01:30PM, Thursday 05 March 2020
Mark Bartley believes that if Marlow maintain their current run of form they’ll be ‘there or thereabouts’ in the race for a play-off spot.
The side are up to ninth in the Isthmian League South Central Division, just six points off the top five, after impressive results against leaders Ware and Northwood this week.
The Blues more than merited their goalless draw with the leaders on Saturday and backed that up with a 1-0 win over Northwood in mid-week, Isaac Olorunfemi grabbing the game’s only goal in the 74th minute.
While it’s not in their own hands yet, the Blues are looking an increasingly good bet for a play-off spot and, if they’re able to maintain the form of the last month or so, it’s likely they’ll get there.
“Saturday was really good,” said Bartley.
“We changed our shape a bit because we had to be mindful of their strengths.
“They’ve only lost once at home all season, are top of the league and score an
average of three goals a game. So we went to try and nullify their game a bit.
“Having Kameron (English) and Devontae (Romeo) back from suspension made a massive difference, particularly in the first half.
“It’s crazy we didn’t score because that’s probably the best we’ve played as a front end all season.
“On balance they were probably worthy of a point but I feel we just shaded it.”
He added: “Phil Brown had to go in goal at Northwood
because Granty (Simon Grant) was carrying a knock, but he only had to make one save so we were pretty dominant really. I always felt that we would be rewarded with the three points. Northwood couldn’t get at us because they were constantly on the defensive.”
Defensively Marlow have been excellent all season, but the return of offensive players from injury has given them an added edge in the final third.
They’ve conceded just twice in their last seven games and will fancy their chances of picking up another three points at home to Chipstead on Saturday.
“We’ve got a chance of the play-offs now and have believed that for a long time,” said Bartley.
“We had our sticky spell when injuries really hurt us but have come through that now. Six points is do-able
because we’ve got to play many of the sides above us.
“A couple of those sides have also started to stutter, so we believe that if we maintain the run we’re on we’ll be there or thereabouts.
“We feel as though we’re in a good position to do it with the bodies we’ve got coming back.”
On Wednesday Marlow host Reading’s u23s in the quarter finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup, with the Blues looking to emulate or improve on last season’s run to the semi-finals.
“I’ve watched videos of their recent games, have analysed them and will try and come up with a strategy that we can implement,” said the Blues’ boss.
“They’ll be well drilled, they’ll be fit and organised and we’ve got to try and take them into deep water.
“We’ll have to be patient and when we get our opportunities try and take them into deep water.”
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