Clarke hails ‘special’ players

Salisbury City boss Darrell Clarke paid tribute to his players after they sealed promotion from the Blue Square Bet South with a 3-2 extra-time win over Dover Athletic.

In the battle of the Whites, Salisbury reigned supreme, winning the promotion final and ending their three-year exile from the top-flight of non-league football.

Clarke told BBC Wiltshere: “You need to save the plaudits for those players who have been so special to manage.

“Their attitude and desire has been fantastic. There’s not a more deserving bunch of players.”

Ricky Wellard put Salisbury ahead in the 50th minute, before Ian Simpemba’s reply took the game on Sunday into extra time.

Stuart Sinclair and James White put Clarke’s men 3-1 ahead, but Billy Bricknell’s strike two minutes from time ensured a nervy finish at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

“Credit to Dover, they didn’t die,” Clarke added. “I thought they gave us a tremendous game and I hope they come up next year.

“My heart was in my mouth but when I heard that final whistle it was an unbelievable feeling.”

Clarke was City skipper when they got relegated two divisions in 2010, and the former midfielder says he will enjoy the celebrations before starting planning for next season’s Premier campaign.

“I’m going to enjoy the next couple of days and then we’ll sit down and look ahead,” he added.

“I’m so proud of every single one of them and they’ve all played their part.

“They’ll be comings and goings – that’s football. I’ll be honest with the players and I’ll judge it on their performance over the whole season and see if they can do a job.

“It’s not a nice part of the job but it’s a job that needs doing.”

Posted: Monday , May 13, 2013