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Thatcham play their socks off as Kingfishers make it five unbeaten with convincing Sutton Common Rovers win





Midfielder Mo Ceesay scored a brace as Thatcham Town extended their unbeaten run to five matches with a 3-1 win over Sutton Common Rovers – even though Yashwa Romeo's side arrived in Surrey without enough socks.

Kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes as the Kingfishers had to rush to Sports Direct to buy some emergency footwear but showed no ill-effects following the unusual warm-up and were 2-0 up inside 21 minutes thanks to two goals from Ceesay.

David Nyarko added a third in the second half and, although Maxwell Oldham pulled one back for the hosts three minutes from time, Thatcham cruised to a third win in five games.

In-form Thatcham Town extended their unbeaten run to five matches
In-form Thatcham Town extended their unbeaten run to five matches

"It was very good. We've had a run of bad results against Sutton Common Rovers and they're a bit of a bogey side of ours, so we're delighted to get one over them," Romeo said.

"In both games last season we were 1-0 down inside a couple of minutes but, despite the issue with the socks and the less than ideal preparation, we made a great start this time.

"They're a good side but we felt that, if we could get ahead, they'd struggle to get back into it and we were good value for the three points."

Romeo was full of praise for goalscorer Mo Ceesay, who scored against Saturday's opponents last season as well, even though he admitted he considered not starting the dynamic midfielder.

He said: "I wasn't going to start with Mo, but he scored against them last year and I'm a bit superstitious about things like that.

"We know what he brings to the side and he gave us a great start. He gets forward really well and we know he's got a goal or two in him."

Thatcham, who enjoyed a run of 10 games unbeaten over the festive period last season, have collected 11 points from the last 15 available, having lost four of the previous five before that.

And Romeo credits a more settled side, as well as the impressive form of players like Harry Hoath, with the Kingfishers' recent upturn in form.

"We've had a bit of continuity, that's been key, and players have had time to find their feet," he said.

"At the beginning of the season we struggled to settle, we lost a few players and we had a few injuries, so we had to add five or six. Sometimes players need to get to know each other, understand what I want and how we want to play.

"The lads that have come in have done really well and Harry Hoath has really stepped up and led the line for us, his height and strength has made a massive difference.

"Our forward players have scored a few more goals than we did last season and we've stopped leaking so many stupid goals at the back, so we've improved across the board."

Thatcham had been set to welcome Hartley Wintney the previous Saturday, December 2, but the game was called off due to a frozen pitch. Instead, Romeo used his personal relationship with Scott Davies, who is player-manager of National League South side and FA Cup giant-killers Slough, to arrange an impromptu friendly. Despite scrambling around for players, Thatcham – who gave 45 minutes to a 15-year-old goalkeeper in the second half – pulled off a 2-1 win against the Rebels, who started with a close to full strength XI.

Romeo said: "It was a great experience. We were so impressive, they dominated possession but we caught them on the break a few times.

"It gave me a chance to have a look at a few players and give some minutes to youth team players.

"It was a huge morale boost, we were really, really good."

Thatcham, who are up to 11th in the Isthmian League South Central table, host out of sorts Chipstead on Saturday. Romeo is confident the Kingfishers can make it six games unbeaten and believes his side have it in them to be in and around the play-off places come the end of the season.

"We're fifth in the form table and I think they're third from bottom. The reality is that we've got to go and get three points," he said.

"I've challenged the lads to get us in the play-off race. I think we're more than capable. Whether we get there remains to be seen, but I'd like us to be in the mix.

"It's very important that this club can challenge towards the top half as it will make us a more attractive place for players to come in the future."



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