Bartley celebrates title for Marlow FC
Marlow FC boss Mark Bartley praised his side after they clinched the league title and earned promotion back into the Southern League at the first time of asking.
Bartley’s side came from behind to beat Abingdon 3-1 away on Saturday, after having a player sent off before half-time.
They will be presented with the league title shield at Saturday’s home game with Cheltenham Saracens.
“When I arrived at the club in the summer I thought they might be able to challenge,” said Bartley.
“I believed they had the potential and they have proved me right.”
Marlow are unbeaten in the league since August and have topped the table since September.
Bartley said he was chuffed for the players to have sealed promotion from the Hellenic League Premier Division and feels they can only get better.
“The players deserve a huge amount of credit for what they have achieved,” said Bartley.
“Winning the league is a great achievement and believe me a lot of players go through their entire careers without winning a league title.”
He added: “Saturday will be a great moment for the supporters who have been through a lot of pain in the past couple of years.”
Celebrations were cut short when Marlow crashed out of the league cup, losing 3-1 to Oxford City Nomads on Tuesday, a disappointment for Bartley who had hoped to cap the season win a memorable league and cup double.
“It was a little bit disappointing, I didn’t think the referee was very consistent and we didn’t really get the rub of the green,” he said.
Bartley is urging his players to do themselves justice in their final two league games and expects a tough encounter with Cheltenham Saracens on Saturday, who he said would look to spoil Marlow’s party.
He is also predicting bright things for his young side, who he expects will consolidate in the Southern League Central Division next year, before challenging for a play-off place the year after.
He said: “Next season will be one of adjustment and consolidation but the season after that I expect us to challenge for a play-off place and be challenging for a top six or seven place finish.”