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  • Writer's pictureRob Stevens

Stoke Poges 'buzzing' as Showcase Match win puts them in best possible position to capture the title

PICTURE: Stoke Poges star Ross MaGarvie, right, celebrates after scoring the only goal in the game in a 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town in the Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground on Saturday night. PHOTO: Gary House.

Stoke Poges assistant manager Bradlee Greenwood believes that his side have put themselves in the best possible position to win the Division One title after a 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town on Saturday.

The two teams went into the East Berkshire League Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground in Ascot level on points at the top of the table, although Stoke have played three fewer games than their rivals.

Greenwood admits that Stoke did not play at their best to entertain a crowd of 155 spectators but, a single goal from Ross MaGarvie early on in the second half was enough for the leaders to secure three crucial points.

Greenwood said: “These opportunities (Showcase Matches) don’t come around all of the time so, when they do come, we’re always up for it. It’s good for the players to experience something like this as well.

“We was lucky enough to play a few Showcase Matches last season, so we had the experience of playing in front of a crowd and in a stadium. But, Scott (Manton, manager) and I wanted to take that out of the players heads and get them thinking it’s a normal game.

PHOTO: Stoke Poges celebrate the goal from Ross MaGarvie in the 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town in the Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground on Saturday night. Picture: Gary House.

“We could’ve played better but the main thing is the three points in an occasion like this. It’s not something that you get to do at this level every day, so we’re buzzing with the three points. But, it will soon be back to work and we can improve on the performance.

“If I was to be asked what our beliefs are and what are our strongest attributes, we keep the ball well in the opponents half and we’re very good when we go and press as a team. I thought that we lacked that a little bit in the first half, so that’s something that I’ve spoken to the boys about and something we need to improve on.”

The win means Stoke Poges are now three points clear at the top of the table, with a superior goal difference in comparison to their title rivals, Sandhurst, who remain in second position, and third-placed Cressex, who Stoke are still to play twice this season.

Greenwood has praised the morale of the team to recover from the disappointment of relegation from the Premier Division last season to have a perfect 11 wins from 11 matches in Division One this year.

He explained: “The boys deserve a lot of credit for that. We’re a team that has stuck together through everything over the past four years. We’ve never dropped our heads, even when getting relegated last season. A lot of teams could have called it a day but we thought we would pick ourselves up and go again, and it’s coming back to pay in our favour.

“I put it down to our team morale and Scott deserves a lot of credit for this as well. From the start, he wanted to make the team and the Club have a feel-good factor and, although we’re here to play football, let’s make sure that we’re a group of boys that enjoys each others company as well.

VIDEO: Stoke Poges assistant manager Bradlee Greenwood reacts to the 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town in the Showcase Match at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday night.

Sandhurst deserve a lot of credit as well. We’ve been a team building over the last four years, as have Sandhurst, so it’s nice that we have gone through it with them and now it’s us first and second, battling it out at the top of Division One.”

Stoke turn their attention to the Slough Town Junior Cup and a Semi Finals tie at home against FC Deportivo Gailicia Reserves, last seasons beaten finalists, this Saturday (2pm kick off).

Greenwood added: “We’ve got a big Semi Final game next week and there’s still a long way to go in the League but we’re in the best position possible. The performance out there on Saturday got us over the line but there’s still a lot of improvement to be made and be ready to go again.

“Deportivo Galicia is not a team that we know a lot about. They’re a good side but, on our day, we’re going to be hard to beat. All eyes on next week now.”

To enter the East Berkshire Football League ahead of the 2023/24 season, or for further information about the league, or an entry form for the upcoming season, please email the team at


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