MALVERN TOWN boss Les Jones has hailed this season as ‘magnificent’ after his side secured their highest West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division finish in 12 years.
An eventful league campaign ended on Tuesday night when the Hillsiders eased to an 8-2 victory over Wellington Amateurs, a result which ensured Jones’ side ended the season in third, their highest ever league position in the Premier Division since they won it back in 2004.
Malvern’s third place finish also secured a place in the qualifying stages of the prestigious FA Cup.
The emphatic victory was also their tenth straight win on the bounce, an impressive run of form which began with a 2-1 victory away to Cradley Town in mid-March.
“What a way to end the league season,” Jones said. “We were fantastic from start to finish on Tuesday night and to be 6-0 up at half-time was amazing.
“I don’t think they [Wellington Amateurs] were expecting that scoreline. We stunned them with our quality of football and we absolutely blew them away.
“To finish the season in third is a remarkable achievement and the lads deserve the success.
“Winning ten games on the bounce is a fantastic achievement – it’s promotion form – and its shown the great character the squad has.
“I cannot praise the players highly enough for what they have achieved as they have put a lot of pressure on the sides around us to end the season in the way we have.”
Despite Malvern’s incredible third place finish, things did not start well for them as they managed only four league wins in their opening 15 encounters, a poor run of form which saw them hovering above the relegation zone.
However, Jones said he was always confident his squad had the capabilities to climb up the table and put the success down to a squad effort despite the abundance of goals from Dave Reynolds (26), Luke Corbett (23) and Ben Hayes (20).
“It’s great to see my main three strikers net that many goals but it’s a case of the whole squad being magnificent,” he said.
“We’ve not had a constant 11 players out on the pitch, we’ve chopped and changed the squad and everybody has played their part.
“The effort they have put into this season is a real testament to the character and quality of this team, not only the attackers, but the defence and midfield too.”
With the season complete, pre-season preparations are well underway and Jones told the Observer his main priority over the summer is to keep the current crop of players ready for the 2016/17 campaign.
“I want the whole squad to stay with us next season,” he said.
“Malvern Town is a project and we are hoping to get promotion by 2018 and the way to do that is to keep the players here.
“Then we will look to see if we need to bring in any new additions but we want players who buy into what we are trying to do at Malvern.
“Everybody at the club is local to the area and it’s rare to see something like that at this level of football.
“It’s one of the reasons I came here. It’s great to see local lads playing football at a good level and I want them to be successful.
“However, we need to have a good pre-season and need to hit the ground running when the new season starts again to fight for promotion.”