NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Home form will be crucial to Fenmen survival hopes

PUBLISHED: 14:45 13 February 2019

Wisbech Town manager Gary Setchell. Picture: IAN CARTER

Wisbech Town manager Gary Setchell. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Manager Gary Setchell believes Wisbech Town's fate in Northern Premier League Division One East could hinge on a series of crucial home clashes.

The Fenmen make a welcome return to their Elgoods Fenland Stadium base for the first time since January 5 when hosting Belper this Saturday, 3pm.

Wisbech are one of seven teams covered by only four points in the battle to avoid the drop. They currently sit two points above the relegation zone after completing a run of four consecutive away fixtures when on the receiving end of a 5-1 defeat at promotion-chasing Sheffield FC last Saturday.

“We’ve had a tough run of away games in which we have faced sides chasing promotion,” said Setchell. “And we have to admit they were that little bit better than us at times.

“We still managed to pick up four points during that run which have kept us above the bottom two, but it is results at home which are going to decide whether or not we stay up.

“We have to pick up points at our place, starting with Belper and in all seven of the home games we have left.

“We have three of the other sides fighting to stay up – Gresley, Pickering and AFC Mansfield – all to come to us and what we achieve will have a big impact.

“If we keep doing what we are doing, I’m convinced we will get the results to stay in this league.

“The players could not be giving me any more effort or showing any more bottle, but we do have to be a little more clinical when good chances come our way.”

Toby Hilliard fired Wisbech ahead after a quarter-of-an-hour at Sheffield, but they conceded twice in the space of five minutes late in the first half to fall behind before a break.

A third goal stretched the hosts’ advantage early into the second period before they added two further strikes – the first from the penalty spot – late on.

Wisbech bowed out of the Cambs Invitation Cup at the semi-final stage on Tuesday night.

The Fenmen were beaten 3-1 on penalties at lower-level Ely City after a 1-1 deadlock.

They fell behind in the opening minute and it stayed that way until Danny Setchell hit a last-gasp equaliser.

Eoin McQuaid and Toby Hilliard saw their first two penalties in the shoot-out saved while Adam Millson crashed his effort against the bar.

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