HULLBRIDGE Sports boss Darren Manning admits Michael Walther leaving the club to take charge of Southend Manor has come as a blow.

Walther, who had been on Sports’ coaching staff since the start of the Isthmian North campaign, has been appointed as Essex Senior League outfit Manor’s new boss after Adam Peek resigned 13 days ago.

And Manning has wished Walther, who enjoyed a brief spell as joint-manager of Basildon United last term, well.

“I have known Mike for years and he has been very good for us this year,” said Manning.

“He came in as a coach before the start of the season and it was great having him on board.

“But he has decided to take the job at Southend Manor and I wish him luck.”

Walther will take charge of Manor following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Hoddesdon Town last time out.

Hullbridge, meanwhile, suffered a 3-1 midweek defeat to Heybridge Swifts.

Goals from Jayden Randell, Emmanuel Osei-Owusu and Alex Teniola put Swifts in the ascendancy at the Ryan’s Heating Stadium.

Although Yemi Adelani pulled a goal back with 10 minutes of the Isthmian North encounter remaining, Manning’s outfit could not mount a late comeback.

However, Manning felt there were plenty of positives to come from the defeat.

“It was a fair result because they were the better side,” said Manning, whose side are enjoying a first ever campaign in the fourth tier of non-league football.

“We were good but it didn’t fall for us.

“It’s all about fine margins at this level and they took their chances.

“We really did compete well and we took it to them in the last 20 minutes.

“I thought we created a fair few chances and looked dangerous.

“We were very happy with our overall performance.”

And Manning was pleased to see his players not allow their heads to drop despite going three goals behind.

“When you go 3-0 down, it would be easy to allow your heads to drop and not keep going,” admitted Manning.

“But we kept grafting and the lads showed their character.

“The players never gave up and that’s a fantastic trait to have.

“It was pleasing to see them keep searching for goals.”