction on Tuesday as Wisbech came from behind to beat Thetford.

Neal Spafford bagged the winner while 16-year-old Jack Friend, who became the club’s youngest goalscorer on his debut last month, struck his second Fenmen goal.

“Jack took a poacher’s goal well and looked very lively,” said Appleby. “He’s a young lad but I think he takes playing at this level in his stride.

“I’ve talked to him every week and he just says he’s happy to be involved. He’s a nice lad, who is very level-headed, and certainly one to watch.”

Appleby also praised the performance of returning centre-back Anthony Reeve, who will need to step into the boots of injured captain Paul Cousins for the next month.

The Fenmen host Godmanchester Rovers in an 11am kick-off on Boxing Day.