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Richardson Quits At Highmoor - marcus richardson uhlsport hellenic league5 October

Marcus Richardson has revealed why he suddenly quit as manager of Uhlsport Hellenic League premier Division Highmoor Ibis.

“The job was becoming a bit too much of hard work and I was not enjoying it as much as I should have been,” he explained to Dave Wright. “But I would like to place on record my gratitude to the club for giving me my first manager's job. Over the last three or so years we have had some good times, although a few bad times as well.”

Highmoor are not enjoying the best of seasons so far, having lost two home League games in the past week – 3-1 to Wantage on Saturday and 1-0 to Burnham on Monday evening. They have collected only 10 points from 11 games, leaving them 15th in the Hellenic League Premier Division standings.

It was bottom club Burnham's first league win of the season, but Richardson said that result that no bearing on his decision, revealing: “I had already made up my mind before the game.” The former Football League striker was previously with Reading Town and Marlow before joining Highmoor as coach early in 2014.

“This club has a lot of potential with ambitions of playing at a higher level and probably needs freshening up by bringing in someone (manager) else,” said Richardson. “They have a very talented squad of players and should be doing better.”

The 40-year-old player-manager had been almost continually hampered in his team selection due to a lack of commitment of players and unavailability. “I can't remember the last time I was able to field the same team for two games running,” he said.

In the meantime, Fabian Coultress, who was Richardson's No 2, will be in charge of the team until a new appointment is made.

Highmoor chairman Martin Law was stunned by Richardson's decision but is hoping to persuade him to stay at the club in some other capacity. Law said: "This club has grown leaps and bounds during his time with us. Marcus is hugely popular and it would be great if he could become the club's figurehead or ambassador. He has earned a lot of respect from our youth section, coaches and players." 

Highmoor are home to Windsor in the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup on Saturday.

 

Good Account But No Progress - 21 September

Highmoor Ibis gave a good account of themselves before making their exit from the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup in a penalty shoot out earlier this week.

They twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with unbeaten United Counties League leaders Newport Pagnell Town in Monday's first-round tie at Rivermoor, only to lose 4-3 on penalties. Trevor Mutero and Joe Grant, with a goal in each half, kept Highmoor very much in the game and they had chances to win inside 90 minutes. Then in the shoot-out, they led three times, but two misses cost them dearly.

“It was very disappointing, as we played really well,” said player-manager Marcus Richardson. “Even the Newport Pagnell manager praised our performance and said we were very unlucky not to have won in normal time. It's the story of our season so far.”

With just one win in eight games, Highmoor are down to 16th in the table ahead of their trip to 14th-placed Brimscombe & Thrupp this Saturday.

 

marcus richardson uhlsport hellenic leagueRichardson Embarrassed - 14 September

Highmoor Ibis player-manager Marcus Richardson (pictured) admitted he was left "embarrassed" following his side's 6-0 hiding at Flackwell Heath on Tuesday.

And he accused some of his team of lacking desire.  "We have players capable of winning games, but I didn't see enough passion from them tonight. They were just not fighting enough for each other," said Richardson to Dave Wright. "When we played Bracknell last week we showed passion and wanted it more, but it was not the same here although there were a few changes to my team. This was one of the most embarrassing results I have had in football and I was a bit ashamed to be part of it." 

The 3-0 half-time scoreline didn't quite reflect the amount of possession Highmoor had, but their finishing was not in the same league as the Heathens. With strikers Devonate Romeo and Mitchell Parker both out injured, Richardson brought in the much-travelled Marcus Mealing on a dual registration from Marlow.  He was involved in most of their early attacks, but his new side struggled to create any real scoring opportunities. The game, played in persistent rain, was fairly even up until Flackwell's opening goal in the 25th minute when Francis Amartey's cross from the left was turned home by Sheridan Campbell.An unmarked Jamie Essex doubled his side's lead in the 38th minute and three minutes later Liam Tack netted from the penalty spot after the referee had spotted an infringement in area, with Devonn Reid getting a yellow card. 

Just 34 seconds into the second half it was 4-0 with Essex turning in a cross from Usman Lalustani, who got on the scoresheet himself five minutes later with a neat lob over advancing keeper Aaron Watkins. On 70 minutes Alfie Grant brought down Essex and Dean Allen scored the sixth goal to complete a good night for Flackwell, who return to the top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League table. 

Missed chances had cost Highmoor last Saturday when they lost 1-0 at Abingdon United in the FA Vase, Graham Edney scoring the only goal in the 15th minute following a defensive error. Parker, who rolled his ankle in the 2-2 draw with Bracknell last week,  hopes to return for this Saturday's game with Royal Wootton Bassett at Rivermoor Stadium.

 

Reduced To Ten - 10 August

Highmoor Ibis never looked in danger of losing their FA Cup tie against Buckingham Town on Sunday – even when reduced to 10 men.

“We were the more effective team and always looked more likely to win the game,” said player-manager Marcus Richardson following their 3-1 victory in this extra preliminary round tie. They hammered away at the visitors' goal in the opening stages, twice hitting the woodwork before taking a ninth-minute lead through Mitchell Parker. Highmoor were caught out at the back when a long ball enabled the visitors to equalise on 28 minutes, but a 30-yard rocket from Trevor Mutero saw them regain the lead three minutes before half-time. The game faded in the second half with Highmoor unable to show their previous intensity but they still created scoring opportunities before substitute Anthony Alleyne netted their third goal just before the final whistle.

“I was pleased with the result, but we should have scored a lot more,” said Richardson. “Last Tuesday at Burnham (3-3) we could have scored six in the first 15 minutes and today it could easily have been three or four. To score six goals in our first two games is not bad, as it shows we are creating chances, but we do need to start converting more.”

In addition to their finishing, Richardson would also like to see an improvement in the fitness of his players. He commented: “We still have a lot of work to do. If we can get quicker, stronger and a lot fitter then I am sure we will get the results we want. I feel with the squad we've got, we will be a force for anyone in this league. “

However, while being a side packed with outstanding individuals, their lack of discipline remains a problem, like it did last season. Parker was sent off at Burnham following two yellow-card offences, and on Sunday there was a straight red for substitute Sanchez Commock for a challenge in the 83rd minute, having been on the field for only 10 minutes. The incident sparked off a verbal and pushing confrontation among players from both sides, holding the game up for nearly five minutes. A number of yellow cards were also shown by referee Declan Brown.

“We can also be our own enemy,” admitted Richardson. “Teams we play against know it and that is what we are up against and we need to switch on to it.”

The Highmoor manager confirmed that the club had signed former Thatcham player-manager Gareth Thomas. “He will bring much-needed experience to my team,” said Richardson. “He is a good organiser of people and will make us even stronger.”

Highmoor will be home again in the next round of the FA Cup with Southern League side North Leigh their visitors. This Saturday, they take on Woodley United at Rivermoor in the Uhlsport Hellenic League.

 

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