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FOOTBALL: Ardley chief Stacey backs Brock as boss
10:00am Thursday 19th April 2012 in Sport
Ardley United chairman Norman Stacey has expressed his delight after boss Kevin Brock agreed to stay at the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division club.
Brock, who took over four years ago, steered his side to a third-placed finish for the second successive season, and Stacey says Brock is the man who can bring them the title for the first time in their 67-year history.
Following a slow start, where they drew four of their first five games, Ardley took over at the top after a 14-match winning streak.
They held the lead until March 3 when a 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Saracens saw Oxford City Nomads take over at the top.
Ardley were still vying for top spot until a 7-1 thrashing at Nomads in late March, followed by a 4-1 defeat at Shortwood United three days later ended their title bid.
And on Saturday, Ardley, confirmed a third-place finish, despite a shock 2-1 defeat by Fairford Town.
Ardley went behind on 35 minutes when Charlie Grabe fired a 25-yard shot into the top corner past keeper Joe White.
Three minutes into the second-half, Jon Gabilondo made it 2-0 with a neat chip.
Although Ryan Brooks pulled one back with his 48th goal of the season on 72 minutes, Fairford held on for victory.
But Stacey was far from downcast.
“I spoke to Kevin and he is keen to stay here and give it another go,” he said.
“I’m absolutely over the moon with that. He’s a great manager, doing a great job and you couldn’t find a better man to do that than Kevin.
“He is a very honest manager and says things as they are. That’s what I like about him – he’s very straight-talking.
“We were top for such a long time and then we went into a rut.
“I asked Kevin why he thought it was and he couldn’t put his finger on it.
“We scored plenty of goals, but we conceded far too many, so we need to sort out the defence.
“Ryan’s goals have been a highlight. The low point was the thrashing at Nomads.
“We played quite well against Shortwood a few days later and if we had won those two games then I think we would have got the title.”
Stacey added: “We knew on Saturday we had finished third, so the Fairford game was a bit lack-lustre.”