LUDLOW Colts looked on as Tenbury Town celebrated clinching the Herefordshire County League Division One title following their 2-1 victory on Saturday.
And Colts boss Christian Leech is hoping it will be his side savouring the champagne in 12 months time.
A second-half goal from Josh Partridge wasn’t enough to deny Tenbury the points after two goals from Alex Bright before the break put them in a strong position.
“I would obviously like to congratulate Tenbury Town for winning the league and wish them all the best for next season,” Leech said.
“But what they have achieved this season is what we will be aiming for next season as the team has improved. We know a couple of new additions are needed so that we can challenge.”
Ludlow’s hopes of delaying Tenbury’s celebrations were not helped by having a number unavailable due to work commitments and injuries meaning the Colts had just 12 players.
The visitors created an early chance when a long clearance from Simon Bull picked out Partridge who found himself one on one with the keeper but unfortunately he couldn’t make a clean connection and the effort was saved comfortably.
A number of long balls were launched on to the Colts defence causing problems and then, after on 27 minutes, some good build-up play from midfield found Mark Boucker on the edge of the box and he threaded a ball through to Alex Bright who placed his shot beyond the advancing keeper.
Colts responded well and were denied an equaliser when Tenbury's Matt Harber pulled off a magnificent save from Partridge. Charlie Gould whipped in a cross for the striker whose scissor-kick looked to have steered the ball into the roof of the net only for the keeper to push it on to the crossbar and behind for a corner.
The home side ramped up the pressure as half-time approached and they doubled their lead ten minutes before the break when a long ball upfield was helped by the wind and Bright was on hand to bag his second of the game after being left one-on-one with keeper Kieron Roche.
After a few harsh words in the changing room at the break, Ludlow put in an improved second half performance and alway looked dangerous on the counter-attack.
They pulled a goal back 15 minutes from time when Dan Crowther received a great ball from George Sankey and showed some trickery on the edge of Tenbury box before driving in an inch-perfect cross for Partridge to head home.
The goal rattled the league leaders and Partridge went close again late on only for his effort to lack the pace to trouble the Tenbury keeper as the home side held on for the win.
Leech added: “We were disappointed with the result and the first-half performance but showed some grit in the second half to ensure this wasn’t just a formality for Tenbury Town.”