Vics' closed out the season with a 2-2 draw away at Brighouse Town this afternoon. Josh Amis nodded Vics' into the lead on 20' - only for Ernest Boafo and Ryan Hall goals to wipe out the lead. Leading scorer Gary Burnett rescued a point for Vics' with a tremendous volley on 73'; the result sees us finish in 4th position in the final Evo-Stik NPL Division One North League table.

The final League Table can be viewed here - http://www.footballwebpages.co.uk/league/northonenorth

 

PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL ARRANGEMENTS ARE AS FOLLOWS -

We will now play Bamber Bridge FC AWAY on Tuesday 28th April in the Evo-Stik NPL Division One North PROMOTION PLAY-OFF SEMI-FINAL. Kick-off is at 19:45.

Stadium Address - The Sir Tom Finney Stadium, Bamber Bridge, Lancashire.  Postcode for Sat-Nav systems is - PR5 6UUAdmission prices are as follows - £7 Adults, £4 concessions (Students with a valid card and over-65's), £4 for U-15's.

 

Saturday 25th April 2015. COMPETITION - Evo-Stik NPL Division One North. VENUE - The Dual-Seal Stadium, Brighouse.

 

LINE-UP'S - Brighouse - Giles, Stor, Tolley, Wilson, Field, Hurtley, Hall, Thornton, Boafo, Harris, Henry (C).  Subs - Baldwin, Gay, Hull, Fisher, Allison.

 

Vics' - Deasy (C), Smalley, Grayson, Clarke, Ali (Bennett 63'), Krou, Cook, Roddy (Summerskill 63'), Sanogo (Mendes 63'), Amis, Burnett.  Un-used subs' - Smith (GK), Fishwick.

 

GOALS - Brighouse - Ernest Boafo 43', Ryan Hall 56'.  Vics' - Joshua Amis 20', Gary Burnett 73'.

 

Unavailable for Vics' - Callum Henry (calf), Danny Meadowcroft (hamstring), Iain Howard (away).

 

No bookings for either side. A fifth game in Vics' last six with no cautions.

 

Vics' began the game in style, enjoying plenty of the possession and working Brighouse keeper Jacob Giles on two occasions early on; Mike Roddy's header on 11' was saved at the second attempt by Giles; then on 16' Gary Burnett's low driven shot was collected at the base of the post by the aforementioned glove-man. The opening goal arrived four minutes later on 20' - Josh Amis powered in a header into the bottom corner of the net from short range after an excellent corner delivery by Mike Roddy had picked him out perfectly. Vics' continued to enjoy the better of proceedings but were caught out on 43' when Ernest Boafo stabbed in a left-foot shot into the net after Mike Clarke only partially cleared away the loose ball after Ben Thornton's snap-shot had cannoned back off the post. It was Towns' first shot on target in the game.

 

Pictured - Stuart Cook launches a Vics' attack in the first half.

Stuart Cook Brighouse 2015

 

HALF-TIME Brighouse 1-1 Vics'.

 

Brighouse started the second half in determined mood and took the lead on 56' - Ryan Hall fired past Deasy from 15 yards after latching onto a big kick out by the keeper', the Vics' defence hesitant to clear away a harmless bouncing ball. It was incredible that Vics' found themselves 2-1 down at that stage as they had the majority of the possession and had worked the keeper' enough but had only the solitary goal to show for their endeavours. The game then entered a scrappy period over the following 15 minutes or so until 73' when Gary Burnett fired in a stunning volley right-footed across Giles' 16 yds out from sub' Richie Bennett's superb, delicate cushioned assist into his path. It was the hit-man's 22nd goal of the season. Both sides launched attacks at each others' goal in an attempt to finish the regular season on a winning note but no real chances presented themselves in the closing stages of the game as the honours were shared.

 

Pictured - game-star Gary Burnett celebrates his point-saving goal with sub' Brian Summerskill.

Gary Burnett goal brighouse 2015

 

Vics' M.O.M - Gary Burnett. A tireless performance from the leading scorer, kept the Town defence on the back-foot all game and crashed home a stunning volley for the equaliser.

 

Manager Jim Gannon's reaction to the draw and his thought's ahead of the promotion play-off semi-final Vs Bamber Bridge (A) on Tuesday 28th April -

 

A difficult afternoon. We got our noses in front - then succumbed a little conceding two soft goals. A classic finish by Gary to equalise, but the stop-start nature of the game in the second half didn't help matters with a lot of fouls committed. 
Brighouse Town are a much improved team and they have finished the season undefeated in the last seven games. I knew it would be a difficult day especially with the number of injuries and tired players we had from the two mid-week cup finals. But the players put in another massive effort and if it wasn't for two soft goals we could have easily come away with a win and the points to secure third place.
I was forced into a number of changes at the start but felt comfortable with the starting line-up. However, I perhaps underestimated the effects of fatigue on a number of players and they had to dig deep to get a performance out of themselves. The pitch was also very very poor and with Brighouse crowding the midfield it also made it a difficult game to get any flow. The midfield battle and a poor inconsistent referee meant the game had a frustrating edge to it.
We have had a great season and it was a disappointing end to only draw the game. However to achieve a play-off position comfortably and to be finalists in one cup competition and winners in another is a fantastic outcome to a hard seasons work. The players deserve great credit. But as I explained to the players the season is now over and we face a separate stand alone knock-out competition in the play-offs. The outcome of this mini comp has a far more tangible reward and I trust from watching the players in two event cup finals that they have the ability and mentality to win such big one-off games. 
 
We now play Bamber Bridge away on Tuesday evening - a difficult task but nothing to fear. We have won more games on the road this season than we have at home.
Any game in the play-offs is difficult as there are four very good teams with great motivation going into this competition. And regardless of home or away and current form no team has any edge as my experience in play-offs is simply who performs on the day or night.  
Bamber are in good form and will be buoyed by being at home. But last season play-offs show how the onus of pressure shifts onto the home team and the play-offs were eventually won by the away team in both games.  
Going into the the game I feel confident in the team available to us and what we will be facing. If we prepare as well as we have for previous big games then I am confident that we can get the result required. As you rightly point out we can draw on a very good away record and I can honestly say I can't remember when we last lost on the road. We have a strong defensive record on the road and we have great attacking ability through our counter-attacking players. Our set-plays have also improved in recent games and we will also offer a huge threat from them as well. 
I am really looking forward to the game and trust that the occasion brings out the best in everyone and we play to our potential. Either way we are in for an exciting week of football. 

 

Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.