South Park loss won’t derail Marlow’s quest for promotion, says Bartley – Photo 1 of 1

South Park loss won’t derail Marlow’s quest for promotion, says Bartley – Photo 1 of 1

While it was disappointing to suffer a fourth loss of the season against South Park on Saturday, manager Mark Bartley doesn’t think it’s a result that will derail Marlow’s season and quest for promotion.

Goals from Marcell Campbell and Joe Bell decided that contest at Whitehall Lane, with the Blues slipping to third place in the Isthmian League South Central Division, four points behind leaders Northwood but with a game in hand.

Few games took place over the weekend, mainly due to weather conditions that left many pitches frozen over. Given the result, would Bartley have preferred his side’s clash to be postponed? He told the advertiser no and said there were positive things to take.

“We were happy about the game,” he said. “They don’t want games to be postponed – it just means you travel there at a different time during the week. It’s also one of the longer trips we have to make. Of course we’re disappointed with the result, but we were happy to play.

“I don’t think we were brilliant. We were probably a bit floored and we weren’t quite at the level we were at in previous games.

“They scored their first goal from a counterattack. The second was a good header after a good ball into the box. Other than that, there wasn’t much to do between the pages. I just think there are about 10 teams that are pretty even in the league this year.

“Anyone can beat anyone on any day. I think we’re going to have a really competitive league this season, a bit like the championship in professional football.

“We’re third now, four points off the lead, with a game in hand. It’s disappointing to lose but we don’t think it will derail our season. There’s a lot of football to play and, as I said, there are a lot of teams that are very close in this league at the moment.”

This Saturday, weather permitting, Marlow meets Simon Lane’s Westfield, who are currently in sixth place and fighting for promotion.

Bartley is optimistic the game will go ahead and is keeping his fingers crossed that the Blues don’t face any problems leading up to this week.

“It’s supposed to be less cold at the weekend, so hopefully the courts will be playable and they’ll be less busy,” he said.

“The hardest thing we have to overcome this week is training. It’s really cold when the sun goes down. We had a situation last week where the 3G pitch froze over at Cox Green so we couldn’t train on it.

“We had to train indoors and that’s not ideal, but it’s pretty much the same for everyone.

“Training will be more difficult than games but everyone is in the same boat and we need to make sure we adapt better than most.

“I have previously gone on record and said that Simon is probably one of the best managers when it comes to how he builds a team. I’m not a big fan of him as an individual but I think he’s very good at putting teams together. They can be quite difficult to read.

“It’s going to be a tough game, more tactically challenging than anything else. But we’re in good shape and we’ll welcome a few players back into the squad on Saturday.

“We look forward to bringing them back on board and having an improved chance of a positive result.”

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