Whyteleafe teeter on the edge of promotion as champions

High hopes: John Fowler faces a weekend that could change everything for Whyteleafe                 SP72974

High hopes: John Fowler faces a weekend that could change everything for Whyteleafe SP72974

First published in Sport Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Boss John Fowler is standing on the brink of writing a new chapter in the history of Whyteleafe FC.

With three games of the Southern Counties East League remaining, Leafe are sitting pretty at the summit, five points clear of Ashford United.

Leafe host Corinthian on Saturday knowing a win – coupled with anything other than a win for Ashford at Tunbridge Wells – would seal their first league championship title since 1969.

However, should results not go their way on Saturday, Leafe can still seal the title if they beat Ashford at Church Road on bank holiday Monday.

Fowler said: “It would be terrific to be known as the manager who won Leafe’s first championship title for 40-odd years.

“The players deserve it – they have scored more than anyone else, and conceded fewer than anyone else – and the fans deserve it because they have been excellent all season.

“But it is also imperative that, given the investment pumped into the club, that we are promoted. We belong at a higher level, and that’s what we’re striving for.”

Leafe had been running away with the title winning 20 of the first 23 games of the season, but a hic-cup in form has seen them win three of the past six.

Fowler reckons he knows the reason behind the stutter, and it is something he will not let happen again.

“We need to do the business over Corinthian and hope that Tunbridge do us a favour against Ashford, but in reality, we can only concentrate on ourselves, do the things we’re good at doing,” he said.

“We cannot start thinking about other teams, we were guilty of that when we lost those games.

“All season we have been excellent, but as we got close to the business end, we started to worry about what other teams were doing, rather than concentrating on ourselves.”

Fowler is likely to be without Louis Hollingsworth for at least the Corinthian clash, but confidence remains high after Wednesday night’s 4-0 win at Canterbury.

“We needed that win to settle the nerves a bit,” Fowler said.

“No disrespect to Canterbury, but we could have been up against a stronger side so it was a comfortable way to head into this weekend.”

There is a chance the title will go to the final game of the season on April 26, when Ashford host Phoenix Sports and Leafe go to Deal.

Should that be the case, Fowler will be without key men Roscoe DSane and Jensen Grant after the pair were sent off in a 1-0 defeat at Corinthian two weeks ago.

Fowler said: “We’re hoping to have the title wrapped up by then, because if there was a game when we’d happily go without those two, it would be Deal as champions.”

The Corinthian clash kicks off at Church Road on Saturday at 3pm.

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