Wisbech St Mary boss Arran Duke hopes for a happy New Year after successful 2016

Wisbech St Mary manager, Arran Duke.

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

It has been a year to remember for Wisbech St Mary – and boss Arran Duke is hoping 2017 can be just as fruitful.

2016 has seen the Villagers leap into Step Six football for the first time, start work on a new 50-seater stand at their Beechings Close base and welcome a host of top local talents, and with two weeks to go until the New Year, the St Mary boss has reflected on what has been a very positive year for the club.

“We’re now half-way through our season, in two cup quarter-finals, a semi-final and sit in a decent place in the league,” Duke said.

“We’re only six points off of third place now and we’re very pleased with how it’s going.

“Hopefully we can continue to improve in the New Year.”

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Since their promotion, St Mary have defied their underdog status and have stormed into the top 10 of the division thanks to some impressive victories and now sit just two wins away from the top three.

The Villagers have hit somewhat of a stumbling block in recent weeks and have drawn their last four games, but Duke says those points gained could be vital later on in their campaign.

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“We’ve stretched our unbeaten run to five games with some tough fixtures played,” he said after St Mary’s 1-1 draw with Holland FC last Saturday.

“We’re disappointed to have not taken maximum points from some of those but we’ve also taken points off teams around us so that could be important at the end of the season.”

“Last Saturday was another draw but it was certainly our best performance of recent weeks.

“We were without Nick Davey, Ricky Bowden, Simon Bates, Robbie Palmer and Stuart Beckett so we knew it was going to have to be a big performance to get anything from the game.

“The lads really dug deep – Holland are a big physical side and our midfield of James McManus, Jakub Ziabka and Josh Burrows were outstanding.

“They were the three smallest players on the pitch but they played some great stuff.”

Duke’s men travel to Whitton United for their final away game of the year tomorrow (3pm), before they see out 2016 at Beechings Close with a mouth-watering local derby with March Town on December 27.

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