Bucks hoping big crowd will cheer them into play-offs on dramatic final day

Liam Hardy wheel away after scoring his hat trick goal for Buxton at Matlock.
Liam Hardy wheel away after scoring his hat trick goal for Buxton at Matlock.

After an almost perfect Easter, Buxton are hoping for a big home crowd to help cheer them into the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division play-offs when high-flying Warrington visit the Silverlands on Saturday (3pm).

Six points out of six, including a club record 6-0 away win in the Easter Monday derby at Matlock Town, lifted the Bucks into the final play-off spot ahead of Saturday’s final regular season fixture.

But it will be tense as they are only in there by being two goals better on goal difference than Gainsborough Trinity with Buxton facing third-placed Warrington and Trinity hosting second-placed title-chasers South Shields on the final day.

“It’s not good for the heart rate but it will be good for the spectators,” said manager Paul Phillips.

“Touch wood, it’s in our own hands now – even if it’s only by two goals. With the result on Monday it’s swung a little bit in our favour, but we still know we’ve got a massive job to do against a very good team.

“On Monday we had fantastic support. We didn’t how much of a majority of the spectators we had until the first goal went in.

“Crowds are up at Silverlands this season and we are hoping we can get a few more in on Saturday for a massive game that could implicate on the club’s long term future.

“Hopefully they will come through the gates, stay on board with us, and we hope we can take them up into the next league. With their help I am pretty sure we can.”

He added: “A massive thing in terms of getting into play-offs is momentum.

“We have now won four and drawn one of the last six games, so if we can carry that form into Saturday I am hoping the momentum and swing will be with us.

“But we still have a massive job to do to get in there on Saturday.

“Gainsborough are playing South Shields which will be no easy game, but we have to make sure we do our job to take it out of anyone else’s hands.”

On opponents Warrington, Phillips said: “They are a very good team. They are organised, have a good management team and are very experienced. So they will some into it with no qualms.

“We have got to show the same appetite, the same hunger, the same desire and the same clinicalness in front of goal as we did on Monday if we want to take the three points.”

A make-or-break Easter for the Bucks saw them forced to battle their way to a 3-2 home win over bottom-placed Workington on Saturday before firing on all cylinders in the big win at Matlock on Easter Monday.

“On Saturday Workington had nothing to lose so they threw the kitchen sink at us,” said Phillips.

“We gave away two sloppy goals after getting away to a good start, but in the end we ground out a win.

“On Monday we were exceptional to each man. We took the game away quite early and it was a great all-round performance.

“Being a derby it was even more special for the supporters as well. It gave them a bit of appreciation back.

“It was the most dominant performance since I have been at the club. We have had some very good performances with similar amounts of chances in other games but not taken them.

“We were very clinical on Monday and Liam Hardy scored his four goals.

“Matlock have a very good front line – we watched them a couple of weeks before and they destroyed Marine away from home. But on Saturday our back five didn’t give them a chance.

“Even though we scored six goals, the foundations were laid by the keeper and our defenders, who marshalled them very well.”

Phillips had special praise for four-goal Hardy, saying: “I am hoping he can now get a few more goals if we can get into the play-offs on Saturday.

“He has had a disappointing season, but his work rate and appetite to do things had been absolutely top drawer.

“As a striker, not scoring goals can sometimes see you go into your shell.

“But his work rate has been phenomenal. He’s probably just not had the breaks he did last year and people with less character may have hid.

“But he has battled on and played out of position a couple of times for us and I can only speak highly of him.

“He has been a fantastic servant to the club. He has been brilliant while I have been there and hopefully the goals will start coming again.”