BRISTOL Manor Farm manager Lee Lashenko weighed up a “massively disappointing” 2018-19 Evo-Stik Southern League One South season for his team and emphasised: “I can’t walk away after that,” writes Simon Parkinson.
The Creekside actually did show signs of creaking for long stretches of their latest campaign, a surprise given the rich array of talent that remained in the ranks and the years of previous progression that led to their 2016-17 Toolstation Premier Division title triumph and subsequent elevation to Step 4 football for the first time in their 59-year history.
Last year’s ninth-placed conclusion to their first season in the Southern League was no mean feat either.
Lashenko and Co had been looking to make that a springboard to a concerted promotion push this time around but instead, a 15th-spot finish proved a frustrating outcome, one the ambitious Bristolian found “tough to take” by his own admission.
He confessed: “It was massively disappointing. The FA Cup run all the way to a third qualifying round replay was a highlight among not many highlights if truth be told.
“Our final day defeat (2-1) at home by a struggling Paulton side was terrible but our season as a whole was just not good enough.
“My next season began the very next day when I knew there could be some casualties on the playing front.
“I’ve always been successful and I’m not prepared to let one blip get me down.”
Indeed Lashenko, whilst still relatively new to management, guided Bishop Sutton to a memorable first-ever Western League Premier Division crown in 2012-13.
He said of his present preoccupation with “under-achieving” Manor Farm affairs: “My focus is very much on this club. I had plenty of bad luck in the recent season and that’s a motivation in itself.
“I also think about what my dad and nan did for me in my world of football. If there’s another motivation for me to do well it’s the passing and memory of two people who were massively influential to me. They make my football more relevant than ever.
“I certainly can’t walk away from the club after the season we’ve just had, even though I’m proud in the main of the six years I’ve had with Manor Farm.
“Players underperformed this time and I have to take some responsibility for that. It’s all about how you respond to setbacks and I’m quietly confident we can turn it around next year.
“Like any business, if it’s not producing what’s required then something has to give.”
Source Local Football - Gloucester FA - Simon Parkinson