Hednesford Town manager Rob Smith has unequivocally stated that his Hednesford team will not rest on their laurels and the cushion Northwich Victoria’s possible expulsion from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division play-off race may or may not give them.
In a bizarre turn of events at Leek Town’s Harrision Lane ground last Friday night, an obscure day for a non-league match to be played at the best of times, Hednesford were winning 1-0 after seventy minutes and their supporters were nervously hoping their team could hold onto a victory which would have given them a three point lead over FC United of Manchester in the final play-off spot.
The Evo-Stik League then announced via their website and Twitter that Northwich would be expelled from the league at the end of the season for financial irregularities, banishing them from the play-off shake up and suddenly meaning a victory for The Pitmen would all but guarantee them a place in the end of season promotion lottery.
Rob Smith’s charges eventually won the game 2-1 and the manager was keen to stress that their home game versus North Ferriby on Tuesday night, followed by Worksop Town at Keys Park on Saturday are both still ‘must-win’ games.
‘All we are focused on is winning the last two matches. Doing that would see us legitimately in the play-offs which would be a massive achievement; all appeals and other results are not on our radar whatsoever.
The players on the pitch were not aware. I’ve heard people say Northwich knew but I know for a fact their players didn’t until the end and you could see the disappointment in them when we scored the second goal. Make no mistake they wanted to win, and they will want to win against Bradford and FCUM in their last two games as well.’
A statement on Northwich’s website vowed that the stricken club will ‘pursue the appeal to the highest governing body possible’ which supports Smith’s theory that The Pitmen must win their last two fixtures to prevent FC United wrestling the last spot back from the Keys Park outfit.