Perfect platform in place for vital run-in - McLean

Worthing Raiders full-back Matt McLean believes his side now have the perfect platform to ensure National League 2 South safety. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Worthing Raiders full-back Matt McLean believes his side now have the perfect platform to ensure National League 2 South safety. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Worthing Raiders full-back Matt McLean reflected on a vital National League 2 South victory on Saturday and said: “We’ve given ourselves a perfect platform now.”

Raiders ran in four tries on their way to sealing a thrilling bonus-point 36-33 triumph over fifth-placed Taunton Titans at Roundstone Lane.

Having started the day second-bottom in the standings, Worthing’s victory – along with defeats for both Barnes and London Irish Wild Geese above them – helped them out of the relegation places on games won.

The win over Taunton completed a run of three successive home games, with Raiders winning two of those following a run of ten consecutive defeats.

With victory over both Barnstaple and Taunton in the previous three weeks, plus a dazzling opening-hour display against third-placed Old Elthamians, McLean feels the squad should have every confidence heading into the final six games this season.

He said: “The signs have been good over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been in great form and our attitude is good as well. We’ve got some good momentum at the minute and hopefully we can take some of the great things from training into the upcoming games.

“Two out three wins is one thing but also the way we’ve performed in all of those has been pleasing. Our performance against Old Elthamians for 60 minutes was superb and you expect a side with that calibre to run away with it in the closing stages. The past three games have been crucial for us and given us a really positive platform to work from going into these final six fixtures.”

A recurring theme for Raiders over the course of this season has been an inability to kill teams off and allow them back just after the hour.

Having held significant leads over both Barnstaple and Taunton – Worthing’s most recent wins – Raiders nearly handed them a way back in.

Taunton trailed 28-7 just after the interval on Saturday, before running it 26 points in the closing 20 minutes as they ended just four points from victory.

That’s a trend that McLean wants to see put to an end in the closing stages of the season. He added: “We seem to lose control in the last quarter of matches. It’s been the story of our story and something we must address in the games to come.”

Having sent London Irish Wild Geese into the relegation places following the latest round of fixtures, fourth-bottom Raiders got to them this Saturday.

It’s a match which McLean feels will be massive for both teams.

He said: “This game is going to be even bigger than it was prior to the most recent results. We could win and start to get ourselves out the current mess we find ourselves in and around the relegation places.”

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