DEFENSIVE linchpin Mat Liddiard reckons a tactical tweak swung the play-off pendulum in Evesham United’s favour.

Liddiard bagged his 20th goal of the season to seal the 1-0 victory over AFC Totton that confirmed home advantage for the end-of-season shootout on a last Saturday of high drama in Southern League West.

It marked a seventh win and sixth clean sheet in United’s final eight matches and with each of their rivals also winning, teed up a semi-final against Swindon Supermarine at the Jubilee Stadium on Wednesday (7.45pm).

And while Liddiard has enjoyed making his mark at the sharp end this term, he firmly believes the change of shape implemented by boss Paul Collicutt made all the difference.

“We brought in a few players but it was the formation that saw us settle down in a big way,” said Liddiard.

“I think playing four at the back has helped us. Earlier in the season we were conceding quite a few while scoring a lot of goals but since then we have tightened up.

“The only game we lost in this run was against (champions) Taunton and we could have got something from that. Since then, we have got some good results and the key has been the 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 wins.

“We have only conceded once and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the play-offs.

“Having the home tie is massive. Being here is like having an extra man, we will have the home crowd who have been fantastic all season, home and away.

“They have travelled with us and been brilliant. It helps us to grind out results, especially when we are going through tough times. It makes a difference to the boys.

“We want to go that step further than in previous seasons. I was not there myself back then but the boys did not have the rub of the green, especially last season at Salisbury.

“It is really exciting and we are looking forward to it.”

Evesham had gone into Saturday’s final league match knowing a draw would have been enough for a top-six berth.

“The dressing room was absolutely buzzing, we were ecstatic,” said Liddiard.

“It was a bit of a relief, even though it was a nice pressure to have going into the final league game playing for something.

“I have experienced it in the past where there is nothing on the match, it is just not that enjoyable.

“We have been playing for something every step of the way and once we went a goal up, that settled us down. It would have only taken then to put away one chance to make the nerves kick in.

“It was important to win with all of the others getting three points.”

Collicutt hopes to have Carl Brown, injured on Saturday, back in contention but Andy Lewis (thigh) is a doubt.

"By hook or by crook, I want to win it," he said. "It would be great to see a big crowd down here to cheer us on."