Bailey delighted as Old Streets move towards league survival
London Two North East: Beccles 10 Old Streetonians 13
Old Streetonians first-team coach David Bailey was all smiles following his side’s fourth win of the season at bottom of the league Beccles – a result that could prove vital in the battle for survival in London Two North East.
The Shoreditch-based side made the long journey to Suffolk on Saturday knowing that a victory could potentially open up a significant gap between themselves and second-from-bottom Canvey Island, who faced a tricky trip to league leaders Romford & Gidea Park.
And it was Bailey’s side that started the better of the two teams, enjoying spells of possession and territory before scoring the game’s opening try.
However, Old Streets failed to extend their advantage, and when the ball was lost in the midfield, Beccles managed to run in a converted try of their own to bring the scores level at 7-7.
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“We started really well and straight away looked like the better side,” said Bailey. “We had the better of possession and territory and when we scored the first try I thought we would then go on to score more points.
“However, a sloppy error gifted Beccles possession and they punished us, despite having dominated the first quarter of the game.
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“But that is what happens when you get two teams fighting for their lives.”
With the two teams going in level at the break, it was Old Streets that came out fighting in the second half, winning and converting a penalty for a 10-7 lead.
The Shoreditch-based side continued to take control of the game, as Bailey’s men won another two penalties, but only managing to convert one with the other hitting the post, for a 13-7 lead.
Beccles then slotted a penalty of their own, reducing the deficit to just three points, but Old Streets managed to hang on for the win, much to the delight of their coach.
“It was a fantastic result and Beccles is a really hard place to go to,” said Bailey.
“It is an intimidating atmosphere with the crowd there and to be honest, the way that we played, I think that the scoreline flattered Beccles a bit.
“I am really pleased for the lads to have come away with a result that gives us just a little bit of breathing space over Canvey Island.”
With Old Streets now six points ahead of Canvey and with a significantly better points difference, Bailey is confident that his team can win the battle for survival and stay in the league.
“We look like that we might pull off the ‘Great Escape’ yet again,” he said. “We are in a strong position and we look as though we are the likeliest of the three teams at the bottom to stay up.
“It is still in our hands though, but I think we may have done enough.”
This weekend, Old Streets welcome Woodford to the Hackney Marshes, and Bailey reveals confidence in high in the dressing room.
“We go into the game with Woodford, who are a strong team, with smiles on our faces,” he said.
“The mood in the camp is upbeat and we want to get some more points to guarantee our safety.”
And Bailey admits that his side have had to change their tactical approach in recent weeks, in order to get crucial results.
“It has been a necessary evil,” he said. “We got to this league by playing an expansive and open running game, but we have had to change that and become a more direct team for the time being in order to survive at this level.
“If that is what it takes to stay in this league, then that is what we will have to do.”