Pleasing points aplenty for new Wisbech chief despite home loss

Wisbech Town interim manager Arran Duke

Arran Duke believes his team defied expectations in his first game as Wisbech Town's interim boss versus Halesowen Town. - Credit: Peter Tyers

Arran Duke praised Wisbech Town’s courage to defy expectations against league title contenders despite a narrow defeat. 

Duke’s first game in charge as interim boss was pleasing on the eye, even though the Fenmen lost 1-0 to Halesowen Town at Fountain Fresh Park last Saturday. 

It was slim pickings for Wisbech who, despite seeing Halesowen goalkeeper Daniel Platt sent off, were unable to take advantage. 

“We couldn't fault the application and work rate of the players in difficult conditions against a strong side,” said Duke. 

“The result was disappointing, not being able to get anything from the game when we put in such a shift.  

“But not many would have expected such a performance and reaction from the players.” 

Duke took over as interim manager from Chris Lenton on January 2, as Wisbech have now began the new year with back-to-back defeats in the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands. 

The ex-March Town chief was encouraged by his team’s fearless approach, and despite being embroiled in a relegation battle, he is determined not to let panic settle in. 

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“We aren’t a group of six-foot plus headers and kickers, so we worked on a few things in training and again, full credit to the lads,” he said. 

“We've lost two games to in-form sides, so we’re not going to panic.  

“We trust the players and feel the formation will suit us going forward.” 

Mark Warren assistant coach at Wisbech Town FC

Mark Warren, pictured, assisted Wisbech Town interim boss Arran Duke during the home defeat against Halesowen Town. - Credit: Peter Tyers

Next up for Wisbech is a trip to Carlton Town this Saturday, 3pm, as the Fenmen go in search of a first away league win since September. 

Duke, alongside assistant Mark Warren, is expecting to field a near full-strength side as he aims to keep the squad together in their fight for survival. 

“Our aims are to keep the bulk of this group together whilst we are in the job and pick up points along the way,” he added. 

“I’m not going to deny it’s a tough job, but the players have the quality and togetherness to make our way up the table.   

“The players will be told not to fear the opposition and believe in themselves more, and we hope to produce a similar performance to Saturday, but with three points to go with it.”   

*Wisbech St Mary, whose Eastern Counties League First Division North game with Downham Town last weekend was postponed, visit Leiston Reserves on Saturday, 3pm.