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Vanarama National League Roundup

Posted by Matt Howitt
Posted on Sat 31 Mar 2018
Posted in League News

A special round of Good Friday fixtures to enjoy in the National League this week however not all matches managed to beat the weather and go ahead.

Dover Athletic’s clash against Tranmere Rovers was called off following a torrential downpour and the game between Eastleigh and Ebbsfleet suffered the same fate, with heavy rain over night waterlogging the pitch at The Silverlake Stadium.

Sutton United will feel aggrieved following the postponement of their fixture against Maidenhead United at half time, with Paul Doswell’s side leading 3-2 at the break. Goals from Craig Eastmond, Simon Walton and Louis John saw the away side edging the tie, however referee Joseph Johnson deemed the pitch unplayable following some heavy rain during the game. There has been no announcement thus far as to when the game will be rescheduled.

AFC Fylde continued their push towards the play-off positions as they were 2-0 winners over FC Halifax Town at Mill Farm. The Coasters scored two goals in less than ten minutes to clinch all three points and move within two points of Dover in 7th. Jonny Smith opened the scoring as his cross somehow found its way into the bottom corner before James Hardy’s low drive secured the points for the home side. This defeat saw Halifax’s six game unbeaten run come to an end, but they remain six points clear of the relegation zone.

Macclesfield clinched all three points in a thrilling game away at Woking, thanks to a 94th minute winner from Danny Whitehead. Charlie Carter opened the scoring for the home side as he poked home, only for Nathan Blissett to head home the equaliser ten minutes before the break. Macclesfield took the lead for the first time in the game as Tyrone Marsh lashed home a volley, but the hosts fought back and must’ve thought they’d clinched a point, as Reece Grego-Cox slotted home from a corner with six minutes to go. However, The Silkmen showed the fighting spirit that has them at the top of the National League. Manager John Askey had to watch his side’s winner from the stands as he was sent off for dissent and the winner came through Danny Whitehead, who pounced on Marsh’s shot which got caught in the mud on its way towards goal. This win sees Macclesfield extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.

Guiseley fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Leyton Orient to push them ever closer to relegation. The two sides were level going into the break, however minutes after the restart they had goalkeeper Luke Coddington sent off for his last man challenge on Macauley Bonne. To make matters worse for the home side, Jobi McAnuff curled home the resulting free kick to give Orient the lead. The winger then doubled his and The O’s tally as he slotted home. Guiseley were gifted a lifeline as Joe Widdowson’s back pass was missed by keeper Dean Brill however Orient wrapped up the points late on through David Mooney.

Hartlepool picked up a valuable three points themselves as they came away 2-1 winners against Maidstone. Michael Woods with both goals for the away side, one in each half, including an 89th minute penalty all but secured the points for The Pools. Ross Lafayette pulled one back for Maidstone in stoppage time, but it was too little too late as Jay Saunders’s side suffered their third game without a win.

A relegation six pointer saw Torquay make the trip to Chester and were victorious in their endeavours, picking up a 2-0 win. Rhys Healey got the away side off to the perfect start as he slotted home from a tight angle in just the third minute, before Elliott Romain nodded home Torquay’s second of the afternoon. Minutes later things went from bad to worse for Chester as defender Lucas Dawson received his second yellow card for a poor challenge on Aaron Barnes. This win sees Torquay move within seven points of safety in the National League.

Ten-man Bromley and Wrexham played out a 1-1 draw at Hayes Lane to take Wrexham’s unbeaten run to an astonishing sixteen games. The first half was devoid of much action, before Roger Johnson saw red for his reckless challenge on Sam Wedgebury two minutes before the break. Wrexham took full advantage of the extra man, just seven minutes into the second half, with James Jennings putting the away side in front. However, it was not to be for the Dragons as Brandon Hanlan levelled from the spot to give both sides a share of the points.

Solihull Moors continued their impressive revival attempt as they fought out a 0-0 draw against fourth placed Aldershot. The Moors had chances to win the game, with Jermaine Hylton’s effort thwarted by goalkeeper Lewis Ward however the game remained scoreless. Aldershot remain level on points with Wrexham whereas Solihull remain level on points with 20th placed Barrow.

Barrow themselves also picked up a credible 0-0 draw to keep their safety hopes alive, playing out a stalemate with Boreham Wood. The Wood remain in 6th and are still in for a shout of the playoff positions come the end of the season, however they struggled to break down a resolute Barrow side. Asa Hill came close for the Bluebirds, with Ricky Shakes’ effort for the home side going narrowly wide but neither side could find the finish to take home all three points.

Finally, Gateshead and Dagenham and Redbridge also played out a 0-0 draw, however the home side have their goalkeeper James Montgomery to thank as he saved a late penalty to keep the scores level. Both sides had opportunities to take the lead, however Dagenham were handed it on a plate as Bloomfield went down inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Jake Howell’s stepped up to take but saw his effort tipped wide by the Gateshead keeper to send each team away with a point.

Read more posts by Matt Howitt

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