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FOOTBALL: Merritt praises champions Nomads
11:00am Friday 20th April 2012 in Non League
Oxford City Nomads joint boss Justin Merritt has praised his side’s resilience after they won the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division title.
Back in November, City trailed Ardley United by ten points, but an unbeaten run of 21 matches saw them overtake Kevin Brock’s side at the top in March – a lead they never relinguished.
“I think it’s a great achievement,” said Merrit, who runs the side with Justin Lee.
“It’s been a really good experience for all the young players. And the style in which we have played throughout the season has been something which has been commented on, which is pleasing.
“I think because Ardley were top for so long, no one took any notice of us. We sneaked in under the radar.
“We just got into such a winning habit – we only lost once at home and that was back in August.
“I have never experienced a run like it, as a manager or as a player.”
Merritt, whose side end their campaign at Wokingham & Emmbrook tomorrow, added: “I have really enjoyed working with players who listen and want to learn. I have got my spark back.
“I’m not sure whether I will be here next season yet – I’m going to enjoy the celebrations first and see what’s around the corner.”
Meanwhile, Ardley chairman Norman Stacey has expressed his delight after Brock agreed to stay at the club.
Brock steered his side to a third-placed finish for the second successive season.
“I spoke to Kevin and he is keen to stay here and give it another go,” said a delighted Stacey.
“I’m over the moon. He’s a great manager, doing a great job.”
Headington Amateurs will be without skipper Benji Cuff (suspended) when they travel to Clanfield in Division 1 West.
Clanfield will be without Bradley Bridgewater, Jamie Stalker, Mark Odom, Callum Miller, Matt Cheetham (all unavailable) and the suspended Adam Little.
Headington Amateurs (v Clanfield, away): from Jenkins, L Morbey, C Morbey, Brown, Zaja, Williams, Jacob, Pearce, Hill, Nkwanyuo, L Cuff, Bastable, Luckett, Hafiz, Allen, Dean, Hayhurst.
l Witney Town have no injury worries when Kidlington visit in the Premier Division tonight.
Witney Tn (v Kidlington, home): from Simms, Kyberd, Webb, Lonsdale, Broad, Smith, James, Austin, Smart, Allmond, Moore, Dalton, Cormack, Bunting, Younie, Thompson.