FC Halifax Town will welcome six new sides to the Vanarama National League next season with some tasty away days to look forward to.
Yeovil Town and Notts County have come down from League Two and Stockport County, Chorley, Torquay United and Woking have come up from the Vanarama National League North and South respectively. Let’s take a look at each side’s performance last season.
There was much controversy off the pitch last season for Notts County and there wasn’t much for fans to smile about on the pitch either. Three wins on the bounce in late September/early October got County out of the drop zone but they soon fell back into it.
A 2-1 defeat at home to Macclesfield Town on boxing day saw them hit the bottom of the league and they didn’t get off the foot of the table until the penultimate game of the season. Even though results went their way on the final day, they couldn’t pull off the required result and Town fans will now have a trip to Meadow Lane to look forward to.
With the worst defensive record in League Two, County will have to improve dramatically in this department if they want to bounce back to the Football League at the first attempt.
Yeovil Town’s 16-year stint in the Football League came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Northampton Town. The Glovers couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season though as they occupied a playoff spot at the end of September. However, the club managed just one win between October and January and it saw them enter the relegation fight.
A winless run of 11 games to end the season saw them finish bottom of the league and back in non-league football. Only scoring five goals in this period didn’t help the Somerset side’s survival chances and goals were hard to come by all season with Alex Fisher ending the year as the club’s top scorer with 8.
The Shaymen faithful have a 600-mile roundtrip to look forward to now that Torquay United have returned to the National League at the first time of asking.
The Gulls were the entertainers in their division last season scoring an incredible 92 goals as they ran away with the National League South title. With Saikou Janneh (17 goals) finishing amongst the top scorers and Jamie Reid (29 goals) taking home the golden boot, Torquay were always going to be in for a successful season. Gary Johnson’s men will look to build on a strong year as he tries to mastermind a return to the Football League for the first time since 2014.
Just like Torquay, Woking returned to the National League at the first time of asking, but they had to do it the hard way through the playoffs. A thrilling 3-2 semi-final win over Wealdstone followed by a 1-0 win against Welling United in the final means Town fans will have a trip to Surrey next season.
Stockport County were the National League North champions by just a single point. After beating The Shaymen in pre-season, Stockport went on to win an impressive 24 league games while having the best defensive record in the league.
With Ben Hinchcliffe between the sticks, County have kept 15 clean sheets this season, 8 of those coming away from home. Stockport were just as impressive going forward with Matt Warbuton scoring 18 of County’s 77 total league goals.
Despite being pipped to the league title by Stockport, Chorley made it third time lucky in the National League North playoffs. After heartbreak against Harrogate Town and our very own Shaymen, they finally reached the National League after beating Spennymoor Town on penalties.
There are certainly some intriguing fixtures to see next season. Come on you Shaymen!
Read more posts by Will Hopper