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Boss Steve Lovell eyes a minimum of two wins from Herne Bay’s next three Isthmian South East matches as they aim to stay in the play-off mix

Manager Steve Lovell is eyeing a minimum of two wins from Herne Bay’s next three Isthmian South East matches as they aim to stay in the play-off mix.

A 3-1 loss at leaders Ramsgate on Boxing Day left Bay 10th – five points behind fifth-placed Sheppey but with two games in hand.

Herne Bay frontman Kane Rowland – scored on his Ramsgate return in a 3-1 Boxing Day defeat. Picture: Marc Richards
Herne Bay frontman Kane Rowland – scored on his Ramsgate return in a 3-1 Boxing Day defeat. Picture: Marc Richards

Lovell’s side make the trip to Burgess Hill on Saturday before a New Year’s Day home derby against Ashford. They then visit Sevenoaks on Saturday, January 6.

Lovell said: “We need to pick up a couple of wins over the next three games, really.

“If we can do that, we will still be there or thereabouts - but we don’t want to slip too far away from it. We can only do what we can do.

“We just wanted to get a team and a squad together to consolidate ourselves in this league for the season initially. Now, we’re after a little bit more than that and want to stay on the outskirts of the play-offs.

“There are two or three teams who are going to be ahead of everybody else come January or February. It will then be about the teams who get into the other play-off places and there’s a number of teams vying to do that.

Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Randolph File
Herne Bay manager Steve Lovell. Picture: Randolph File

“It’s enjoyable and throws up all sorts of different things for you to think about.

“The first part of the season has been very good for us and we’re quite happy with how we have progressed.

“We just need to make sure we continue in the same vein.”

Burgess Hill made a change in the dug-out earlier this month, with youth-team boss Gary Mansell replacing former Leyton Orient midfielder Dean Cox.

“This Christmas period is a tough period for everyone,” noted Lovell. “We have got Burgess Hill on Saturday and then Ashford and Sevenoaks.

“Burgess Hill is a tough place to go out and get a result.

“They have got a new manager and he has brought in a couple of players with him.

“With two games over the weekend, we will see how we go and take it from there.”

Lovell felt two costly first-half goals proved Herne Bay’s undoing on his Southwood return in front of a crowd of 1,625.

Bay got one back through Kane Rowland before half-time, only for Joe Taylor to bag his second on the hour to restore Ramsgate’s two-goal cushion. Bay also ended with 10 players as defender Harrison Pont hobbled off with Lovell already having used his substitutes.

Bay’s boss, also without the sidelined duo of Gil Carvalho and Bola Dawodu, reflected: “We started very brightly but they scored near-enough with their first effort on goal and the second one we gifted to them so, before we knew it, we were 2-0 down.

“Against any team - never mind Ramsgate - to be 2-0 down early doors is quite a shock.

“I changed the formation very quickly and we got back into the game. When we made it 2-1, I thought we handled the second part of the first half very well.

“But the fourth goal in the game was always going to be massive. We knew, if we could get it, that we would have a chance.

“We had a number of opportunities but we didn’t take them and then Joe Taylor scored a very good goal for their third.

“The boys did well against a good side in Ramsgate. But we could have stopped their goals, particularly the first couple.”

It means much-fancied Rams have done the double over Bay this term, having edged to a 2-1 win at Winch’s Field in August.

Lovell said: “Ramsgate are a very good side. They’re not top of the league for no reason.

“Over the two games we have played against them, we have caused them some problems. I always take positives from a negative situation.

“If we can take the positives into the remainder of the season, we will be fine.”

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