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Sherborne Town target Premier return at first time of asking

By Western Gazette - North Dorset  |  Posted: January 03, 2013

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SHERBORNE Town have targeted a return to the Toolstation Western League Premier Division at the first time of asking.

The Raleigh Grove outfit entered 2013 comfortably mid-table in Division One but with sufficient games in hand to climb the table to rival teams fighting to reach the top flight if results go their way.

Only leaders Hengrove Athletic have lost as few games as Sherborne (two) and whilst manager Jamie Manley accepts they are faced with a stern challenge, he is confident they can avenge relegation suffered last summer after the Western League altered the divisional constitution.

He said: "I can see us having quite a lot of games on Wednesdays towards the end of the season but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

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"That is down to the runs in the cups at the start of the season and the weather recently has not helped anyone. We just need to get on with it, take each game as it comes, hopefully pick up points along the way and be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

"I am looking for promotion and it is still in our hands if we win our games in hand we can be second in the league. It won't be as easy as that and we have still got to play the likes of Hengrove and Chard Town again. We have got to play the teams around the top and points are up for grabs.

"We are looking to get promoted, definitely, but it won't be easy and the lads know that. That is why we are taking one game at a time and hopefully pick up three points regularly. Sneaking in at the end will be ideal. We will give it our best shot."

Having drawn 2-2 on a boggy Boxing Day at Chard Town, Sherborne made the most of Keynsham Town's third generation artificial surface on Saturday by triumphing 2-1 in the only game of the division to go ahead. Not only did the clash allow the Dorset travellers to make up ground on their rivals, but it produced a contender for goal of the season.

"Tony Cunningham got our first and it was a fantastic effort," said Manley. "A 30-yard cross-field volley from Marc Caines found Tony who took it first time and lashed into the back of the net. Harry Montacute also scored a good goal so it was pleasing.

"We had a chat between ourselves before the game and we were happy the game was on when so many were not. We have played at Keynsham twice now and you don't get any atmosphere of a football match because being on a 3G feels like you are on a training pitch. It's hard to motivate the lads.

"We went from one extreme at Chard where it was boggy and having to dig in to Keynsham where the pitch was flat and the ball runs quite well. We defended really well too so it was a good performance all-round."

Sherborne lock horns with league newcomers Cribbs Friends Life this weekend and hope their previous meeting in the Les Phillips Cup will leave them in good stead.

Manley said: "They are a very good side and that game is not going to be easy. We played them earlier in the season in the Les Phillips Cup where I rested a few lads. They are tough opposition and it will be a tricky game.

"Now we know what they are about we should be okay. They are good up front and strong defensively as well but if we are on our game we can beat anyone in the league. We have just got to make sure we are set up correctly."

SHERBORNE Town Reserves return to action in the Magna Dorset Premier League on Saturday at Hamworthy United Reserves.

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