Town Poised For Semifinal Glory

The anticipation is mounting, the nerves jangling, the excitement almost touchable.

Eight months after our league campaign got under way, Wingate and Finchley (badge pictured) stand between Town and a place in the Isthmian League Premier division playoff final.

 Tomorrow’s semifinal clash with our near-neighbours at the Dave Bryant stadium for the right to contest the final on Bank Holiday Monday represents the culmination of a fantastic season after finishing third ahead of a string of so-called big hitters.

Now it’s all about taking one defeat in 15 games into the playoffs as we try to avoid a repetition of the heartbreak of two years ago and continue our quest for Step 2 football.

For manager Gavin Macpherson, tomorrow represents his fifth appearance in the playoffs, potentially hugely important when he sends his troops out to meet the Blues who finished one place and one point behind us.

“As long as we’re ourselves, I’m confident we’ll be okay,” said Gavin. “Of course you have to plan and prepare but that’s no different to any league game.

“The difference between this game and any since August is that you don’t have a chance to put it right in the next match if you don’t play well.”

Gavin’s totally understandable decision to rest certain players against Chatham appears to have led to a clean bill of health despite one or two still carrying knocks.

Training on Monday was all about tactics and how to impose ourselves on Wingate, a dangerous, pacey counter-attacking team.

“You don’t fluke getting in the playoffs. They’re a team that deserves respect and we have to be mindful of their strengths. They will probably be confident of beating us too but also wary of the threat we pose,” said Gav.

“Managing the situation over the last week has been difficult and a bit of jigsaw but it looks like it’s paid off. Having said that, I’m going to have to make some very, very tough decisions.”

“I can’t have any sentiment about what the players have done for me all season. That might sound awful but there’s a game to be won. What I will say is that the bench has to be in a position to help carry out a plan B or even C if plan A doesn’t work.”

“The fact is nothing is done even if we get through tomorrow. People might view where we are already  as a great achievement given the magnitude of the sides we we’ve been up against.”

“But to me winning tomorrow basically means we’ve got ourselves through to a cup final. Will I be nervous? I have a responsibility to remain focussed and level-headed because playoffs can be emotional affairs.”

**Important footnote. No alcohol, glass containers or pyrotechnics can be brought into the ground. There will be bag and body searches on entry so supporters are advised to arrive as early as possible.**