NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Wisbech St Mary goalkeeper Dan Smith comes in line for praise after keeping first clean sheet

Goalkeeper Dan Smith, pictured here against Haverhill Borough, kept his first clean sheet as a Wisbe

Goalkeeper Dan Smith, pictured here against Haverhill Borough, kept his first clean sheet as a Wisbech St Mary player in their 1-0 win over Needham Market Reserves last night. PHOTO: Ian Carter - Credit: Archant

Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke has praised young goalkeeper Dan Smith after he kept his first clean sheet in a Saints shirt last night.

Smith, who joined St Mary in January, helped his side to a 1-0 victory over Needham Market Reserves and Duke hailed the stopper for keeping the faith after conceding in 13 consecutive matches.

“We brought Dan in just after Christmas and keeping a clean sheet was something that had been in the back of his mind for a while,” Duke said.

“To get that out the way will be a huge boost for him and he definitely deserves it.”

Duke also admitted to being relieved to get the win after he was left “gutted” by a late Haverhill Borough goal on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints were sent to their second straight Thurlow Nunn First Division defeat thanks to a Jarrid Robson goal at the death last weekend.

“I’m pleased with the performance on what was a difficult pitch against an organised young side,” he said.

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“We had to be patient and we were well organised in the second half and defended very well.

“I was gutted for the lads on Saturday. They deserved something from the game but it was another performance with plenty of positives from a young group.

“We’re building a group with a long-term plan and the young players are getting plenty of experiences at this level this season and it’s exciting for the future.”

Duke also admitted he heads into Saturday’s league clash with high-flying Holland FC with the Saints’ Hinchingbrooke Cup semi-final against higher-level Deeping Rangers next Tuesday night in mind.

“We go into the game knowing it will be a battle,” he said.

“Some changes to the line-up will be made but again it’s an opportunity to get minutes and another chance to impress.”

St Mary currently sit in 12th in the league standings, level on points with Downham Town in 11th.