Bostik North: Tom Loizou hails unbelievable Haringey Borough players and staff after promotion to Bostik Premier
- Credit: Archant
The Coles Park club defeated Canvey Island 3-1 in the Bostik North play-off final on Sunday to reach step three of the non-league pyramid
Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou praised everyone associated with the Coles Park club after Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Canvey Island in the Bostik North play-off final.
Goals from Mark Kirby, Ralston Gabriel and Michael Ademiluyi secured the north Londoners place in the Bostik Premier for next season.
The victory for Borough meant they ended the campaign with 10 straight wins and they only conceded five goals during the same period.
After doing it the hard way through the play-offs, having missing out on automatic promotion by two points, Loizoi hailed the north London club.
He said: “We finished with 10 straight wins and six of them were with clean sheets, so we have really done our job.
“We did our homework and all of my staff have been unbelievable, the players have been unbelievable and they deserve this.”
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Haringey’s form since February has been impressive, but it reached new heights after a string of signings towards the end of March.
Loizou brought in Andre McCollin from Kingstonian, Mark Kirby from Enfield Town and Chinedu McKenzie from Greenwich Borough.
All three played a huge part in Borough finishing the season with 10 consecutive wins as McCollin and McKenzie both scored three times each while centre back Kirby grabbed the crucial opener in the play-off final.
“I knew I had to make the signing of Mark Kirby because of his experience. We made it along with McCollin and McKenzie and I think we made those additions at the right time,” said Loizou.
“We did it the hard way through the play-offs because I think we were good enough to go up automatically.”
Haringey and Canvey contested the final in sweltering heat at Coles Park and Loizou felt a change to their pre-match preparation proved to be key.
The first half was a tight and tense affair with the Gulls having the better chances, but Borough did slowly grow into the match.
A switch at half time saw the north Londoners increase their stranglehold on the final as substitute Ademiluyi caused Canvey all sorts of problems.
Eventually the opener arrived with 73 on the clock when Kirby headed home Michael O’Donoghue’s corner despite the best efforts of Gulls goalkeeper Henry Newcombe.
It was two 10 minutes later when Frankie Merrifield was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area and Gabriel stepped up and slotted home to double Haringey’s lead.
Canvey set up a dramatic finale when Steve Sheehan headed in Merrifield’s cross with 93 minutes played and there was still time for one more goal.
Fortunately for Borough it went to them as Gabriel and Ademiluyi played a neat one-two and the latter slotted past Newcombe to make it 3-1.
It was not without controversy as substitute McKenzie was in an offside position and did initially run towards the ball, which resulted in the linesman flagging for offside, but referee Steven Hughes waved play on and awarded the goal.
Loizou added: “I think experience won us this game. I won’t blow my own trumpet and my own staffs trumpet, but Canvey were out on the pitching warming up at 10 to two in the heat and we didn’t bring our players out until 20 past three.
“We shortened the warm-up, started rehydrating from Wednesday evening straight after the semi-final game against Heybridge Swifts.
“In the end it showed because we finished the stronger of the two teams. I am a bit gutted our goalkeeper (Valery Pajetet) had to come off, but Austin (Byfield) come on and did well.
“He pushed them back with his kicking and maybe Val would have saved their goal, but you can’t have everything.”