CONCORD Rangers manager Adam Flanagan has described securing league survival as a ‘fantastic achievement’ but warned the challenge to remain in the National League South is becoming harder than ever.
The Beach Boys’ 3-0 win against Whitehawk on Monday saw them move six points above the drop zone with two matches to play - but with two sides below them still to play each other it means they cannot be caught.
Flanagan said he was particularly satisfied with the result after the previous home performance and result - a 5-0 loss against Bath City - and was pleased to see those who had criticised that display praise the team this time around.
“I think it has been overlooked at times how young our starting team has been this season,” he said. “In many fixtures we have had eight or nine players starting games that are 21 or under.
“Many of these players have had very little non-league match experience before coming to us. It has been a learning experience for them and one they will be better for having.
“The Bath result and performance was disappointing but these days do happen with such a young team but also help build character.
“In the two games over Easter the young players performed extremely well.
“A lot was made of our display against Bath which was only our second league loss at home since October,” he added. “I couldn’t argue with the comments that I read from those that attended and I felt we went someway to repairing what had happened in the previous home fixture.
“I was equally pleased to read that most of the people that criticised the performance against Bath had again taken the time to praise the players after this game.”
Concord welcome Gosport Borough in their final home game of the season on Saturday before a trip to Hampton & Richmond Borough on the last weekend.
And while the Beach Boys boss is looking for a good end to the season, he has asked fans to bear in mind the magnitude of competing in the division at all.
“For the people in and around the club and for the fans that have seen the success over recent years it will feel like a disappointing season,” he said.
“I can see why they would think that but everyone needs to understand the magnitude of this league and what a tough division it is. The club have completed four seasons in it now and this is a fantastic achievement.
“It must be remembered that each season the challenges become harder, with more Essex based teams in the division making recruitment harder and more finance coming into the league from below.
“I am not expecting anyone to be happy with how this season has gone, I am one of them, but staying in this league for a club of our size and fan base in the overall scheme of things is a good achievement.”