Corinthian Casuals boss Matt Howard will sit down with his team next week to set out plans for next season in a bid to avoid a repeat of this term’s drama.
An own goal and one from leading scorer Jamie Byatt gave Howard’s men a 2-0 win over champions Peacehaven & Telscombe on Saturday to secure Ryman Division One South safety and complete their great escape.
Casuals were bottom of the pile and nine points adrift of survival when the Woking academy manager took charge in February.
But 32 points from 18 games since then have have seen Casuals – who lost 3-0 to Burgess Hill Town on Easter Monday – finish well clear, leaving the manager thinking of what might have been.
“After Saturday’s win I thought we still needed a point, but in the dressing room the boys soon put me right,” he said.
“It was a relief. As much as we did not want to leave it to the last day it was still a possibility, but thankfully that is not the case.
“We’re meeting with the boys next week to find out their plans for next year and hopefully we can keep the squad together.
“If we can show the sort of form at the start of the season as we have over the past 10 or 12 games, then who knows what we could do.”
Casuals host relegated Redhill this afternoon and, with the prospect of beating the club’s record points total, the manager insisted there was plenty to play for.
“We can beat the club’s points total record by reaching 55 points on Saturday and that is the target for us all,” added Howard.
“I cannot put my finger on what is behind the turnaround because we have only trained about twice.
“We’ve had to play so many games because of the cancellations, that we have not had time to train.”
And Howard, who took the reigns from Brian Adamson, who in turn had briefly replaced former boss Kim Harris after his departure in February, paid tribute to his predecessors.
“Brian has been brilliant behind the scenes. Our backroom team have been absolutely fantastic,” he added.