04:03PM, Wednesday 06 November 2019
Marlow FC’s elimination from last season’s Berks & Bucks Senior Cup final still clearly rankles with boss Mark Bartley, who admits he’s tempted to ‘make a mockery’ of this season’s competition.
The Blues were barred from taking on Reading FC in last season’s showpiece final after the eligibility of Marlow players was brought into question following their 1-0 semi-final win over Slough Town.
Marcus Mealing and Adam Richards were both found to have played for other clubs in separate county cup competitions, contrary to county FA rules, and the Rebels went through to play – and beat – the Royals in the final at Larges Lane.
This season’s competition is already underway with the Blues set to host Hellenic Premier Division Windsor in the first round on Tuesday night (November 12).
“I’m genuinely undecided as to how I’ll approach the cup game,” said Bartley.
“It might depend on how we get on in the league on Saturday.
“I could put out a strong team and try to go for it or, honestly, I could select myself and some of the coaching staff and make a mockery of the competition, because the Berks & Bucks FA are a joke association in my eyes.”
Marlow appealed the FA’s decision last season but it was upheld. County FA rules state that players are ineligible to play for more than one club in any of the county cup competitions during the same season.
Bartley’s feelings toward the FA probably haven’t been helped by his side’s league and cup form this season.
They sit 12th in the South Central table, closer to bottom club Northwood than the play-offs, but the manager is insistent his side can still finish in the top five. They’ve also been knocked out of the inaugural Velocity Trophy and lost what amounted to a dead-rubber at home to Westfield on Tuesday night.
Rhys Rabess and Nkomo Tinashe were on target for the visitors.
The Blues have won just once in the competition this season against Chalfont St Peter and were on the losing side three times, against Bracknell Town (2-1), Hanwell Town (3-0) and now Westfield (2-0).
Sholing also dumped them out of the FA Trophy last week following a controversial 2-0 replay win in which two Marlow players were sent off.
It means that Bartley and his players are in desperate need for a pick- me-up when they host struggling Ashford Town (Middx) on Saturday.
“It won’t be easy but they haven’t been playing as well as they were earlier in the season,” Bartley said of Ashford. “But we’ve got to be targeting games like this for three points.
“They’ll be looking at us and thinking they can get a positive result as well so it should be a good game.
“We want to get back into the top four or five but we’ve got to demonstrate we can do that by winning games like this.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can still get there (play-offs).
“We’re not where we want to be in the table, and I’m not afraid of saying that, but I know the rationale and reason for us being where we are. I’m most angry when we’re not getting results and I don’t know why.”
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