NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Assistant boss Erkan Okay on a season of progress for Soham Town Rangers - and the buzz of playing again after a 15-month injury hell
PUBLISHED: 10:56 18 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:56 18 April 2018
Assistant boss Erkan Okay has called for Soham Town Rangers to end a season of progress on a high.
The Greens have risen into top half of the Bostik North Division during a hectic run-in.
They recorded back-to-back away successes in recent days, triumphing 2-0 at Dereham last Thursday and then earning a 2-1 victory at Waltham Abbey last Saturday.
But their form at Julius Martin Lane has not lived up to their achievements on the road and they were pipped 3-2 by Ware in a Tuesday thriller. The visitors hit a last-gasp winner after Greens defender Jack Mochalski was dismissed for collecting a second caution.
Now Okay, number two to boss Robbie Mason, wants them to collect five more points from their remaining three matches to reach a tally of 60 for the season.
He said: “We’re working with a small squad, but we’ve improved a lot as the season has gone on.
“We’re asking a lot of the players with so many games in such a short space of time, but we’re looking to get to 60 and we could class that as a really good season.
“The club stayed up on the final day of last season so we’ve made a lot of progress. It’s also been a massive learning curve for myself and Robbie in our first season in management.
“We’ve not had the consistency at home, which is something that needs to change for next season, but what we’ve done on the road, picking up 10 wins, is unbelievable.”
An early Craig Gillies opener and late Sam Mulready clincher earned victory at Dereham before the same two players struck again in the success at Waltham Abbey.
Mulready also bagged a first-half brace – which included a penalty – to put Rangers ahead against Ware before they succumbed to defeat.
Okay made his Rangers playing debut as a substitute at Dereham after 15 months out with a cruciate ligament injury. The 33 year-old midfielder then got more minutes under his belt at Waltham Abbey.
He added: “I snapped my cruciate while playing for Sudbury. I had the operation last April and I wasn’t looking to come back this season to be honest.
“But I’ve upped my rehab over the last few months and I had the opportunity to get some minutes as we’ve had players missing.
“It felt good to be back out on the pitch. It was a great buzz and I’ll be trying to play regularly next season – unless my body tells you otherwise!”
Rangers’ hectic schedule continues with a home clash against promotion-chasing Bowers & Pitsea this Saturday. That’s followed by their penultimate outing at Brentwood Town on Tuesday.
They complete the season at Heybridge Swifts on April 28.