Oliver: one last push to get over the line

Hebburn Town manager Scott Oliver
Hebburn Town manager Scott Oliver

Hebburn Town boss Scott Oliver is hoping his side can get over the promotion line this weekend – despite being hit by injuries.

Oliver takes his side to Darlington RA tomorrow for a must-win game as they look to seal a top-three finish.

Hebburn head into the weekend disappointed by last night’s 2-1 loss to Ryton & Crawcrook Albion in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup semi-final.

Ryton took the lead on 63 minutes, when Tyler Davis scored direct from a free-kick.Martyn Hepple made it 2-0 in the 79th minute. Craig Malley pulled one back soon after, but Ryton held on.

Promotion was always the priority for the ambitious Hornets, and with two games to go – at Darlington tomorrow and then at home against Chester-le-Street on Bank Holiday Monday (11am), Oliver wants one last push.

Hebburn sit third in the table, two points behind Whickham who have just one game left, and level on points with Northallerton who, like them, have two fixtures remaining.

It means the race will go right down to the last kick of the season to see who seals the two promotion spots behind likely champions Blyth AFC, but Hebburn know two wins will see them return to Northern League Division One.

Oliver said: “Callum Smith, Peter Jones and John Sherlock will miss our final two league games through injury and Dan Smith has tonsilitis and will also miss the run in.

“We are running low on central midfielders now and we can’t afford any more injuries.

“As for all teams, the fixture schedule is brutal and injuries were bound to happen.

“All teams are in the same boat, so we will shuffle the pack for our final two games.

“We know the importance of the final two games and what is at stake, but whatever happens the lads have been superb this season and I am very proud of our players.

“Our defeat to Tow Law on Tuesday was our first in 16 games and we played the last 25 minutes with nine men for different reasons.

“The effort from the lads on the pitch in the final stages showed the fight and determination from this team.

“I hope we get a big crowd on Monday and they get behind the team in a game we may need to win to secure promotion.

“Whoever goes up will deserve it as it is a tough league to get out of.

“We have enough players available to complete the job and I think we will do it.”