Home comforts could hold the key to S&L’s promotion hopes

Action from Raunds Town's 4-0 defeat at Long Buckby in UCL Division One last weekend. The Shopmates take on promotion-chasing Stewarts & Lloyds tomorrow. Picture by Dave Ikin
Action from Raunds Town's 4-0 defeat at Long Buckby in UCL Division One last weekend. The Shopmates take on promotion-chasing Stewarts & Lloyds tomorrow. Picture by Dave Ikin
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Stewarts & Lloyds will look to make home advantage count as they target a return to the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division.

Following the Division One trip to Raunds Town tomorrow (Saturday), the Foundrymen have a run of four successive home games.

S&L have only been beaten at Occupation Road twice this season and the next few weeks could be crucial as they look to leapfrog ON Chenecks into the second promotion place.

Boss John Cairns said: “We have to make the most of this run of home games.

“The home form is good and we’ve shown this season that on our day we are as good as anyone in this league.

“We just have to keep bringing our ‘A’ game. I’m confident that if we keep turning up, we will be good enough.”

Cairns says his side “didn’t turn up” against Chenecks a couple of weeks ago.

They were beaten 2-1 by their promotion rivals at Occupation Road but the Foundrymen put that loss behind them with a 1-0 win at form side Long Buckby.

Michael Byrne was the match winner with his fourth goal in as many games.

Cairns said: “Mick wasn’t too happy earlier in the season when he wasn’t scoring goals and got injured, but he’s got a smile on his face now.

“He’s going to be a key player for us.”

Cairns has spelled out the importance of taking S&L back into the top flight.

This is their second season outside the Premier Division and Cairns said: “The longer you stay in Division One, the harder it is to get back.

“The club really needs to be back in the Premier Division playing the bigger teams.

“You get so many more supporters through the gate when you’re in the Premier Division and the money that generates is so important.”

Elsewhere this weekend, Thrapston Town will aim to make it 10 matches unbeaten when they play host to Buckingham Town at Chancery Lane.

Thrapston sealed a 3-1 win over Bugbrooke in midweek thanks to Jack Wisniewski (2) and Jedd Whiteman.

There is a local derby at Alfred Street as Irchester United, who are on the back of six defeats in a row, entertain Rushden & Higham United.

Bottom side Burton Park Wanderers, who had Jack Weight on target in Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Lutterworth Athletic, have home advantage against Long Buckby while Lutterworth is the destination for Whitworth this weekend.