Safety for Town hailed as 'an unreal achievement' by bosses
PUBLISHED: 06:32 30 April 2019
Lee O'Leary has hailed Potters Bar Town's successful battle against relegation from the Bostik Premier Division as "an unreal achievement".
Saturday's 2-1 win over Tonbridge Angels means they finish the season in 16th place and eight points clear of the bottom three, a commendable effort in their first season at step three of the non-league pyramid.
And both O'Leary and fellow joint manager Scott Cousins say avoiding the drop was the only goal for them after taking over at the Pakex Stadium back in October.
O'Leary said: “It's an unreal achievement, not for Scott and me as we've been at this level for God knows how long and we're just there to pick the team, but for them boys.
“A lot of them have not played at this level before and they've stood toe-to-toe with every single team we've come up against.
“For them it's an unbelievable achievement and they should be proud of themselves.”
Cousins was in full agreement.
He said: “When we first took over we knew that was the goal.
“We were perhaps in a false position in the top half of the table and if somebody had offered us safety then, we'd have taken it.”
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It has been a season where the relegation word has loomed large over everything the Scholars have done.
That even applies off the pitch where a forced demotion was a distinct possibility before the club battled to first raise money for, and then build two new stands.
They managed that, going up in time for the run-in although Cousins admits that the whole experience did place a bit of pressure on the squad.
He said: “The chairman dipping into his pockets and the thousands of pounds raised for the stands, the pressure was on us to stay up.
“So it's alls well that ends well.
“We're safe because we train every Tuesday and Thursday and we prepare for every game as properly as we can.
“We haven't cut any corners and in the end that's what's got us over the line.”
The finish to the campaign, one defeat in the last six games, will give plenty of cause for optimism over the summer months but Cousins admits he hasn't thought about next year just yet.
He said: “Being in the thick end of a relegation battle you just live day by day and plan for the next game.
“We know our home form has been terrible but with the new stands and with securing safety we wanted to finish with a win at home for the fans.”