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Woodley boss James Anderson feels home advantage could be key to survival hopes

James Anderson
James Anderson remains confident Woodley will retain their Hellenic Premier status (Pic by Neil Graham)

JAMES ANDERSON feels Scours Lane could prove to be a massive advantage in Woodley United’s scrap for survival.

The Kestrels returned to action on Monday evening following an enforced 16-day break due to postponements, as they hosting high-flying Wantage Town in league action.

Woodley more than held their own, levelling at 1-1 through James Tennant and setting up a grandstand finale when Toby Briggs bundled in to pull the scores back to 3-2 with 10 minutes to play.

Toby Briggs equalised on Monday against Wantage

But despite a late barrage, Wantage held on for three vital points which leaves Woodley third from bottom of the table with just eight games to play.

Seven of those games will be played at the Kestrels’ home of the Rivermoor Stadium at Scours Lane, where they have proved to be tough to beat all campaign.

Tuffley Rovers are the visitors on Saturday (3pm) and Anderson says his side need to use their home comforts to their advantage.

“It seems to really suit us,” the Woodley boss told The Wokingham Paper.

“I think Scours Lane is a difficult place to go to generally.

“I think for us, the size of the pitch seems to really help and I think that’ll bode well for us towards the end of the season.

“It’s just a matter of turning up each week with the same belief and the same confidence that we can get something out of these games.”

Saturday will be the third time Woodley have come up against Tuffley this season, losing 2-1 in the FA Cup and 1-0 in the reverse league fixture.

But Anderson believes his charges are in a better place to compete this time.

“Tuffley are a very good Hellenic side,” he said.

“They’re a big team and certainly the earlier game in the season, I think that was our second game in and we were quite new to how the league was played and perhaps a bit naive in that game.

Woodley were knocked out of the FA Cup by Tuffley earlier this season

“But certainly the league game was much closer in terms of performance.

“I felt they were lucky to come away with something there so I think we’ll certainly give them a good game on Saturday.”

He added: “If we play the way we know we can play, I’ve got no doubt we’ll come away with the three points.

“But it’s a matter of doing it on the day, taking our chances and believing for the 90 minutes we can keep going, keep going and get the points at the end of it.”

And that confidence has certainly swelled following recent displays against two of the top sides in the league.

As well as pushing Wantage all the way, Woodley’s previous game was a 3-0 defeat at Binfield, but the scores were locked a 0-0 at half-time before the Moles pulled clear.

Despite a long gap between those games, the Kestrels have not lost any ground with other sides around them also stuck in a losing rut.

Woodley lost 3-0 at Binfield last month

“In truth I think the teams around us are in a similar position in that they’re finding it very difficult to pick up points,” said Anderson.

“So that is encouraging.

“I’m very confident if we play like we did in the first half against Binfield and the game on Monday night against Wantage, these performances have been really good and it’s only a matter of time before these performances turn into points.”

Woodley are set to welcome back striker Haydon Richardson to the team on Saturday after a spell out of the side through injury.

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