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Akinde Hat-Trick Earns Bees 9-Point Lead

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John Akinde’s third hat-trick of the season earned Vanarama Conference leaders Barnet a 3-1 win away at the Electrical Services Stadium…..

….against an Aldershot Town side who are now dangerously close to the drop zone.

Aldershot started the stronger with Brett Williams curling a shot just wide of the post.

Barnet responded through Charlie MacDonald, who had an effort saved by Phil Smith, before Curtis Weston and Akinde both failed to make the most of opportunities in and around the box.

Their pressure finally paid off with 4 minutes of the first half remaining when Akinde latched on to a long ball from Dale Stephens before slotting the ball past Smith for his 19th goal of the season.

However, it took just 3 minutes after the restart for Aldershot to find an equaliser when Jordan Roberts ghosted in at the back post to head home a corner.

Parity was restored for just 60 seconds, though, as Sam Togwell supplied the pass for Akinde to power the ball into the bottom corner from inside the area.

Barnet were in the ascendancy and after Mauro Vilhete had seen a low shot palmed away, Akinde missed out on his hat-trick when rolling the ball wide from close range.

Aldershot’s only response came from Williams, who miscued an overhead kick, and after the game entered added-on time, Barnet wrapped up the three points when Akinde scored from the spot after Smith had been sent-off for hauling down the striker inside the box.

Bristol Rovers got their festive schedule off to a winning start after goals from Matty Taylor and Neal Trotman helped to secure a victory over Torquay United at Plainmoor.

Taylor opened the scoring between the two teams who came down from League Two together at the end of last season with a well-taken left-footed effort from just outside the box in the 8th minute.

Trotman then doubled the advantage with a well-taken header when attacking the near post at a corner taken by Jake Gosling just after the half-hour mark.

Andy Monkhouse almost extended the advantage seconds later, but his close-range header after Nathan Blissett had stood the ball up at the far post was cleared off the line.

Torquay went straight up the other end and managed to reduce the deficit with a goal that goalkeeper Fabian Spiess will not want to see again. Somehow, the on-loan Notts County man managed to punch the ball into his own net after powerful striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong’s shot had looped up when taking a deflection off of a defender.

Rovers missed a hatful of good chances that would have made life a little easier for themselves.

Macclesfield Town’s unbeaten home run finally came to an end as play-off rivals Grimsby Town took the three points on Boxing Day.

It was the Silkmen’s first loss on home turf since the back end of last season, and means they drop a place and lose ground on leaders Barnet.

Town went 1-0 up in the 4th minute when Lenell John-Lewis played in Arnold whose shot was saved, and Jack Mackreth reacted quickest to slot in the rebound against his former club.

Macclesfield had most of the possession both before and after the goal, and James McKeown had to make a fine save to deny a long-range shot from Adriano Moke.

Early in the second half Waide Fairhurst got the wrong side of Shaun Pearson but skewed his shot wide.

Town survived some late scares and several half clearances to become the only team to win at Macclesfield so far this season.

Eastleigh completed the year unbeaten in the league at the Silverlake Stadium after an entertaining 2-2 draw with fellow play-off contenders Woking.

Dean Morgan latched onto a rebound to fire Woking ahead from close range after only 8 minutes.

The home side grew into the game after a slow start and levelled through a heavily deflected Will Evans effort on 22 minutes, and then through Craig McAllister with 2 minutes left in the first half.

The second 45 minutes was far less open as the wet conditions hampered ball movement on a heavy pitch.

Eastleigh will be pleased with the point after surviving a couple of late chances for the Cards.

Two goals from Aman Verma helped Kidderminster Harriers record a 3-2 victory over Forest Green Rovers to move into sixth place in the table.

Kidderminster’s Kyle Storer wasted the first opportunity of the game when he hooked a shot wide, but it was Forest Green who looked the more dangerous in the final third with James Norwood striking the post after beating two defenders.

Just before the half-hour mark, Lee Hughes earned the lead for the home side when he got on the end of a Marcus Kelly delivery to head in his 7th goal of the campaign.

It took just 5 minutes for Kidderminster to get back on level terms through a Verma header but in a see-saw 10 minutes, Rovers regained the advantage after Norwood converted from close range after being found by a Jon Parkin cross.

However, a minute before the break, Kidderminster struck back for a second time when former Forest Green full-back Jared Hodgkiss provided the delivery for Jack Byrne to head past Sam Russell.

Forest Green began the second half well, but after Norwood had sent a shot wide, Hodgkiss blocked to deny Elliott Frear finding the back of the net.

