Wednesday, May 03, 2023

AFTER ten months of hard work, it has all come down to potentially two weeks of another play-off campaign as we try and gain promotion to the Football League for the first time in Woking’s history. We started training back on 23 June and we have put a huge effort into this season already. The play-offs were our aim at the beginning of pre-season for us and we have already created history by achieving that goal, but we don’t want it to stop just yet.

Padraig Amond and Woking play Bromley in a Play-Off eliminator tonight
Photo: David Holmes

We had third place in our grasp with two games left but unfortunately, we lost last Tuesday which all but ended the chances of finishing third and going straight into the semi-finals and avoiding the play-off eliminator.

In the end we needed a miracle last Saturday to get third place. Chesterfield needed to be held by Maidstone who hadn’t won in twenty-five games and at half time it looked like there was a chance of it happening. An early Chesterfield goal in the second half finished our hopes off and in the end our victory away at Solihull was just a good boost for us heading into the play-offs this week.

The game at Solihull was the first game of the season that I have missed this season as the manager rested me before the busy week (hopefully) ahead of us. I really wanted to play the game which would have been my forty-sixth league appearance of the season and at 35 years old it is something I am very proud of. I look after myself a lot and try to give myself the best chance at being available for every game but of course there is a big element of luck involved by avoiding injuries which I have been able to do for the majority of my career. Of course, I understood the managers decision and I would have made the same decision if I was him as these next few days are huge for us.

We face Bromley in the play-off eliminator on Wednesday night. We are at home for the one leg game, and we really need to take advantage of that. Our supporters have been excellent this season and been very loud in every game and they need to be the same on Wednesday night because that could make a huge difference to us. Bromley come into the game as the form team in the league and they are unbeaten in eight games. Before that run of unbeaten games, they looked like they only had an outside chance of making the play-offs, but they were excellent in that period to make it happen and they deserve so much credit for doing that. We are hoping that run ends for them on Wednesday and we are able to extend our season and keep the dream alive of going up to League Two at Wembley.

The winners of the game between ourselves and Bromley face an away semi-final on Sunday to Chesterfield which is going to be a very tough fixture, especially after the effort that both sides are going to be putting in on Wednesday night. Getting to the play-off final would be a huge achievement for us at Woking and we believe that we are good enough to get there but it is going to be so tough.

I am desperate to play at Wembley once again but not only that, I want to win there again and get another promotion. Every year when it starts every team has ambitions of being successful and it takes a lot of effort and luck to get into the position that we are in right now so it would be a shame for us if we weren’t to take advantage of where we are. For clubs like Woking these opportunities don’t come around very often, and you never know when the next time would be if it wasn’t to be our year this year. We are hoping that we are going to do it this year and we will do everything to gives ourselves the best chance at getting promoted. There is no better feeling than gaining promotion for the league you are in. Whether you win the league or get promoted it is irrelevant because both teams achieved the same but obviously every team would rather win the league because it takes the pressure of the play-offs away from you.


The Pádraig Amond column appears every Tuesday in The Nationalist


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