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Vanarama National League North Preview

Posted by Kelly Gilchrist
Posted on Fri 30 Dec 2016
Posted in First Team

With the festive football period in full swing, FC Halifax Town will now look to start the New Year in perfect style as Darlington 1883 make the journey to the MBi Shay Stadium for the return league fixture.

Last time out, the Shaymen succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at Blackwell Meadows as tricky conditions meant that a brace from debutant Adam Morgan was not enough to take points away from the North East.

That result meant that Town are now seeking their first league win in four games, with a six point gap now separating them from the play-off spots. Meanwhile, Darlington climbed to fourth and a win on Sunday could see them go second depending on other results.

The next round of fixtures sees the return legs of the Boxing Day games, and we start with AFC Fylde.

The Coasters travel to Chorley following their 2-0 defeat at home to the Magpies who will look to close the six point gap currently separating them from Fylde at the top of the table.

Kidderminster Harriers, who currently occupy second, host Worcester City following their 0-0 draw down in Worcestershire and the visitors haven’t won since the middle of November. Rounding off the play-off spots are Tamworth who travel to Nuneaton Town with the hope of bouncing back after their defeat on Boxing Day, although the hosts have won their last three.

Just behind Tamworth are Brackley Town. The Saints travel to Gloucester City after an impressive 3-0 win over their hosts and will aim for a repeat performance which could see them leapfrog Tamworth to enter the play-off spots depending on other results.

After narrowly beating Bradford Park Avenue 1-0 at Moor Lane, Salford City travel to West Yorkshire having not lost since October, a feat only matched by Chorley in the current National League North season. Bradford have also seen an upturn in form in recent months, needing a win to take them out of the relegation zone.

Harrogate Town have recently seen a poor run of form with the Sulphurites losing eight of their last ten games, one of which coming last week as Stockport ran out 1-0 victors on Boxing Day. The away leg for Harrogate will be crucial as they look to regain positive form for the New Year.

League strugglers Altrincham have only won one game in the first half of the season and have recorded eight straight defeats. The short trip to FC United of Manchester on New Year’s Day looks like it could be similar to Boxing Day’s 3-0 defeat for Alty as they currently sit rooted to the bottom of the table.

Like Altrincham, Stalybridge Celtic are also struggling in the league, sitting just one place and three points above Alty. A narrow defeat at home to Curzon Ashton meant that Celtic are now nine points behind Bradford PA and face a struggle to catch up to the West Yorkshire side when they visit Curzon for the return fixture.

Finally, AFC Telford United and Alfreton have a similar record for their last five games, both recording a win, two draws and two losses. Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw indicates that the return fixture could be an even one, although both teams should be aiming for maximum points if they are to pull away from the lurking relegation spots.

Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist