Hawkins insists play-offs still in reach for Spartans

After playing his part in Blyth Spartans’ 5-1 win at Witton Albion, Dan Hawkins insisted that his side can still make the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play-offs.

The win leaves Spartans four points off the final play-off spot, currently occupied by Ilkeston, although Tom Wade’s side hold a game in hand on the Robins, and that comes on Tuesday night against Trafford.

A positive result in Manchester and Spartans will go into their final day showdown with Marine knowing that should they better Ilkeston’s result at Nantwich Town they will seal a place in the play-offs.

Hawkins feels that all his side can do is focus on themselves and get the results they need from their remaining fixtures.

“We still believe we can do it, we have done all season,” he said.

“We have to focus on our own games and win our last two, we know we are relying on other teams to help us and hopefully they will do that but we have to win our games and what will be, will be.”

Spartans’ crushing win over relegation haunted Albion saw them gifted three goals by their Cheshire hosts, and Hawkins was honest enough to admit that it was a “strange” run of events that handed his side three points.

He said: “I think we would have won the game regardless, but there isn’t any doubt we were under pressure.

“We were given three goals and it was strange to see that happen, but we still had to punish them for it, which we did.”

If three of Spartans’ five goals were gifts’ then one of them, scored by Hawkins, most certainly was not.

“The former Bishop Auckland man crashed home Spartans’ third goal with a vicious dipping volley from 25 yards, the best of his career according to the man himself, and one that took inspiration from a recent strike in one of the biggest games in English football.

“When the ball dropped to me all I could think about was half-time,” he said.

“I have been sub for the past few weeks and we just mess around hitting balls like that at half-time. You always want to hit one like that, I saw Jermain Defoe’s goal in the Tyne-Wear derby and thought I would love to hit one like that, but you never think you can, I was just happy to see it hit the back of the net.

“It is one of the best, probably the best I scored.”