Mark Beesley reflects on historic play-off final win

Warrington Town manager Mark Beesley has praised his “outstanding” group of players after they secured promotion to the National League North with a dramatic 1-0 victory over Bamber Bridge.

It was a nervy encounter at Cantilever Park, as Town and Brig locked horns in a winner-takes-all battle to see who would join South Shields in the league above next season.

Despite being down to 10 men following Josh Amis’ red card, it was second half substitute Isaac Buckley-Ricketts who popped up with a 90th minute winner in front of a sold-out Cantilever Park. 

Speaking post-match, Beesley said: “I can’t praise the players enough, they’ve been absolutely outstanding.

“We came in on June 26 and the goal was promotion. We wanted to win the league, we couldn’t and we finished second. Then it was about getting up through the only other way, which was the play-offs.

“The players, to a man, have been absolutely outstanding. They changed their system to stop us playing, which they did, and credit to them.

“We weren’t at our best, and it can happen in finals. People get nervous, a bit of apprehension, they don’t want to lose. 

“We just said at half-time, ‘be a little bit braver’. We brought Sean [Williams] on and he made the difference. He gave us that little bit of calmness in possession.”

With 10 minutes of the final to go, Town were dealt a blow when captain Josh Amis was sent off following an off-the-ball clash ahead of a Yellows corner.

Despite the setback, the Yellows kept their composure and were able to find a remarkable late winner to seal promotion. 

“With the red card, you think ‘oh no, here we go again’,” he added. “Full credit to the lads for getting over the line. 

“It was a tight game and they’re a good team with some really good players.

“It wasn’t going to be like Tuesday. Let’s be honest, Tuesday was absolutely outstanding. The amount of people who said to me it’s the best they’ve ever seen us play. 

“It was never going to be like that, but we had to dig in, get over the line and we did.”

After the game, Beesley heaped praise upon match-winner Buckley-Ricketts, drawing comparisons between the winger and former Yellows stalwart Craig Robinson. 

Robinson famously scored the winner against Exeter City in the FA Cup first round back in 2014, and Beesley believes Buckley-Ricketts will now hold a similar place in the history of the club.

“He’s made history and will go down with Craig Robinson as a history-maker,” he said.

“He’s taken the club to its highest ever position, and I’m made up for him. He’s been a bit gutted because he hasn’t been playing, with the form of the two other wide players, but for him to go on and score the winner was brilliant.”

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