PICTURE: Stoke Poges stars are all smiles after full time and a 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town in the Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground on Saturday night. PHOTO: Gary House.
Stoke Poges star Nando Rocha has called on his team not to drop their energy levels and continue to give everything they have got in pursuit of the East Berkshire League Division One title this season.
Poges suffered relegation from the Premier Division last season but have bounced back remarkably well in this campaign, winning all 11 of their league matches to take a three point lead at the top of the table.
Their latest success was a 1-0 victory over title rivals, Sandhurst Town, in a Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground in Ascot, where over 150 spectators saw Ross MaGarvie score the only goal in the game to secure all three points.
Stoke also have the advantage of having played fewer games than their nearest pursuers but, those will include another clash with Sandhurst and two matches against third-placed, Cressex.
Rocha, who was named joint-player of the match on Saturday, said: “It was a massive result on Saturday. We’re well aware that we’ve got these games in hand but it’s about making them count. It’s been a great season so far and we just want to keep on going.
VIDEO: (l-r) Stoke Poges goal scorer, Ross MaGarvie, and joint-players of the match Niall Gartside and Nacho Rocha react to the 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town in the Showcase Match at The Racecourse Ground on Saturday night.
“We don’t want to drop our energy levels. We really had to dig deep for the win on Saturday and it just felt great at the end to be honest, it’s a massive win for us.
“We’re at the top for a reason. We’re working really hard, taking things to the next level, and we back each other on the pitch. We literally left everything out there on Saturday. The one thing the managers told us is don’t have any regrets, leave everything out there, and that’s what we did.”
PICTURE: Stoke Poges (green) joint-player of the match, Niall Gartside, slides in to make a tackle in the 1-0 win against Sandhurst Town at the Racecourse Ground on Saturday. PHOTO: Gary House.
Niall Gartside was the other joint-player of the match last weekend, and added the result against Sandhurst was a fair one. He said: “Mitchell Cumber (goalkeeper) pulled out a couple of great saves, but we had a fair few chances. I think the result was a fair one, we ground it out. Ross took his chance and Sandhurst didn’t, and that’s the difference. We deserved the three points and the result was a fair one.
“We’ve just got to keep on going into the next game and not really think about the title. It’s all about the next game and the next three points, and we know that if we do everything right hopefully we will be champions at the end of the year.”
MaGarvie took the plaudits when he back post finish early in the second half proved to be the difference between the two sides, and he hopes that his parents were inside the ground to see it.
Recalling the goal, he explained: “The ball fell to me and I didn’t strike it as well as I wanted to but, it went where I wanted it, in the back of the net.
“I’m absolutely buzzing from scoring because I don’t do it much, and hopefully it’s on video so I can watch it back and see the celebrations.
“I remember the ball being on the other side of the box so I made a run to the back post. Someone chipped it in in but a defender nodded it away. The ball bounced to me and I volleyed it on the side. The ball bounced a little bit and the defender tried to clear it off the line, but it rolled in and I raced away celebrating. Hopefully my parents were here to see it!”
Commenting on the team spirit at the Club this season, MaGarvie added: “We knew that we wanted to get back up into the Premier Division so, playing the way we are is unbelievable, and going 11 for 11 is a little bit surreal to be honest.
“We have a Semi Final this weekend so hopefully we can give ourselves the chance to win more trophies this season.
“We all back each other on the pitch and in the Group chat. The boys that aren’t here constantly ask what the score is so it’s not just about the 16 on the pitch, this result is for everyone involved in the Club.”
Stoke Poges return to action this Saturday with a home tie in the Slough Town Junior Cup Semi Finals against FC Deportivo Gailacia Reserves, the beaten finalists last season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org