MANAGER Mark Ashford is glad that a special match on Saturday can now be a proper celebration of more than a decade of service to Witham Town by club "legend" John Watson.

A testimonial game at Spa Road on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) will honour Watson's contribution to Witham as the current first-team, which has featured the Town stalwart, play against a side compiled of former stars who have worn the shirt during his 11 years with the club.

The legends team will be managed by former boss Garry Kimble, who had Watson in his team as he led Witham to promotions from the Essex Senior League and into the Isthmian League premier division, while current first-team manager Ashford will be in the opposing dug-out.

It is set to be a wonderful occasion as the club and its fans honour a great servant and Ashford is glad that it can now be a suitable celebration.

He was concerned the day may be overshadowed had the club finished their Bostik League division north campaign with them being relegated last weekend, so was relieved that they managed to secure their status on the final day.

Witham signed off with a 2-0 victory at Basildon United that kept them ahead of rivals Romford and out of the relegation places on goal difference and it also meant they could fully enjoy Watson's special event.

Ashford said: "John came on with about ten minutes to go at Basildon and got the captain's armband to finish the game in what was probably his last competitive action for the club.

"So it was lovely for him to be able to walk off the pitch after seeing the club's position secured.

"That was one of the burdens I'd been carrying with me before the game.

"This fantastic player, who has been at the club for 11 years, could have been having his testimonial the week after the club had been relegated.

"It would have been like a wake rather than a celebration.

"But now people can come to the club on Saturday and they'll be able to celebrate us keeping ourselves up for next season as well as turning out to support and honour a real club legend.

"Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot of people coming down because John is certainly someone who deserves it.

"There will be a lot of well-known Witham players on view and it will be a great celebration for a great person.

"I'm certainly going to enjoy being in the dug out in a different state of mind to what has been the case in the last couple of weeks."

Witham won at Basildon with goals from Pat Ahern and Sam Ashford and the boss admitted that it was a relief to be able to make sure Romford's 3-1 win against Felixstowe & Walton did not affect them.

"There is a lot of relief as I did not want to let people down," he added.

"We knew it would be a tough season when we came in, but even with the financial constraints on us, I wanted to keep the club up and still make sure we brought through some young players and it's nice to have done it in the way that we have.

"We ended up taking four points from the last six when we most needed them and it was very rewarding but a huge sense of relief as well.

"There are so many people who put in a lot of hard work that is unseen and to do it for them is very special.

"And our fans as well; there is a hard-core group who have followed us week-in week-out and it was lovely for them as well."