Bostik North: Tom Loizou delighted with Haringey Borough squad after latest FA Cup success
- Credit: Archant
Next challenge for Coles Park club is a Bostik North clash away to old foes Barking tonight
Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou still sees room for improvement, despite his team reaching the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
A crowd of 267 watched the Coles Park club beat North Devon’s Bideford 4-1, an attendance not bettered since the 1980s according to secretary John Bacon.
The match started in cagey fashion, with both teams taking a physical approach, before Ralston Gabriel took advantage of a defensive mistake to open the scoring on 23 minutes and open up the tie.
Haringey continued to probe, but it was Bideford who came closest to scoring next, as a mistake from Scott Mitchell let in Ryan Turner, who scuffed his shot wide one-on-one.
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In the second half, Borough took control, with wideman Anthony McDonald putting the hosts 2-0 up on 49 minutes after some great work from Gabriel, who added a third nine minutes later.
Haringey’s number nine completed his hat-trick not long after, finishing off an intricate passing move on the edge of the Bideford area with a chip over the goalkeeper – he was undoubtedly the star man.
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Loizou’s side were dominant until the final few minutes, when goalkeeper Valery Pajetat was called into action.
He pulled off some acrobatics to save a long range strike with his fingertips, before making a point-blank stop in the midst of a goalmouth scramble from which the visitors eventually scored.
“We have a goalkeeper who’s worth his weight in gold, and he was very unlucky not to keep a clean sheet,” said Loizou.
“I had a bit of a go at the boys afterwards – clean sheets should mean everything, and they mean more to some players than others.
“Our goalkeeper deserved one and they let him down. Last season we were in a good position because of goal difference, and I want the same again this year.”
Loizou continued: “I don’t think we’re ever going to reach Wembley, but the thought is certainly nice.
“If we can get past the next round [and into the first round proper], who knows what might happen. We’ve got to remain confident.”
Despite the manager’s hopes for a tie with his old club Leyton Orient, Haringey have been drawn against Bostik North rivals Heybridge Swifts, who sit four points below them in the table.
Haringey remain unbeaten in the league after seven games and travel to old foes Barking this evening.
“We’ve learned from the lessons of last year,” said Loizou. “We had 14 injuries after the second game of last season, and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.
“Last weekend at home to Soham Town Rangers (2-0 win) we made seven changes because of injuries, and we still have four out of action now.
“People ask me, ‘are you picking a strong side?’, but regardless of who I put on the pitch now, it’s a strong side.
“That’s how every football club should be who have ambitions. Credit to the chairman [Aki Achillea], I told him I needed a bigger squad, and he’s put his hand in his pocket where it counts. I’m returning the favour now by winning big games!”