Crunch time for Alstonville FC as they face Ballina
IT IS crunch time for Alstonville's semi-final hopes when they take on bogey side Ballina in Football Far North Coast premier league tonight.
Villa has only three games left to make up the five point gap to fifth placed Bangalow, and a loss to the Seahorses tonight could spell the end of their semi aspirations.
"It's the same scenario as the last four years, we need a big finish to the season and there's plenty of motivation and desire to make it through for the first time," said coach Mark Ambler.
But Villa will need a better performance than their first-round encounter, when a 10-man Ballina hung on for a gritty 1-0 away win.
The Seahorses will have the home advantage this time and with Justin Stockham and Nick Key back to boost the line-up that held third-placed Workers to a draw last week, coach Chris Layland is oozing confidence.
"We've already beaten Alstonville three times this year and we're starting to hit our straps now, so I think we can make it four from four," he said.
Layland will look to his experienced trio of playmaker Stockham, dangerous striker Matt Jeffery and defensive general Dave Betterridge to lead the way,
Villa's hopes will hinge on the quality of their finishing. With the aggressive combination of Phil Francis, Liam Giles and Zac Illife up front they are sure to create plenty of chances.