Promotion still the number one aim for high-flying Lakenheath
Despite seeing his side become the closest challengers to league-leading Mulbarton Wanderers, Lakenheath manager Ben Cowling has insisted that securing promotion – not the league title – remains the club’s major priority this term.
While Storm Dennis got the better of every other Thurlow Nunn League First Division North game last weekend, work from the volunteers behind the scenes ensured Lakenheath’s home clash with King’s Lynn Town Reserves got the thumbs up from the match officials.
Cowling’s men went on to win 4-0, which not only opened up a 10-point gap to March Town United (5th) outside of the promotion places, but also moved them to within five of Mulbarton at the summit.
The boss conceded that it would be great if his team can apply some pressure to the table toppers over the coming weeks, but a top four finish is still the number one target.
“The first priority is to finish in the top four and to make sure we do that, we need to keep winning games,” said Cowling.
“I think around 80 points will do it. With the teams that are up there right now still to play each other, I cannot see five teams getting more than 80 points.
“Eight wins get us there and that is still our main focus over the games to come, but at the same time we do not want to lose our grip on second place.
“There are plenty of tricky games left, but we go to Mulbarton in our second from last match and it would be fantastic if there was something riding on that in terms of the title.
“We will see. Both teams are on good runs, yet we can only focus on ourselves and what we are doing.”
A brace from Shaun Avis – which took his goal tally for the season to 27 – set Lakenheath up for victory against Lynn’s second string, while Kelvin Enaro and Rhys Mazey were also on target.
It was a result that understandably pleased Cowling, who had special praise for those that helped to get the game on.
“Our chairman and some volunteers did fantastic work. They were rolling the pitch and were at the ground at 7.30am fixing damage from the previous week’s storm,” he added.
“There is a bit of natural protection at our ground but without all of that work the game would not have gone ahead.
“It meant we managed to tick another game off and move a step closer to what we are looking to achieve.”
Lakenheath will also be at home on Saturday when 10th-placed Debenham LC will be their visitors (3pm). And that is followed on Tuesday by a trip to Mulbarton in the quarter-finals of the First Division Knockout Cup (7.45pm).
Three points at the weekend will be high on Cowling’s agenda, but he is also keen to add some silverware to the trophy cabinet.
“Debenham is going to be a tough game. I have seen them a couple of times this season and they are a good side with some good players,” he said.
“Their results may have been a little inconsistent but on their day they are a match for any side.
“We have dropped some silly points this season and if we are going to push on that is something that we need to cut out.”
Meanwhile, on the midweek trip to Norfolk, he added: “It is a competition that we want to win. Some people are concerned about extra games, but at this stage of the season it should not affect us too much.
“We might make a change or two if players come back into contention from injury, but we will not be resting anyone or rotating for the sake of it.
“We will go there as strong as we can and hopefully we get the rub of the green because I felt it went against us a little bit in the league game at our place against them (3-1 defeat). Hopefully the boys will have the bit between their teeth. To get to a cup final would be fantastic for the club.”