NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Duke admits Wisbech St Mary were not good enough in Norwich United Reserves defeat

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. PHOTO: Ian Carter

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke has admitted his players weren’t up for the challenge in their 3-1 defeat to Norwich United Reserves at the weekend.

The Saints were sent to their second straight Thurlow Nunn First Division defeat at the hands of the Step Four side’s second-string on Saturday, and Duke has called on his side to react positively this weekend when they welcome Halstead Town to the ABC Meats Stadium (3pm).

“We have to hold our hands up – on Saturday we just weren’t good enough on the day,” Duke said.

“Norwich looked like they wanted it more than us, which is very disappointing from our perspective.

“Saturday is a chance for the lads to give us a positive reaction in what will be a real battle.”

The villagers were well beaten on Saturday - but the story could have been so much different had Nick Davey netted a first-half spot kick.

The Saints’ skipper fluffed his lines – and St Mary’s opportunity to equalise – but striker Jack Friend made amends in the second period with his ninth goal of the season.

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But that was as good as it got for Duke’s men who went on to concede more goals through Norwich’s Dan Hogston and George Diggens.

“We went one down very early on and it took us time to settle into the game,” Duke added.

“We came out in the second half and quickly equalised but Norwich grew back into the game and two goals followed. We left very disappointed knowing we should do a lot better.”

St Mary’s defeat followed another disappointing reverse the week before – this time to local rivals, King’s Lynn Town Reserves.

Friend and Aiden Sewell found the net for Duke’s men, but Lynn snatched all three points courtesy of a last-minute strike from Eoin McQuaid.

St Mary are now 11th in the league standings.