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Football Conference Preview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Tue 1 Apr 2014
Posted in News

Tuesday night will see five fixtures take place in the Skrill Conference Premier giving ten teams the opportunity to take advantage of their games in hand as we enter the business end of the season. With nearly every match holding significance between now and the end of the campaign, it is no surprise that these five games involve promotion chasers, play-off hopefuls and relegation battlers.

Dartford v Luton

The Shaymen’s 2-0 defeat of champions elect Luton Town brought about the table topper’s first defeat away from home since September and they’ll be desperate to make amends in Kent on Tuesday night. It is no longer a case of whether The Hatters will secure the Conference title but how soon they will achieve it, however with only three victories in their last seven league encounters John Still’s men are a suffering a rare, albeit minor, dip in form.

This may give The Darts confidence who themselves are unbeaten in three games. Saturday’s win over Macclesfield was vital as they built on the previous week’s defeat of bottom side Hyde FC. Also these back to back victories were preceded by an impressive draw at second placed Cambridge United so a win against Luton will life them up the table three places out of the relegation zone and into 19th place.

Macclesfield v Cambridge

Macclesfield’s inconsistency has been their downfall this season and no more so than over recent weeks where impressive victories over Tamworth and Barnet have been cancelled out by defeats to Southport and Dartford. With a couple of games in hand on other sides The Silkmen have the faintest of chances of mounting a late play-off surge but will need to take maximum points from their last few matches and hope other results go their way.

Automatic promotion is most likely behind Cambridge United now as they trail leaders Luton by 13 points at the summit but their play-off place is all but guaranteed if they can keep up the form that has seen them maintain a top two place for the majority of the season. The U’s sit seven points ahead of sixth placed Grimsby and haven’t lost in their last five matches, also claiming an FA Trophy victory at Wembley just over a week ago.

Southport v Braintree

Unbeaten in their last four, The Sandgrounders are starting to climb away from the relegation positions and sit in 18th position, four points ahead of the danger zone. The BT cameras caught their 2-0 victory over play-off chasers Forest Green Rovers on Thursday night and they’ll be looking to get the better of another side aiming for the top five at Haig Avenue in the shape Braintree come Tuesday night.

The Iron themselves have had to cope with the heaviest fixture pile-up in the division over the last few weeks due to numerous postponements over the Christmas period. Following the trip to Southport, Alan Devonshire’s squad will be on the road again only two days later with a trip to the The Shay on Thursday night. However despite their intense run of matches Braintree have picked up enough positive results to take them to 8th in the table and a victory will move them up to the heights of fifth place.

Woking v Forest Green Rovers

Woking go into Tuesday’s match having won their last four games to climb firmly away from a relegation dogfight. A victory at league leaders Luton Town two weeks ago sent shockwaves down the league as it was The Hatters first defeat on home soil this campaign. With their games in hand they have a very small chance of making the play-offs and would probably needed a maximum point return from their remaining fixtures. A win however could take them into the top half of the table.

Rovers have been inconsistent all season long and find themselves five points outside the play-offs, but have games in hand that may prove invaluable. With two wins from their last five matches their form will need to improve but three points against Woking will take them to within two points of The Shaymen in the final play-off position.

Wrexham v Grimsby

 There are only six matches remaining of Wrexham’s nightmare season in the Skrill Premier as last season’s play-off finalists are languishing in 17th place. There is no hope of a play-off push but relegation seems increasingly unlikely too and it appears they just have their pride left to play for. A win could lift them three places in the table but they would need a five goal swing on the night to overtake Macclesfield in 14th position.

The Mariners have been eating up their games in hand on teams around them and are level on points with FC Halifax Town and still have played two matches less than The Shaymen. If they take advantage of the fixtures at their disposal they look a certainty for the play-offs and a victory at The Racecourse Ground will take them up to third in the league.

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