Robins relishing Salisbury play-off test - The Evesham Observer

Robins relishing Salisbury play-off test

Evesham Editorial 24th Apr, 2017   0

EVESHAM United boss Paul Collicutt says his depleted squad are relishing Wednesday’s Southern League Division One South & West play-off semi-final at Salisbury.

The Robins, already assured of a fifth placed finish, ended the regular campaign with a 4-2 victory at AFC Totton on Saturday and will travel to Wiltshire confident of upsetting the odds against the runners-up.

Collicutt said: “We were excellent in the opening 45 minutes against Totton but, with seven changes to the starting line-up that faced Hereford, we had one or two tired legs in the second half with a good number not having 90 minutes for a while.

“It was important to get the game done and dusted without picking up any more injuries but unfortunately Gary Preen came off with a thigh strain to add to our long list of casualties.

“We go to Salisbury in the play-offs and we are all looking forward to it. We will go as underdogs but that suits us down to the ground because I know the lads are determined to do it for all the guys who won’t be wearing the shirt after having their season cut short through injury.

“Salisbury have a good pitch that will suit us and they’re enjoying a good run of results. They will have a big crowd and we can’t wait to get the game on.”

United were 3-0 ahead at the break and cruising to victory but then two late strikes lifted the home side before Paul Fahy made the points safe for the Robins with a fourth goal in stoppage time.

Collicutt made wholesale changes in preparation for Wednesday’s game as a number of players were rested and given the afternoon off.

The first-half was a one-sided affair with United camped in the Totton half and dominating possession. However, despite a barrage of shots and corners, it took until the 11th minute before the deadlock was broken when Dave Allen handled in the box and Mark Magee coolly put away the resulting penalty.

Matt Williams, Leroy Odiero, Lewis Binns and Carl Brown all went close before Magee turned cleverly in the box on 33 minutes to fire past Pat O’Flaherty and make it 2-0.

Five minutes before half time Brown added a third with a sumptuous 20-yarder which gave O’Flaherty no chance as it nestled into the bottom corner.

Sam Gilder, who started in place of previously ever-present Kevin Sawyer between the sticks, was called upon to make his first save on the hour when he dived full length to push aside Nathaniel Sherborne’s header.

O’Flaherty made two good stops from Brown and Fahy before two goals in seven minutes gave the Stags hope.

Sherborne converted from the penalty spot after Nick Stanley’s handball before Curtis Young fired home with three minutes to go.

A shock Totton equaliser never arrived though and Fahy slotted in past O’Flaherty in added time to make it 4-2 after great work by Mann.

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