“We can’t afford to drop any more points” says Cleal ahead of Bishops Cleeve’s trip to Windsor

Bishops Cleeve manager Stephen Cleal says that his side are playing catch up after surrendering a 1-0 lead at Flackwell Heath on Tuesday night. A result that has left the Mitres relying on others as well as having to win all three remaining games in order to stand a chance of winning the Hellenic Premier title. 

After Jack Watts had put Cleeve in front at Flackwell, local rivals Longlevens were leading at now leaders Wantage Town, meaning Bishops Cleeve were moving up to second. But a late Flackwell leveller and Wantage’s comeback win mean that the latter now lead the Hellenic Premier and Cleeve’s title bid was dealt a monumental blow.

Ahead of the Mitre’s trip to Windsor at the weekend, we spoke to Cleal about the disappointment of midweek and how that leaves his side’s title challenge.

“You’re always disappointed when you’re leading a game with not long to go and concede to drop points. It hurts almost like a defeat, especially with Wantage scoring in the 96th minute to win their game, but it’s gone now and we still picked up a point. 

To be honest it’s always been a case of us trying to play catch up – we’ve never been in the driving seat because before last Saturday we could have won all of our last 5 games and still not won the league, so nothing changes really.” Cleal added.

“If we win our last three games then you never know, but realistically we can’t afford to drop any more points and even that might not be good enough.” 

After Saturday’s trip to Windsor, Bishops Cleeve head to Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup winners Ardley United next Saturday – before hosting Shrivenham on the Bank Holiday Monday to end their Hellenic League season. The following Thursday the Mitres take on Cribbs in the GFA Challenge Trophy Final.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, Cleal says he is looking for a reaction to Tuesday’s disappointment as they look to finish the season as strong as possible.

“Windsor have won 4 in a row and have kept 3 clean sheets in a row and are generally a very good side. So Saturday will be a tough game. Performance wise it isn’t too important as you can win whilst playing terribly and lose when playing well, but I’m looking for a reaction to the disappointing end to Tuesday night. 

I’m sure I will get the reaction, whether it will be good enough for the 3 points though we will see on Saturday.”

Bishops Cleeve travel to Windsor in a crucial Hellenic Premier fixture on Saturday 13th April; kick off at 15:00


Check out the full list of fixtures in and around the county this weekend right here.