Last season was one to remember for Ollerton Town FC as they finished second in the Central Midlands North Division to earn promotion to the Northern Counties East League for the first time.
From the start of pre-season last June, promotion was always the goal and if it hadn’t been for a poor star, Ollerton may well have challenged Glapwell for the North Division title.
The off-season was a busy time for the club. Coaches Lee Scott and Tommy Watson departed to take the vacant management role at Kirton Brickworks. Manager Dave Winter moved quickly to replace them with former captain Jamie Allan coming in to join Winter and assistant manager Steve Bodle as first team coach.
In terms of players, the club brought in Tom Cooke, Paul Burgess, Sam Stretton, Danny Wiltshire and Lewis Bingham from neighbours Thoresby whilst also adding Kyle Ludlow and Jamie Charlton to their ranks. Simon Smith and Kyle Clarkson also returned to the club after time away.
With the quality of player added to the squad, optimism was high at the club and this was helped by a strong pre-season. Ollerton were narrowly defeated by Shirebrook and Rainworth -both higher-level opposition - before they ended with wins against Pinxton, Kirton Brickwork, Blidworth, Burton Joyce and Sandhurst.
Attention then turned to the real thing as Ollerton started the season with the long trip to Easington United. It proved to be a successful opening day for the Town as goals by Liam Carver, Jamie Charlton, Kyle Clarkson and Craig Stanton saw them triumph 4-1. The season then took a turn for the worse however as Ollerton failed to win their next five games. Glapwell were 3-1 winners at The Lane before a 94th minute Kye Pilmore goal rescued a 1-1 draw against Harworth.
The start of September saw Ollerton knocked out of the FA Vase after a 2-1 loss to St Andrews before a nightmare start - conceding three goals in the first five minutes - meant a 3-2 loss to Phoenix was to follow. The horrible run continued the following week with a narrow 1-0 loss to Retford after a poor performance. Morale around the club was low but thankfully they returned to winning ways before the month ended, beating Dinnington 2-1 at home thanks to goals by Stanton and Ludlow.
This started a run of three successive 2-1 wins in the league as Ollerton saw off Thorne Colliery and then Appleby Frodingham, who at the time were top of the table. Sandwiched between the Thorne and Appleby games was a Notts Senior Cup win against Clifton All Whites, winning on penalties after a 2-2 draw. These three games were also notable for Kyle Clarkson scoring a free-kick in each game, meaning it was three goals in a week for him. Despite the pick up in form, Ollerton were brought back to earth at the end of October after an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at Askern.
November turned out to be a crucial month in the season as it helped continue the climb up the league and helped to boost confidence and morale. It began with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Newark Town in the Notts Senior Cup before a 1-0 win in the Central Midlands League Cup against Selston, Paul Burgess grabbing the winner. Ollerton returned to league action with a 6-0 hammering of Dinnington Town. Callam Atkinson, Ollerton’s utility man throughout the season, ended up with a memorable four-goal haul, Will Horton and Kyle Clarkson rounding off the scoring. Ollerton then completed a perfect month with a 3-0 win in a local derby against Bilsthorpe. The win meant Ollerton went into December on the back of four successive wins in which they had scored 15 goals and conceded none. The team were certainly starting to click and it would be important that this continued as they got closer to the business end of the season.
Early December saw Ollerton extend their winning run to five games with a hard-fought 3-2 win away at Dronfield Town Reserves before they were knocked out of the Notts Senior Cup on penalties after a pulsating 4-4 draw with Clipstone. Despite the defeat, Ollerton put in a terrific performance, coming back from 3-1 down against a side two leagues higher at the time. A 4-2 win at home to Easington was to follow as Danny Wiltshire grabbed his first goal for the club, before a disappointing 3-1 loss to Retford saw us end 2015 with elimination from the Central Midlands Floodlit Cup.
Ollerton entered the New Year just behind the leading pack but they knew that success was still within their reach, if they could find some more consistency during the business end of the season.