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Dramatic Last Day Sorts Play-Off Places Out

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The final day of the regular Vanarama National League North season still had several issues to settle as far as the play-off situation was concerned.

The top three were already sorted, as were the bottom three, so it the focus of attention fell on who out of Spennymoor Town, Chorley, Bradford Park Avenue or Blyth Spartans would make the final two spots in the top seven.

Spennymoor`s draw with bottom-markers North Ferriby United last Thursday gave fresh hope to Blyth, but their slim chances relied on results elsewhere going their way – which they didn`t on the day.

A goal from Jason Walker 6 minutes into the second half at the Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium gave Chorley a 1-0 win against Alfreton Town and secured their place in sixth spot and a play-off quarter-final tie at Stockport County on Wednesday.

The dropped points in recent games by Spennymoor would cost them, even if they won at the Brewery Field against Southport if Bradford Park Avenue got a victory at Aggborough against fourth-placed Kidderminster Harriers.

It didn`t start well for Moors as Ross Hannah gave Port an early 9th minute lead.

It wasn`t until the 57th minute that Mark Anderson pulled Spennymoor level and 6 minutes later, Rob Ramshaw put them into a lead they held on to.

So they had done their bit.

At Kidderminster, Dan Bradley put the home side in front after 14 minutes.

It looked as though that was going to be the winner until Frank Mulhern popped up with an 81st minute equaliser.

That wasn`t going to be enough though as news filtered through that Spennymoor had won.

However, the drama wasn`t over as in the 3rd minute of stoppage time at Aggborough, Oli Johnson delivered a cross and Adam Boyes poked home after a brief scramble to earn Avenue a last-gasp winner and a place in the top seven.

Blyth produced a spirited performance at the LDJ Solicitors Stadium against Nuneaton Town but a 2-2 draw was never going to be enough.

George Green gave Boro a 24th minute lead that Robbie Dale cancelled out after 76 minutes.

Ashley Chambers then restored Nuneaton`s lead in the 80th minute, only for Sean Reid to pull Spartans level again 8 minutes later, but although they pushed for a winner, even that wouldn`t have been enough in the end.

So, second-placed Harrogate Town and third-placed Brackley Town can have a week off as they await the winners of the play-off quarter-finals between Kidderminster and Bradford Park Avenue and Stockport and Chorley.

Harrogate maintained their form with a 5-0 thrashing of Curzon Ashton at the CNG Stadium.

A fantastic five-goal haul from Dom Knowles ensured Harrogate ended the season in with the National League North’s best home record.

Knowles bagged goals in the 24th minute, then14 seconds after the break and completed his hat-trick 4 minutes later.

With the game entering stoppage time, Jake Wright was brought down inside the box allowing Knowles to claim his fourth from the penalty spot.

And Knowles struck once again in the 2nd minute of time added on with Harrogate`s 100th league goal.

Brackley also enjoyed a final day win to maintain momentum, beating a York City side who have ended a disappointing campaign with a seven-game win-less run.

Goalscoring midfielder James Armson bagged a brace in the 52nd and 80th minutes to secure the Saints win at St James`s Park.

Stockport would also have liked a win to keep their form going into the midweek play-offs but had to make to with a share of the points at Edgeley Park against Darlington.

A massive crowd of 6,163 saw the Quakers lead at the break, thanks to Stephen Thompson`s 32nd minute effort.

The Hatters grabbed a point with a Dan Cowan goal on 63 minutes.

Champions Salford City finished off on a high, winning 4-0 at The Phillips 66 Community Stadium against Leamington.

First half goals from Anthony Dudley on 19 minutes and Mike Phenix after 38 minutes were added to by Phenix again 3 minutes after the interval and Dudley again on 64 minutes.

Two of the three teams relegated enjoyed final day wins.

North Ferriby followed up Thursday`s point at Spennymoor with a terrific 2-0 win at Broadhurst Park against FC United of Manchester.

Young Luke Lofts bagged both of Ferriby`s goals in the 49th and 70th minutes.

Gainsborough Trinity also ended on a high, beating the other team to drop out of the National League North, Tamworth, 3-0 at the Northolme.

Nicky Walker gave the home side a great start with a goal inside the opening 4 minutes.

Nathan Jarman doubled that lead on the half-hour mark and then made sure of the points with a second just shy of the hour-mark.

Elsewhere, a frustrated Boston United side, who in the end missed out on a play-off place by just three points, beat AFC Telford United 1-0 at the Jakemans Stadium, courtesy of a goal from Ashley Hemmings after 59 minutes.


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