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Still All To Play For In National League North

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Apart from North Ferriby United`s relegation which was confirmed some time back, it`s still all to play for in the Vanarama National League North following Saturday`s results.

The gap between leaders Salford City and second-placed Harrogate Town is still three points after both won 2-0.

The Ammies beat Nuneaton Town 2-0 at the LDJ Solicitors Stadium.

Salford took an 18th minute lead when Nick Haughton was fouled on the edge of the box and he stepped up to take the free-kick and left the home keeper stranded.

On 40 minutes there was a lengthy delay following a nasty-looking injury to former Salford player George Green, who had to be stretchered off.

Four minutes later, Salford doubled their lead when Carl Piergianni headed in another free-kick.

The game became a little scrappy in the second half, but the visitors managed to keep a clean sheet and post another three points in their quest for the title.

Harrogate made it nine league wins from the last ten at The CNG Stadium with a 2-0 victory over Southport.

The home side were ahead after just 4 minutes when Mark Beck converted Ryan Fallowfield’s low cross from close range.

Although the score was kept level by an important James Belshaw save at the end of the first half, Fallowfield created Town’s second in the second half, pulling back for George Thomson to finish and seal the three points.

Defeat for Port though means they still require a point or two to be sure of safety.

Buildbase FA Trophy finalists Brackley Town`s slim title hopes are all-but mathematically over though after they suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat at St James`s Park to relegation-threatened Alfreton Town.

Alfreton couldn`t have asked for a better start as Chris Sharp was in the right place at the far post to converts Nyal Bell`s deep cross after just 2 minutes had gone on the clock.

On the half-hour mark, a breakaway from another Brackley corner saw Brendon Daniels takes full advantage from a defensive slip to confidently slide past Danny Lewis and make it 2-0.

And Sharp sent the Reds into dreamland when he made it 3-0 in the 40th minute with an emphatic finish.

Brackley got themselves back into the game in the 61st minute when Ellis Myles broke clear and delivered an accurate cross to Aaron Williams who beat Chris Elliott with a powerful header.

Six minutes later, Alfreton made it harder for themselves when they had Craig Westcarr sent-off for an off-the-ball incident.

But some battling defending and good keeping from Elliott saw the Reds become the first side to win at St James`s Park in the league this season.

Apart from Spennymoor Town, whose game was off, the remaining play-off places are now filled by Kidderminster Harriers, Stockport County and Chorley after York City suffered a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Gainsborough Trinity.

Harriers confirmed their place in the play-offs with a 2-0 win over another side in deep relegation trouble, Tamworth, at Aggborough.

The Lambs held their own in the opening 45 minutes.

But two goals in 3 minutes shortly after the hour-mark killed them off and sealed the points for John Eustace`s side.

Joe Ironside broke the deadlock and a second from Elton Ngwatala quickly followed.

Defeat leaves Tamworth two points adrift of the safety-mark with only two games remaining – including a final match against fellow strugglers Gainsborough, who game themselves a chance of staying up after beating York at the Northolme.

Just a second win under Lee Sinnott`s management, it didn`t look good for Trinity though when they had Hull City loanee Brandon Fleming dismissed after only 24 minutes following a challenge on Connor Brown in front of the dug-outs.

But a goal from Ashley Worsfold 9 minutes into the second half eventually proved enough to give Trinity a lifeline and drop the Minstermen out of the top seven.

Stockport are fifth and just a couple of points away from assuring themselves a spot in the play-offs after inflicting a damaging defeat on fourth-bottom AFC Telford United at Edgeley Park.

In front of a crowd of 3,546, the Bucks battled hard but were eventually undone when Darren Stephenson capitalised on a defensive slip to give his side three points in the 74th minute.

Chorley are back in the top seven after they beat Blyth Spartans 2-0 at the Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium, leaving Alum Armstrong`s visitors down in tenth, six points behind the play-off places but with five games remaining.

The Magpies also still have five games to go, so will be looking to cement a play-off spot.

Alex Newby gave Matt Jansen`s side the boost of a goal 3 minutes before half-time.

And they confirmed victory with a 64th minute second for Marcus Carver.

Bradford Park Avenue are ninth, four points behind the top seven but have only three games left – all against teams in the play-off places.

But they gave themselves an outside chance by beating Boston United late on at the Jakemans Stadium, although the Pilgrims did have their status confirmed later after Tamworth`s defeat.

To rub salt into Boston`s wounds, it was one of their former players, striker Adam Boyes, who bagged a brace in the 36th and 90th minutes to cancel out Jordan Keane’s early 3rd minute opener.

Leamington have three games left and Curzon Ashton four and they are level on 45 points – three above the trap door – after they shared a 0-0 draw at The Phillips 66 Community Stadium.

FC United of Manchester are also far from safe as a really nervy finale to the season is on the cards in the battle to stay up.

The Red Rebels were beaten 2-1 at Broadhurst Park against now safe Darlington.

Josh Gillies gave the Quakers a 126th minute lead that Scott Kay cancelled out right on half-time.

But a Reece Styche effort after 65 minutes eventually won the game for the visitors to make them mathematically safe but leave FC United looking over their shoulders five points clear of the drop zone with three games remaining.


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