Folland Sports manager Danny Bowers has hailed his team’s performance this season after they sealed a third place finish in the Sydenhams Premier Division with a 3-2 win over leaders Sholing.
Bowers’ side have been in imperious form and, with one game to go, have secured a lofty finish thanks to a 17 game unbeaten run, of which they’ve won 16.
They welcome Bemerton Heath Harlequins, who they started their run of hot-form against in January with a 3-1 win, to Folland Park on Saturday in their final match of the season.
Bowers admitted that defeating the Boatmen in the local derby was highly satisfying, even if Boatmen boss Dave Diaper fielded a weakened team.
“What a season it has been for us,” said Bowers.
“I felt Dave put all the pressure on us to win, hoping we’d get egg on our face, but we won and what a fantastic achievement for our young side.
“It was no mean feat defeating even this Sholing side, I can understand why Dave’s selected the team he did but I hope it comes back to hurt them in some ways.
“Dave came up to me and told me that it wasn’t out of disrespect for us.”
Diaper withdrew his big guns, including former Folland star Ashley Jarvis, from action to avoid any of them picking up suspensions for the FA Vase final against West Auckland on May 10, instead fielding many of the reserve side that have just won the Southampton Senior Cup.
Folland were promoted from Sydenhams Division One in 2009/10 and have since steadily progressed, finishing 12th in their first season and then fifth the following campaign.
Last term they were seventh but have outdone themselves this season with a top four finish.
“It’s been very pleasing, you look at the amount of big teams around the league and we’ve finished above them,” said Bowers.
“I’d like to finish on a massive high by beating Bemerton on Saturday.”
Daniel Mason, Michael Turvey and Ryan Long were on target in the win at the Silverlake Arena.