We have eight games to go and we are outsiders for a play-off spot but we won’t give up on it until it’s mathematically out of reach, says Croydon boss Liam Giles

Friday 25th March 2022

CROYDON manager Liam Giles says he hasn’t ruled his side out of reaching the Southern Counties East Football League First Division play-offs.

The Trams are in eighth-place in the table on 48 points, eight points adrift of the play-offs, which contain Sutton Athletic, Larkfield & New Hythe, Snodland Town and Tooting Bec.

Stansfeld extended their lead at the summit to five points following their 4-0 win at Rochester United on Wednesday night in a game where Matt Hume had both of his goalkeepers Ben Nourse and substitute Jamie Kelly sent off by referee Darren Wilson.

Reflecting on Croydon’s goal-less draw at Rochester United last weekend, Giles said: “I was relatively happy with the point.  They are a very physical side who play very direct and are good at what they do, so I was happy enough with the point.

“I was more disappointed in the level of the officiating, which I’ve watched back on the Veo camera and was extremely disappointed.”

Giles revealed that the loss of strikers Richard Pingling (18 goals) and John-Prince Rylah (seven) is a blow.

“We have lost our two top goalscorers in Richard Pingling and John-Prince Rylah, both through injury and will be surprised if I see JP back this season. 

“It’s no secret they are our danger men so it’s taken a bit away from us in that department as you can see we haven’t scored in the last three games, all of which they have been missing.

“That being said, we have been working hard to put things right in front of goal so hopefully the goals will come.”

Giles takes his side back to Rede Court Road tomorrow to play 12th placed Faversham Strike Force.

“Faversham will be a tough game, they are lively going forward but they do not concede so it makes for an interesting game for the neutral.”

Giles has re-signed Junior Baker, 38, following his release from Isthmian League South East Division side Whitstable Town, while centre-half Sam Huckle comes in from Premier Division side Holmesdale.

“Junior played a handful of games for us before he went to Whitstable.  His experience and positivity is huge and will be a massive boost for the last eight games.

“Sam Huckle is a very good centre-back, who has strengthened us.”

Giles’ side haven’t won in their last three games and searches for results to keep their slender promotion hopes alive.

“We have eight games to go and we are outsiders for a play-off spot but we won’t give up on it until it’s mathematically out of reach,” said Giles.

“The sides at the bottom are just as dangerous as the sides at the top right now with them fighting to stay in the league.

“It’s going to be an exciting end to the season, I’m sure and I just hope we can find the consistency we need to make the top five.

“On our day we can beat anyone but we need to be at it every week.”

Faversham Strike Force  v  Croydon
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Saturday 26 March 2022
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Rede Court Road, Strood, Rochester, Kent ME2 3TU