VIRGINIA Water manager Ceri Jones believes his side have justified their mid-table position in the Hellenic Premier Division this season, writes Rob Stevens.

The Waters won promotion as champions of Division One East last season and, with two matches still to play, will finish their first-ever campaign at step five between seventh and 12th place.

Virginia Water strengthened their position in the table with a 2-0 win at Reading City on Saturday, before a 1-1 draw with Binfield at Stag Meadow on Tuesday.

A penalty from Eddie Lazarczuk gave them the lead heading into the break last weekend, with Harrison Duff on target in the second half at Rivermoor.

Virginia Water led Binfield at half-time in midweek thanks to a goal from Adam McNamara, but Josh Howell equalised for the Moles from the penalty spot after the break.

Jones hailed his team for their efforts this season and believes they now have a platform to build on, hinting at a top-five finish next year.

He told the Observer: “The boys have done really well because, at the end of the day, they’ve played double the amount of games compared to last season.

“It looks like we’re going to finish the season quite early which will give us a nice break. We’ve crammed in a lot of games over a short period of time.

“The boys have justified their position in the league and playing where they belong.

“None of them had played at step five before the season started and, although we have had a couple of setbacks, we’ve had some impressive performances as well.

“We’ve got a lot to build on but if we can just keep the squad together, with the odd addition, then we will be in a good position to kick on next season.”

He continued: “We’ve got our eyes open for next season but that’s nothing against the current squad. I’m more than delighted with the squad I’ve got.

“We have had a couple of games where we’ve been a little bit threadbare, going to away games in particular. A slightly bigger squad would help I’m sure.

“We have learnt a little bit of a harsh lesson because we went to a few away games with just 13 players but, for most of the season, we’ve had a pretty good availability.

“Like any side would say, if you can stay fairly injury-free and you are firing on all cylinders with a healthy squad, then you’re going to finish in the top five.

“Our defence has stuck together but I don’t want to just single out them because, to be fair, nobody tries to make a mistake and nobody tries to miss a shot.

“On another day we could’ve picked up a few more points and scored a few more goals but, to be fair to the defence, has been terrific.”

Virginia Water bring the curtain down on their season with a trip to Fairford Town on Tuesday 2nd April (7.45pm), before travelling to Wantage Town four days later (3pm).