SHAWBURY United joint manager Stu Lewis has rallied to the cause by reversing his decision to walk away from the West Midlands Regional League club – for now, at least.

Lewis had announced his intent to step down after the exiled club had been forced to postpone a fixture against Shropshire rivals Haughmond two weeks ago, following an all-too-familiar rash of player withdrawals on the morning of the game.

But fellow manager Dave Richards – whose own involvement at the club this season has been affected by work commitments and getting married – has persuaded his managerial partner to stay put for the time being.

“He’s agreed to carry on helping me,” said Richards, “obviously I don’t know if he’ll stand by his decision [to step down] at some point but he will help us out and I’m trying to make myself available more. I wasn’t involved in pre-season this time and have had less involvement in training, but there have been some fantastic training sessions put on this season.

“I think, at the moment, some of the lads that I’ve brought in to the club haven’t been turning up, so I’m hoping to correct that.”

The constraints being put on the Shawbury management team were again illustrated this week. With senior players hard to come by – a situation not helped by the village side being forced to play 35 miles away at Ludlow while they try to raise funds for a new ground back home – Richards persuaded former United youth teamer Harry Bower to return to the fold on Saturday, on loan from Welsh Premier side TNS.

A United team featuring just four senior players, and packed with 16-year-olds, took a first-half lead at home to Hereford Lads Club through Rhys Orchard and the former Shrewsbury Development Centre midfielder put his side back in contention with a second goal, to make it 3-2 during the second half. But as the callow side tired in the last quarter of the game, Hereford took full advantage to run out 7-2 winners.

Bower, it seems, had done enough to impress Northern Premier League Division One West outfit Market Drayton Town, who have now taken him to the Greenfields Sports Ground, leaving Richards to lament: “Of course TNS will decide what happens to him, rather than me.”

The latest defeat for a United side that sit fourth from bottom, four points above second-from bottom Wem Town, came just three days after a rousing 4-3 win at home to AFC Bridgnorth, secured by a Sean Evans penalty, a Matthew Bollard strike and a brace from Harry Farnsworth.

“That’s the frustrating thing,” said the United joint boss, “we had two players different versus Bridgnorth, those are the fine lines of getting a team out. If we can get three or four more senior players, we can beat sides like Bridgnorth, that were on a good run.”

This week though, the priority was getting an XI for last night’s planned home game against Dudley Sports and Saturday’s trip to Wolves Casuals. Richards’ verdict? “I think we’ll be alright.”