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Sutton United Take Over Top Spot

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Sutton United took over as leaders of the Vanarama National League on Saturday after they edged a five-goal thriller at Gander Green Lane against second-bottom Chester FC.

Defeat for Chester leaves them nine points behind the safety mark with only seven games remaining, but they took the U`s all the way and made them cling on in the end.

It looked like being a much more comfortable afternoon for Paul Doswell`s side as they took a two-goal lead into half-time after goals in the 13th minute from Harry Beautyman and Byron Harrison in first half injury-time.

But to Chester`s credit, they fought back via James Akintunde’s close-range volley on the hour-mark.

Ross Stearn fired home a third for Sutton from 25 yards in the 79th minute but Harry White’s 87th minute penalty set up a grandstand finish, with Sutton keeper Jamie Butler denying White a stoppage time equaliser.

Tranmere Rovers are third after winning the live lunchtime BT Sport match against Eastleigh at Prenton Park.

In front of a crowd of 4,619, it was actually the visitors who came closest to taking the lead when Tranmere `keeper Scott Davies twice denied Gavin McCallum from close range.

But it was at the other end that the breakthrough came after 9 minutes when a Jeff Hughes corner was bundled over the line by defender Ritchie Sutton.

It was a fairly even affair up to the break and the second half saw the Spitfires come more into it as an attacking force with Sam Matthews probing well in midfield and manager Andy Hessenthaler bringing on an extra attacker in Chris Zebrowski.

The next goal was going to be crucial, and it was the hosts who got it when Andy Cook fired past Graham Stack following a breakaway.

The visitors got themselves briefly back into the game 2 minutes from time through Zebrowski, but a terrific 30-yard drive from Cook a minute into time added on sealed Rovers` win.

Wrexham are level on points with Tranmere in fourth after edging out Maidstone United 1-0 at the Racecourse Ground.

The hosts – in Andy Davies` first home game in charge following the departure of Dean Keates to Walsall – were dominant in the opening 45 minutes and Scott Quigley headed against the bar.

But it wasn`t until 15 minutes from time that the Dragons managed to make the breakthrough when Shaun Pearson headed past Lee Worgan.

Maidstone had a few opportunities in the second half, but a confident Wrexham side, whose unbeaten run now stretches past fifteen games, saw out the remainder of the game to earn three crucial points.

Aldershot Town are fifth after securing a vital and hugely impressive 2-0 victory at the EBB Stadium against fellow top seven contenders Boreham Wood.

The Shots took the lead after 11 minutes when a perfectly-timed break into the box from Jake Gallagher saw him latch onto Shamir Fenelon’s flick and shoot under Grant Smith from 10 yards.

The visitors almost equalised on 28 minutes when Danny Woodards` first-time drive from 25 yards was heading into the top corner until Lewis Ward flew to tip the ball over the bar.

It was nip and tuck then until 15 minutes from time when the hosts doubled their advantage – Fenelon’s cross is driven to the near-post, Matt McClure flicked out a boot and, despite Smith’s attempted save, the ball spun over the line.

Dover Athletic lost ground in seventh after being held to a 0-0 draw at the Furness Building Society Stadium by relegation-threatened Barrow AFC.

Chances were few and far between throughout, but Dover almost made the long trek home to the Kent coast point-less, but for a fine save from Mitch Walker to deny Calum McDonald`s free-kick in the second half.

Barrow remain level on points with fourth-bottom Solihull Moors, who also shared a goalless draw on Saturday at The Shay against FC Halifax Town, who hold a seven-point advantage over the relegation places.

The Shaymen had the better chances, with Mike Fondop-Talom wasting two golden opportunities, but remain unbeaten under Jamie Fullarton.

AFC Fylde`s play-off hopes took a nosedive as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at inconsistent Dagenham & Redbridge.

The Coasters came close to taking the lead though when top marksman Danny Rowe hit the post shortly before Chike Kandi gave the Daggers a 33rd minute lead from close range.

And 3 minutes before half-time, John Still`s side doubled their lead when good work from Dan Sparkes ended with Mason Bloomfield beating Jay Lynch.

Ebbsfleet United`s unbeaten run continued, but they conceded a late equaliser at home to Maidenhead United to finish up sharing a 1-1 draw.

Luke Coulson’s early 4th minute goal had Fleet in front when Andy Drury fed him 25 yards from goal and his precise right-footed shot flew into the corner of the net.

But the visitors piled on the pressure and 9 minutes from time, Harry Pritchard rifled in the equaliser.

Fleet were forced into some desperate late defending as the Magpies pushed for the winner and the game ended on a bit of a sour note when a clash sparked a melee involving several players.

Macauley Bonne’s first half double helped Leyton Orient secure their first home win of the year, as they defeated Woking 3-0 at the Matchroom Stadium.

Bonne opened the scoring in the 9th minute, firing home at the second attempt from a narrow angle.

Seven minutes later he added his second from the penalty spot.

And James Brophy made the points safe 10 minutes from time, as the O’s
moved seven points clear of the relegation zone.

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