We have set the players’ a target of at least 24 points from now until the end of the season, so we will need to start picking up points sooner rather than later, says Eltham Palace boss Lloyd Bradley

Thursday 29th December 2016

ELTHAM PALACE boss Lloyd Bradley says he has set his side a target of eight wins from their last 16 league outings.

The club are in the bottom six in the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, with a playing record of five wins, six draws and nine defeats and Bradley has challenged his side to win half of their remaining games to start climbing the table.

They suffered a 5-3 home defeat to Sutton Athletic in their last game on 17 December.

“We really struggled against a very good Sutton Athletic side, who were really up for the game and did their manager proud,” said Bradley.

“Sutton, with their direct style, make it very difficult for opposing teams to get a foothold in games and that allied to the sharpness and energy of their forwards helps to make them a real goal threat.  I am sure they will be there or there abouts at the end of the season.

“From our point of view we were very much hampered by losing the spine of our team with centre-half George Snelling (holiday), holding midfielder Sam Ryan (work) and striker and leading goalscorer Billy Shinners (injured) all being unavailable.

“This meant we had to make some major alterations to our line up and these changes probably cost us the game.  Although the scoreline probably flattered our opponents, they certainly deserved their victory.”

Reflecting on the game itself, Bradley said: “We started the game well and probably had the best of the early encounters and Jonny Murray’s opening on seven minutes came against the run of play and included a defensive error.

“But we responded well and Ryan Hassan levelled the scores with a simple tap in at the end of a good four-man move had opened up the Sutton defence.

“It was then our turn to take the lead against the run of play, when Archie Johnson’s speculative shot from the edge of the box crept under the keeper’s dive into the far corner of the net.

“But disappointingly an error ridden last 15 minutes of the half saw us ship three goals and probably cost us any chance of getting anything out of the game.

“We re-organised at half-time and we were much better defensively after the break.  It was much more of an even contest in the second half, as both defences restricted the opposition to half chances.

“Sadly, for us that changed on 70 minutes when the lively Arlie Desanges reacted to a flick on to bury a diving header into the corner of the net.

“On a positive note we got a goal back just before the final whistle to give the scoreline a more respectable look.

“It was good to see George Lowe come on as a substitute after a three-week lay-off with injury getting back on the scoresheet.  We will certainly need him in Billy Shinners’ absence.”

Bradley takes his side to tenth-placed Holmesdale on Saturday.

“As the squad comes under pressure we will probably look to bring in some new faces to jazz things up a bit and create some competition for places.  There are also some players within the club that I would like to give an opportunity to and see how they get on at this level,” said Bradley.

“But firstly we will need to pick up some points to put some daylight between us and the clubs below us.  This starts with Saturday’s game at Holmesdale.

“We shared the points earlier in the season in an entertaining 0-0 draw, so I expect another tough contest.

“They are five points in front of us and sit in tenth-place so a win would bring us really close to them.

“We have set the players’ a target of at least 24 points from now until the end of the season, so we will need to start picking up points sooner rather than later.”

Holmesdale  v  Eltham Palace
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Saturday 31st December 2016
Kick Off 1:30pm
At 68 Oakley Road, Bromley, Kent BR2 8HQ