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First Team

Football Conference Preview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Sat 22 Mar 2014
Posted in First Team

10 ties are set to commence this Saturday in the Skrill Premier League, with FC Halifax Town hosting Alfreton on Monday, and Cambridge United Wembley bound as they face Gosport Borough in the FA Trophy final on Sunday.

The game of the weekend will be contested at the Sperrin Brewery Stadium, as Nuneaton Town and Grimsby Town battle for a place in the play-offs. The Mariners have played four games fewer than the Boro, but only four points separate the two sides.

Nuneaton head into the game following a 2-2 draw against Aldershot last weekend, whilst Grimsby were defeated 2-1 against Forest Green Rovers – another contestant for promotion into the Football League. A victory for Nuneaton could see the side leapfrog Alfreton in the table to third, but this will only depend on the goal difference. Grimsby could move up to sixth.

Current Conference leaders, Luton Town face relegation battlers Chester at Kenilworth Road. Both sides will be looking to put last week behind them, as Chester were held to a 2-2 draw against Southport after initially leading 2-0. Luton on the other hand were beaten by a goal to nil against Woking. The game also ended Luton’s impressive home record, where they had been unbeaten at home prior to the game.

A win for the Hatters will increase the points difference from second placed Cambridge to 14, although Alfreton have the possibility to reduce this on Monday night. A victory for Chester could see them move up to 18th in the league, depending on other results.

Another play-off hopeful will compete against a relegation struggler, as Aldershot Town travel the short trip to Braintree Town. The Iron have played the least amount of games so far this season, four less than the average side. The play-offs could be in reach for Alan Devonshire’s side, but the games are coming thick and fast for the Essex outfit. Two defeats at the hands of Lincoln City within the space of four days dented any hopes of finishing at least fifth, and left Braintree 13th in the league.

At the reverse end of the table, the Shots have spent the majority of the season battling relegation, and find themselves in the last spot that could see them go down. However, Andy Scott’s side have a game in hand over both Chester and Hereford, so the battle is all but over. A goalless draw against Kidderinster and a 2-2 scoreline against Nuneaton saw the side pick up two valuable points against two sides from the top half of the table.

After retaining a place in the play-offs, Kidderminster Harriers face Southport at the Aggborough Stadium. A victory over fellow promotion chasers Barnet on Tuesday night lifted Kiddy to fifth in the league. As already mentioned, Southport clawed themselves a 2-2 draw against Chester after coming back from two goals down. The result left the Port 19th in the table, three points above the relegation zone. A victory for the Harriers could potentially see them move to fourth, whilst Southport could also move up to 18th if three points were earned for either side.

A relegation scrap will commence come 3pm as Dartford seek to earn three points from recently relegated Hyde. The Darts sit only two places above the Tigers, yet a victory would not see the side move from their league position. A total of 24 points separate these two sides and a goal difference tally of 43. Hyde will be playing football in the Conference North next season, but this game could determine whether Dartford are set to follow in terms of relegation to the Conference South.

Both Forest Green Rovers and Barnet have the opportunity to create yet more twists in the hunt for the play-offs as they play Welling and Hereford respectively. The Green have won both of their last two outings, whilst Barnet lost 2-0 against Macclesfield on Tuesday night. Three places in the league separate the two sides, with Forest Green in sixth and Barnet ninth. However, the two sides are equal on points with 57 – the same as Halifax, but FGR have a two game advantage over the Bees. Welling lost their last game to Cambridge, whilst relegation battlers Hereford lost 2-0 to Wrexham.

Other fixtures to commence this weekend include Gateshead v Lincoln City, Macclesfield v Tamworth and Wrexham v Salisbury.

FC Halifax Town v Alfreton is set for Monday, whilst there is no game this weekend for Woking.

All Saturday fixtures kick-off at 3pm.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist