Baffins Milton Rovers can have a huge say at both ends of the Wessex League Premier
Danny Thompson’s side can certainly do Portsea Island neighbours US Portsmouth a favour or two in the remaining games of 2022/23.
They travel to two of USP’s relegation dogfight rivals - Pagham on Tuesday and Blackfield & Langley on Saturday.
And Rovers’ penultimate match of the league campaign, on Thursday week, is against title-chasing Horndean.
Rovers didn’t do USP much of a favour at the weekend, coming from 0-2 down inside the opening half-hour to claim a 2-2 draw at the Victory Stadium.
A Jason Parish penalty and a Dan Wood header cancelled out a brace from Josh Bailey on his first USP start.
Thompson said: ‘We weren’t great at the weekend, we’ll need to be a lot better at Pagham.
‘We just never got going from the word go, and gifted them two goals.’
Thompson rested Kelvin Robinson, Miles Everett and Ed Sanders, and added: ‘Maybe that was part of it, maybe we made too many changes. But the side we put out should still have had enough about them to get three points.
‘Jason Parish missed two glorious chances, he should have had a hat-trick.’
Parish’s spot-kick, though, took him to 16 goals for the season – putting him one ahead of Tom Vincent in the race to finish as the team’s leading marksman in league and cup action in 2022/23.
Wood (calf) and Paige (groin) came off injured at US, putting a question mark over them for the trip to Sussex.
‘I don’t want us to amble towards the end of the season,’ demanded Thompson. ‘That’s what I keep drumming into the players.’
‘We can have a major part to play at the bottom and the top of the league.
‘When Horndean come to us that could be a title decider for them.’
Pagham aren’t in great form, having lost five of their last six league games.
They crashed 3-0 at home to Cowes at the weekend, after losing 4-0 at Fareham last Tuesday.
A second half hat-trick from Elias Ahmed ensured Cowes eased their own drop fears as they moved six points clear of Pagham.
Pagham’s only points in the last six games came via a 2-0 home win over already relegated Alresford.
Baffins have only lost once in their last six league games, and that was in the 95th minute at Moneyfields.