Our season as a whole has been amazing - but we came up short in the league, says Sevenoaks Town boss Micky Collins
SEVENOAKS TOWN manager Micky Collins says the season as a whole has been amazing.
The club finished in its highest ever league position of third in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division by collecting 84 points from their 38 games, finishing eight points adrift of champions Ashford United and six points behind Crowborough Athletic.
The Oaks also hit the headlines by reaching The FA Cup Second Qualifying Round for the first time, taking Southern League Premier Division side Chesham United all the way.
Barry Hayles came off the bench to score a last-gasp equaliser at Greatness Park to break Sevenoaks hearts in the first game before Chesham United won the replay on home soil.
“It’s been a good season, wanted to win the league obviously, set out to do that, didn’t happen,” said Collins.
“I thought we came up short in certain games. It’s always good to have a good cup run and to get to a Final is a good achievement at any level for everybody and we’ve got to try to deliver it tomorrow if we can.
“Our season as a whole has been amazing, to break records again, especially with the league campaign to finishing third, the highest it’s ever happened in senior football since 1883 there, it is amazing but when you set targets and you don’t achieve them you feel disappointed yourself and I know the lads did.
“But we weren’t good enough and the top two sides were better than us over the whole season and the league table never lies.
“We came up short and we have to reassess it in the summer and see how we go next season.”
Collins takes his men down the road to Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium tomorrow to contest the Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final.
Standing in the way are Ernie Batten’s Sheppey United, who finished their campaign in the top six.
“It’s a one-off game, it can go either way,” said Collins.
“They’re a very good side. They’ve done exceptionally well to come up this year and to achieve what they have.
“We played them twice this year in two very tight games, which could have gone either way. It will be whoever turns up on the day and doesn’t freeze and plays to their best of their ability that will be the team that wins the cup and it will be well-deserved.”
Sheppey United will bring a large following with them to Longmead Stadium, as Batten’s men look to add this piece of silverware to the Kent Reliance Senior Trophy that they won last April.
“We’re Sevenoaks, we’re not used to playing in front of big crowds, only a couple of times in the FA Cup,” said Collins.
“I think there will be a lot of neutrals there as well. Sheppey are very well supported because they’re a great little club.
“I think we’ll surprise a few people about how many we bring. The feedback around the club is quite a lot of people are going.
“It should be a good day, if the weather’s ok and there’s a good turn-out. It’s great for the League and it’s great for their Challenge Cup.”
Collins has put out feelers to his current squad about his plans for next season.
“I’ve been planning for three or four weeks, so as soon as we knew that we weren’t going to win the league and knew we were staying where we were, you talk to people.
“As far as I’m concerned most of the players, well everyone that I’ve spoken to is staying. It’s difficult to get a true level of commitment from people because you’ve still got a game to play and there’s no way players who are involved in the game tomorrow are going to say they are going to leave at the end of the season.
“In mindful of that. We have our plans. We know where we fell short this year and what we need to strengthen and we’ll look to do that in the summer if we’ve not done that already.”
Visit Sevenoaks Town’s website: www.sevenoakstownfc.co.uk
Sevenoaks Town v Sheppey United
Macron Southern Counties East Football League Challenge Cup Final
Saturday 6th May 2017
Kick Off 2:00pm
at Longmead Stadium, Darenth Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN10 3JF