‘We’ll have nothing to fear’ – Denmead boss faces anxious wait to see if his club will be offered Hampshire Premier League promotion
Denmead boss Paul Goddard believes his squad will have ‘nothing to fear’ if they benefit from the FA’s non-league restructure.
The club boast the second-best points-per-game record over the last two pandemic-hit seasons in Division 1 of the Hampshire Premier League.
Since stepping up from the Meon Valley Sunday League, Denmead have won 19 of their 29 league games and have averaged 2.13 PPG. Only Moneyfields Reserves - who have won 22 of their 24 fixtures and average 2.8 PPG - have a better record.
Goddard is now playing a waiting game to see if his club will be rewarded with the promotion no-one can realistically say they don’t deserve based on results since August 2019.
HPL Senior clubs Fleetlands, Infinity, Bush Hill and Stockbridge have applied to move up to the Wessex, and only two of those need to be successful to open the door for Moneyfields Reserves and Denmead.
‘Yes, that is what we’d like to think,’ said Goddard.
‘We’ve just got to wait. I don’t know how long it will take - hopefully not long.
‘The core nucleus of the squad will stay the same, but if we do go up we’ll look to bring in a few to bolster numbers.’
Outside of league displays, Denmead have also impressed in cup ties and friendlies against Senior clubs.
They only lost 1-0 to Bush Hill in the 2019/20 HPL Cup semi-final and were only beaten by the same score when Fleetlands visited Front Lawn in the same tournament last October.
Denmead also stunned AFC Portchester in last season’s Portsmouth Senior Cup, winning on penalties after a 3-3 draw, while they put up a determined showing before going down 4-0 to Moneyfields’ first team in last September’s PSC quarter-final.
Though they have lost both games, Goddard was also pleased with how his side fared against Paulsgrove in recent L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup ties.
‘We gave Paulsgrove two good games, we more than held our own,’ Goddard remarked. ‘If we go up we’ll have nothing to fear.’
Denmead face a ‘winner takes all’ final L4 Cup group game at home to higher tier Clanfield next weekend.
Whoever wins progresses to the knockout stages, with a draw good enough for Denmead as they have scored one more goal than Clanfield - both sides having a minus one goal difference.
Callum Grigg netted the only goal at the weekend as Denmead completed a group double over divisional rivals Harvest.
‘1-0 is never a safe scoreline,’ said Goddard, ‘but I thought we were relatively comfortable.’