NEW manager Tom Austin has challenged his players to topple the 50-point mark after taking the reins at FC Clacton.

The midfielder has agreed to take over until the end of the season, having been in the dugout for Saturday’s much-needed 1-0 victory against Long Melford.

It was the club’s first success of 2018 and followed a poor run that led to manager Kieron Shelley and assistant boss Mike Wallace leaving by mutual consent last Tuesday.

Now Austin is hungry for more and believes Clacton, who have 39 points from their 35 games, should be looking to crack the 50-mark.

“I was really pleased by the way the players responded to me at the weekend,” said the 29-year-old, whose extensive non-league career has also taken in the likes of Halstead Town and Wivenhoe Town.

“They listened and there was no negativity.

“I told them this is a fresh, clean slate and hopefully we can now build on this and have a decent end to the season.

“Personally, I believe we should be looking at reaching 50 points.

“That would be a real achievement.

“Last weekend was an excellent start and, from a personal point of view, I really enjoyed it.

“(Co-owner) Stephen (Andrews) and I spoke after the game and I’ve agreed to take over until the end of the season.

“We’ll then have to wait and see what happens.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve been waiting for a chance like this.

“I’ve been concentrating on playing and, more recently, getting back to fitness after my knee operation.

“However, it’s a great opportunity and one I’m really excited about.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really good managers and coaches in my career.

“You pick up little bits along the way which will hopefully help and stand us in good stead this season.”

Long-serving Kevin Coyle was the hero as Clacton got their year up and running against Melford.

The Seasiders had not scored or notched a point since Boxing Day.

However, they put an end to both unwanted records with an outrageous goal from Coyle - his 100th in Clacton colours.

He netted from inside his own half with an incredible effort and a goal worthy of winning any game.

He then went from hero to villain after being sent off in the second half but it was not enough to ruin a special day for Clacton and Austin.

First and foremost, it was a great and much-needed result for the club," he said.

“It gave everyone a lift, after the disappointments since Christmas.

“The winning goal was the best I’ve ever seen and another added bonus was the clean sheet.

“The wind played a big part in the game but we hit the post in the first half, in addition to scoring, and the boys were really buzzing afterwards.”