Vanarama National League North round-up: Heed win to stay top but Saints close on their heels
Macca Langstaff found himself on the scoresheet twice in Gateshead's win over Gloucester City (Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • Gloucester City 2-4 Gateshead

League leaders Gateshead put four past the Tigers, keeping the Heed three points ahead of second placed Brackley Town.

In Gloucestershire Macca Langstaff only needed four minutes to give the visitors the lead, rounding Jake Cole in the home side's goal before tapping in. Danny King's equaliser for Gloucester was only to put the hosts on level terms for nine minutes as Adam Campbell cut inside and fired the Heed back into the lead.

Everyone who knows Gloucester knows of their resilience, and they struck back through Jordon Thompson on 51 however City didn't stay level for long with captain Greg Olley scoring four minutes later. They weren't done there though, and Langstaff got his second of the game with twelve left to seal all three points. 

With eleven games left now, Gateshead will hope to see out the season and secure a return to the National League as champions. Gloucester on the other hand will feel like they've done enough to stay up but will be wary of three out of four teams below them having played fewer games.

With a game in hand, Brackley Town secured another important three points in their efforts to knock Gateshead off top spot.

A game that saw all the action in the first half, Jaanai Gordon-Hutton was on hand to deliver the first blow to Telford slamming home from close range.  The Saints were soon crusing, Matt Lowe scoring a superb angled effort just seven minutes after the opener. 

The game wasn't out there though, new signing Devarn Green pulled one back for the Bucks, but it wasn't enough as the game fizzed out in the second half in Northamptonshire. 

Brackley's game in hand will be crucial, a win would see them go level on points at the top of the table. Telford are still very much in the midst of a relegation battle, wins for Farsley Celtic and Guiseley in their games in hand over the Bucks would see the Shropshire side go bottom.

Embed from Getty Images

AFC Fylde drew level on points with Kidderminster Harriers in a third vs fourth matchup. 

Nick Haughton's cheeky chip five minutes into the game was the only goal in the game, watched by over 2700 fans at Aggborough, boosted by a 100 strong away support who had free coach travel provided by chairman David Haythornthwaite

Automatic promotion seems a way off for both Harriers and Coasters, but the race for a place in the play-off semi finals will be interesting with both teams battling it out for third place. 

Embed from Getty Images

  • Chorley 2-1 Southport

In another all play-off game, Chorley turned around a deficit to win at Victory Park in the 92nd minute. 

The score doesn't tell the story of the game, with Southport only managing two shots compared to their hosts' 23 but it was the Sandgrounders who took the lead with Jordan Archer striking early. Tuesday night's miseries for the Magpies looked to continue as Will Tomlinson skied a penalty before half time.

All of Chorley's pressure finally counted when Ollie Shenton equalised in the 59th minute, his fifth of the season. Just as the game was looking like it would end level, Shenton's extra time free kick looped over everyone to give a crucial win for the Magpies.

Both teams will hope to see their season out now with little fuss, but there is a chance of a meeting in the play-offs at the end of the season if the table stays the same. 

  • Bradford (Park Avenue) 2-3 Curzon Ashton

An Alex Curran hat trick was enough to deny Bradford (Park Avenue) their third win in five whilst ending Curzon Ashton's loss streak of two. 

The game started perfectly at the Horsfall Community Stadium for Park Avenue, with Lewis Knight finishing a counter attack to give the hosts a lead. That lead lasted nearly 20 minutes, until the Alex Curran show ensued with a converted penalty to level the scores A corner not long after saw Curran head home his second of the game to give the Tamesiders the lead at the break.

Midway through the second half Curran made sure he would take the match ball home as he slotted past George Sykes-KenworthyPark Avenue scored a consolation one minute from time through Lucas Odunston but it wasn't enough as all three points went back to Manchester. 

It looks like both sides will be playing National League North football next season, but Curzon may target a late push for a play-off position in the final leg of the season.

  • Blyth Spartans 1-3 Chester

A win at Croft Park at the expense of Blyth Spartans saw Chester end their torrid run of five straight defeats.

The narrative was set early on in the game, Matty Williams firing home a rebound with three minutes on the clock. Salford City loan man Marcus Dackers made it two for the Seals in the first half with a finish from the edge of the box. 

Club captain George Glendon's goal five minutes into the second period made sure Spartans would have no way back, even with Sean Reid pulling one back for the hosts in the final twenty. 

The win sees Chester pull clear of the relegation space, now sitting nine points above Farsley Celtic. Blyth Spartans will hope they have enough to avoid the drop with the gap between them and Celtic being four points.

Embed from Getty Images

  • Spennymoor Town 2-1 Kettering Town

Kettering Town's reputation for their poor discipline continued as another Poppies player saw red as they fell to defeat in County Durham on a record breaking day for Glen Taylor.

New recruit from Southern Premier League Central relegation contenders Nuneaton Borough Liam Daly gave the visitors the lead, the former Leamington and Gloucester City captain heading home in the first half.

Jordan Thewlis equalised for Spennymoor in the second half with a half volley, before Glen Taylor became the club's leading goalscorer as he saw a deflected free kick fly in; giving the Moors all three points whilst creating a club record. 

With the win, Spennymoor leapfrog Kettering into the top half of the table. The play-off berths may be a hope too far for either side now as the teams head into the final push to the finish line.

  • Guiseley 0-1 Boston United

A late Scott Pollock goal kept Boston United on the play-off trail with hosts Guiseley anxiously looking over their shoulders into the drop zone. 

It was a big day for Pollock, who celebrated his 21st birthday, and he was the difference after coming off the bench, sliding in a late winner for the Pilgrims

United are now only two points off the play-off places and with a mixed run in there is every chance they will be able to sneak in for a shot at promotion. Guiseley do have games in hand but with confidence in their managers falling, Lions fans will be wary of falling into the drop zone.

  • Leamington 0-0 Hereford

It was anything but a classic at Your Co-op Community Stadium, as a season best crowd of 887 saw a goalless draw with few chances.

Burton Albion loanee Callum Hawkins proved himself once again in goal for the Brakes, making a couple of good saves when tested. Kelsey Mooney must feel his goal is coming with him and captain Jack Edwards seeing headers fall wide in a game that will not stay long in the memory.

In more heartwarming news, Brakes and Bulls fans teamed up to raise over £1000 for the Ukraine appeal with further items donated from both sets of supporters. 

National League North football next season looks a certainty for a Leamington side who did sit fourth back in October and November, but the Brakes do have the Birmingham Senior Cup final against Stourbridge to look forward to. Hereford still sit just outside the play-off places but would rely on teams losing their games in hand to have a good chance.

  • Alfreton Town 0-0 Farsley Celtic

Farsley Celtic will count every point as crucial in their battle against relegation, and they got their latest with a goalless draw against Alfreton Town at the Impact Arena. 

The one big chance in Derbyshire fell to the league's basement side as Dave Syers struck the crossbar midway through the second half. 

Whilst the Reds sit comfortably mid table, the battle against relegation is now on for Celtic, with them knowing a win in their game in hand would send Telford bottom having played the same number of games. 

Embed from Getty Images