DANNY Bowers reckons finishing top five would be as good as winning the Sydenhams Premier Division for Folland Sports this season.
The Planemakers reeled off their sixth league win on the bounce at AFC Portchester on Saturday to ease into fifth spot – not bad for a new-look young side that has been rebuilt almost from top to bottom this term.
Speaking after goals from Alex Easton and Ryan Long had seen off Portchester 2-0 at Wicor Rec, Bowers said: “I don’t want to tempt fate and speak too soon but if we can keep the young players we’ve brought through we stand a really good chance of doing well next season.
“Apart from Jamie Barron, Ryan Gosney and Matty Graham everyone else is new. If we finish top-five this year it will be as good as winning the league for us.
“Over the years Follands have had some really fantastic footballers under me – people like Lloyd Webber, Jamie Musselwhite and Ashley Jarvis – and I’m not saying this current group is the best set of players I’ve had, but they’re the best group of lads I’ve worked with.
“They’ll run through brick walls for you and, when they’ve done that, they’ll say where’s the next one, I’ll run through that as well!”
With ex-Follands players Musselwhite and goalkeeper Jon Webb now lining up for Portchester and Graham Rix in the opposite dugout, Bowers viewed Saturday’s game as the biggest of the season.
“Portchester are a real tough cookie,” he said. “”We beat them 2-0 in the League Cup and draw 1-1 at home with them in the league and they were both physical battles.
“I was more nervous playing them than I would have been playing Sholing or Winchester.”
Bowers needn’t have worried. Two near identical goals in as many minutes either side of half-time kept the Planemakers’ winning streak going.
“The goals were exactly the same. Both times we broke down the left channel and first Ryan Long has slipped the ball through in for Alex Easton to slot past Jon Webb and then they’ve done it the other way round,” smiled the boss.
“It wasn’t the best of games on a heavy pitch but our lads won their individual battles and we won the war.
“Taking Fawley (a 3-2 win), which was a poor game, out of the equation we’ve beaten Bemerton, Newport, Winchester, Moneyfields and Portchester and conceded one goal.”
With Jimmy Vinton, Richard Gregory and Jake Long all back, Bowers has a strong squad available to host Whitchurch tonight.