Feature: Impressive season on both fronts for Whaley

Whaley Bridge FC 2013/14
Whaley Bridge FC 2013/14

Whaley Bridge FC are celebrating after a successful 2013/14 season for both of its sides.

The reserve team finished the season as league runners-up and Challenge Cup champions in what was only their second Cheshire League campaign.

Meanwhile, the first team exceeded all expectations and in what many had thought would be a season of transition, they managed to secure a top-four finish.

Despite a year of positives, both sides will look back at the season and wonder what could have been.

After the departure of long-serving first team manager Darryl Hall and a number of senior players in the off-season, many expected John Brogden’s first campaign in charge to be a difficult one.

But, after starting the season with a defeat at Eagle Sports, Bridge produced a number of accomplished and disciplined performances to secure an unlikely top-four finish.

Impressive away wins at Gamesley (5-0) and Knutsford (2-0) and imperious home form highlighted potential which was often missing in games against lesser sides, as Whaley dropped important points which could have seen them challenge Garswood for the title.

The first team recorded 14 clean sheets and conceded just 28 goals throughout the season.

In terms of the Derbyshire Cup, Whaley eventually exited to North West Counties Premier side Glossop North End for the second consecutive season.

Whaley once again ran the Hillmen close but conceded in the last minute of injury time in a 2-1 defeat to the eventual finalists.

Having remained unbeaten in the league until February, Dan Turner’s reserves took their quest for the title to the final day where they required a win at home to Garswood United to overtake Greenalls Padgate at the top of the league.

However, due to the inclusion of many of the visitor’s quadruple-winning first team, Whaley fell short losing 6-0 as they were forced to settle for a second-placed finish.

The highlight of the reserve team’s season came in late April when goals from Scorer and Laurence Reynolds secured the CFL Reserve Challenge Cup crown against Denton Town.

The club will now be hoping that a year of overachievement on both fronts will be followed by more success next season.