TEIGNMOUTH manager Liam Jones says his side can give ‘so much more’ than they have this season.
The season represented Teignmouth’s first in Step Six football, and they made their mark on the league with an eighth-place finish under Jones’ guidance.
‘I’ve got mixed emotions,’ he said. ‘I think we probably would have taken a top-eight finish at the start of the year, but after playing the games and the points we’ve dropped, we’ve left points out there and that’s the disappointing part.
‘I think we’ve left probably 10 or 15 points out there, and the last four or five games have been a bit of a write-off, really. It’s bittersweet; the league table looks good and we got to the quarter-final of one cup and the semi-final of another and it might appear we’ve played four of our Under-18s. It’s been successful but this group can give me so much more than that.
‘We know what we need to do now and it is up to the lads to take a bit of a break and then we need to try and get back at it. I knew what the lads are capable of, so I thought we would be strong and I thought we would be good. We gave a good account of ourselves but we’ve not quite been strong enough.
‘In fairness, if you take Brixham out of it, it’s a tight league – the rest of the league are really competitive. It’s the tight games where we’ve given up points that is the disappointing part but on reflection we can say that it was quite a successful season for the club.
‘Winning at Buckland on penalties was probably [the best moment of the season] for the club,’ Jones continued. ‘To be playing in those types of games is what the clubs wants from us, so we’ve delivered on that. But there’s other stuff for me; when this side plays well, like we did early doors, those are the games I really enjoy.
‘Watching this side play well, when we are at it, we’re a real good side to watch. It’s those games that you watch and think ‘this is why I do it’ but we just lacked a few of those this year.’
The Teigns were aiming for a top-six finish this season but fell short by just four points. Sporadic form plagued Coombe Valley and season fizzled out somewhat as Teignmouth picked up one point from their last four outings. But there were glimpses of better things to come; wins-to-nil over local rivals Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbot Spurs and a 2-2 draw away to runners-up Okehampton Argyle were some results that the Teigns can build upon.
‘I think we need to be much fitter [next season],’ said Jones. ‘Coming out of COVID, most teams were exceptionally fit but we weren’t and we probably underestimated how fit teams were at this level. Tactically we need to be better and as a management team we need to improve – we’re probably two or three players short but when you’ve got nothing to offer it’s difficult to attract players.
‘But hopefully the lads take personal learnings as well because we need to be fitter, we need to be sharper and then the other stuff happens, quality and commitment; we’ve got that in abundance, so I can’t fault the lads too much.’
Jones’ Grade: C
‘Like I said, coming into it, if you’d offered me top eight, quarter-final of one cup, semi-final of another, I’d say that’s actually a great season, but knowing what we’ve competed with and knowing how close we’ve been in some games and how poor we’ve been in others, I think it is a C.
‘We’ve got loads of room for improvement, which is really exciting.’