Wisbech interim management duo Duke and Warren positive in defeat
Interim Wisbech Town manager Arran Duke was delighted with his young side's performance against title-chasing Halesowen Town this afternoon, despite the 1-0 home defeat.
And Duke, along with assistant Mark Warren, believes his side have the quality to pull away from the bottom three of the Pitching In Northern Premier League Midland Division.
After the game, Duke told the Citizen: "There's been one thing after another this week but the players gave us a really positive reaction. They focused on the game from the first to the last whistle and I cannot praise them enough.
"They are disappointed for the right reasons. Halesowen knew they were in a game today. Before, we have just not quite been there against the top teams but today we equalled them for 90 minutes.
"The players have given everything they've got and left everything on the field. We spoke to them and said that we are in a position where we cannot carry passengers and everyone needs to put in a shift.
"Layton Maddison typified that. He has not played a lot recently but covered a lot of ground and put in a great performance on a heavy pitch.
"We also told the players we want to play more nice football - we have players out there who want the ball on the floor. We are not that team full of 6' 5" players who are going to keep heading balls and smashing tackles, so we wanted to play to our strengths, and we did.
"For the last 15 minutes, after the sending off, we were controlling a game against a top team and we panicked and worried them.
"We have got the right group of players and they have the quality, albeit without lots of experience. But these lads can dig in and fight and get out of this.
"We have a group of young, talented footballers (Opayinka is 17, Warren 18, Gascoigne 20, Bennett 21, Maddison 21, Hart 22, Keeble 22). The oldest player out there today was Luke Wilson at 29.We probably need to add some experience but we know we have the quality to dig ourselves out.
"We don't know how long we will be in charge but our job is to get those players performing and today they have. It has all come very quickly but we are getting our heads around it.
"The reaction from the players has been great, we will keep doing what we are doing and if it's for a week, two weeks or two years, we will give it our all."
Warren was also positive in defeat, saying: "It was a very good, collective, team performance. We wanted a different formation, we wanted to be braver and more attacking. It felt right, and the supporters appreciated it. Even though we were beaten, they were great.
"When we do lose games we want to do it in the right way and leave everything out there. You saw how Halesowen celebrated at the end... they had to work so hard for those three points.
"The players have shown their levels now and we must 100% take that attitude to Carlton next Saturday. We have set a precedent today and now we must not take our foot off the gas.
"We need to be bold and brave at Carlton, just as we were today.There is no reason why we cannot put in a performance and pick up three points there."