The Peacocks begin what they hope will be their passage to the National League South when they entertain Poole Town in the semi-final of the Southern Premier South Play-Offs tomorrow evening (1st May), kick-off 7.45pm.
Despite winning at Basingstoke on Saturday, Town had to settle for runners-up spot in the final table after Weymouth saw off Farnborough to win the championship by one point. Second place though at least guarantees the Peacocks home advantage in the semi-final and if successful, the Final on Bank Holiday Monday. However even if Town can negotiate those two games, there will be a ‘Super’ Play-Off Final on 11th May against the winners of the Isthmian League Premier Play-Offs, brought about by the non-league restructuring last summer.
Before the Peacocks can even think that far ahead they have the obstacle of the Dolphins to overcome tomorrow. Poole hit some form in the last month of the season to clinch the final Play-Off berth confirmed by Saturday’s 7-0 win at relegated Staines. They won four out of five League fixtures during April and drew the other game 1-1 with Weymouth, whilst also trouncing Wimborne in the Final of the Dorset Senior Cup. The games between the sides were close affairs during the season just finished, with the Peacocks being beaten 1-0 at School Lane in October before a Rocky Neal goal inside the first minute reversed the scoreline at the Viridor in March. Another tough encounter is in the pipeline then for a Town side who won’t be short on confidence themselves, having secured four wins on the bounce to finish off their campaign.
Head of Football Rob Dray is able to name an unchanged squad from Saturday. He commented: ”So the adventure continues. Finished second in the League, most wins in the division, took the title to the last 30 minutes of the season and ended up 15 points ahead of Poole. Tomorrow night that means absolutely nothing. It’s a cup final in the truest sense. We play well, we win. We make fewer personal errors we win. If we don’t, we will get punished but we are in a great place at the moment and we will be a tough proposition. Enjoy it.”
Rocky Neal struck inside the 1st minute to secure a 1-0 victory in March.
Parking: £1 (Spaces are limited. Arrive early, Gates open at 6pm)