The National League returned following the FA Cup games of last weekend with all teams back in the action, excluding Chester and Wrexham who played out their fixture in midweek.
FC Halifax Town picked up their first clean sheet since the 3rd October as they picked up a credible draw at home to play off chasing Woking. A close game however very few chances for either side with the best chance falling to Danny Batty who fired over from close range after a low corner. This result sees Halifax stretch their winless run to eight games whereas Woking climb to 7th place and into the playoffs.
Dover extended their stay at the top of the National League as they came out 2-0 winners against strugglers Eastleigh. Goals from James Alabi and Connor Essam saw the home side remain a point ahead of Macclesfield who were also victorious in their fixture however for Eastleigh this sees them slump to their second game without a win.
Speaking of Macclesfield, their 2-0 away win at Barrow means Dover cannot sit too comfortably at the top of the tree. Hodgkiss and Durrell’s goals sealed the three points for John Askey’s side. Barrow, on the other hand, find themselves in the bottom four and it’s looking increasingly concerning for the side who only have one win since the 9th September.
Sutton are also sniffing around the top spot as they keep themselves level of points with Wrexham, following their win against Chester in midweek, as they beat Solihull Moors 2-0. Lafayette’s strike gave Sutton the lead before a late Dundas effort wrapped up the three points for the home side which leaves Solihull still rock bottom of the National League and without a win in three.
This meant Torquay had a chance to attempt to distance themselves from Solihull if they managed to overcome Maidstone at home, however Gary Ower’s side fell to a 1-0 defeat at Plainmoor. Piggot’s superb 25-yard free kick sealed the points for the away side which keeps them in the playoffs in 5th position. Torquay, who remain level on points with Solihull, are still in search of their third win of the season.
Maidstone fans will have been hoping Bromley would have dropped points but Allen’s 93rd minute winner shattered the dreams of the Maidstone faithful as his strike saw Bromley edge past ten-man Guiseley. The home side had their goalkeeper to thank as Johnathan Maxted produced two huge penalty saves to keep his side in the game, first from Louis Dennis and the second from Josh Rees. A big result for the away side who finally managed to get the better of Maxted and keep themselves in the running for a playoff spot.
A side that has fallen off the pace in regards of a top seven position are Dagenham and Redbridge, as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Micky Mellon’s Tranmere. The away side didn’t get off to the greatest of starts as James Norwood fired in his 6th goal of the season in just the 4th minute before Ollie Norwood rounded off Tranmere’s victory. No losses in four in all competitions now for Mellon’s side who continue their surge up the table and find themselves in 12th position.
What was meant to be a close clash between two mid-table teams turned out to be a rather one-sided affair, as Maidenhead lost 3-0 at home to Gateshead. A Luke Hannant double and a poacher’s finish from Johnson saw the away side clinch all three points. It could have been more too, as Gateshead had two efforts rattle the woodwork within the first eight minutes however fans can’t have been too displeased with their side being up by 2 goals in the same amount of time. A disappointing loss for Maidenhead who will be hoping this winless run of three games in all competitions will come to an end sooner rather than later.
Aldershot bounced back from their 5-0 thrashing from Shrewsbury in the FA Cup to come out victorious against AFC Fylde in a spirited clash between these two sides. Both sides were reduced to ten men, with Muldoon and Oyeleke seeing red for their respective sides and it appeared Aldershot were the side who coped best with less men, with Evans heading home with less than five minutes to go to take all three points for the home side.
Leyton Orient knew that if they failed to beat Ebbsfleet in the late kick off then they would stretch their winless run to 11 games and that’s exactly what happened as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at Stonebridge Road. Ebbsfleet grabbed themselves an early goal, just 4 minutes on the clock, as Andy Drury buried his chance before Danny Kedwell’s header doubled the home side’s lead. A late James Dayton effort proved to not be enough for The O’s who in serious trouble in the National League this season. Ebbsfleet now sit in 15th position.
Boreham Wood and Hartlepool played out a goalless draw at Meadow Park however Boreham Wood will be wondering how they didn’t win the game. Hartlepool fans will be singing the praises of goalkeeper Scott Loach who prevented Bruno Andrade from taking the lead at the top of the goal scorers charts as he saw his penalty saved by the Hartlepool keeper shortly after the break. This result sees both sides remain in a mid-table position however both teams are only a point away from the playoffs – highlighting just how close the National League is this season.
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