We're not thinking about relegation, just moving up the table, says Herne Bay joint-manager John Embery
HERNE BAY joint-manager John Embery insists his side can pull themselves clear of the relegation zone.
The club are second from bottom in the Bostik South East Division table, having collected 20 points from 24 games, three points clear of bottom-side Greenwich Borough but with a game in hand.
Reflecting on their 2-1 defeat away to fifth-placed side Haywards Heath Town last weekend, Embery said: “Disappointing, we played so well and we got nicked in the last minute from a corner which was disappointing. We should have won the game. We played really well, we went 1-0 up and had a couple of other opportunities.
“Second half, it was one of those ones. They went direct. It was from two set-pieces we conceded. Disappointed because the team deserved more, we played very well.
“Against Haywards Heath we did really, really well. All off a sudden we have all of that solidness to being a little bit fragile and invited pressure on to us. They launch it to their six foot eight centre-forward (Melford Simpson) and our back three was magnificent against them.
“It’s just sods law, the two that scored were their two smallest players and we should’ve dealt with it but that’s life!”
“Saturday’s game was disappointing because we deserved so much more but that’s football, that’s football.”
But since pulling off a shock 4-1 home win over Hastings United on 26 January, Herne Bay have lost 6-0 at Cray Wanderers, 5-1 at home to Ramsgate and lost at Haywards Heath Town.
But Embery is confident his side can climb up the table.
He said: “For example, we won four of our last five and then went against Cray Wanderers and we went with a couple of injuries.
“It was one of those days. We tried to sign Ronald Sobowale permanently before the game, the transfer deadline was at 11 o’clock on the Saturday. We sent the paperwork over bang on 11 because we had to meet him and get him signed and we got the response at 11:01 so he was ineligible.
“Then we had a player drop out ill and then in the warm-up we had Alex Mulrooney-Skinner go down injured so we only had two subs on the bench going from five subs.
“During the game we had a couple of injuries and we had to bring off Ben Gorham and Tahjae Anderson. He got a bang, got proper hit and Ben Gorham had to come off with his ankle so we made the two subs and then we had no subs left on the bench.
“Then Danny Leonard did his knee and Jake Embery’s hamstring went tight so they were only passengers and we may have been 2-0 down at that point.
“The last 30 minutes we literally played with nine men. The boys worked really hard but we had nine men against 11 and they’re a good side and they scored three goals in the last five minutes, something silly like that.
“The next game, against Ramsgate, we knew they were going to be a hard game for us.
“The board knew against Ramsgate it was a makeshift side. We knew it was a makeshift side.
“We brought in Jamie Chamberlain for his first start since we played Whitstable (on Boxing Day) and then we had Calum Adonis-Taylor and they’ve never trained together, let alone play together.
“Our back three, who were doing really well, weren’t available.
“Rory Smith (Ramsgate striker) is a good player and it showed. We were a very makeshift team that day and then we had to make a couple of subs through injuries again.
“We know getting a full squad out we do well, like we did against Haywards Heath and the other teams.
“The wins we’ve had, it’s been a settled back three of Connor Wilkins, Ben Gorham and Danny Rumbol and as soon as you lose those three out of the side and other players, all off a sudden you’ve got an issue.
Herne Bay welcome second-placed Ashford United to Winch’s Field on Saturday.
Since Tommy Warrilow has come in, Ashford have won nine of their 11 games and have dislodged Hastings United into second-place in the table and are 16 points adrift of runaway leaders Cray Wanderers.
The Nuts & Bolts have won their last six games and have kept five clean sheets.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be one of those games where they’re a good, technical side and they work hard and we are a good technical side and we can work hard,” said Embery.
“What it will come down to, forget about the derby games, both are not local but close to each other. It will be about who wants it the most and who works the hardest. From the technical points of view, there’s not much between the two sides.
“It who’s prepared to work hard. If the work harder than us they will beat us. If we work harder than them we will beat them. That’s pretty much how I see that game.”
Herne Bay are level on points with Sittingbourne, who have a game in hand; five points adrift of Guernsey and six adrift of Faversham Town and Whitstable Town.
“We’ve got a game in hand on Greenwich Borough as well and then we’ve got all the big games out of the way. We’ve had Cray, Hastings, Haywards Heath, all the teams that are in the top five, Ashford, so we should have a lot easier run in but we’re not thinking about relegation but thinking jumping, moving up the table.
“We’re playing well. If we get our full team out we can get on a good run. We want to pull in Whitstable, Guernsey, teams like that and if you have a look at the table there’s seven or eight teams. Faversham, the other day were on 20 points, the same as us and a couple of wins but if they get beat their next two games and we win our next two, we’re in front of them and it all depends on results going on around you.
“We just have to worry about ourselves and win games. We’re looking forward to Saturday’s game. It’s going to be hard, we know we have to work our socks off to win the game and if we do that, we’ll go well.”
Visit Herne Bay’s website: www.hernebayfootballclub.co.uk
Herne Bay v Ashford United
Bostik South East Division
Saturday 16 February 2018
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Winch’s Field, Stanley Gardens, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 5SG