Golcar United have sealed their play-off place in the North West Counties Division One North table and can now look forward to a play-off semi-final tie on April 9. 

United are looking to secure third place which will mean a home fixture in a one-off tie against whoever finishes 4th in the table, currently AFC Blackpool. However, there are lots of permutations and much football still to be played.

Golcar only need three more points from their remaining three fixtures to secure third spot. The games are against Garstang, AFC Blackpool and Bury – and all of them are on home turf.

Golcar currently sit on 65 points in third position with AFC Blackpool in 4th on 54 points. Nelson occupy the last play-off spot in 5th on 53 points. Both Pilkington and Bacup Borough who sit 6th and 7th respectively in the table can also still bag themselves a play-off place. 

Golcar boss Ash Connor said: “It’s a tough run in against some very good teams. Bury are looking to win the league, AFC Blackpool are looking to secure their play-off place and when we face Garstang this weekend – who are 10th – they can still have a slim hope of making the play-offs so it’s all to play for. 

“We know what Garstang are about and when we played them earlier in the season, even though we won, the game could have gone either way. We’ll need to be at our best to beat them.”

The fans have been great all season

Golcar will have their biggest attendance in the club’s history when they face Bury on the final day. They have sold over 1,200 tickets with only a handful remaining to be snapped up. 

However Connor would like them to have secured that third spot before taking on the league leaders.

Connor added: “We want it done this weekend, we want those three points. We don’t want to be needing points when we play Bury. I want us going into the play-offs with some form.”

John Deal, the North West Counties League secretary, said the season so far has been fantastic and he’s hoping for a climactic ending with the play-off places being finalised on the last day. 

He said: “The divisions have been really tight this year and competitive. It’s been fantastic. We are all looking forward to seeing how the tables will finish and who will face who in the play-offs. 

“Golcar have done tremendously well to say just a few years back we headed up there and met them at what was just previously a pitch with some fencing around. It’s fantastic what they have done and they should be proud of their achievements so far.”

Applause for the fans.

Joint managers Ash and Gav Connor have released a rallying cry statement via social media, asking the club’s fans to get right behind the team as they have all season going into the last few games.

The statement says: “Although the Bury game is going to be the biggest match in the club’s history, we have two equally important fixtures at the Skye Direct Stadium before that where we need to pick up points to secure our third place play-off place. The fans can be a massive help in our attempts to achieve this. 

“We have had some fantastic support all season, and our current league position has a lot to do with that. The home support has been the most real and best in the league.

“The following two games Garstang and AFC Blackpool are massive for us and we are calling on each and every one of the supporters that have previously come to games to come again. We want you to help us on our way to achieving what we set out to do at the start of this season.

Golcar United images by: SEAN DOYLE

“From now until the end of the season we need everyone at their best. The players, the management but – most importantly – our fantastic fans.

“Be loud and proud and get behind the lads, as you have done all season. You wouldn’t believe the difference it makes when we hear your magnificent support.

“Just look at the Darwen home game, 3-1 down and then the support got louder and louder and it was you that got us over the line that night to take all three points. The atmosphere was electric. We really did have a 12th man that night.

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“Your support really does make a difference and is appreciated by each and every one of us at the club. Let’s really have a good go at this for the final three games and all do what we can to ensure we finish in a healthy position in the table.” 

Head up to the Skye Direct Stadium this Saturday to see Golcar take on Garstang in a crucial North West Counties Division One North match. The fixture kicks off at 3pm.