COLIN Lane believes the pressure is getting to his young Fawley AFC side as the heat intensifies in the Sydenhams Premier Division basement.
Having given themselves hope with four draws and a victory in a lucrative five-game spell last month, the Oilers are deep in trouble again following back-to-back defeats by Christchurch and fellow strugglers Downton.
Lane had been hoping that a decent points return from those two games would more or less spell the end for Downton and Romsey.
But after losing out to goals by Downton duo Craig Lewis and Declan McGregor at Long Lane on Saturday, he conceded: “If only one club goes down this season, we’ll stay up. But if it’s two to go down, it’s going to go right to the wire.
“We’ve got a largely young team with just two or three experienced players and the pressure is starting to get to them.
“It’s understandable – it happens in the pro game.”
Saturday’s game had a delayed 3.30pm kick-off because one of the linesman had informed the club on Friday evening that he couldn’t make it and no replacement was sent.
“We ended up kicking off at 3.30pm with one of our officials Darren Winters, who’s a qualified referee, running the line,” said Lane.
“Darren did the first 35 minutes and then a linesman was found, but apparently the highest he’d ever officiated before was in the Tyro League.
“It’s not right for a game of that importance.”
Downton have pulled out of the drop zone into 20th spot, three points clear of Fawley and Romsey who are locked together on 23.
Fawley, though, still have six games to play as opposed to Romsey’s two and Downton’s three.
They play the first of those at home to AFC Portchester tonight with Lane targeting 32 points as the survival target.
“We’ve got a massive six games now and we’ve got to get nine points,” he said.
Unfortunately for the Oilers they have injuries to Ben Bolton (ankle), top scorer Ben Murphy (hamstring) and Callum Earl (knee).
Portchester saw off neighbours Moneyfields 2-0 on Saturday with a goal in each half from Nathan Lynch and ex-Saint Jake Thomson.