Grantham Town boss Chatfield happy with season finale and already planning for new campaign
Grantham Town’s final game of the season saw the relegated Gingerbreads defeat second placed South Shields by a single second half goal at The Meres last Saturday, and manager Matt Chatfield is already planning pre-season training.
South Shields had already thrown away their title aspirations last weekend, barring a mathematical miracle that would have needed them to hit double figures at Grantham, whilst their performance at The Meres did not give them much hope for the play-offs – and so it proved, with the Mariners losing to Warrington Town on penalties on Tuesday night.
Yes, South Shields were clearly, at times, the better footballing side on Saturday but they were unable to crack the resolute Gingerbreads who battled for every ball throughout the 90 minutes.
Grantham Town boss Chatfield was pleased with how his side ended their campaign.
He said: “It was a nice ending to a bad season. We’ve picked up three good results in the last three games, and to finish the season undefeated in three is some achievement.
“We started with three Academy lads and finished with four Academy lads, with six Academy lads in the 16 which is a huge achievement for the club to show the progression of what our club’s doing.
“We limited their chances, we let them have the ball in the right areas, we created really good counter-attacks and ultimately we deserved the win, 100 per cent.
“It was great to finish on a high with a good crowd.”
To add to the Gingerbreads’ relegation woes, the FA this week announced that only two teams will now go down from the NPL Premier, saving the skin of Basford United.
The question now is, which league will Grantham Town be put into? It will either be the NPL East or Midlands.
The Gingerbreads’ previous forays into the lower level have seen them put into the NPL Northern division – which is now NPL East division.
Chatfield said he has far more knowledge of the northern sides but can also see the advantage the Midlands division would give with reduced travelling.
He said: “We don’t have an inkling to be honest, we’ve just got to prepare like we would be in either, make sure the players are prepared for either league. And then we’ve just got to wait till the end of May, start of June.
“The northern one for me, personally, I know that league inside out, but the Midlands one is the best one for the club and that’s what we will be hoping that we will be going into.”
Chatfield said the players will be rested until the end of June and then start pre-season with a good six to eight weeks of training.
Finally, Chatfield was keen to express his thanks to all the loyal Gingerbreads supporters:
He said: “The supporters that have been to the home and away games all season have seen some awful sights, and ultimately we are where we are because of what’s happened on the pitch.
“But the one thing that’s stayed consistent is the fans. It’s a cliché, but they have been the 12th man all the way through the season.
“I can’t explain how good those fans have been and I can’t thank them enough for their support all season.”