Tong is hoping for a miracle

Diss boss Paul Tong admits the former FA Vase winners are staring Ridgeons Premier Division relegation in the face ahead of today's league finale against Stanway.

Diss boss Paul Tong admits the former FA Vase winners are staring Ridgeons Premier Division relegation in the face ahead of today's league finale against Stanway.

The Tangerines need an improbable set of results involving nearest rivals CRC and Halstead plus a thumping victory over Rovers to stand any chance of finishing outside the bottom three.

“The fat lady is certainly gargling,” said Tong. “It would be catastrophic for everybody connected with the club to go down. It's a mountain to climb but we still have to go out with the attitude we want to win our game. Technically it is very difficult now to finish outside the relegation places. We've started to play well recently, but it could be too little to late. Our inability to beat the teams around us has cost the club all season.”

Tong insists he will stay at the helm should the Brewers Green Lane outfit sink back into the first division for the first time since 1992.


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“Whatever happens I am committed to the club,” he said. “The chairman and directors have backed me 100 pc to be here next season and we will be looking to strengthen over the summer. Who knows in football. Norwich United finished in the relegation zone and got a reprieve.”

Kirkley conclude a highly memorable season at Needham Market where a victory will guarantee a sixth place position in only their second season in the Premier Division. Kirkley 'keeper David Attridge, centre half Leon Harwood and midfielder Rob Horton are still all out injured.

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Last week Kirkley sent out their youngest ever side against Clacton, including 16-year-olds Bodie Carter and Ian Dawson.

Meanwhile champions Wroxham travel to second placed Mildenhall looking for a win that would see them finish 11 points clear of their nearest challengers.

Swaffham chief Lucian Hodkinson wants the Pedlars to hold their nerve at Whitton in a three-way shoot-out for Premiership promotion behind champions Walsham-le-Willows.

The fourth-placed Pedlars are locked together with Haverhill on 74 points - one point behind Ely.

“We have to forget about what is happening elsewhere,” said Hodkinson. “It's easy to look at the league table and feel they will both win. What I don't want is to find they lose or draw and we haven't done our job by going at it half cocked. Whitton are the in-form team, but we have the players to do it.”

The Pedlars' promotion push has stalled on the back of two goal less draws.

“We managed to stop conceding goals but they've dried up at the other end,” said Hodkinson. “Gav Norman hasn't been as prolific as he was. He picked up an injury and is just finding his way back. We've had the majority of possession in both the last two games without creating a stack of chances.”

Hodkinson accepts missing out on promotion would be tough to take.

“We've been up there all season - so we'd only have ourselves to blame,” he said. “The team has definitely been good enough to win the league, not just get promotion. I would blame myself because the buck stops with me - I brought these players in. Some of the lads must also look at themselves and question their commitment.”

He added: “I've had two hard years and it would be a massive blow, horrible. We'd have to sit down with the chairman and committee to decide whether we have another crack or bide our time while the new ground is being built.”

Swaffham travel without Anthony Reeve, Steve Johnson, Andy Hunter and Scott Voutt.

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