Despite being safe from relegation in the National League, the worry is still rife for a few teams in the division, there’s also a question of who’ll take their place. Here, we analyse the on-goings in the national leagues.
Chester were the first team relegated from the National League, yet they have a massive say over what else goes on, as they face relegation threatened Maidstone United and Barrow in their final two games.
Fellow West Yorkshire club, Guiseley, have only survived this long due to their games in-hand, relegation isn’t confirmed, but likely for the Lions who look set to end their three-year stint in the fifth tier.
Guiseley, like Chester, have a big say on the other two relegation places assuming they go down, with Barrow, Torquay United and Woking left amongst others the latter of whom need to gain one point from their remaining two games to consign Sean St. Ledger’s men to National League North football next season.
Next is 22nd placed Torquay, despite the coastal club’s win over Halifax on the weekend, their survival hopes are slim, and their destiny isn’t entirely in their own hands. They are five points adrift of Woking in 20th with a game in hand – with relegation rivals Guiseley to come. Not only that, they are four points behind Barrow, who have a game in hand on Torquay.
If you’ve managed to keep up, Barrow are in 21st. Their fixtures include a trip to Guiseley, as well as entertaining Chester on the last day, where they would hope to be safe. Between those two games, though, they visit Aldershot Town and Bromley, both of whom are attempting to entertain play-off ambitions.
However, with two games in hand and a point behind Woking just above them, their position isn’t quite as precarious as some of the other teams around them.
Woking’s final fixtures are against Guiseley, and Dover Athletic, the latter of which languish just outside the play-offs. The Cards are in an uncomfortable position whereby even if they win their final two games they are not assured of their place in the league next season due to the games in hand that Barrow have yet to complete.
The final three teams involved in the battle to stay away from the drop zone are Hartlepool United, Maidstone United and Solihull Moors. The former could secure their place with a win over mid-table Leyton Orient in midweek.
Maidstone face relegated Chester and make a visit to the Shay in their final two games. They need just a point to assure safety, the same story goes for Solihull who have an extra game to get at least a point, as they have an extra game.
Goal difference could be a factor, too. The midlands’ sides figure of minus nine stands them in good stead.
National League North
In the National League North only three teams can finish in the one automatic promotion spot. Salford City and Harrogate Town are in the top two, while Brackley Town stand an outside chance in third.
The club of the ‘Class of 92’ will face mid-table Boston United, while Southport and Leamington, who aren’t mathematically safe will be the final two opponents for Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson’s men.
Harrogate Town are assured of a play-off place at least, yet they still aspire of winning the title. Their final three games see them face Boston, Curzon Ashton and play-off challengers Bradford Park Avenue.
Brackley and Kidderminster Harriers are assured of a play-off place, the former could (although unlikely) still go up as champions. They have four games including two interesting clashes against York City and Bradford Park Avenue, Harriers face Spennymoor and Bradford Park Avenue, who as mentioned are looking for play-off football, their other game is against long since relegated North Ferriby United.
Stockport and Chorley will face each other with the winner likely to find themselves contesting promotion to the fifth tier, Brackley are amongst the latter’s fixtures in their final five games.
Spennymoor are the final team in the play-offs at the time of writing, they have six games in hand which could see them finish as high as third in the league, yet the likelihood is that they will secure a play-off spot if they accumulate a decent amount of the 18 left available to them.
York, Bradford PA and Blyth Spartans are the main challengers, with realistic if not likely hope of reaching the top seven. However, even as low as 13th placed Boston are still in with a chance if results go for them in the final few fixtures.
National League South
The battle for automatic promotion is rife in the National League South, with Dartford and Havant & Waterlooville both on 77 points with three games left.
The Hampshire side face Chelmsford City (who theoretically could still gain automatic promotion, despite needing results to go their way and an almighty goal swing to ensure it) as well as East Thurrock United and relegation threatened Concord Rangers.
Top of the league – courtesy of one goal – Dartford, face East Thurrock themselves, with Bath City and relegated Bognor Regis Town providing opposition for the final two games.
At the time of writing Chelmsford are to play on Monday 16th April, against Wealdstone, who’s play-off fire is still burning due to the fact they have six games to play.
Hampton & Richmond Borough face Poole Town, who need a win to stave off their threat of relegation, before two vital games, as they face St. Albans and Truro City who occupy the final two play-off spots, one thing is for sure, there will be plenty of twists and turns in the final few weeks.
Hemel Hempstead’s fixtures are in their own hands, with fixtures against those not in any direct competition with the Hertfordshire outfit.
Truro have a say at both ends, as they are visited by Hungerford Town and Braintree Town who both have their own aims at opposite ends of the table, while the fixture mentioned against Hampton & Richmond could be huge.
St. Albans also face Hampton and Richmond as well as top-half Bath, to cling onto seventh place.
Finally, Braintree, Welling United and Bath still stand a chance of troubling the top seven while games in had mean an outside chance for Wealdstone and East Thurrock United down in 12th and 13th.
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