Preview: ‘Old Albanian have to beat Darlington Mowden Park to stay up’

Mike Allan passes inside to Sam Lunnon after a quick break

Mike Allan passes inside to Sam Lunnon after a quick break - Credit: Archant

OAs won the previous meeting 29-21 at Woollams

Old Albanian, quite simply, have to win their final two games of the season if they intend to stay in National League One.

Head coach Andy Holloway didn’t pull his punches in his assessment of Saturday’s loss to Hartpury College, see below, and stressed his team will have to be much better, starting on Saturday against Darlington Mowden Park, if they are to avoid relegation.

“We’re under no illusions; we’ve got two tough games and we have to win them both to stay up,” he said.

“We’ll have to be a hell of a better. I know the players are capable of responding and having a backlash. It’s just unbelievably frustrating that something like that has to happen in order for there to be a response.”

OAs beat Darlington 29-21 in the reverse fixture this season and Holloway believes his side can exploit their weaknesses again on Saturday.

“They move the ball around and they’re a tough team to defend against,” he explained. “But they do give you opportunities on defence because they are so attack-minded.”

Most Read

The spectacular capitulation against Hartpury College is the freshest memory, but Holloway won’t have to think back too far for inspiration. OAs completely dominated Macclesfield a month ago and followed up with a draw at Esher, a game they were behind in until the very end.

They will need that do-or-die attitude against Darlington, especially since Cinderford, OA’s relegation rivals, are on a roll.

“In general our form isn’t poor but we were terrible [against Hartpury],” he said. “Cinderford have got their tail up and I don’t expect anyone to do us any favours. We knew we had to win our last three games to have a chance.

“This loss has put us in trouble so we have to win last two games and hope Cinderford don’t pick up a bonus point in both their games.”

Cinderford travel to bottom side Macclesfield this weekend looking to secure another bonus point win in their bid for survival.