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It`s Salford`s Title

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Despite losing 2-1 at the Peninsula Stadium to Boston United on Saturday, Harrogate Town`s 3-1 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue meant the Vanarama National League North title went to the Ammies.

Indeed, although it ended as a joyous afternoon for the big home crowd, the win also gave the Pilgrims an outside chance of still making the play-offs as they are now four points behind the top seven with two games to play.

After beating Harrogate in midweek, Boston were determined to make the leaders fight hard as well and dominated much of the opening 45 minutes
and took a 2-0 lead into the break.

Reece Thompson opened the scoring in the 26th minute and Jordan Keane doubled that to make the home fans nervy in the 34th minute.

Salford did manage to reduce the deficit in the 70th minute when Carl Piergianni headed a corner it back into the six-yard box and Lois Maynard headed it home.

The hosts` chances diminished 5 minutes from time when they were reduced to ten-men when Gus Mafuta was dismissed for tripping Thompson to earn a second booking.

But news of Harrogate`s defeat softened the disappointment of losing this game and the Ammies and their fans could celebrate the next chapter in their remarkable rise.

Harrogate`s pursuit of the title came to end at the Horsfall Stadium as Park Avenue`s 2-0 win saw them slip back into the top seven.

Adam Boyes put Avenue ahead in the 24th minute with a header, before Frank Mulhern doubled the advantage in the 64th minute on the breakaway.

Jake Wright struck in the 84th minute to give the travelling Harrogate fans slight hope of a comeback, but 4 minutes later Boyes claimed his second of the game to end any hope of a grandstand finish.

Harrogate now need a point from their final game to ensure they finish second and an automatic semi-final berth.

Third-placed Brackley Town`s chances of finishing second diminished with back-to-back defeats, but they returned to winning ways by beating Southport 1-0 at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Port`s seventh successive defeat could have left them in real danger, despite still having two games left, but Gainsborough Trinity`s defeat at AFC Telford United sent them down and saved Kevin Davies`s side.

Aaron Williams` goal 15 minutes from time sealed Brackley`s win and Kevin Wilkin`s men are assured of third place at least which, given the fact they are at Wembley next month in the Buildbase FA Trophy Final, represents a fantastic season for the Northamptonshire side.

Kidderminster Harriers will finish fourth after winning 3-1 at already-doomed North Ferriby United.

Goals from George Waring after 18 minutes, Joe Ironside on 25 minutes and Lee Vaughan just past the hour-mark put Harriers in control, before a consolation effort from Jack Mail 14 minutes from time.

It`s Stockport County or Chorley for fifth and sixth spot, with the Hatters holding the aces as they possess a six-point advantage over the Magpies, who have two games left and a two-goal deficit to eradicate.

And both won on Saturday.

Stockport edged out Blyth Spartans, thanks to a fine strike from Jimmy Ball from the edge of the area 2 minutes into the second half.

Chorley, meanwhile, relegated Tamworth after coming out on top of a seven-goal thriller at The Lamb.

Dior Angus gave the home side a 16th minute lead but just a couple of minutes later, both teams were reduced to ten-men when, following a melee, Chorley`s Adam Blakeman and Tamworth`s Regan Upton were both dismissed.

It took both sides a while to settle down after that, but the visitors eventually pulled level through an Andy Burns own goal 5 minutes into the second half.

However, Tamworth grabbed the lead for a second time 6 minutes later when Darryl Knights` cross was slammed home by sub Akwasi Asante.

And the home side’s third followed on the hour-mark when Luke Jones headed home from close range from a Knights free-kick.

Suddenly, Tamworth`s hopes of staying up were still alive, but within just 5 minutes, that hope had vanished when Josh O`Keefe bagged a brace and then Marcus Carver made it 4-3 in the 77th minute, although it took a stunning save from Chorley `keeper Matt Unwin to prevent Bradley Reid from equalising in stoppage time.

AFC Telford United secured their survival after coming from two goals down to beat Gainsborough 3-2 and send them down.

A nervy afternoon at the New Bucks Head saw Ashley Worsfold bag a brace for Trinity in the 41st and 56th minutes to give them a massive boost.

Bucks` skipper Shane Sutton reduced the deficit just past the hour-mark and on 67 minutes, Marcus Dinanga equalised.

And with 15 minutes remaining, Dinanga grabbed his second and Telford`s third to take them to the magic 50-point mark with two games to play.

Back on the play-off scene, Spennymoor Town may have games in hand but are making things extremely tough for themselves as a 1-0 defeat at the Tameside Stadium by Curzon Ashton saw Jason Ainsley`s side slip out of the top seven.

The only goal came from Joe Guest 4 minutes before half-time to leave Moors a point behind Bradford Park Avenue but with three games remaining, so it`s still very much in their own hands, especially as all three games are against teams in the bottom eight.

Any hopes the most optimistic of York City fans had of making the top seven through a slip from those above virtually ended completely when they were held to a 2-2 draw at Bootham Crescent by a Leamington outfit who are safe from the drop due to results elsewhere.

An Alex Kempster own goal gave the Brakes the lead just before half-time but Sean Newton levelled 11 minutes into the second half and he then looked to have won it for the Minstermen when he made it 2-1 with 4 minutes to go.

But Matt Dodd headed in an 89th minute equaliser.

Elsewhere, Tom Platt`s 23rd minute goal sealed a 1-0 win for Alfreton Town to ensure their safety at the Impact Arena against FC United of Manchester, while Darlington and Nuneaton Town played out a listless 0-0 draw at Blackwell Meadows.


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