The home side couldn’t find a third, with Hughes hitting the post with a header and Sam Wedgbury blazing over the bar after being set up by Frear.

However, as the game entered the final quarter, Kidderminster started to threaten and on 81 minutes Verma netted his second of the afternoon when finding the top corner from a Craig Reid pass.

Honours were shared at the International Stadium between Gateshead and FC Halifax Town in a game that both sides will feel they could have won.

Lois Maynard bagged a first half brace for the Shaymen in the 10th and 25th minutes as he continued his good form of six goals in six games.

But that wasn’t enough as goals from man of the match John Oster on 12 minutes and Danny Wright in the 39th from the spot had the game level at the break.

Halifax were the better team and will feel aggrieved to not have gone in ahead.

The second half was a totally different story, as substitute Michael Rankine caused Halifax all sorts of problems along with Oster but the breakthrough could not be found.

Halifax had a great chance to win the game in the 90th minute after Jamie Jackson managed to miss from six yards.

A superb strike from midfielder Jay Harris secured a 1-0 victory for Wrexham against Southport at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Harris struck less than a minute into the second half with a well struck shot from outside the area as Wrexham got back to winning ways.

Wrexham recorded a first win in the league since November with a 1-0 away win at the Merseyrail Community Stadium against strugglers Southport.

Midfielder Jay Harris fired a low shot in off the post from 25-yards out to give the Dragons the lead just a minute into the second half.

And that proved to be enough to win all three points and keep Wrexham with hope of mounting a top five challenge in the New Year.

However, the defeat leaves the Sandgrounders one place and four points above the relegation zone.

Dover Athletic extended their unbeaten run to nine league games with a comfortable victory over Kent rivals Welling United.

Stefan Payne opened the scoring for Dover after 20 minutes with an excellent strike from 18-yards.

Tom Murphy doubled the home side’s lead on 37 minutes with a curling effort before heading in Payne’s cross 2 minutes after the break.

Welling goalkeeper Ben Buchel was sent-off in stoppage time for a foul on James Poole, who subsequently got up and sealed victory from resulting penalty.

Lincoln City earned a 3-2 win over third-bottom Alfreton Town at Sincil Bank.

The Imps had gone ahead on 5 minutes through Hamza Bencherif, but his headed effort was cancelled out by Karl Hawley after 57 minutes.

City struck back and looked to have wrapped up the win in a crazy 2-minutes spell.

First, second half substitute Ben Tomlinson netted from close range on 70 minutes and 2 minutes later Marcus Marshall struck his first goal for the Imps with a fierce 30-yard strike.

However, there was late scare as Dan Bradley scored in added time, but it was too little too late, and City made it four home wins in a row in the league to move up to fourteenth.

Chester FC had little festive cheer after a disappointing home performance against neighbours Altrincham at the Swansway Stadium.

Goals from Tom Marshall and James Havern condemned the Blues to a disappointing home loss which moved the Robins level on points with them in lower mid-table.

Chester rarely tested home keeper Stuart Coburn and were punished for their defensive mistakes.

Altrincham broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Tom Marshall headed home a long free-kick from skipper Shaun Densmore.

Altrincham made it 2-0 after 59 minutes when James Lawrie’s corner fell to Gianluca Havern who made no mistake with a close range header at the far post.

A third consecutive clean sheet and another three points made it a very happy Christmas for Braintree Town at Princes Park against fourth-bottom Dartford.

The Iron built on their 2-0 win against Torquay before the festive break with a similar outcome.

Charlie Strutton put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot after only 8 minutes following handball against Tom Bender.

Simeon Akinola scored his third goal in as many games to wrap up the points in the 75th minute.

Those three points took the Iron to a mid-table slot of fifteenth in the table.

The bottom two in the table, Nuneaton Town and AFC Telford United, shared an eight-goal thriller at Liberty Way.

AFC Telford struck twice in stoppage time to rescue a point from the basement battle.

The Bucks had been 4-2 entering stoppage time but two late, late strikes from Sam Smith and substitute Sean Cooke ensured they took a share of the spoils.

The visitors had enjoyed a great start when Smith hammered them in front with a dipping 20-yard drive after 6 minutes.

But Nuneaton levelled from the penalty spot when James Armson slotted past Hedge on 41 minutes after Kyle Brownhill had upended striker Michael Gash in the box.

The Bucks retook the lead 6 minutes after the re-start when Boro`s new loan `keeper Callum Burton spilled Adam Farrell’s low cross into the net from a tight angle.

But Telford `keeper Jonathan Hedge handed the hosts the softest of equalisers when he dropped a routine catch from an Adam Dawson free-kick on the hour-mark.

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