Eastwood set for 'toughest test so far' as unbeaten Long Eaton lie in wait

Eastwood CFC will take on the challenge of being the first team to beat league leaders Long Eaton United this season when they head to Grange Park on Saturday.

Thursday, 17th February 2022, 10:41 am
Joint managers of Eastwood CFC, Paul Rockley (left) and Zander Shayler take their side to the league leaders on Saturday.
Joint managers of Eastwood CFC, Paul Rockley (left) and Zander Shayler take their side to the league leaders on Saturday.

United, managed by former Eastwood Town star Ian Deakin, haven’t lost in the league all season and are six points clear of Gresley Rovers who have a game in hand – the two sides having drawn 2-2 last weekend.

And as Eastwood aim to bounce back from conceding a last minute equaliser at Deeping Rangers on Saturday, joint-boss Paul Rockley believes they’re in for what will be the toughest test his team have faced so far.

He said: “Long Eaton’s squad have largely been together for the last couple of years now and are a good unit and will certainly be a good challenge for us.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

"But we are in our own development cycle and as with every other team we face we have a game plan and having done our research we know what to expect and we’ll be aiming to be competitive once again.”

On the Deeping Rangers game, Rockley felt his side were unlucky not to win the game, the Red Badgers also hampered by a late red card for Nathan Kelly in the closing stages which Rockley felt harmed his side’s chances of hanging on.

He said: “I think with 11 men we’d have been able to see the game out because Deeping probably threw more men forward than they might have done given they had the extra man.

"The red card was disappointing as there was some serious provocation involved which led to Nathan reacting.

"On the positive side, it was the longest we’ve gone in a game without conceding and whilst it was disappointing to be so close to the first clean sheet under our tenure only to concede, I think ultimately a draw was a fair result.

"On another day we could have lost the game but Rich Dearle was excellent between the sticks and pulled off a great save late on to deny them a winner.

"So it was a kick in the teeth not to win but there were certainly positives to take from the game.”

Following the Long Eaton game, Eastwood are on the road again a week later at Loughborough University.