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Dover Maintain One-Point Lead At The Top Of The Table

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Dover Athletic maintained their narrow advantage at the top of the Vanarama National League table on Saturday with a 2-0 win against Eastleigh at Crabble.

Striker James Alabi`s 32nd minute header was all that separated the sides at half-time but the home side completed a fourth victory in five home matches with a second goal just before the hour-mark from defender Connor Essam.

Dover extended their unbeaten league run to nine matches and moved them a point clear at the top from Macclesfield Town, who won by the same scoreline at Barrow AFC.

It was an excellent performance by the Silkmen, who went close to opening the scoring through Jared Hodgkiss after 10 minutes.

Adi Yussuf then shot wide of Shwan Jalal`s post at the other end 10 minutes later, but it was the visitors who drew first blood after 27 minutes when some excellent football was finished off by Hodgkiss – his first goal for the Silkmen.

Yussuf was causing Macc problems but Hodgkiss` goal was all that separated the teams at the break.

Just shy of the hour-mark, Scott Wilson came close to doubling the Silkmen`s lead with a header and then on 61 minutes it was 2-0 when Elliot Durrell curled a beauty past a helpless Stuart Moore from the edge of the area.

Jalal saved well from Byron Harrison near the end, but Macclesfield held firm for three good away points.

Sutton United are fourth after condemning Solihull Moors to remain in bottom spot with a 2-0 win at the Automated Technology Group Stadium.

Ross Lafayette gave the U`s the lead on the half-hour mark.

And Craig Dundas eventually added a crucial second in the 86th minute to defeat Moors.

Maidstone United are fifth after recording a seventh successive away win, this time at second-bottom Torquay United.

Joe Pigott’s free-kick gave Maidstone their seventh away win in a row in all competitions.

What turned out to be the only goal of the game came on the half-hour mark when Joe Pigott`s free-kick from 25 yards went over the wall and past Vincent Dorel.

But Dorel`s opposite number, Lee Worgan, made a couple of fine saves to keep a clean sheet, with one save in particular from Josh McQuoid 15 minutes from time especially impressive.

Bromley are sixth after edging out Guiseley AFC at Nethermoor.

But the outcome was especially harsh on Lions` keeper Jonny Maxted, who was in superb form.

The home side were stunned when skipper Ashley Palmer was sent-off after only 2 minutes after bringing down Louis Dennis.

However, Maxted prevented Guiseley from being punished further when he saved Dennis`s penalty.

Maxted repeated his feat in the second half after Frankie Raymond was brought down in the box, this time Josh Rees was unable to beat the custodian.

It looked as though Guiseley were going to hold on for an excellent point with ten-men – but their hearts were broken in the 3rd minute of stoppage time at the end of the game when new signing Dominic Vose set up fellow sub Iffy Allen to finally beat Maxted and take all three points back down south.

It was ten-aside at the EBB Stadium where Aldershot Town edged out AFC Fylde 2-1.

The Shots took a 20th minute lead when Shamir Fenelon headed over Coasters `keeper Jay Lynch.

The visitors eventually pulled back on level terms in the 56th minute when the prolific Danny Rowe ran onto a long ball from Luke Burke and chipped the ball over the home side`s debutant keeper, Reading loanee Lewis Ward.

But 9 minutes later, Fylde were reduced to ten-men when Jack Muldoon was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident with George Fowler.

However, the numbers were evened-up with 11 minutes remaining when Manny Oyeleke was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Serhat Tasdemir.

The Shots won it though in the 86th minute when Will Evans headed a free-kick past Lynch.

Tranmere Rovers are beginning to find some form and are now only three points behind seventh-placed Aldershot and one behind Dagenham & Redbridge after beating the Daggers 2-0 at Prenton Park.

James Norwood gave Rovers a great start with a goal inside the opening 4 minutes, firing past Mark Cousins from just inside the box.

And 4 minutes before the break, Micky Mellon`s side added a second when Ollie Norburn volleyed home Liam Ridehalgh`s corner.

Little was seen from the Daggers as an attacking force, and the outcome could have been worse had Norwood been a little more clinical in front of goal in the second half.

Gateshead moved to within a point of mid-table Maidenhead United after producing one of their best performances of the season to date to beat the Magpies 3-0 at York Road.

It took only 5 minutes for the visitors to take the lead when Luke Hannant fired past Lloyd Pentney from the edge of the area.

Just 3 minutes later, the lead was doubled when Danny Johnson netted from close range after a fierce effort from Jordan Burrow had come back off the crossbar.

Gateshead grabbed the third and the points 5 minutes into the second half when Hannant fired home his second of the game.

There were two goalless draws on Saturday.

Hartlepool United picked up a useful point at Meadow Park against Boreham Wood in which their experienced goalkeeper Scott Loach excelled.

Loach saved a Bruno Andrade penalty shortly after the break after Blair Turgott had been felled in the area by Scott Harrison.

And it’s now eight games without a win for FC Halifax Town after they drew a disappointing game 0-0 at The Shay against Woking.

It was two out of form teams who cancelled each other out on the day.

The evening game screened live on BT Sport saw Leyton Orient lose 2-1 at Stonebridge Road against Ebbsfleet United – the O`s eleventh game without win which leaves them perilously close to the relegation zone.

Fleet, who are now eleventh in the table, were boosted by an early 6th minute goal when Andy Drury converted Luke Coulson`s cross from close range.

And then crucially, the hosts doubled their advantage 5 mintes before half-time, courtesy of a Danny Kedwell header.

The O`s `won` the second half when scoring an 87th minute consolation from James Dayton, but they are in urgent need of points to avoid being sucked into a long winter relegation battle.

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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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