Badshot Lea co-manager says play-offs would give league extra edge

By Colin Channon   |   Editorial manager   |
Friday 21st October 2022 4:00 pm
@colinchannon
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Co-manager Gavin Smith
Co-manager Gavin Smith (Tindle )

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Badshot Lea maintained their impressive start to the season with a 6-0 victory at struggling Sheerwater.

But no-one at the club is getting carried away – far from it.

Co-manager Gavin Smith took a look at the table and said: “Even after the run we have been on, we are not getting away. As well as we are doing, teams are not far behind us.

“If teams are keeping up after our run, then fair play – it’s a competitive league. Every team are going to go on a little run of winning a few games on the bounce and taking points off one another.

“Alton have been on a good little run and then lost only narrowly to the team at the top. Deep down, we always knew the two teams who would go up last year.

“But this year I think there will a top eight, and then another eight just below them, and then some strugglers at the bottom. The top half of the table is going to be way more competitive with a lot more teams involved.

“I just wish we had play-offs at the end of the season. That would mean so many more teams would feel involved right to the end of the season. Last year, by Christmas we knew the five who would be challenging at the top.

“Play-offs give everyone something to play for. Players would stay interested. Look at our table, and teams around 16th need only a couple of wins and they’d be looking at the play-off positions.

“Why should we be the only level without play-offs?”

The Baggies may have won 6-0 on Saturday but for a while they didn’t have things all their own way.

“The Sheerwater game was odd as it as so windy – we didn’t even know that was forecast,” said Smith.

“Even though I thought we were never really in trouble, it was only 1-0 at half-time and Craig Bradshaw had to make a very good save in that half too.

“We told the players at half-time to keep playing as they had and the goals would come, and that’s how it went.

“Once we went further ahead they had to have a go and that opened up some space for us to exploit.

“We weren’t ruthless when we played Banstead the week before – if we had been, we would have won instead of drawn. We were ruthless on Saturday and won easily, we took our chances and Jake Hawker was excellent.

“We are expecting Balham to be tough this weekend. They lost 1-0 to Jersey Bulls on Saturday and were very unlucky – the Balham keeper had a brilliant game and then right at the end made a bit of a howler and gifted Jersey their goal.

“But we are pretty much at full strength – Bradders might be a worry as he had a dead leg after Saturday and was struggling to walk, so we will have to monitor that – and we’ll have James Whiting back.

“We also have George Short, a central midfielder we have signed from Binfield who is a top player, especially at our level. He’s a good lad and brings a lot of experience – he was training at Winchester in pre-season – and I think he’ll make a real impact.

“We are also hoping to bring in another defender, someone who can dominate in the air as we feel that’s an area we are missing at the moment.

“Apart from that, we are really happy with the squad we have and we have to keep on improving and picking up points.”

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