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Herne Bay boss Ben Smith says back-to-back wins show his players are made of sterner stuff

Ben Smith believes Herne Bay have answered questions about their character following back-to-back wins.

Bay are back in the Isthmian South East play-off places, climbing to fourth, after Laurence Harvey’s last-minute winner at Chichester on Tuesday.

Ben Smith's Herne Bay are back in the play-off spots after successive wins in Isthmian South East. Picture: Chris Davey
Ben Smith's Herne Bay are back in the play-off spots after successive wins in Isthmian South East. Picture: Chris Davey

Their 1-0 victory followed Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of East Grinstead as Zak Ansah’s double and goals from Adem Ramadan and Dan Carrington earned a big home win.

Bay had lost their previous two matches but have shown what they’re made of, particularly with Harvey’s last-gasp strike.

“I can’t ever remember getting a 90th-minute winner,” said manager Smith.

“We had a fantastic chance three minutes before that and didn’t take it when Jack Parter is three yards out and somehow gets his feet muddled.

“You think the chance has gone but to go and bundle one over the line at the end like that showed our character, something we’ve questioned the boys on over the last month.

“Hopefully they’ve taken it personally. I know I have.

“I’ve said to the boys you don’t become a bad side overnight but suddenly we lose a couple of games in a row and we’re deemed not good enough, so it’s a good response to that.”

Herne Bay are looking to complete the double over sixth-placed Haywards Heath when the sides meet at Winch’s Field this Saturday.

That’s followed by a Kent derby at Faversham on Tuesday night, with Smith the latest manager to criticise the Lilywhites’ pitch.

Win those games and Bay will at least give title favourites Hastings something to think about.

“We’ve got two tough games coming up,” said Smith.

“We haven’t fared too well against the top sides but we have a good record against Haywards Heath, and I’m confident we can carry that on.

“We’ve got Faversham away on Tuesday and I’m not even sure you can call it a pitch. I’ve never known anything like it.

“It’s not great for their players, either, because they’ve got good players.

"We’ve got a plan how to tackle that pitch. We’re not going to go there and be lambs to the slaughter trying to play how we normally play. We’ll set up differently.

“I’ve said to the boys if we win these next two we’ll be a maximum of six points behind Hastings.

“They’re outright favourites for the league and rightly so - they’ve shown great consistency and are a quality side with a level of experience which not all the sides chasing have got.

“I’ve said this from day one, whoever’s above us in the league, they’re the ones we’ve got to be chasing and if we’re not far off Hastings come the end of the season, we won’t be doing bad.”

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