Chris Henderson has a feeling this could be Lowestoft Town’s promotion year
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Chris Henderson admits he has a feeling it could finally be Lowestoft Town's year after his late, bundled winner took them to within one game of Conference football – for the third season running.
The striker's 80th-minute goal was enough to topple in-form East Thurrock United at Crown Meadow on Wednesday night in front of almost 1,200 fans. And that crowd is likely to double for Bank Holiday Monday's (3pm) Ryman League Premier Division play-off final against Concord Rangers.
It was also a Henderson goal in last term's semi-final that helped take Town to the brink of promotion, but like the year before the Trawlerboys suffered heartache at the final hurdle.
The difference this year is Town's second-placed finish in the league booked home advantage throughout the play-offs, while the fact Concord needed extra-time to pull off their surprise 2-1 semi-final win at Wealdstone could also help out a Lowestoft side that at times on Wednesday looked like they were running on adrenaline alone.
'I got one in the semi-final last year so this goal is probably up there with that,' said Henderson. 'Unfortunately last year it was heartbreak the next week. So this is up there in importance but it's only important if we go and finish the job on Monday, which we are all determined to do.
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'With the schedule we've had it hasn't been easy for us. We've played a quarter of our season in the last month of the season, so I think it caught up with us tonight.
'Our biggest break this season has been the Saturday gone to this Wednesday. So for the lads to have put in the effort they have is tremendous and we've got another sizeable break now ahead of the final, and that will only be a good thing – especially as the other semi went to extra-time.
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'That's got to be an advantage for us as well as being at home, so I've got a feeling this could be our year. But we need to replicate what we did tonight and hopefully it stands us in good stead.'
The last two years of hurt will be on plenty of minds in the crowd on Monday – and possibly a few players too.
'It can only drive you on, it can only do good things for you because you have got to turn that negative into a positive,' added Henderson. 'Losing in two play-off finals is sickening, so to lose for a third year doesn't even get talked about in the dressing room. We've got that behind us and hopefully that will drive us on to finish the job.'