01:00PM, Thursday 20 February 2020
Holyport FC are looking like nailed on certainties for promotion from Hellenic League Division 1 East after picking up their fourth straight victory with a 3-0 home win over Wallingford.
Port weren’t at their dynamic best in difficult conditions but took control in the second half with goals from Fabian Driffill, his 28th of another prolific season, and Steven Deverall (two).
The run of four victories has lifted Derek Sweetman’s side up to third in the table, two points behind Abingdon United in second place with two matches in hand.
Those two sides still have to play each other twice this season so second place is very much within Port’s grasp. Sweetman has ruled out a title challenge, with the side sitting 15 points behind leaders Risborough Rangers.
But, with four games in hand on fifth placed Milton United, it’s looking much more likely than not that they’ll finish in the top four and gain promotion to a new step five level Thames Valley based league.
“We spoke to the boys after they lost to Chalvey Sports and Risborough Rangers and they’ve responded with four victories, kept clean sheets and scored lots of goals,” said Sweetman.
“Last night’s (Tuesday) game was spoiled by the conditions in many ways. It was a soft pitch and they came with a game plan to be difficult to break down.
“But we managed to score when they lost a player to the sin bin and Fabian Driffill scored his 28th goal in 28 games. The others both came from Steven Deverall who now has 12 goals for the season. It was a professional performance.”
On his side’s promotion chances, Sweetman added: “I think the race for the title is done and dusted because you’re asking Risborough to lose five games and they haven’t lost once all season. Finishing in the top four has been the talk all season and we’re well on our way to doing that. But we want to finish as high as we can so if we do go up, we do so with some confidence.
“We’re now in third spot and have some games in hand on second placed Abingdon United, who we've still got to play twice so that’s got to be our aim and it’s in our hands.”
This Saturday Port travel to play seventh placed Didcot Town Development.
“I think we’ve lost only once away from home all season so our form on the road has been pretty good. We’ve enjoyed our away games,” added Sweetman.
“It was 4-0 when we played them at Summerleaze and we’d be disappointed if we don’t come away with a positive result on Saturday.”
League rivals Marlow United have slipped to 10th in the table after their matches this week were postponed because of waterlogged pitches. Saturday’s league game at Holyport was the first to fall victim to the weather while Tuesday’s visit to Didcot Town Development in the Supplementary Cup was also called off.
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