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Coasters Take Massive Step Towards Title – Alty Are Down

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This could be the day that AFC Fylde pin-point as the day when the Vanarama National League North title was all-but sealed.

True, there are still the twists and turns of the Easter programme to come, but the Coasters brushed aside play-off chasing Darlington 1883 at Mill Farm and then returned to the dressing room to discover that second-placed Kidderminster Harriers had been beaten at home by third-placed FC Halifax Town.

And Salford City`s win over Altrincham at Moor Lane – which relegated their neighbours – and Chorley`s win against another struggler, Gainsborough Trinity, means that just three points separate the others in the top five.

But Dave Challinor`s side moved nine points clear of Harriers after recording a 4-1 against the Quakers.

In front of 2,365, the visitors trailed 1-0 at the break to a goal from Sam Finlay after 8 minutes.

But the league`s leading scorer, Danny Rowe, doubled the Coasters` lead on the hour-mark.

The Quakers briefly had hope of taking something from the contest when Gary Brown pulled one back to make it 2-1 after 78 minutes, but Fylde soon restored their advantage 2 minutes later, thanks to Dan Bradley.

And Rowe added his second of the game from the penalty spot with 4 minutes to go to make it 4-1.

FC Halifax ended Kidderminster’s thirteen-game home winning run with a 2-1 win at Aggborough in front of 2,025.

It didn’t look good for Town after Joe Ironside headed the hosts in front on 11 minutes.

But Halifax absorbed their early pressure and went in level at the break, thanks to a Tom Denton header on the half-hour mark.

The tension increased as the chances decreased the longer the second half went on, with both sides aware of the significance of the next goal, which would probably win it.

And it was the Shaymen who got it 7 minutes from time when Jordan Sinnott sent keeper Sam Hornby the wrong way from the spot after substitute Cliff Moyo had been tripped in the box.

Altrincham`s long tenure in the National League ended for the time being after neighbours Salford put them out of their misery with a 2-1 defeat at Moor Lane.

The Robins went into half-time in front after a 37th minute Gary Jones effort.

But Sam Walker levelled from the spot 7 minutes after the break after Harry Panayiotou had been brought down.

And skipper Simon Grand added a second 10 minutes later after an initial effort had been blocked.

Gainsborough’s relegation fears deepened following a 4-0 defeat at high-flying Chorley.

The home side were 1-0 up at half-time, thanks to Jason Walker’s 38th minute opening goal.

And Walker went on to complete his hat-trick in the second half with goals in the 51st and 74th minutes – the second from the spot – with Marcus Carver sandwiching the other goal on 71 minutes.

Trinity were reduced to ten-men in the second half when Matty Wilson was sent-off after receiving a second yellow card.

Stockport County were held to a 1-1 Edgeley Park draw by Nunaton Town, and are two points behind Chorley in seventh.

In front of a crowd of 3,416, after a goalless first half, the Hatters took the lead 4 minutes after the restart from the spot after Sefton Gonzales was tripped in the box.

March`s player of the month, Danny Lloyd, converted the resulting penalty.

But 10 minutes later, Ashley Chambers pulled Boro back on level terms – and they held that to frustrate County`s top five challenge.

Two sides who have fallen out the play-off race, Tamworth and Harrogate Town, met at The Lamb, with the hosts running out 3-2 winners.

Danny Newton’s goals proved the difference, opening the scoring after 18 minutes and then adding a second 12 minutes from time after his goals were twice cancelled out by Warren Burrell and Marcus Day.

Ben Fox struck just 4 minutes from time to inflict defeat on Harrogate.

Eighth-placed Brackley Town were held to a goalless draw at St James`s Park by Boston United.

Boston keeper Ross Durrant was busy in the first half to divert efforts from Alex Byrne and a miss-directed clearance from defender Nat Brown.

The Pilgrims came close themselves with attempts from Lewis Hilliard and Jay Rollins in the second half, but they were frustrated again as the game ended 0-0.

Gloucester City are tenth but could also only manage a 0-0 draw at the Tameside Stadium against fellow mid-table side Curzon Ashton.

Following last week`s victory at Stalybridge Celtic, Worcester City came up against fellow strugglers, AFC Telford United at The New Bucks Head.

In a game that was void of much quality, it took until deep in to the second half for any breakthrough and it came the way of the hosts.

A mix up at the back saw John Marsden with time and space to pick his spot and drill the ball underneath Graham Hutchison and Nathan Vaughan in the 82nd minute.

Bradford Park Avenue beat Alfreton Town 1-0, thanks to a goal from Oli Johnson on 36 minutes.

The win lifts Avenue level on points with the Reds and nine in front of third-bottom Gainsborough.

Second-bottom Stalybridge Celtic earned a good away point at Broadhurst Park against FC United of Manchester, but still looked doomed.

Matty Hughes gave Celtic a 28th minute lead in front of 2,375, only for Matt Wolfenden to level up matters 7 minutes later.

Danny Wilkins looked to have given Celtic an outside chance of pulling off a miraculous recovery when he made it 2-1 with 18 minutes to go.

But they couldn`t hang on and George Thomson equalised 2 minutes from time for a point that mathematically ensures National League North football for FC united next season!


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