Improved finish and cup final triumph shows progress for Blackstones
Co-Blackstones boss Lee Clarke felt his side’s Daniels Cup triumph was a measure of his side’s progress this season.
Stones made amends for last season’s cup final defeat by beating Cottesmore Amateurs at the Zeeco Stadium on Sunday.
They have also finished six places higher than last term in Division One of the United Counties League and Clarke wants the Lincoln Road outfit to keep progressing.
He said: “It’s always nice to win a cup final and we will always want to win whatever competition we enter.
“It’s good for me and Daniel French to get our first trophy in management and it’s progress from last season when the club finished 14th and lost in the final of the competition.
“We haven’t done ourselves justice in the league in the last few weeks, but we’ve progressed overall during the season and that’s something you want to do every year.”
Clarke netted the winning goal with five minutes remaining after Rikki Wilmer’s opener had been cancelled out by Jaede Timms.
Clarke continued: “We were quite comfortable. We were probably coasting at 1-0 because we were in control and could have scored four or five in the first half.
“We warned the lads at half-time that it would only take a good goal, a silly mistake or a sucker punch to let them back into it.
“They had a good spell for five minutes after they equalised, but I still felt we could go up another gear when needed.”
Stones had been in action 24 hours earlier when they suffered their heaviest defeat of the season after a 7-1 loss at Lutterworth Town.
Josh Edmundson had halved the deficit with Stones’ goal three minutes before the break after Tendai Daire’s double had put the Swifts in control.
However, Stones lost their way after the break as Lutterworth scored five times in the last 25 minutes with the division’s top scorer Daire completing his hat-trick while Jordan Small also smashed home a 16-minute treble.
Clarke commented: “Obviously we wanted to win the game, but it only effected our final league position by one place.
“We’d have been happier to have finished seventh but, in the big scheme of things, it’s not the be all and end all.
“People were going through the motions in the second half. We took our foot off the gas with one eye on the next day which was understandable.
“It’s frustrating to have that sort of scoreline on your record. We were still in at half-time, but we capitulated after the break and they seemed to score with every attack.”
Clarke and French will be turning their attentions to next season with Stones reporting back for pre-season training on Saturday, June 23.
Clarke added: “The hard work now starts in terms of the admin and planning side of football which we’re both looking forward to.
“We’ve got certain players as targets who we want to bring in, but there won’t be wholesale changes to the squad.
“The squad hasn’t been big enough this season so that’s something we’ve got to deal with to cope with unavailabilities, injuries or if players aren’t performing.
“We want all of the current squad to stay together, but we do need more numbers to bulk it out.”