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The Southern Football League

Manager's Notes with Mark Burke

Friday, April 21 2017

BANBURY
 
I felt we needed to approach this game with the attitude that we must not lose. This meant I wanted us to be compact, very tight and to ensure we did not concede an early goal  to prevent Banbury getting any momentum or initiative.
 
The game plan was to frustrate Banbury and then as the game went on I envisaged them becoming anxious and that there would be openings for us. The game was going to script until the final minute of the first half when we conceded a sloppy goal. This meant we had to change our game plan and adopt a more attacking philosophy.
 
I felt the turning point of the game was when Michael Johnson made a terrific save which stopped Banbury taking a two goal lead. We were able to get on the front foot and eventually got the equaliser.
 
The draw ensured we stayed four points above Banbury and kept the pressure on them to win their two remaining games.
 
BIGGLESWADE TOWN
 
We adopted a different approach to this game with a more attacking line up and it was also an opportunity for me to rest certain players. We could not have made a better start scoring in the second minute and we remained on the front foot creating good chances. We hit the post and had a shot cleared off the line but could not get that second goal.
 
Unfortunately we conceded just before half time again which meant we went in at half time on level terms. In the second half I felt we created more chances than Biggleswade but none as clear cut as in the first half.
 
It was disappointing not to win our final home league game and retain third position but it is still a great achievement to reach the play offs with one game to spare. A great deal of credit must go to the players after coming through a tough spell of four games in nine days featuring champions Chippenham, a cup final, Banbury who were chasing a play off place and Biggleswade who were top of the last six game form table.
 
BASINGSTOKE AND PLAY OFF SEMI FINAL
 
We go to Basingstoke with every intention of gaining three points. Whilst on paper Merthyr and Slough have relatively straight forward fixtures football is not played on paper and so often throws up unexpected results. We will go all out for the win and hope Merthyr or Slough slip up.
 
The only certainty for Wednesday is that Leamington will be at home with so many permutations possible. It will be tense on Saturday as fans will be watching Twitter for the other scores and pressure will fall on teams as scores are updated.
 
However if we are away on Wednesday it will not phase me. Roy has mentioned our unbeaten run away from home in the bulletin and we won at Leamington and Slough and drew at Merthyr in the league games. There will also be less pressure on the away teams in the semi finals. I hope as many fans as possible follow us on Wednesday.
 
Mark was talking with Roy Izzard 
 




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