Bartley confident Marlow can make further progress in FA Trophy

Ben Hart

Mark Bartley is confident Marlow can progress further in the FA Trophy and believes that new additions will help the squad to compete on all fronts, writes Ben Hart.

Bartley’s side beat Westfield 4-3 to reach the first round of the FA Trophy on Saturday, with Nnamdi Nwachuku (two), Devontae Romeo and Junaid Bell on target.

Bartley was frustrated to concede three goals at home but believes it was not a true reflection of his side’s performance, who still boast the best defensive record in the league.

The Blues were without their regular goalkeeper Simon Grant for the match, with Phil Brown deputising between the sticks. He may have been beaten three times but also pulled off some important late saves to ensure Marlow’s progress to the next round.

Bartley said: “It was just one of those days where the bounces of the ball went Westfield’s way a couple of times but it’s just about making sure you get through to the next round.”

On Monday, they were drawn against Larkhall Athletic, also of step four, in the next round of the competition.

A sum of £3,000 awaits the winners of the cup clash on Saturday, November 13, and Bartley said that winning games in FA competitions is all the more special for the financial benefit it brings the club.

Marlow will also have three new signings available for the tie against Larkhall and they may even appear for the first time on Saturday when they Blues make the league trip to unbeaten Chertsey Town.

Former Blue Richie Whittingham has returned to Oak Tree Road while he is joined by Khalid Simmo and former FA Vase winner, Baboucarr Jarra.

The Blues have strengthened their hand while in a strong position in the league and the hope will be these new players can give them the edge over rivals in the race for promotion.

Bartley lavished praise on the new arrivals: “We have more quality in depth now. We’ve looked a little bit tired in the last two games so we’ve made three signings and are hopeful they can give us an injection of freshness that we need.”

Turning his attention to Saturday's trip to Chertsey, Bartley added: “They went deep in the FA Cup, they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Chipstead on Tuesday to protect their unbeaten run.

“It will be a difficult assignment as Chertsey are under new management but it’s one we’re thoroughly looking forward to. It’s going to be a tough game going to their ground and playing on a compact pitch which doesn’t suit us.”

Leaders Bracknell – who now hold a five point lead over the Blues having played a game more – play the only other unbeaten team in the league, Basingstoke Town, so the table could look very different after this round of fixtures.

“It really feels like a big weekend with the top teams in the league playing each other,” Bartley added.

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