1:36pm Thursday 22nd May 2014
ORLETON Colts manager Kristian Morgan has had a change of heart after initially deciding that Saturday's Leintwardine Cup final would be his final match.
No he fancies one final season in charge of a club where he has been for more than 10 years.
“They’ve been trying to get me to stay on for next year, so it looks like I will have to”, joked a jubilant Morgan. “I would probably take a step away from playing as well and just try to concentrate on the management side of things.
"I’ve been player/manager for six years and I’ve found it quite rewarding despite all the hard work. Days like today make it all worthwhile.”
Saturday's success saw Orleton lift their second cup of the season and, coupled with promotion to the Herefordshire Premier Division, alongside their final opponents Tenbury United, it has been an unexpectedly profitable season for the men in green.
“It’s been a brilliant season for us,” said Morgan. “We’ve come runners up, won the HFA Junior Cup and then the Leintwardine Cup today.
"We were only promoted from Division Two last season and our main goal was to avoid relegation.
"But, in the last couple of months we’ve made a big effort, after being there or thereabouts all season, to make a push for promotion and it’s great to have achieved that.”
Saturday's winning goalscorer Kyle Whitticase was quick to echo his manager's thoughts and attributed much of their success to the hard work Morgan has put into the club.
“It’s been a great season all round," he said. "I just hope we can keep everyone together for next season now.
"It’s great to have Kristian staying on, he has had his ups and downs but, at the end of the day, we’ve won two cups and had back-to-back promotions with him in charge, so why change it?
"He’s been here for years now and worked hard for the club, on and off the pitch, so it’s been great for the lads to reward him with the season we’ve had.”
One of the key reasons for Orleton’s successes this season is that they have one of the meanest defences in Herefordshire but centre back Mike Shillcock was quick to praise the whole team, rather than just the defensive unit, for the accolade.
“It’s been more of an overall team performance really," he said. "We all work hard, not just at the back.
"We are lucky to have midfielders and strikers that track back and work their socks off so it makes us a hard team to break down. Hopefully we can continue that into next season.”
And it was that hard working ethic that saw Orleton through to lift the Cup against a strong Tenbury United side last Saturday.
Up against a team which had beaten them to the Herefordshire League Division One title, Orleton took the lead early on as Shane Jennings pounced on a poor clearance from Tenbury’s goalkeeper Jason Griffiths, to slot the ball calmly home into an empty net.
From then on, Tenbury looked to dominate the remainder of the half, creating a number of good chances to draw level.
And, on the half-hour mark, Ian Patterson, making amends for an earlier miss, found himself on the end of a Ryan Morris cross to tap home to send the teams in level at the break.
Orleton came out flying at the start of the second half and had a couple of decent chances to break the deadlock before Whitticase swung in a cross which floated over Griffiths and dropped neatly into the far corner of the net.
Tenbury then threw everything they had into getting an equaliser but the resolute Orleton defence stood firm and ensured that they would be going home with their second cup of a fantastic season.
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