Binns Despite nursing an injured ankle, Dale Binns was suffering more from itchy feet while he watched Sutton United’s disappointing Skrill South finale from the touchlines.
Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Dover Athletic at Gander Green Lane brought the curtain down on a season that saw United finish second in the table, their highest in Skrill South under Paul Doswell.
However, United would ultimately miss out in the play-off semi-finals to a team that finished 12 points behind them.
Binns, injured in the first leg, was one of three stars – alongside Jamie Slabber and Louis John – who missed the return fixture, while Charlie Clough, Damian Scannell and Will Spetch needed injections to play, and Gavin McCallum and Marvin Williams were struggling with fitness.
Doswell pointed to the unfortunate injury list as key to missing out on promotion, but Binns has an alternative explanation.
He said: “Once we’d got a play-off place confirmed, that is all we were focussed on and maybe we relaxed in the league too much and took that state of mind in the Dover match.
“But we all thought we would be playing Havant & Waterlooville, and they were the best team we’d played this season.
“When Dover sneaked in the play-offs, we thought this is a team we’ve beaten twice this season. We know their negative tactics, but we know we can overcome that.”
“We had that great start in the first leg, and maybe we thought it was going to be easy and we relaxed too much.
“Dover were pumped up on the back of sneaking into the play-offs, and I think they wanted it more.”
He added: “Watching from the side on Saturday was hard as I was convinced I would have made a difference on the pitch.
“The lads were struggling to break them down, and I knew I’d be able to get past a couple of defenders – but I know they gave their all, it just was not enough.
“The dressing room was stunned afterwards, but Dos told us there is nothing more we can do and we should move on, and prepare for next season.”
Binns signed an extension to his contract in January, keeping him at the Lane until the end of next season at least.
And he is hopeful the core of the squad stays together, all set for another assault on the league.
“It is going to be a long summer, but we’ll all take a break for couple of weeks – I am looking forward to spending time with my family and letting time and nature heal the aches and pains.
“But then we will come back raring to go again. I know we have the team to win this league, and that is our aim.”