Marlow take control of Hellenic League

Bucks Free Press: Mark Bartley Mark Bartley

MARLOW are streaking away at the top of the Hellenic League and last Saturday a 4-1 victory effectively killed off one of their nearest challengers.

Freezing temperatures denied Mark Bartley’s men the opportunity to land another blow on a title rival on Tuesday but, with 16 league games left, the Blues are looking more and more like champions-elect.

Bartley said: “We’re not shocked at being here.

“It’s not giving us any butterflies. Everything we have done since the last week of June has been geared to being in this position at this time.”

They are 11 points clear at the top after inflicting a 4-1 victory on third-placed Binfield that Bartley believes has all-but ended their chances.

He said: “They were ten points behind with a game in hand. If they’d beaten us and won that game they’ve been four points behind us.

“Now they need to win their game in hand to get to ten points. It’s a very different mentality.”

Ian Davies, Simieon Howell and two goals from Ray Spence underpinned the victory, but Marlow were frustrated four days later then their game at Wantage was frozen off.

It was the third time in the last two months that the game between the two title favourites has been postponed.

Bartley said: “We just want to get the game played.

“They wanted to play it as well because they’re getting a lot of fixtures piling up, but the referee was concerned about player safety and we accepted it reluctantly.

“It was probably the right thing to do.”

And it might actually play into Marlow’s hands.

Wantage are 14 points behind Marlow with five games in hand, but fixture congestion could catch up with them in the spring.

Bartley said: “We’ve got ourselves in a position where we can heap pressure on the teams behind us.

“The bookmakers would probably have us and Wantage as joint favourites, but I think we can have a real good go at winning the league now.”

Weather-permitting, Marlow take on Cheltenham on Saturday.

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