Haringey Borough boss: We can stay unbeaten for the rest of the season if we regain some consistency
PUBLISHED: 15:39 09 January 2017 | UPDATED: 18:27 09 January 2017
Manager Tom Loizou believes Haringey Borough can stay unbeaten for the rest of the season - but he says his side need to find some consistency if they are to fulfil their potential and secure a play-off spot in Ryman League Division One North.
Borough, who lost away against promotion rivals Aveley and league leaders Maldon & Tiptree at the turn of the year, got back on track with a 3-2 home win over relegation battlers Brentwood Town on Saturday – but it was by no means a comfortable afternoon.
A well-taken early goal from captain Dean Fenton was cancelled out just after the hour-mark. And, although Borough then went 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go after a fantastic volley from substitute Anthony McDonald and a deflected overhead kick from Ralston Gabriel, they conceded again due to sloppy defending and had to endure a nervous finish.
While Haringey lie in midtable in 11th place, they are only four points outside the play-off spots, and Loizou feels his team are capable of avoiding defeat for the rest of the campaign – but he says there is plenty of room for improvement.
“We were lucky we started the way we did, otherwise we wouldn’t have got a result,” he told Ham&High Sport. “We need to get our consistency back.
“There’s no reason why we can’t go from now until the end of the season unbeaten, but it’s up to the players. If they want to get to the play-offs and have a chance of playing in the Ryman Premier Division they’re going to have to pull their socks up a little bit.
“We’ve had a kick in the side from the last two defeats – from our performance on Saturday you can tell we were affected. This result has given us a bit more confidence, but the next game [away against 10th-placed Tilbury this weekend] is a must-win for us – then we can kick on.”
Loizou continued: “We had a look at Brentwood’s position in the league (22nd), but their last few results against some of the top sides were very narrow defeats – they weren’t coming here to lie down.
“They put the ball in the area we didn’t want them to, in behind our full-backs. They got two goals from it, and we got caught out.
“We changed the shape of our side at 1-1 and managed to score a goal, and then we changed the shape again to contain the lead and we managed to score another one.
“But once again they put the ball in behind the full-back and we threw it away again. If they had converted the chance we gave them in the first half as well it could have been 3-3, and it would have felt like a loss.
“We know we can go forward and score goals at any time, but we tend to switch off [defensively]. That’s why results have gone against us this year.”
Despite the side’s lapses in defence, Rakim Richards stood out yet again, playing at centre-half and dealing admirably with Brian Moses, Brentwood’s towering forward.
“We’ve got three centre-halves out at the moment, and Rakim has stepped up and has been one of our best players,” said Loizou.
“He did a tremendous job, and wherever we play him he always turns up trumps for us.”
The victory came at the end of a sad week for those involved with the club. Steve Browne, the manager of Haringey Borough’s women’s team, passed away on New Year’s Day after a long battle with cancer, and he was remembered with a minute’s applause before the match against Brentwood.
“To stand there in silence wouldn’t have done him justice,” said Loizou. “He was a true gentleman, and what a loss he’ll be to his family and this football club.”