TOP striker Ian Mancey has stunned Fleet Town by leaving the club and opting to play at a level two divisions below.
Mancey, who struck 51 goals for Fleet in just 43 games since signing last November, has followed former boss Steve Beeks for a second time, to Hampshire League side Winchester City, for an alleged, four-figure signing-on fee and a wage deal which would make him one of the county's best paid players at non-League level.
He joins a Winchester side, currently top-heavy with talent but clearly ambitious, and with the finance to move up the non-League pyramid and eager for success in this year's FA Vase.
Mancey, who had recently resumed playing following a long suspension, left the club ahead of Tuesday's Russell Coates Cup second round game at Bournemouth Poppies, which Fleet won 1-0.
The loss of Mancey at the Fleet club is a cruel blow coming at a time when, under new management duo, Mark Dennis and Ade Aymes, the club is re-building its side to establish itself in the tough Dr Martens League.
An upbeat Fleet Town chairman Martin Griffiths was clearly disappointed at the loss of the club's leading strikers.
He said: "We are disappointed at Ian's departure but in some ways it clears the air and we can focus on continuing to build our club for the success it deserves. Ian didn't want to leave Fleet, but given the deal he was offered, he had to accept for the sake of his family and the financial security this would provide them. We wish him well.
Despite Mancey's departure, Tuesday night's win against a strong Poppies side, thanks to a 30th minute strike from young midfielder James Bull, was a good preparation for the visit of top Dr Martens league side, King's Lynn to Calthorpe Park on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
Bull's debut goal for his new club came from a 25 yard free-kick, which he struck powerfully into the top right hand corner to take his side through to the third round of a tough cup competition, won by Fleet five seasons ago.
Tuesday's match also saw the debut of new-signing, former England international, Mark Chamberlain.
Manager, Ade Aymes will be able to name an unchanged side for Saturday's league match against King's Lynn. But he's expected to recall exciting former Wimbledon youngster, Ryan Luffman, who impressed on his debut for Fleet against Stamford.
Former Dr Martens Premier Division side, King's Lynn will provide tough opposition for Fleet, having won their last four games, including last Saturday's home clash with Bashley.