Haringey Borough boss: We can stay unbeaten for the rest of the season if we regain some consistency
- Credit: Archant
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.
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“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.”
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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.”