NEWPORT Pagnell Town manager Terry Shrieves believes his side can still win the United Counties League Premier Division title, despite the odds being seemingly stacked against them.
The Swans currently occupy second place in the table, sandwiched between big spending St Neots and Kings Lynn, but have played more games than their rivals.
However, both those sides have been showing some frailties of late, and that gives Shrieves confidence that his over achievers could yet cause a surprise.
He said: “We’re getting back to form just at the right time of the season and we still believe we can do it. They have obviously spent a lot of money getting to where they are, and for us just to be there challenging them at this stage is a big achievement in itself.
“If we do actually win the league then we’ll have massively over achieved. But I still believe we can.”
Newport were due to take on leaders St Neots on their own patch on Tuesday night, but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Kester Way, much to the frustration of Shrieves who said he suspected “gamesmanship” on the part of the Cambridgeshire club.
“We’re in the middle of a purple patch now and they’ve had to score some late goals to pick up results lately, so we’re a bit suspicious,” he said.
“The next time we have to play them it could come at a better time for them. I really fancied us to go there and get a win, but there’s always next time.”
Tuesday night’s cancellation came on the back of Saturday’s home game with Northampton Spencer being called off after heavy rain on Friday night. And the break from playing couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Swans who won their last two to get their title push back on track.
Shrieves is just hoping his side can do enough to remain in touch by the time they take on the big two - with the visit of Kings Lynn to Willen Road pencilled in for March 12, and the re-arranged game at St Neots expected to be played in the same week.
But they won’t get a better chance to pick up three points than they will this Saturday when Newport visit basement boys Rothwell Corinthians with just one win to their name so far this term. Goal difference could prove key at the end of the season, and with their rivals better off at present, Shrieves’ men will need to make sure they pack their shooting boots.
The Swans boss has had other things on his mind of late too - trying to keep a hold of leading scorer Daren Dykes who was a target for rivals Olney Town. The Division One side made what Shrieves considered a “disrespectful” approach for the man with 27 league goals to his name this season.
“We’ve reported Olney for making an illegal approach. There’s a right way of doing things and they still have a lot to learn,” said Shrieves. “I wouldn’t try and take a player from another club during the season. We didn’t take kindly to it.”
North Bucks League
WOLVERTON Town climbed off the bottom of the Premier Division table when they beat Grendon Rangers 4-3, lifting them above MK Titans who fell to new leaders Hale Leys by the same scoreline.
Denbigh Hall Sports went down 6-2 to AFC Santander in the Intermediate Division while Celtic MK were the big winners in Division One with a surprise 6-0 humiliation of leaders Stoke Hammond.
There was a 6-1 victory for Old Stratford over Southcott Village, Bletchley Ridge were 5-1 winners over Sherington, and Woughton drew 3-3 with Charlton.
In Division Two City Colts lost by the odd goal in five at Westbury, while Olney Town enjoyed a 3-0 victory against Yardley Gobion Res.
MK Sunday League
THE Premier Division top two kept with the programme on Sunday as both recorded big wins to move further away from the rest.
Leaders Stony Stratford’s 100 per cent record was well maintained as they brushed third placed Steven Eagell Toyota aside 4-1 while Boca Shenley beat Willen A 4-2 to keep the pressure on at the top - three points behind but having played a game more.
Division One table toppers FC Lifesearch won again, 2-0 over mid-table Kings Arms to stretch their lead over Trade 2U to three points, but they have now played three more.
There were two rather one sided games in Division Two as Stantonbury Social beat CS Athletic 4-0 and Kiln Farm B saw off Great Linford 3-0.