Rapley reveals survival is the main goal for Holyport after penalty drama

Daniel Rapley revealed Holyport FC’s main objective this year is dodging relegation in the Combined Counties Premier Division North following their defeat to CB Hounslow United.

On Saturday, Port were beaten 4-3 at the Summerleaze after captain Rapley failed to score an equaliser from the penalty spot deep in stoppage time.

Prior to this, JC Etienne blazed over a spot kick of his own inside the opening half hour before Charlie Evans scored two either side of Jack Woodbridge’s goal.

The loss slips them into 16th place in the division and notably extends their record of missed penalties to six in a row.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Rapley shared how life has been in the division for Holyport after they made the step up from the Hellenic League.

“I would say it’s definitely been a challenge,” he said. “We’ve been quite slow starters and I think that showed on Saturday.

“We got sucker-punched and before we knew it, we were 3-0 down.

“We’ve had to take a big step forward from when we were in the Hellenic.

“It’s like we’ve gone up two leagues and it’s much tougher with new teams and new places to travel.

“The teams in this division have a lot of energy. Where we’ve come from, you can probably get away with giving away two or three chances. In this league, everyone is very clinical.

“You make one or two mistakes, and you can be two or three down as were Saturday.

“My personal target is making sure the team stay in the league. I was made captain at the start of the year, and I’m focused on bringing everyone forward and up to a level where we can avoid relegation. That to me, will be job done.

“I think that is echoed across the club. If we stay in the Combined Counties League this year, that will be good – anything else is just a bonus.”

Rapley added: “In all fairness, we’ve had quite a lot of new players come in since so it’s been a case of finding the right balance and working to everyone’s strengths.

“I think we will figure that out because we’ve got a good bunch at the club.

“Locky (Sam Lock) has got great experience – he’s been around Maidenhead, Bracknell etc – and Del (Derek Sweetman) is brilliant.

“I think we’re just waiting for that game where we just click. We just need to get that one positive result and I think we will be looking up the table to be honest.”

Rapley is 35-years-old in November and has tallied up over 300 appearances for Holyport.

During this time, he has experienced highs and lows at the club but says he wouldn't change playing at Summerleaze for the world.

“I really enjoy it at Holyport,” he said.

“The atmosphere is great and I love all the people from the groundsmen up.

“That's what brought me back. I used to play for Binfield, Flackwell Heath and Thatcham Town.

“When I knew Del was going back to the club, I was 100 per cent keen on going back too.

“It really is great down there.”

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