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Vanarama National League North Preview

Posted by Matt Howitt
Posted on Fri 27 Oct 2017
Posted in League News

Following the Tuesday night fixtures this week the National League returns to the weekend with another set of fixtures to be played. Here are some of the key points about the ties this Saturday:

FC Halifax Town make a long due away trip following three consecutive home games as they make the trip to Tranmere, the side who knocked the Shaymen out of the FA Cup this season. Halifax have struggled for form as of late and have not won in six games in all competitions, including that defeat to Tranmere. However, the home side are without a win in their last three which looks promising for Town as they look to recreate the good form they showed at the start of the season.

Table toppers Dover Athletic make the trip to Gateshead this weekend in a bid to distance themselves from second place Macclesfield who are also on 32 points. Dover are unbeaten in seven games in the National League currently and look good value for their position at the top of the table, however Gateshead will not be pushovers. The home side will be coming off the back of a solid 2-0 win against fellow strugglers Leyton Orient which will no doubt give them confidence going into this fixture.

Macclesfield themselves also face a team in the bottom half, so a chance for both teams at the top to grab some more points as they take on Eastleigh at home. Macclesfield uncharacteristically dropped point’s mid-week as they ended their nine-game winning streak as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Dagenham and Redbridge. However, it wasn’t a particularly cheery afternoon for Eastleigh either as they suffered a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Solihull Moors, their 3rd loss in 5 games.

Sutton will be looking to do what Macclesfield couldn’t and extend their unbeaten run as they take on Ebbsfleet at Gander Green Lane. A win will see the home side yet to be defeated in seven games, a run that stretches back to the 2nd September. Ebbsfleet however will be disappointed following their Tuesday defeat to relegation stranded side Torquay so it will take quite an upset for the away side to nick all three points here.

Following Torquay’s win over Ebbsfleet, they now are unbeaten in their last two and have only lost two of their last five as they look to climb out of the drop zone and will hoping they can continue that run as they face up to Hartlepool at home. It will be no easy feat however, with the newly relegated side who have hit a good patch, currently unbeaten in six games. Manager Craig Harrison will know his team should be doing better than their current 14th place standing so will be hoping this rich vein of form can continue.

Another important clash near the bottom of the table sees AFC Fylde take on Solihull Moors who remain rooted to the bottom of the table even after their victory of Eastleigh. Fylde pulled off an impressive victory on Tuesday, beating title chasers Wrexham 2-0 thanks to goals from Smith and Muldoon and managed to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone. Solihull will be looking up at Fylde with jealousy and will need to get some more wins on the board if they want to join them in safety.

Wrexham will be hoping to put that result behind them as they travel to a struggling Leyton Orient side who are without a win in nine National League games, which is extremely poor for a club that has just been relegated. Wrexham will be cautious they don’t slip up in this game like they did midweek as they look to catch Macclesfield and Dover at the top of the table, as this was the first game the home side had lost since August.

Also near the top of the table are Aldershot, who look to keep up the pressure on the top three as they travel to Barrow. Unbeaten in their last four but picking up three draws, the away side will be looking to turn those draws into wins against a Barrow side that remain in the relegation zone following their loss to Chester which stretches their winless run to ten games.

Woking have been struggling as late and have lost their last two games and are in danger of slipping out of the playoff places. They lost 3-1 to first place Dover and have a chance to redeem themselves as they take on Guiseley at home. The travelling side however have a 0-0 draw against Boreham Wood to draw confidence from, considering it was a Boreham Wood side who haven’t lost in six games.

Boreham Wood will be looking to continue this run as they make the short trip to Bromley. Bromley were on a three-game win run until they suffered a 3-2 defeat to Maidenhead on Tuesday however the side still look dangerously close to breaking into the playoff places.

Maidenhead themselves are unbeaten in three following that victory against Bromley and will be looking to make that four as they face off against Dagenham and Redbridge. The Daggers are clinging onto their playoff position as they sit just above Bromley on goal difference and will be looking to end their two-game winless run here and cement their place in the top 7.

Finally, Chester will be making the journey to Maidstone, the side who Town fans will know very well after their 2-0 victory over the Shaymen midweek. Following this result Maidstone have now only lost one in their last five and have cemented themselves in mid-table in the National League this season. Chester on the other hand have had a very inconsistent few weeks: two wins, two losses and a draw which has proved just enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, however only a point separates them and will be at risk if they do not perform.

Read more posts by Matt Howitt

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