Frickley looking for new manager after Evo-Stik League season fizzles out

Tyler Walton scores for Frickley Athletic at AFC Mansfield. Picture: Onion Bag Photos
Tyler Walton scores for Frickley Athletic at AFC Mansfield. Picture: Onion Bag Photos

Frickley Athletic are searching for a new manager after deciding to part company with Martin McIntosh who has been in charge since December.

McIntosh was handed the task of stabilising the club following the departure of Spencer Fearn and a temporary spell under John Stancliffe.

The team were heading the wrong way down the table at the time, but McIntosh succeeded in his task, ensuring there was no flirting with relegation for the Blues although their ultimate 12th place finish was disappointing after last season’s goal-laden exploits.

Highlights of his tenure include winning away at champions Morpeth Town, away at local rivals Sheffield FC and significant victories at home over Stamford (4-1) and Carlton (6-0).

But it has now been decided to relieve McIntosh of his duties at Westfield Lane with a statement announcing the move being posted on Tuesday afternoon.

It read: “As the 2018/19 season draws to a close the football club board, which has been assessing the financial and structural position of the club for many months, commenced with the results and realities of that assessment by agreeing to part company with manager Martin McIntosh.

“Martin has done a fantastic job in stabilising the team this season, bringing in some quality players and playing an instrumental role in managing the club through what was a challenging period.”

Club director Ryan McKnight said: “Whilst the football club is currently in a sound financial position it needs to cut its cloth accordingly moving forward. This means we are restructuring the entirety of the football club on both the playing and staffing side.

“The harsh reality is that Martin’s experience, calibre and network warrants a situation that moving forward we are not in a position to deliver on long-term.

“Myself and the rest of the club board cannot commend the work he has done here high enough and are positive he will be as asset for another club in the future.”

Frickley’s first season in the restructured Evo-Stik League’s East Division ended in a narrow defeat against relegated AFC Mansfield. The result meant that they finished in 12th place – a position they have been in or around since the start of the year.

The campaign started with so much optimism after last season when the club had narrowly missed out on promotion. But it was always going to be more difficult with the league restructure putting the Blues into a division where they had to compete with the likes of the big spending Morpeth and ambitious West Yorkshire clubs Pontefract Collieries and Ossett United, the latter a “super club” forming out of a merger of the Town and Albion clubs.

Wins in the first three matches augured well for the campaign ahead, but ultimately a run of five straight league defeats from mid-October did for any real hopes of promotion. There was a revival under McIntosh, but too many draws saw them unable to climb into the top half of the division.

In their last game of the season Frickley lost 2-1 at Mansfield with chances at a premium at both ends.

Karl Byrne brought the first save from the home keeper who also comfortably kept out Sam Liversidge’s header. Against the run of play Mansfield took the lead with a speculative shot by Ellis Wall that flew in.

Frickley looked to hit back as Luke Hinsley hit a good strike, but the home keeper saved well and it remained 1-0 to half-time.

The Blues were back on level terms eight minutes into the second half when Tyler Walton was put through and took his goal well. Jacob Hazel then blazed wide as another good chance soon followed, but it was Mansfield who were to come up with a winner as a defensive mix-up allowed Charlie Dawes to nip in to score.

They would have added to their lead had it not been for a fine save from Hugo Warhurst, but held on for the win with their only alarm late on when Hinsley’s header went inches wide.