Despite seeing his side end their season on the wrong side of a 5-0 scoreline against local rivals Hucknall Town, Linby Colliery manager Lewis Saxby still had a smile on his face as he reflected on ninth place in Central Midlands League South.
The ex-Teversal manager had to start from scratch when he arrived at Church Lane last summer following Dave Marlow’s decision to take the majority of the Linby squad with him to Arnold Town.
Saxby said: “I always thought the initial season would be a re-building one.
“We have performed better than a lot of people expected.
“I had hoped things would click into place and maybe we could even sneak a top-six place, but to finish in the top nine is a great achievement and gives us a great building block.”
Saxby, a former Mansfield Town Ladies’ manager, pointed to a gritty win over Sherwood Colliery and January’s 3-2 success against South Normanton as personal highlights, as well as a dominant 4-0 win at Southwell.
At the other end of the spectrum, there have been a number of hard -learnt lessons like 7-1 defeats to Swanwick and Matlock Town Reserves.
Although 65 players were registered, the manager remained loyal to a small number of players that he saw as key elements in his visions.
His captain, Aidy Harris, played for Saxby at his old club, Teversal, while centre midfielder Jordan O’Callaghan has started 26 times in a number of positions.
Both were immediate picks when Saxby was asked about the stand-outs of the campaign. There were also special mentions for Jonathan Jenkinson, Lewis Weaver and recent-aquistion Gaz Atkins.
Saxby added: “The club is moving forward a lot quicker than I initially expected. Following our new link up with Hucknall Harriers, the club can create our own chain of players that we can mould into our way of thinking from day one.”
The young manager is optimistic but realistic in his aims for the next year. A top-four finish, the retention of his current squad and the addition of a few players are his priorities to take the club to the next step.