Martin praises incredible squad as Longlevens move to 5th in the Hellenic Premier

Longlevens manager Craig Martin says that what his side are achieving is incredible, as they moved into 5th in the Hellenic Premier with a 3-1 win at Virginia Water. 

Last season saw Longlevens mass 37 points throughout the season as they avoided relegation in the final run of games, but Saturday’s win sees them move onto 37 points with 11 league games left this season.

Goals from Captain Shaun O’Connor, leading scorer Brad Martin and Isaac Johns saw Levens come back to Gloucestershire with all three points and Martin noted that whilst he was very unhappy with the first half display, he was pleased with the reaction of his side to win the game.

“Saturday was literally a game of two halves,” said Martin. “The first half was one of our worst displays for a while and both Tommy and Kacey [coaches Tommy Callinan and Kacey Johnstone] let the boys know their feelings at half time. 

We got the reaction that we wanted in the second half and for that you have to credit the lads for turning things round and getting the job done,” Martin added.

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With Longlevens winning and local rivals Tuffley Rovers winning at Brackley Town Saints, Martin’s men find themselves just one point off the top 4, with two games in hand over Saints. But Martin isn’t getting carried away despite his side’s incredible season so far.

“To be fair, I don’t look at the table too much, but I know that we now have as many points as we managed for the whole of last season – which shows our progress. 

I know we aren’t going to be in the top four at the end of the season but what these lads are achieving on the pitch for our club is incredible. 

We will do what Longlevens always do and that is try our best to do as well as we can for the club and show that we are going in the right direction,” said the Levens boss.

As mentioned, Longlevens have 11 league games left between now and the end of April and have given themselves a platform for a strong end to the season, starting with their re-arranged Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup tie against Long Crendon on Wednesday night, before a trip back to Windsor to play the landlords on Saturday after beating the tenants this weekend.

Ahead of the game against Long Crendon, Martin remains unsure as to what extent he will change his squad, but believes Wednesday is a great chance to give players minutes after a disrupted couple of weeks.

“[Regarding Wednesday] The hardest part of making changes is that we haven’t played for two weeks before Saturday, so a lot of the squad will need minutes so currently I doubt there will be many changes – but it’s football and you never know, it may have all changed by Wednesday night,” said Martin.

Longlevens host Long Crendon in the Banbury Litho Floodlit Cup on Wednesday 26th January; kick off 19:45.

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Cover Photo with full copyright by Brian Rossiter. Please visit his wonderful albums via Twitter @BrianRossiter1 or Flickr