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Macclesfield Seal Title Success

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Macclesfield Town secured the Vanarama National League title after a 2-0 win over Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium on Saturday lunchtime in front of the live BT Sport cameras, with a game to spare.

The Silkmen, who were relegated at the end of the 2011/12 season, built an unassailable lead over Tranmere Rovers, who did their bit by winning at FC Halifax Town.

John Askey’s men kicked off knowing victory would be enough to lift the title and they got off to a great start thanks to Tyrone Marsh’s 3rd minute goal when he converted a cross from David Fitzpatrick.

Eastleigh created a couple of half chances, but rarely threatened Macc ‘keeper Shwan Jalal.

And they added to their lead on the hour-mark when Danny Whitehead`s cross was not cleared properly, and Mitch Hancox picked the ball up just outside the box and curled a shot past Ross Flitney.

Askey`s side saw out the rest of the game relatively comfortably and the final whistle signalled a minor pitch invasion by some of the 500 or so Macclesfield fans who made the long journey south.

The Silkmen will be presented with the trophy next Saturday when they host Dagenham & Redbridge at the Moss Rose.

Tranmere knew at kick-off that they were looking to secure second spot and a home semi-final place in the play-offs.

And they achieved that by winning 2-0 at The Shay

Goals from the in-form Andy Cook after just 4 minutes and James Norwood after 23 minutes put Tranmere in a 2-0 lead they never really looked like relinquishing.

However, Halifax missed a second half penalty when Rovers` keeper Scott Davies brought down Mike Fondop-Talom in the area but Matty Kosylo`s spot-kick was saved by Davies.

The fight for the second automatic semi-final spot is between Sutton United and Aldershot Town, with only a point separating them.

Sutton had an excellent 1-0 win at Stonebridge Road against an Ebbsfleet United side whose run of eleven games unbeaten came to an end and also saw them drop out of the top seven following Dover Athletic`s win.

The only goal that separated the sides was a worthy winner too, coming in the 77th minute when Tom Bolarinwa embarked on a solo run which saw him tear through the Fleet defence before firing past Nathan Ashmore.

Aldershot dropped two home points at the EBB Stadium to a Barrow AFC side fighting to preserve their status in non-League football`s top competition.

Luke James broke the deadlock to put the Bluebirds ahead in the 72nd minute but went down to ten-men 4 minutes from time when Bradley Bauress` challenge on Will Evans was adjudged to have been reckless.

And Barrow were unable to hold on for victory and Scott Rendell netted the Shots` equaliser with a header in stoppage time.

With Woking winning 2-1 at already-doomed Guiseley AFC, Barrow are out of the relegation zone on goal difference but do possess a game in hand on the Cards.

Woking took a 26th minute lead at Nethermoor Park when Charlie Carter beat Nathan Green in the Lions` goal to record his 12th goal of the season.

The visitors held that advantage until just past the hour-mark when Dayle Southwell equalised with a sublime finish past Nathan Baxter from the right side of the area.

But with 6 minutes remaining, Woking gave themselves a lifeline when Richard Orlu, on as a sub for just a minute, headed in with his first touch from a corner.

Back to the play-off situation, and AFC Fylde, Boreham Wood and Dover now occupy the remaining top seven spots, but only the Whites managed a win on Saturday.

Dover secured a late win against Gateshead at Crabble to move back into the play-off places at the expense of Kent rivals Ebbsfleet.

Theo Vassell gave the visitors a 20th lead before Giancarlo Gallifuoco got the hosts back on level terms 16 minutes later.

Ryan Bird put them in front from the penalty spot on 68 minutes before Danny Johnson scored a spot-kick for the visitors to make it 2-2 with less than 6 mkinutes to go.

Adebayo Azeez then scored his first goal for the club on 89 minutes, pouncing on a save that was spilt by keeper Dan Hanford to give the Whites their crucial win.

AFC Fylde were held to a 1-1 draw at Mill Farm by a Solihull Moors side who are now virtually safe.

Although Woking can catch Moors points-wise, they have an 11-goal advantage on the Cards, making that worth another point virtually.

And the visitors got off to a great start in front of a decent crowd of 2,045 when the Coasters were caught napping from a free-kick and Omari Sterling-James slotted the ball past Jay Lynch from eight yards.

The home side eventually got back on level terms 5 minutes after the break when a Jonny Smith cross was headed past Max O`Leary from six yards by Andy Bond.

The Coasters had an effort cleared off the line, but weren`t able to find a winner and they are two points above Ebbsfleet and three of Bromley, who have a game in hand.

As are Boreham Wood, who were beaten by Bromley at Hayes Lane by the odd goal in five.

Bromley had to win this one to maintain their chances of slipping into the play-offs and did it, courtesy of a last-gasp goal after being 2-0 down.

Wood took an early 3rd minute lead through Morgan Ferrier, who headed past David Gregory from a corner.

And on 25 minutes, the visitors raced into a 2-0 lead when Ferrier got his second of the game with a simple tap-in from close range.

The comeback started 10 minutes later when Frankie Sutherland`s cross was converted by Jordan Higgs.

Nine minutes into the second half, Bromley were level when they were awarded a penalty as Omar Bugiel was brought down by Ricky Shakes and Brandon Hanlan duly converted past Grant Smith.

And as stoppage time ticked in, the home side won it with a goal from Bugiel, much to the joy of the Bromley fans, who already have a Wembley visit to look forward to.

Wrexham`s slim hopes of getting into the top seven disappeared when they were beaten by Leyton Orient at the Matchroom Stadium.

Orient made it three home wins in a row, courtesy of a 29th minute header from Macauley Bonne.

Hartlepool United shared the points with Torquay United at Victoria Park – and with results elsewhere, it wasn`t enough to save the Gulls from the drop.

Ryan Donaldson put Pools 1-0 up in the 14th minute of a fairly even first half.

But the visitors rallied after the break and upped the pressure on Matthew Bates’ side.

And they were helped when Pools went down to ten-men with 10 minutes remaining as debutant Aaron Cunningham was shown a straight red card for a rash tackle.

And the visitors took almost instant advantage of the extra man as Rhys Healey finally found the shot to beat Scott Loach and made it 1-1.

In contrast, Maidstone United are celebrating safety after winning 3-1 at relegated Chester FC.

The Stones opened up a two-goal lead through Blair Turgott’s 19th minute penalty and Michael Phillips’ first goal for the club after 32 minutes.

They had Alex Wynter sent-off for a second booking 3 minutes before half-time.

However, all Chester could respond with was a 54th minute Cain Noble effort, with Josh Hare making sure of the points and National League safety for the Stones with a third reply in the 74th minute.

Elsewhere, Dagenham & Redbridge ended Maindehead United`s three-game winning run with a 1-0 win at Victoria Road.

Michael Cheek scored the only goal in the 11th minute.


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