12:00PM, Thursday 24 October 2019
Holyport’s fragmented start to the campaign has made it difficult for the side to build any momentum, says boss Derek Sweetman.
Port have made a positive start to their Hellenic League Division 1 East campaign and were unbeaten before last week’s 4-1 defeat to local rivals Marlow United.
That’s the first real blemish on Port’s copybook this season, but their involvement in the cup competitions has meant they’re a long way behind many of their league rivals in terms of matches played.
Last week’s league game was only their sixth this season, while it was United’s 11th.
“We haven’t been able to get any kind of fluidity to our league matches,” said Sweetman. “And it will be 11 days before we play again on Saturday. We have five games in hand on many of the sides but you’d rather have the points in the bank. It’s just been so fragmented, we can’t get a good run of games.
“The last 15 minutes of the game against Marlow United were hard to swallow, but it doesn’t feel so bad when you lose to one of the top sides. And I expect they’ll be one of the sides challenging for a top four spot.”
This Saturday Port get back to league action at home to Didcot Town Development before they visit Penn & Tylers Green on Tuesday.
“Both will be tough encounters,” said Sweetman. “There will be pressure on us to try and win those games and close the gap to the top boys a bit.
“Apart from last week we’ve had a positive start. This time last year we’d lost three of our opening five games. This season we’ve played six and only lost one, so we’re making steps in the right direction and I expect we’ll continue to remain competitive.”
Marlow United FC
Marlow United manager James Pritchard will hope that Tuesday’s hastily arranged friendly against Holmer Green proves to be a useful run out for his players.
The Flying Blues were beaten 4-2 by the Hellenic Premier Division side, conceding a couple of late goals in the process. But it will have got some extra minutes into the legs of the players who don’t have another competitive fixture until Abingdon United visit Oak Tree Road on Saturday, November 2. They’ll follow that with a trip to AFC Aldermaston on November 9.
Their last game was the 4-1 success against unbeaten Holyport in Hellenic League Division 1 East on Tuesday last week.
Pritchard’s side have moved up to second in the division, having been promoted only last season, but they have played more matches than most of their rivals. To put it in context last week’s league game with their 11th, compared to Holyport’s sixth.
The club were due to play Aston Clinton in the Supplementary Cup this Saturday but the game has had to be postponed. United are currently second in Division 1 East on 22 points, three adrift of Risborough Rangers who have two matches in hand on them.
Cookham Dean FC
Cookham Dean continue to struggle in the Thames Valley Premier Division after taking the lead on three occasions against Richings Park on Saturday but failing to come away with the points. On each occasion they were pegged back by their determined hosts, who sit just a place above them in the table with the teams occupying 11th and 12th positions.
Dean Knight’s fantastic free-kick gave Dean the lead and the visitors were guilty of missing several chances to take control of the game and the home side drew level before the break.
A similar pattern followed in the second half as Dean restored their lead through Joe Newman – his sixth goal in as many starts – but Park hit back once again. Dean must have thought they’d bagged all three points from a scrappy game when Kyle Haggis found the net, but their hosts found time to salvage a share of the spoils.
Dean are next in Premier Division action when they visit Westwood Wanderers on Saturday, November 2.
The Reserve team meanwhile are through to the next round of the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup after a 3-2 win over Junior Cup holders Maidenhead Town Reserves. Lee Hawkins, Simon Fuller and Xavier Etienne, in his first game for the club in four years, got the goals.
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