Boss Paul Collicutt hopes news of Evesham United’s play-off berth will prove the perfect tonic for poorly assistant Gerry Oldham writes the Worcester News.
The Robins knew a draw against AFC Totton would be enough for a place in the Southern League West promotion shootout with Mat Liddiard’s scrambled first-half goal securing a 1-0 victory.
It arrived in spite of right-hand man Oldham having to stay away due to being taken ill during the night, while coach Mark Lockwood had to scarper at full-time due to his wife being taken to hospital.
“Off the field we had one or two disruptions that were beyond anyone’s control but the lads knuckled down and responded.
“The most important thing is that everyone will be fighting fit and healthy very quickly and I hope the win gave everyone affected a lift, not just those present at the club.”
Liddiard pounced to get the vital touch at the far post after Archie Haskayne had tried to convert Adam Mann’s inviting inswinging corner 26 minutes in.
United spent most of the match on top, forcing a multitude of corners while Totton failed to threaten in the final third and produced few moments to worry about during the latter stages.
Despite the rest of their rivals for a top-six finish also winning, Evesham finished fourth and gained home advantage for Wednesday’s one-legged play-off semi-final with Swindon Supermarine (7.45).
“I was just very pleased to get through a difficult game,” said Collicutt.
“Up until last weekend Totton were still in with a shout themselves and made life difficult for us. They were able to play with a bit of freedom but on balance, I felt we thoroughly deserved to win.
“It was nerve-wracking. My head is banging but we are here to win. That comes with being a part of big games and occasions and I would be happy to go through that every week if it meant being successful.”
“They play football in the right way so it should make for a very entertaining game.
“We cannot look any further ahead than this one. We have to be focused because Supermarine have some good players.
“My biggest hope in the meantime is that we can attract a big crowd and show how much the people of Evesham want to play at a higher level.
“It would be lovely to see 700 or 800 here. I just hope we can win it.”
The winners of Evesham’s semi-final will be away to Wimborne Town or at home to Didcot Town in the final on Bank Holiday Monday, May 7.
Pictures by Stuart Purfield here
Robins: Sawyer, Dovey, Bennett, Turley, Lewis (Wellon, 52), Liddiard, Bryan (Ebbutt, 82), Haskayne, Mehew (Dunbar, 67), Mann, Preen. Unused subs: Williams, Hancock.