Hatfield Town switch aim to avoiding bottom spot

Aaron Ewing battles for the ball

Aaron Ewing battles for the ball - Credit: Archant

‘KEEP clear of bottom side Holmer Green.’ That is the message of Hatfield Town assistant manager John Bradley after he watched his side slump to another defeat - 4-1 at home to Berkhamsted - in the South Midlands Premier Division.

Berkhamsted celebrate opening the scoring in less than 10 seconds

Berkhamsted celebrate opening the scoring in less than 10 seconds - Credit: Archant

While the exact workings yet to be announced regarding promotion and relegation from the South Midlands League, Hatfield have been led to believe that there is a good chance a second-bottom finish could see them survive the dreaded drop.

That is because 16 teams from the 14 Step Five leagues will be promoted, meaning the 14 divisional winners, plus the top two teams with the highest average number of points per game.

Aylesbury United from the SSML Premier are in pole position currently, meaning if two teams gain promotion (Dunstable Town are well clear at the top), it could be just the side who finish bottom (currently Holmer Green), being relegated into Division One.

While it is all ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ at this stage, and Hatfield’s fate is out of their hands, the need not to finish as the basement side is paramount.

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“I think it’s all about keeping above Holmer Green now, every game is a cup final for us,” said Bradley.

“If we drop down to Division One, it wouldn’t be good. This side needs a rebuild, and as well as losing our better players, we wouldn’t be able to attract the kind of players we want.

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“We will be aiming to field our strongest side in every game now, every game is vital for us; it’s between us and Holmer Green.”

Hatfield’s hopes of finishing out of the bottom two appear all but over after nearest rivals Hertford Town secured back-to-back victories and are now 10 points clear of the second-bottom Blueboys.

Basement side Holmer are on 17 points from 37 games played, with Hatfield on 20 points, also having played 37 games.

Hertford Town now have a cushion on 30 points with a game in hand on the two bottom sides.

On Saturday against Berkhamsted, Hatfield were again counting the cost of individual errors as Berkhamsted went home with the three points.

Berko’s scorers were Myles Stephenson, after just 12 seconds, Frankie Jowle, Josh Chamberlain and Glenn Thompson.

Rob Powell was Hatfield’s sole scorer, with his first since signing for the Gosling Stadium-based club.

Bradley added: “Once again, as has been most of the season, individual errors have seen us beaten again.

“It wasn’t good on Saturday - we were six players down with not many options to change things around.

“I thought it was a real missed opportunity - they [Berkhamsted] were poor and we were the better footballing side, but three errors have cost us, and we have lost again.

“There’s a big rebuilding job to do here, but myself and Micky Nathan [manager] want to stay and start again with Hatfield Town.”

Hatfield Town were scheduled to host London Colney last night (Tuesday) at the Gosling Stadium.

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