VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE – MANAGER OF THE MONTH
Mark Yates – Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors boss Mark Yates (pictured right) has taken to life back in the Vanarama National League like a duck to water.
The side began 2018 bottom of the fifth-tier, with a worrying seven points separating them from safety.
But a confidence-boosting victory over Maidenhead United, followed by a goalless draw at league leaders Macclesfield Town helped put the Moors’ survival bid back on track.
Free-scoring Solihull fired six goals in two further wins against Woking and Dagenham & Redbridge to cut the gap to safety to just a point.
With Yates now establishing himself at The ATG Stadium with assistant Tim Flowers (pictured left), all eyes will be on the Moors heading into the survival run-in.
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE – PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Sam Wood – Eastleigh
It’s been a great month for Eastleigh on the field, but a tough one off it.
Last week it was announced club founder Derik Brooks had passed away.
The Spitfires, however, have been in fine form in January, winning all four matches and moving into the top half of the Vanarama National League table.
Former Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers man Sam Wood has played an important role from left-back and with his pinpoint delivery from set-pieces and wide positions.
With key contributions at both ends of the pitch, Wood earns the accolade for January 2018.
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH – MANAGER OF THE MONTH
Jason Ainsley – Spennymoor Town
It may be the first season for Spennymoor Town in the Vanarama National League North, but the side from County Durham are making an excellent impression.
While sitting fourth in the table, Ainsley has also masterminded a strong challenge in the FA Trophy, beating Solihull Moors to reach the final 16 of the competition.
League wise, Spenny faced several of their rivals for a place in the top seven, managing victories over Blyth Spartans and Bradford Park Avenue to start the month.
A creditable draw at Bootham Crescent versus York City- a side four divisions above them just two seasons ago- and the home defeat of Tamworth concluded a strong January for the new boys in the sixth-tier.
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH – PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Shane Byrne – Brackley Town
Victory over top of the table Salford City in their final match in January showed just why Brackley Town have been tough to beat and score against this campaign.
Shane Byrne- a tough tackling Irishman at the heart of the Saints midfielder- has been an important part of Kevin Wilkin’s side, unbeaten during the opening month of 2018.
January began with four points in matches against Nuneaton Town and Leamington, before Brackley dealt well with a long midweek trip up to Barrow, coming away with a fairly comfortable 2-0 win in an FA Trophy replay.
Two further results in the aforementioned victory against Salford and at Tamworth put Brackley in a commanding position towards the top of the Vanarama National League North.
The midfielder’s stand out influence since the New Year earns him the award.
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE SOUTH – MANAGER OF THE MONTH
Tony Burman – Dartford
An unbeaten January has maintained Dartford’s position at the top of the Vanarama National League South.
Tony Burman will be hoping to add a fourth promotion with the club to his CV after a fine start to season for the Darts, with a three point lead over their nearest challengers.
The table toppers won all three home matches during the first month of 2018, including a strong Havant & Waterlooville outfit plus Whitehawk, who were unbeaten during January up until that point.
After narrowly missing out in the play-off semi-finals last season for promotion to the fifth-tier, Burman and co will be driven to make amends this time around.
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE SOUTH – PLAYER OF THE MONTH
Gold Omotayo – Whitehawk
The end of 2017 was one to forget for Whitehawk.
Without a win in the opening 23 matches and a 19 point gap from safety, some thought the writing was already on the wall for Steve King’s men.
But the Hawks seem to have struck gold with their new star man Gold Omotayo, a Swiss-born striker making quite a name for himself in the National League game, scoring five goals in as many games this month.
A brace for the 24-year-old earnt Whitehawk a first league victory of the season at Eastbourne Borough on New Year’s Day.
Goals in matches against Truro City and at Oxford City both proved to be winners, and have provided the Hawks a glimmer of hope in their battle against the drop.
Could this be the kick-start to one of the greatest of all escapes?
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