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Leaders Held – Shots Take Closer Order

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It was a strange Saturday in the Vanarama National League with three games finishing goalless, three teams netting four goals and one match being an eight-goal thriller!

One of those 0-0 draws came at the Moss Rose where league leaders Macclesfield Town endured a frustrating afternoon as they couldn’t break down a stubborn Solihull Moors defence.

But the draw represents an excellent result for Mark Yates` side, who are still seven points adrift of the safety-mark.

Macclesfield`s lead at the top was cut to four points after Aldershot Town won 2-1 at another top seven contender, Dover Athletic.

A debut goal for new loan signing from Portsmouth, Nicke Kabamba, just 7 minutes after coming on as a sub, earned a vital and hard-fought victory for The Shots at Crabble.

That followed a tumultuous final couple of minutes of the first half when Jim Kellermann gave The Shots the lead after Dover `keeper Mitch Walker dropped Cheye Alexander’s in-swinging free-kick.

Then Manny Parry immediately equalised with a close-range header in injury-time.

Sutton United are third, two points behind Aldershot after winning 2-0 at the International Stadium against a Gateshead side who have not one now in six league games and are now eighteenth in the table.

It was goalless after 45 minutes, and after the home side had started the second half on the front foot, two goals in 7 minutes killed the game off as a contest.

The breakthrough for Sutton came in the 72nd minute when Louis John crossed for sub Tommy Wright to nip in to flick past advancing keeper Dan Hanford.

And then on 79 minutes, Josh Taylor set-up Wright to hit a low shot from the edge of box that skidded off the very wet surface and just inside the post.

Wrexham are just a point behind the U`s in fourth after recording a comfortable 4-0 win against bottom-markers Torquay United at the Racecourse Ground.

It was a special day for Chris Holroyd, who netted a hat-trick.

He opened the scoring after just 9 minutes when he headed home Marcus Kelly’s in-swinging corner.

Manny Smith added Wrexham’s second after 31 minutes, connecting with a powerful header after a free-kick.

Holroyd`s second came on 38 minutes following a great run by Paul Rutherford set him up.

A low key second half finally saw Holroyd complete his hat-trick in the 89th minute with a penalty given for handball.

Dagenham & Redbridge were another side to hit four goals as they lifted themselves back up to fifth in the table with a 4-2 home success against struggling Hartlepool United, who have now gone eight games without a win.

Danny Sparkes opened the scoring for the Daggers 7 minutes before the break.

But a Michael Woods header squared things up on the hour-mark.

Michael Cheek restored the home side`s advantage 5 minutes later, and Fejiri Okenabirhie made it 3-1 on 79 minutes, with Sparkes netting his second of the game 3 minutes later.

Woods netted a consolation for Pools 2 minutes after that.

Tranmere Rovers dropped to seventh in the table – but it could have been a lot worse for Micky Mellon`s side as they scraped a last-gasp draw at the Furness Building Society Stadium against lowly Barrow AFC.

Byron Harrison put Barrow ahead from the penalty spot after 4 minutes after Grant Holt was adjudged to have been fouled in the box.

And the Bluebirds defended resolutely after that and looked like they were heading for three vital points.

However, a goal 3 minutes into stoppage James from Norwood earned Tranmere a point.

Boreham Wood would have gone above Tranmere and Dagenham had they won at the Matchroom Stadium against Leyton Orient.

But this was another of those 0-0 draws – the O`s second in succession following New Year`s Day`s draw against Dagenham.

Both sides had several chances to seal all three points.

Bromley dropped to ninth after losing 1-0 at Hayes Lane to AFC Fylde, for whom this was a third successive victory.

Luke Wanadio hit the post early on for the home side, but the Coasters took the lead after 28 minutes when Jack Muldoon finished off a quick counter-attack.

Wanadio was the man most likely to bring the Ravens back into the game, but he had two more good efforts blocked on the line in the second half, while the ever-dangerous Danny Rowe came mighty close to adding a second for the visitors.

Ebbsfleet United slumped to their second defeat in a week at Stonebridge Road to a now fourth-bottom Chester FC.

Battling Chester fought hard, but it was slightly against the run of play when they took a 20th minute lead

Fleet `keeper Nathan Ashmore raced out of his box to intercept a through-ball but then changed his mind, allowing Harry White a free shot at an open goal – which he duly accepted.

The home side tried hard to get back into the match, but the longer the game went on, the more it looked to be `one of those days` for Daryl McMahon`s side.

And it got even worse when half-time sub Bradley Bubb was shown a straight red card for a late lunge on Andy Halls 5 minutes from time.

The third goalless draw came at York Road where mid-table Maidenhead United where held by FC Halifax Town.

Neither side were able to impose themselves in a disappointing game devoid of much in the way of goalmouth action.

However, in total contrast, Woking and Maidstone United drew 4-4 at Kingfield in a thriller!

Kane Ferdinand gave the Cards a 22nd minute lead that Stuart Lewis cancelled out 3 minutes later.

Inih Effiong restored Woking`s lead after 35 minutes, but the Stones led at half-time, thanks to a Jai Reason penalty before Joe Pigott made it 3-2 as Maidstone scored twice in a minute just before the break.

Charlie Carter controversially levelled 6 minutes into the second half but Maidstone went back in front with Lewis’ second goal just 2 minutes later.

Jason Banton made it 4-4 on the hour-mark, and the only surprise is that there were no further goals in the final 30 minutes or so, although both sides had chances to win it.

Second-bottom Guiseley AFC slumped to a 4-2 defeat at the Silverlake Stadium against Eastleigh, who are now fifteenth.

The Spitfires got off to a great start when Cavanagh Miley put them in front with a header from a corner in the first minute.

The Lions responded well, however, and, after Mike Fondop had seen an effort cleared off the line, Rowan Liburd equalised in the 18th minute.

But the hosts restored their lead in the 36th minute after a free-kick left Chris Zebroski free to fire past Jonny Maxted.

Mark Yeates stretched Eastleigh`s lead to 3-1 just shy of the hour-mark, and on 65 minutes, Callum Howe effectively killed off the game as a contest with number four, although Guiseley did manage to net a second from a James Roberts penalty 11 minutes from time after he had been fouled by Sam Wood.


About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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