Source: North Wales Weekly News
COLWYN BAY player-boss Dave Challinor is urging his players to grab "a fantastic opportunity" when they meet North Ferriby United at Llanelian Road tonight (7.45) for a place in next Monday’s play-off final, writes Tim Channon.
Two wins and six points over the Easter weekend saw the Seagulls finish runners-up in their first season back in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, and has given them a major chance of successive promotions.
If they beat North Ferriby they will be at home again in the final on Monday against either Bradford Park Avenue or FC United or Manchester.
"We have a chance to do something fantastic," says Challinor. "As a player, opportunities like this don’t come around very often, particularly at this level of football, and you need to grab it when they do.
"I never won promotion as full-time professional so to do it as Colwyn Bay captain last season was special – and to do it again in my first season as a manager would be massive.
"If we do get to Monday’s final and go on to win promotion to the Conference North then that would be a huge challenge for next season and really test us."
And it seems the former Tranmere, Stockport and Bury defender does see himself being at the Bay next season.
"I would like to keep as many of the present squad together as possible next season and try and add bit of extra quality to it if I can," he says.
"A manager is only as good as his players and I am fortunate that we have a squad here who are very close, have a great team spirit and have been magnificent for me all season.
"Obviously there has been the odd blip where we have let ourselves down, but only once this season have we suffered two league defeats in a row – that shows tremendous consistency through a long season in a very competitive league.
"I’ve seen some managers call us an average side who rely a lot on our big defenders, but I think that is being a bit disrespectful. We have a lot of very able footballers who have played at a higher level and I believe still could.
"Only champions Halifax can boast a better away record than us this season (12 wins and only four defeats) and every member of the squad can take some credit for that."
Challinor knows, however, that tonight’s semi-final will be very tough.
"North Ferriby are the best footballing side we’ve played here this season (they won 2-0 at Llanelian Road in February) and they will make it a very tough night for us.
"But we’ve had wins against all the other top five teams this season and we know that on our day we are very hard to beat."
An excellent Easter Monday crowd of nearly 750 saw second half goals from Rob Hopley and Karl Noon secure that second place finish with a 2-0 home win over Nantwich Town.
The Bay, after resting four of their first choice players, struggled in the first half, but the introduction of Jimmy McCarthy early in the second stanza changed the game.
Colwyn forced three quick corners and from the third Hopley headed past Nantwich keeper Dan Platt for his 10th goal in 20 games since rejoining the club from Chester.
Although it needed a goal-line clearance from Danny Meadowcroft to prevent Mike Lennon scoring a Nantwich equaliser, a second Bay goal on 75 minutes clinched the points.
McCarthy’s cross from the right was only half cleared and Noon scored with a first time shot from 17 yards.
Jon Newby scored the only goal of the game from a Hopley cross three minutes into the second half in last Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Hucknall Town which booked Bay a guaranteed play-off position.