BEACONSFIELD SYCOB boss Byron Walton insists all the pressure is on derby rivals Slough ahead of their play-off clash this evening (Thursday, 7.45pm).
The Rams secured their spot in the top five despite a final day defeat to Daventry. Northwood missed out on the chance to leapfrog them by losing at Leighton.
It has been a different story for the Rebels, who were still gunning for the title until two weeks ago and finished a comfortable second – 15 points above fifth-placed SYCOB.
But Slough’s preparation for the end-of-season Holloways Park clash has been far from ideal. Their final game of the season at Woodford was postponed on Saturday and again on Tuesday, which means they have not played since April 21.
And they are without a win in their last three outings, conceding nine goals in the process.
Beaconsfield have won only one of their last five games themselves but Walton has challenged his players to take advantage of their underdog tag when they meet their tenants.
“The pressure is off for the Slough game to be honest,” he said after Saturday’s game. “It’s really important that we give a good account of ourselves. The players will be raring to go for it and anything can happen.
“We were very nervy today because of the expectation. We didn’t play particularly well but that doesn’t matter – we have a chance in the play-offs now.”
When the two sides met on Boxing Day, Slough came out on top but honours were even in a 1-1 draw between the two on April 9.
After finishing rock bottom of the Evo-Stik Division One Central last season, Walton has masterminded a remarkable turnaround that has seen The Rams in the top five for most of the season.
“It’s an achievement to have at least reached the play-offs this year,” he said. “Based on the whole season, we deserved to get there.”
The winner of the tonight’s game will take on Bedworth United in the final on Monday for a place in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division.