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Vanarama National League Preview

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Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Tue 21 Nov 2017
Posted in League News

FC Halifax Town’s away double-header ends with a visit to Victoria Park and Hartlepool United on Tuesday night, one of 12 Vanarama National League fixtures scheduled in what should be an action-packed matchday 21 of the 2017/18 campaign. 

The Shaymen hope to bounce back from a narrow 3-2 defeat against season high-flyers Sutton United, whilst their north-eastern counterparts Hartlepool will be determined to earn a priceless victory after stumbling to a loss at home to Aldershot Town at the weekend. 

Hartlepool’s northern rivals Gateshead United Host Barrow AFC, and will be eager to continue their charge up the fifth-tier standings after consecutive victories against Maidenhead United and Tranmere Rovers over the last week. Despite languishing perilously close to the division drop-zone, a resurgent Barrow will fancy their chances after having claimed two vital wins from their last three fixtures – including a pivotal 2-0 beating of fellow-strugglers Eastleigh FC on Saturday.  

Two London-based sides clash at Kingfield Stadium, with playoff-chasers Woking FC and Ebbsfleet United separated by merely two points in the National League table.  

The Cardinals earned a slice of FA Cup history after their memorable 3-0 demolition of League One Battlers Bury FC at Gigg Lane, yet find themselves six games without victory in a desolate run of division form. Their opponents Ebbsfleet meanwhile look to reignite their playoff march after suffering defeat to title fighters Wrexham most recently. 

Eastleigh FC host Maidenhead United at Silverlake Stadium, in a clash that could see both teams relying on their offensive firepower in search of an elusive win after poor runs of form. Third-highest league goal scorer Ben Williamson has proved instrumental to the Surrey side’s hopes of staving off the threat of relegation, whilst Maidenhead’s menacing frontman Adrian Clifton have bagged 14 goals combined. 

Firm favourites Sutton United duel with last-place Torquay United, with the away side knowing an unexpected victory against the South London outfit could prove the catalyst for an unlikely survival surge. Sutton meanwhile look to extend their two-month unbeaten streak in the National League, as The U’s continue to clamber up the division table. 

Maidstone United’s five-game winning streak came to end through a score-draw against Solihull Moors on Saturday – with the promotion-chasers looking to extend their unbeaten run against 10th placed Boreham Wood. A sensational FA Cup toppling of Blackpool saw The Wood snatch national headlines, yet a one-month winless run in the National League sees the Hertfordshire squad sliding away from the playoff places. 

Wrexham AFC could storm to top spot in the division if they can dismantle struggling Solihull Moors at Racecourse Ground, with the Welsh side one point back of Dover Athletic in a tremendously tight title fight. Solihull meanwhile hope to harness strength from an impressive road draw against a resurgent Maidstone, and could prove a tricky test for their opponents across the border. 

Macclesfield Town welcome fellow north-west hard-chargers Tranmere Rovers to Moss Rose on Tuesday, with The Silkmen propping up a top-four separated by a solitary point at the top of the National League Standings. Tranmere’s strong period of play ended with a 5-0 home drubbing to Peterborough United in the FA Cup 1st Round Replay and a last-gasp defeat to Gateshead last time out, but Micky Mellon’s side will look to rekindle their forlorn promotion hopes with a much-need away victory. 

Table-toppers Dover Athletics’ latest test comes away against promotion-hopefuls Dagenham and Redbridge, with the south-coast side knowing a slip up in London could cost The Whites their lofty perch above the rest. 

Three draws from five league games has seen Dover’s leading advantage marginalised, with Dagenham’s in form pairing of Morgan Ferrier and Corey Whitely hoping their scoring exploits can earn their side a vital victory. 

Mid-table AFC Fylde returned to winning ways in the National League with a comfortable 2-0 dispatching of strugglers Torquay United on Saturday, and now host another relegation-threatened side in Guiseley FC at Mill Farm. Having last earned victory in an impressive away win over Woking FC one month ago, Leeds-based Guiseley can haul themselves within five points of their opponents if they claim all three points. 

A 12-game winless streak caps a disastrous return to non-league football for Leyton Orient, who host Chester FC in a battle at the bottom at Match Room Stadium. Despite a desolate dry spell of results, an unlikely draw against table-toppers Dover could prove the spark that ignites a winning run for The O’s. 

A run of four games without victory sees Chester in desperate need of a positive upturn, with Tuesday’s fixture arguably the most important of the season for both teams’ hopes of escaping the clutches of the drop-zone. 

Bromley FC faceoff against Aldershot Town knowing a win on Tuesday would see The Ravens leapfrog their promotion-chasing counterparts. Despite stumbling to a draw against Chester at the weekend, Bromley will be confident of overcoming their league rivals in what should be a pulsating affair between two successful sides. Aldershot meanwhile find themselves amongst the set of teams chasing top spot, and a third consecutive win could propel The Shots within a point of the National League leaders. 

 

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