Slough Express

Windsor show plenty of pride to finish campaign with a flourish

Cooper reflects with satisfacti­on on Royalists’ strong end to Combined Counties season

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Windsor haven’t had much to play for other than pride over the past few weeks, so manager Mark Cooper can reflect on some satisfacti­on on the side’s solid end to the campaign.

The Royalists lost just one of their last eight matches, lifting the side to seventh in the Combined Counties Premier Division North.

Cooper's side valiantly dug in for a 00 draw at sixth-placed Ascot United on Saturday before sealing an impressive 3-1 win over fifth-placed North Greenford United at Stag Meadow on Bank Holiday Monday.

Windsor will hope to finish in seventh, only Edgware Town can catch them on the final day, and it is testament to the side’s uptick in form over the final weeks that they’ve managed to finish comfortabl­y in the top half.

Had they started the season with a little more consistenc­y they may well have had more to say about the battles that took place above their heads, however, champions Hanworth Villa and second placed Southall finished someway clear of their closest challenger­s.

Defensivel­y Windsor have also been much improved of late, the return of Luke Paris to fitness midway through the campaign a key reason for that, however, generally they’ve been a much harder side to score goals against of late, conceding just five times in their final eight matches.

Ideally Cooper would love for the season to continue a while longer, now the Royalists have found a winning system and formula, however, he believes the players have enjoyed their campaign and is confident he can keep the core together for another shot at the Combined Counties Premier Division North next season.

Cooper said: “Yeah it was a good win and, you know what it’s like on a Saturday, when you play and lose, you want the next game to come round very quickly, but when it’s the last game of the season you don’t get that opportunit­y for months.

“It was important that we finished the season with a win and to try and achieve the seventh-place finish. A win will hopefully see us claim seventh place which, given everything, is a decent return. We only lost one of the last eight and in that period, we only conceded five goals. That included at least four clean sheets, something we found difficult throughout the season, ultimately because of bad injuries we've had to the back line.

“We got a point away at Ascot on Saturday, which is a decent point to pick up on the road, at a top six side, and then a win on Monday.”

Lindell Stewart, the club’s top scorer this season, was on target twice in Monday’s 3-1 win over North Greenford, while Danny Horscroft also added to his tally in a performanc­e that improved as the match wore on.

Stewart fired the hosts ahead in the 14th minute, but Mitchell equalised for the visitors soon after and North Greenford went on to shade proceeding­s until the interval.

Horscroft grabbed a crucial second from the penalty spot in the 64th minute, and Stewart added a third two minutes later to give the home side breathing space heading into the final stages.

“We started well and got ahead but they pegged us back and looked stronger in the first half,” said Cooper.

“I wasn’t overly pleased with the first half performanc­e given how we’d been playing before that. But we have to take into considerat­ion that we played on Saturday when I don’t think they had a game.

“We’d also had some illness and injuries in the squad, so it was a pleasing day and a good way to finish the season. We felt like we’d just got the squad right over the last couple of months as we’d had a real problem injury wise in the back four or five. Once we solved that we were alright. We were also without Ex (Excellence Muhemba) for the last three games, and I feel like if we'd had him, we’d have won all of them, rather than winning one and drawing the other two.”

 ?? ?? Danny Horscroft was on target from the penalty spot in Windsor's 3-1 win.
Danny Horscroft was on target from the penalty spot in Windsor's 3-1 win.

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