Ahead of the opening day of the season, we examine all the games taking place, as football returns.
Salford City v Leyton Orient
National League newcomers Salford City will host former Football League side Leyton Orient in an interesting match-up in their first game of the 2018/19 season. Even though they lost their final game of the season, Salford won the National League North title after second-place Harrogate were beaten 3-1 by Bradford Park Avenue, handing Graham Alexander’s side the title and their third promotion in four years. The O’s meanwhile had a season of mid-table obscurity, finishing in 13th in the National League.
AFC Fylde v Bromley
AFC Fylde, who finished in the final play-off spot last season will host Bromley who missed out on the play-offs by just three points last season. One to watch in this game is French striker Gime Toure who was with Macclesfield last season. The exciting player has signed a short-term deal with Fylde.
Aldershot Town v Barnet
Aldershot will be hoping to go the step further this season after being knocked out of the play-offs in a penalty shootout by Ebbsfleet. The visitors meanwhile will have to quickly adjust to life in the National League after being relegated from League Two last season. This could prove to be a baptism of fire for the Bees who will be facing a tough Shots side.
Barrow v Havant & Waterlooville
Barrow avoided relegation from the National League by a mere point last season. The away side will be playing their first ever game in the National League and their positive momentum that they should take from their previous campaign could prove crucial to success, not just in this game, but for their whole season.
Boreham Wood v Dagenham & Redbridge
The Wood who finished fourth last season will host the Daggers who finished in 11th place. The Hertfordshire side lost in the play-off final against Tranmere, 2-1. The Wood have lost Bruno Andrade to Lincoln City this transfer window and he was the fourth highest scorer in the league last season with a tally of 22 goals. However, the Wood have recruited well and have signed former Barnsley striker Bradley Ash and former Arsenal U23 ‘keeper Ryan Huddart, to name a couple of these.
Braintree Town v FC Halifax Town
Newly promoted Braintree will host FC Halifax Town, who have recently turned full time, in their opening day game. This could prove to be a tough test for The Iron with Town manager Jamie Fullarton revamping the Halifax team and seemingly opting for an attacking-style of football this season. However, Braintree have made some good signings of their own, with the likes of Lyle Della-Verde joining them from Dartford.
Dover Athletic v Wrexham
Dover were unfortunate last season as they missed out on the play-offs by goal difference. Wrexham also had a positive campaign in the respect that only three points kept them from a play-off place last season, as they finished in tenth. This should prove to be an even contest.
Eastleigh v Solihull Moors
Solihull did well to avoid relegation last season and have brought in six new signings this summer. These new additions include attacking midfielder Luke Maxwell on loan from Birmingham and shot stopper Ryan Boot from Port Vale. The hosts, who finished in 14th last season, have signed the likes of Alex Wynter and Oscar Gobern. Both sides have won two games out of all the four meetings between these two sides.
Ebbsfleet United v Chesterfield
Chesterfield who were relegated from League Two last season will face a stern test in the form of Ebbsfleet in their opening fixture, after the Fleet finished in sixth last season. What will be a boost to Ebbsfleet is that they retained the services of their top scorer, Danny Kedwell ahead of this clash.
Harrogate Town v Sutton United
Newly promoted Harrogate will have the unenviable task of playing a strong Sutton team who finished third place in the National League last season. Harrogate have made five new signings this season including experienced centre-back Kelvin Langmead from Nuneaton.
Maidenhead United v Gateshead
Gateshead who had a less than spectacular season last time out and there hasn’t been too much to suggest that the same won’t happen again this time out. Maidenhead finished six places above Steve Watson’s side last season.
Maidstone United v Hartlepool United
Maidstone United did well to beat the drop last season and they will face lower mid-table side Hartlepool in what could be an even game. Michael Woods was Hartlepool’s highest scorer last season and they have retained his services this season. What may tip the tie is the new strength and depth that Hartlepool have after a busy transfer window for the club, for the right reasons.
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