Who were top of the class on the non-league scene locally?
ried them to the top of the Premier Division, a stunning run to the quarter-finals of the FA Vase in their first attempt provided some memorable highs.
But when out of sorts, as for much of the final third of the season, they really struggled. Slid down the table and suffered a horror 7-0 thumping at King’s Lynn as League Cup defence came to an end at semi-final stage. Grade: B
Grade: B- STAMFORD Manager: Simon Clark (until October), Tommy Brookbanks (until sacked end of season) Finish: 7th (Evo-stik Division One South). Top scorer: Bruno Holden (18). Star man: Nathan Watson - a lively winger who was included in the EvoStik Division One South select team of the season. Summary: Stamford emerged as shock title contenders under former Posh defender Clark but he announced his departure only an hour after they had climbed to the top of the table.
Successor Brookbanks was left with a major rebuilding job after several of Clark’s better players departed and kept the club in the thick of the race for promotion until they faded in the final weeks of the campaign.
Brookbanks was then axed to make way for the return of Graham Drury - something which led to boardroom upheaval and the departure of chairman John Drewnicki. Not quite soap opera stuff, but hardly a run of the mill season either. Mark’s mark: B- WISBECH Manager: Steve Appleby Finish: 4th (Ridgeons Premier Division) Top scorer: Chris Bacon (28) Star man: Hot-shot Bacon completed a clean sweep of every player of the season award he was eligible to
(UCL Premier Divi- Manager: Goode Finish: sion) Top scorer: Danny Barker (17) Star man: Lee Crockett - a goalkeeper who arrived with a few question marks hanging over him after a difficult previous season at Deeping but starred on a regular basis. Summary: If you bump into the Blackstones bosses, it’s a fair chance they’ll have told you about their shoestring budget within minutes (well Jarvis will have anyway).
They are also perfectly entitled to mention the shrewd recruitment and good coaching that has again seen them punch above their weight.
Granted their second season at the Lincoln Road helm wasn’t quite as good as the first, but a mid-table finish should still be seen as a triumph. Grade: C Manager: Darren Munton Finish: 15th (UCL Division One) Top scorer: Jason Kilbride (9) Star man: Dan Smith - a man who is Bourne through and through and leads by example from the heart of defence.
Ending up third-bottom might not look like much of an achievement, but in this case it is most definitely something to be applauded.
Club legend Munton works miracles merely to get a team out every Top scorer: Ricky Hailstone (7) Star man: Lewis Stone - a talented young defender with a sweet left foot who is destined for bigger things. Summary: Clipston went through more men than the Grand Old Duke of York (he had eight different goalkeepers alone) in an attempt to lead the club to safety - something which they eventually achieved comfortably thanks to their own results and the situations of other clubs.
But it wasn’t enough of an achievement to keep his job as Clipston was axed following a five-and-a-half year reign last week.
He felt he’d been working with a bottom six budget but others at In2itive Park clearly felt he didn’t eke enough quality out of it. Grade: D+ Manager: Andy Stanhope January), Pat Rayment Finish: 13th Top scorer: Simon Mowbray (18) Star man: Nick Conroy - the best keeper around here. Was a big loss to Northern Star when departing at the beginning of the season and saved Spalding from some serious hidings with his exploits between the sticks. Summary: Spalding’s return to UCL football could hardly have gone less according to plan. They splashed the cash to assemble a side they felt could challenge for honours, but mid-table mediocrity was soon on the cards and Stanhope (formerly a title-winning player with the club) paid the price with his job.
There was little successor Rayment could do to salvage the current season but he has ‘grand plans’ for the future as the Tulips finally seek to get their house in order on and off the pitch.
JONNY STEAD: Brings goals and plenty more on top.