Fylde’s Baker ready for play-off pressure cooker

Richie Baker
Richie Baker

Fired-up Fylde midfielder Richie Baker is taking nothing for granted in tonight’s play-off semi-final at Harrogate Town.

The Coasters ended the National League North season with a 2-2 draw at Worcester City, which left them third in the table and facing fourth-placed Harrogate over two legs for the right to play North Ferriby or Boston in the final.

Fylde have taken four points from Harrogate this season, including a 2-1 home victory just 10 days ago, but Baker believes all four sides could be forces to be reckoned with in the play-offs.

He said: “I didn’t really mind who we got in the play-offs. All four are very good teams, so I don’t think it matters who plays who. We all deserve to be where we are.

“All four teams are good in different ways. North Ferriby have big Tom Denton up front and a difficult pitch to play on.

“Harrogate have very dangerous wingers and Boston have a clinical strikeforce that score a lot of goals.

“Harrogate isn’t a bad draw for us because they have a nice pitch. I was being really picky, then I’d want Boston to beat Ferriby so we would get the final at Kellamergh Park.”

Fylde were well placed to nick the runners-up spot on Saturday when they led 2-0 at half-time but a late penalty earned Worcester a point.

Baker believes that result and performance summed up his side’s fortunes this term.

He explained: “I think that performance was us in a nutshell. We can be unplayable at times, batter teams and create lots of chances, then at the same time we can let teams back into games far too easily.

“Had we got a third goal their heads would have dropped. That is difficult to come back from mentally. But they got a goal we never should have allowed them and it gave them some confidence.

“I had a couple of chances and I should have scored the second one. The first one was bouncing across me but I should have done better with the second one.”

Fylde’s Danny Rowe scored both goals at Aggborough but a hat-trick by Boston’s Dayle Southwell at Stalybridge left the pair tied for the league’s top scorer accolade with 24.

Baker added: “Rowey is a bit gutted because he thought one goal would wrap up the award. He ended up with two only to find out Southwell had scored three!

“Rowey has been class for us this season. It’s just a bit of a shame he has to share the accolade with someone else.”