‘We are still in with a shout’
SPORT Survival would be a ‘massive achievement’
TRISTAN Lewis thinks it will be a massive achievement if Hayes & Yeading United manage to escape relegation from Conference South after another season of turmoil.
Lewis was appointed interim manager in March following the departure of former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Phil Babb by mutual consent.
He made a dream start by ending a run of 10 games without a victory by beating Sutton 1-0 and then secured a priceless 2-0 win over relegation rivals Farnborough.
Staines Town became the first team to slip through the trapdoor at the weekend following a goalless draw at St Albans City and only one more club will join them after the expulsion of Salisbury City this season.
United know that sinking feeling all too well, having been demoted from the division last term only to earn a dramatic reprieve after Hereford United were expelled from the Conference.
Their battle to avoid a repeat this season is still ongoing and has been fought amidst a backdrop of financial problems as they strive to complete their Beaconsfield Road ground.
Chairman Tony O’Driscoll has been locked in negotiations with a financial backer over a proposed £300,000 investment and a resolution is expected early next week.
That funding is vital to secure the long-term future of the club and get them playing back in the borough, with boss Lewis hoping it will be as a Conference South club.
He said: “We’ve got a lot more work to do. We’re not over the line yet but we’re certainly in a better position than we were a few weeks ago.
“The players have been brilliant. Every single one of them has been brilliant – the vibe has been good but it only takes a couple of bad results and everyone gets twitchy.
“We know we’re not the finished article, we wouldn’t be in a relegation battle if we were, but we know that our job is to keep this team in this league.
“We’re all doing our best to be as professional as we can and keep the club in the division then try and build a football club again.
“I think I’ve said that three years in a row now though, and that’s the problem we’ve got to solve.
“We are living week to week and I don’t think people realise quite how difficult it is. If we can stay up, then in a strange way, it’s an achievement. I know people probably won’t agree but I think it would be a massive achievement.
“People forget we were relegated last year and we’ve been close to going out of business a couple of times this year. We’ve got staff working for free but we’ve not lost any passion. The players are in good spirits. It’s not doom and gloom, even though it probably should be, and that’s testament to the work everybody has put in. Every single week is tough.”
Hayes & Yeading were last night (Tuesday) due to visit Bath City before hosting a Basingstoke Town side beaten 4-2 by Wealdstone at the weekend, at York Road on Saturday. Gordon Bartlett’s Wealdstone can do United a favour by taking points off Farnborough in three days’ time. A MASS brawl which saw Northwood’s Southern League Division One Central match with Bedworth United abandoned on Saturday has been described as ‘handbags’ by Northwood’s player-manager.
Mark Burgess, pictured below, was sent off for his role in the incident, along with a substitute from each bench, after a scuffle following the dismissal of Bedworth’s Daniel Dubidat at Chestnut Avenue.
Dubidat had opened the scoring for the visitors on the half-hour but saw red after kicking out at Northwood’s Steve Brown midway through the second half and had an altercation with players in the Woods dugout.
Burgess said: “It wasn’t a nasty game. It came out of the blue. Their centre forward and our defender tangled and as they were getting up their player kicked out and was sent off. As he was walking off, he kicked a ball into our dugout. One of our subs asked him why and he swore back at him, which sparked a big pile-up. He sent me off, two of their players, their two coaching staff and one of one of our substitutes. Apparently their manager wouldn’t leave so that’s why he abandoned the game. He jumped over the hoardings behind the dugout but didn’t leave.” The FA has confirmed it is investigating. Bedworth manager Stuart Storer said: “I am not knocking the ref but I have to say, if he had handled it differently, things would have been okay. He sent me and my assistant off for trying to calm things down. I think the problem was the ref was not decisive enough.”
Struggling AFC Hayes continued their slide to relegation as they were beaten 2-0 by Aylesbury United at the weekend.
They resume their quest for survival on Saturday at a Marlow side who beat Tony Choules’ Uxbridge at the weekend despite having two players sent off at Honeycroft, with Dave Thomas and Matty Woods goals not enough to prevent a 3-2 loss for the Red Army.
Uxbridge were last night (Tuesday) due to travel to Hanwell Town. In the Spartan League Premier Division, Hillingdon Borough lost 3-0 at Berkhamstead on Saturday while Harefield United were 2-1 winners at Holmer Green.
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