STANWAY ROVERS boss Terry Spillane has high hopes for the year ahead - despite a 2-1 defeat at home to top-of-the-table Stansted on Saturday.

The Essex Senior League pacesetters had a first-half penalty smartly saved by Rovers goalkeeper Lewis Hawley.

The second half promised goals and they duly came from Stansted super-sub James Peagram, who scored either side of Scott Kemp’s equaliser.

His second strike came in the dying minutes and secured all three points.

Nonetheless, Spillane was full of positives after the game as his side head into an exciting 2019.

“I was really disappointed with the result but more than pleased with the overall performance,” he said.

“We had four or five players out injured, with others playing in different positions, but I think we more than matched them.

"Ultimately, though, we were undone by a brilliant goal at the end.”

Spillane was taking on his former club and is well-known for giving players such as Premier League striker Dwight Gayle a platform in the game, during his time at Stansted.

“Stansted are my old side and I’ve got a soft spot for them," he said.

"I’d like to see them go on and win the league and I think they can.”

Looking ahead to this year, Spillane realises a rebuilding job is currently in progress.

However, he wants to do things the right way for all involved with the club.

“We're rebuilding here," he said.

"We’ve got a lot of good young players coming through and we’ve got something to look forward to for the future.

“The club is on an upward curve and it’s exciting times, but the frustrating thing for me is that I want success now, as do the club and players.

"But sometimes we have to put a lid on those feelings and grow steadily, which is what we’re doing.”

In terms of recruitment and adding quality to the ranks, Spillane wants the best for his team and will accept nothing less.

He said: “It’s all well and good saying we want good local players, but I want the best local players because this club deserves that and I’m pretty sure we’ll get where we want to be but it’s going to take a bit of time.

“Everyone seems to be happy with what we’re doing at the moment.

"Results are important and I’ve been told to steady the ship and stay in the league and rebuild for next season.”

The former Maldon and Tiptree boss seems to be enjoying life in his new position and has been warmly welcomed by all associated with Stanway.

“It’s a lovely club where people run the club the right way and I’ve been warmly welcomed,” he said.

“They’ve all got hearts of gold, from the groundsman, who is different class, right up to the chairman.

"Everyone has been really supportive and it creates a buzz about the place and that’s exactly how a club should be.”

Spillane’s new year agenda will once again be put to the test, with his Stanway side back in action at The Hawthorns and looking to climb the table with the visit of Enfield tomorrow.