NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Wisbech St Mary bidding to go one better after marching into Thurlow Nunn League trophy semi-final

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. Photo: IAN CARTER

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke. Photo: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

Rejuvenated Wisbech St Mary are determined to go one better by lifting Thurlow Nunn League silverware.

Arran Duke’s men were beaten in the final of the First Division KO Cup last season, but they are enjoying another tilt at the trophy this term.

Saints booked their place in the semi-finals with a 2-0 triumph at Debenham LC on Tuesday which was earned by a Jack Friend opener and a Dale Parnell clincher – and came complete with a first clean sheet for almost 11 months!

Friend gave the local lads the lead after 20 minutes before Parnell struck to seal their passage midway through the second half.

Their reward is a last-four trip to Braintree Town Reserves on Tuesday, March 27 and Duke’s men have unfinished business in this competition after being pipped by a solitary goal against King’s Lynn Town Reserves in the 2016/17 showpiece.

Duke said: “It was a great win at Debenham and the fact we kept our first clean sheet since the final league game of last season made it even more pleasing.

“It was a terrific team effort and we are now seeing a real improvement in both performances and results.

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“It would be great to go one better and lift the trophy after losing in the final last season.

“The mood in the camp is very positive at the moment. Everyone is relieved that we have managed to turn a corner and the weight of that long win-less run has been lifted.”

Saints will get an opportunity to run the rule over their semi-final opponents when entertaining the Braintree second string in a league clash on Wednesday, 7.45pm.

That is the club’s second home fixture in the coming days. It is preceded by the visit of second-bottom Team Bury tomorrow, 3pm.

Saints remain third third-bottom of the First Division standings themselves despite a fine return to form of late, but they are now closing in on a gaggle of teams above them – including Fenland rivals March Town.

Saints have put together a four-match unbeaten run in the league, collecting eight points in the process. They also possess games in hand on all other teams in the division.

It means a hectic climax to the campaign, but Duke doesn’t mind that. He added: “The games are going to come thick and fast until the end of the season, but that’s exactly what we want now the confidence is back.

“It’s great to see the players doing what we always knew they could do.”

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