Oilers can't afford to slip

George Passingham

George Passingham

First published in Sport

FAWLEY AFC may be forced to bring back goalkeeper Joe Prodomo ahead of schedule for tomorrow’s make-or-break Sydenhams Premier relegation clash at home to Downton.

The Oilers have had a torrid time with ’keepers ever since Prodomo bowed out with back problems early in the season.

The former Christchurch and Bashley stopper has only just returned to action, making a comeback with the reserves last weekend. But, following another week of drama with the ill-fated No1 shirt, manager Colin Lane may have no choice but to throw him straight back in.

Having plugged the goalkeeping gap with a variety of short-term solutions – including a couple of outfield players – Lane thought he had found the answer when he signed George Passingham from Winchester City.

But, after 13 appearances, Passingham has switched camps to Brockenhurst to replace the departed Scott O’Rourke.

Passingham endured a nightmare debut for the Badgers in their 4-2 defeat at Totton & Eling on Tuesday, sent off for bringing down Dougie Rowe inside the area at the expense of a penalty.

Meanwhile, Lane managed to bring back former Sholing reserves and Hamworthy ’keeper Adam Tong into the Oilers fold for Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat by Lymington Town which kept them nailed bottom of the table.

Despite the scoreline, Tong was Fawley’s man-of-the-match but, typical of the Oilers’ luck, he is only available for midweek games and misses tomorrow’s crucial bottom-two clash – a game Fawley dare not lose.

Looking back on a turbulent week for the Waterside club, Lane, right, said: “The notice of approach from Brock came in last week and I had a gentleman’s agreement with George (Passingham) that he would stay until the end of the season. “Last Saturday he was at fault for two goals (in a 3-2 defeat at Follands) and I got a call from him on Sunday, not apologising for his two mistakes, but saying he wanted to go to Brock to push his game on. It was a real kick in the teeth for the club and his teammates. The timing was awful.”

To add to the intrigue, AFC Totton have put in notice of approach for Prodomo, who intends dual-signing for the Stags.

“I’m finding it all a bit baffling at the moment,” admitted Lane, who has also seen midfielder Lewis Ross – dual-signed with Totton – move to Blackfield & Langley.

“Joe hasn’t played for five months but, apparently, he’s going on the bench for Totton on Tuesday.

“We’ve lost seven good, young players this season and have had to rebuild. I said to my chairman ‘What are we, a creche?’”

Wednesday’s defeat to Lymington only added to the gloom, but Lane was impressed by the visitors who scored through James Davis, Sam Floyd, Tom Smith and new signing Liam Robinson from Winchester.

“For 45 minutes Lymington gave us a footballing lesson,” said Lane. “The last team to give us the run-around like that was Winchester when they beat us 7-0. But for Adam Tong, it could have been a hammering.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Lane added: “If we win, it’s a massive step to safety. After tomorrow, Downton will only have nine games left whereas we’ll have 13.”

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