Rogers: Eagles up for the fight
Somerset Eagles picked up their biggest win of the season, and first since October 20, and coach Jensen Rogers says the fight for survival is still very much on.
Eagles, who were four points behind Southampton Rangers going into the weekend, gave themselves a tremendous boost with a 6-2 victory over X-Roads to close the gap on three teams above them, with just four points now separating them from mid-table Southampton Rangers.
With a make-up game against Dandy Town on Sunday, Eagles could make things even tighter in the bottom half table.
“The boys are up for it, they know what we’re up against,” Rogers said. “Dandy Town next is not going to be easy, but none of the last five games are going to be easy.
“Everything’s a final and that’s how we’re taking it.” After Town, Eagles will close out their season with matches against bottom team Boulevard, North Village, Devonshire Cougars and Robin Hood.
It was during their first four games that Eagles promised bigger things on their return to the top flight when they beat Town in their opening game before drawing with X-Roads and Somerset Trojans and then defeated Boulevard.
After that they were brought down to earth with successive defeats to Southampton Rangers, PHC Zebras, Village and Devonshire Cougars before ending the slump with a win over Town in the Friendship quarter-finals in December, and then drawing with Robin Hood in the league just before Christmas.
“A win against Town brings everybody back into the relegation fights, from us right up to Cougars,” Rogers said. “I think it is going to go down to the wire.
“I know a couple of the teams in the relegation picture have to play each other.
“It is going to be crucial for us when they play each other that we pick up points, because somebody has to drop points, or even both teams.
“We started the season good, but even in those first four games we could have done better. Midway through the season, because we have a small squad, injuries, suspensions and players being unavailable kind of hurt us, and you saw it in the results.
“We lost to PHC and then Village and hit a wall and had to regroup. Now we’re back into the flow of things and hopefully it shows this weekend against Town once again.
“Town are one of those super teams that, on the day, we have to be 100 per cent. We can’t go there 75 or 80 per cent. It will be on them to show what they can do, they are still in the title stake so there is a lot at stake.”
Rogers was involved in both a promotion and relegation fight last season, coaching Eagles to promotion and then making a few emergency appearances as a player for Page Lions, a team he was still registered with. Paget lost their fight against relegation and subsequently withdrew from the league after several players departed.
“I’m enjoying it; it’s more than I expected,” he said of his first season as a Premier Division coach. “It’s a very young and small team but they have big hearts and a lot of talent.
“It’s all a learning curve for the players and myself. Hopefully we stay in the league and can build off this season and be better next year.
“The fans are still happy, especially after that result against X-Roads. You could feel it; it was a rainy day, but the fans were still there with their umbrellas, cheering on the boys.
“We just have to carry that energy into the game against Town.”
While Eagles live to fight another day in the battle for survival, Boulevard are virtually relegated after their 7-2 defeat against PHC last weekend.
Now they can only survive on goal difference, provided they win their last four matches and hope X-Roads, Somerset and Eagles lose theirs.
Boulevard also have a vastly inferior goal difference, conceding 42 goals already in 14 games.
n Last weekend’s postponed match between Town and Village has been rescheduled for next Wednesday at Goose Gosling Field at 9pm.
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