VIRGINIA Water manager Ceri Jones is delighted his side were able to mix it with the best in the Hellenic League despite their exit from the Challenge Cup on Tuesday.

The Waters suffered a 1-0 quarter-finals defeat against Bracknell Town. A goal from TJ Bohane on 43 minutes was the difference between the two sides at Stag Meadow.

Jones told the Observer: “It was a fantastic effort from our players and I can’t fault that. I was expecting a tough game and we had a tight squad but we were still able to mix it with the best.

“We were carrying a few bumps and bruises but it was a super quality game. It was a local derby and super entertainment and the crowd went home knowing they had seen a fantastic game.

“The Bracknell manager, Carl Davies, told me he was very impressed with us. It was the hardest game Carl has had as manager and his boys were buzzing with a 1-0 win.

“The result was not of great importance to me because what I wanted was a performance. We were not expecting to win the Challenge Cup but we wanted to pitch ourselves against the best sides and we’ve come through that with credit.

“At the end we felt a little disappointed not to nick a goal, but Bracknell dominated territory and possession even if they didn’t create too many clear cut chances.

“Our back five were terrific to keep them quite for 90 minutes. The back five were immense but that’s not taking anything away from the rest of the players who showed great energy in a game that was considerably quicker than anything they're used to.

"We stood up to Bracknell and came out with flying colours. We've performed against one of the best Premier Division teams.

"The experience is great for me and my staff to assess where we are, and the squad has stood up to the test."

Virginia Water turn their attention back to the promotion push from Hellenic Division One East this season and a trip to Milton United this Saturday (3pm).

Jones said: "We just have the small part of trying to secure promotion now. We're all systems go and in a good place at Virginia Water.

"If we do go up we would like to strengthen, and we can do that now. I couple of players have come up and chatted to me but we would not have known each other before.

"The flip side is people will be looking at our own players. They've all seen us and have been very impressed with our style of football. Hopefully we can keep this squad together, that's my next challenge."

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