MANAGER Simon Johnson is still hanging on to his belief Reading City can avoid being relegated from the Hellenic League’s Premier Division.

“We have four games left and I think we can pick up points,” he said.

A 2-0 home defeat by Virginia Water on Saturday followed by a 1-0 reverse at the hands of Flackwell Heath on Monday leaves City third-from-bottom of the table with two matches still to come against tailenders Longlevens.

There is every possibility no more than two teams will go down and City are one of five who are battling to survive.

Johnson added: “We are now harder to beat than we were a few weeks ago, but we need to score more goals. We haven’t had much luck in the final third.”

His side went into their two home games on a high following their shock 1-0 win over third-placed Brackley Town Saints the previous week.

But they were brought back to earth by Virginia Water, whose goals came from Eddie Lazarczuk on 38 minutes and substitute Harrison Duff in the 71st.

The opening goal came from the penalty spot following a handball by Naz Bockarie, which saw him sent off, and a red card for Eden Downes left City with nine men for the last five minutes.

With skipper Adam Cashin-Murray and Austin Best both suspended, Johnson was forced to make more changes for the visit of Marcus Richardson’s men on Monday night.

There was a debut for keeper Charlie Yorke, the younger brother of defender Rhys and both played well, as did acting captain Ellis Cowd.

City’s defence was only breached once and that came when skipper Dan Bailey forced the ball home at the second attempt in the 24th minute.

The nearest the hosts came to equalising was when Lorenzo Medford saw his close-range header brilliantly saved by goalie Aaron Watkins in the 56th minute.

Flackwell played the last 15 minutes with 10 men after substitute Tyrese Corbin-Chandler was dismissed for chopping down Dan Davies.

“I thought we could have done a little better when they went down to 10. We didn’t really react to it, but in terms of the 90 minutes I thought it was another solid performance from us,” commented Johnson.

City are without a game this Saturday, but host sixth-placed Shrivenham at Rivermoor on Monday (7.45pm), their penultimate home league fixture.

WOODLEY United crashed out of the Bluefin Sports Supplementary Cup at the quarter-final stage after they lost 1-0 at Stokenchurch.

A stunning Max Laschok effort in the 17th minute put the Kestrels in front, only for Jack Blesson to level before the break.

Woodley thought they had won the game when Chace Jewell tapped home in second-half stoppage-time, only for the goal to be ruled out for handball.

And in a dramatic twist, Stokenchurch went straight down the other end with Blesson firing home to put his side into the last four.

Woodley United are at home to Thame Rangers in Division One East this coming Saturday (3pm).

AFC Aldermaston's Reading Senior Cup tie at Woodcote Stoke Row was postponed on Saturday.

The Atom Men travel to Didcot Town Development in Division One East this coming Saturday (3pm), before hosting Easington Sports in the Subsidiary Cup on Tuesday (7.45pm).