It was a campaign of mixed emotions

Worcester News: ROB ELVINS: Improved as a defender this season. ROB ELVINS: Improved as a defender this season.

IT has been an enjoyable yet frustrating season for Worcester City and I think we can take plenty of encouragement from it.

Following our reprieve at the end of the last campaign, we didn’t want to be in the same position again. I certainly didn’t want another relegation battle, we wanted to improve and make progress.

To all of a sudden think we were going to be challenging for the title on less money was stupid. It wasn’t achievable and it wasn’t a realistic target, but we still wanted to have a comfortable season.

I felt that we were a top-half-of-the-table team but I think fading away in the last six weeks cost us that.

Injuries and players being unavailable were a major headache in the last couple of months as we have had extremely limited options. We were unable to freshen it up and keep the players on their toes and they are factors as to why the season ended how it did.

That was frustrating because I felt in the first-half of the campaign we looked a decent team.

We looked like we could score goals freely but we also had a tendency to let them in at the other end.

As the season progressed we found goals harder to come by and since the turn of the year we haven’t been as free-scoring.

But the goals against column has improved, although I feel we have looked vulnerable at defending set-pieces against the bigger sides in the league and that has been a learning curve.

Everybody has made mistakes but it’s about realising that and trying to learn from them and we have drummed that into the players all season.

I have been impressed with the attitude and application of the squad generally, they are the best bunch of lads I have worked with.

Ryan Clarke, Tom Thorley, Kevin O’Connor and Danny Glover dominated the end-of-year awards and over the season their levels of performance have made them stand out.

But there are other players to mention as well. Neil Cartwright has had a very steady season and his versatility at full-back has been vital.

Simon Richman’s energy levels and work-rate also deserve a mention following his first season in non-league football.

Marc McGregor was pivotal in the change of formation as a central striker, while Rob Elvins has got better at centre-half and is still improving.

When I look at the squad at the start of the campaign, being deprived of Shabir Khan, Mark Clyde and Tim Sandercombe — as well as Graham Ward and Elvins for spells — it makes me think what if. I think we would have had better results with those players available.

Do I think there’s further improvements to be made with similar resources? Yes, I do but I still think we need to be realistic.

In signing off my last column of the campaign, I would also like to see the crowds back at St George’s Lane next season. I know people want to see a winning side but I think we have been unlucky at times this year.

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