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Herne Bay manager Ben Smith says his team must not be complacent against Three Bridges

Boss Ben Smith has warned there will be no room for complacency when promotion-chasing Herne Bay host strugglers Three Bridges.

Smith’s men are fifth in Isthmian South East but have taken only one point from their last two games after a 3-3 draw at Faversham and Saturday’s 1-0 loss to VCD Athletic.

Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Alan Langley
Herne Bay manager Ben Smith. Picture: Alan Langley

Bay's manager has identified ex-Dorking striker Tom Tolfrey as a Three Bridges player his side will need to keep quiet at Winch’s Field this weekend.

And Smith also hopes his Bay players will have learned their lessons from their 1-0 defeat at home to Burgess Hill last month, ahead of their contest against the west Sussex side who are 18th.

He said: “This year, or any year really, all sides have players that have real quality in this league.

“Three Bridges have the likes of Tom Tolfrey on their hands. He fired Dorking up the leagues, didn’t he?

“So we have to make sure that we are not complacent.

“We were complacent at home against Burgess Hill. Everyone expected us to hit four or five, and we lost.

“It was the same at Faversham.

“We scored early, it looked really easy to be honest with you but then, all of a sudden, a little switch in momentum and we were chasing (the match) again.

“It’s hard to get yourself through the gears quickly when things change in a game.

“You need to be right at it from minute one and we have set standards which the boys have been disappointed that they haven’t maintained in the last couple of games.

“They are two games we could have got more points from, that’s for sure.

“Whitehawk are five points ahead of us. But I actually think we could have got enough points from those games to be up there with them and it’s a missed opportunity.

“But, nonetheless, we are excited with where we are still.

“If you had said at the start of the season we would be in the play-offs, I’m sure every single person at the club would have taken it.

“So, looking at the bigger picture - it’s hard when you are frustrated - but I think that’s certainly something myself and the rest of the club need to be doing.”

Smith continued: “We have good characters in the changing room.

“Our average age is around 24 but, within that, there is an awful lot of experience.

“I have no questions about the character in the dressing room and one or two (bad) games doesn’t change the fact that I’m really proud of how far we have come this season.”

When the two sides met in October, the Bridges raced into a 3-0 lead, only for Herne Bay to fight back and claim a 5-3 victory.

Smith believes that win at Jubilee Walk, as well as Bay's Velocity Trophy success against rivals Whitstable, have been key wins in his side's season so far.

“Those two games were really big turning points for me and that’s when you could really see that the team had that togetherness," he said.

“There are no gimmes in this league this year and we need to make sure that we are 100% focused. The boys trained really well on Tuesday night.

“Personally, in their own individual performances, I think they have a little score to settle at the moment.

“Hopefully, it happens for us on Saturday and that gears us up for Tuesday night at Chichester which is the proverbial six-pointer.”

Midfielder Anthony Edgar (groin) will face a late fitness test to determine whether he will be fit enough to feature against Three Bridges on Saturday, as will versatile defender Dan Carrington.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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