Vanarama National League North round-up: Gateshead move four points clear at the top
A huge game in the race for promotion played out at the Gateshead International Stadium between Gateshead and Darlington on Easter Monday. (Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
  • Gateshead 4-2 Darlington

An incredible comeback to beat Darlington means the fate of the National League North title in Gateshead's hands now, with them sitting comfortably in pole position, four points ahead of challengers Brackley Town.

A brilliant free kick from Nathan Lowe put The Quakers ahead with just three minutes on the clock before Jack Lambert doubled the lead from the spot after he was judged to have been taken down by Gateshead's Robbie Tinkler.

It was 21 minutes into the second half when things began to change for the home side - Heed captain Greg Olley slotted home at the near post to halve the deficit.

Seven minutes later, Macauley Langstaff hit the first of his brace before claiming a second with six minutes to play, sending the home crowd of 1,722 into madness. Connor Malley's injury time goal put The Heed well out of sight in the game, and the title race.

Brackley Town fell to their fourth defeat of the season at home to Boston United, where a 1-0 defeat means the playoff route of promotion is beginning to look ever so likely for The Saints.

It was playoff hopefuls Boston who took all three points with a dramatic late winner from Keenan Ferguson, smashing home after some great work from fellow teammate Danny Elliott.

The win bolsters a potential top seven finish for The Pilgrims, as they now move up to sixth, three points inside the playoffs.

Keenan Ferguson celebrates Boston's 87th minute winner (Photo: Oliver Atkin)
Keenan Ferguson celebrates Boston's 87th minute winner (Photo: Oliver Atkin)
 

A 3-0 defeat at Alfreton now sees The Minstermen fall outside the playoff spots on goal difference, whilst Alfreton edge closer towards that target.

It wasn’t the start that York would have been hoping for as Alfreton took the lead inside 7 minutes, Dominic Smith heading over Pete Jameson. 21 minutes gone and the visitors had conceded a penalty for a push on the line - Matt Rhead calmly stepped up and slotted home to double the lead.

With eight minutes to go, The Reds found the killer blow as Rhead headed across goal for Smith to slot into an empty net, taking all the points and Alfreton moving just four points adrift off the playoffs.

Alfreton's Adam Lund and York's Mitch Hancox tussle for the ball (Photo: Tom Poole)
Alfreton's Adam Lund and York's Mitch Hancox tussle for the ball (Photo: Tom Poole)

 

A pair of penalties sunk a free falling Southport side, minimizing the chance of a playoff place. The Sangrounders had an expectation to beat relegation battling Farsley Celtic but continued their bad run, against a side with seemingly better form than them.

Midway through the second half, The Celts were awarded their first penalty for a handball, which Frank Mulhern dispatched from spot, sending Cameron Mason the wrong way.

Will Hayhurst made sure there was no route back for Southport as he buried his penalty late on, and Farsley moved up three places in the table, pushing away from the relegation zone, which they now are five points clear of.

Despite a second consecutive loss, Chorley still remain in prime position for a playoff run. 

The opener, and the winner came in the 16th minute when former Altrincham man Tom Peers found himself in acres of space to complete a quick counter attack and tap home a rebound to give Curzon the lead.

Three points doesn't change The Nash's league position, as they remain in 14th, however a very late playoff push is possible, with Curzon needing just five points to sneak in.

Tom Peers gives <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/13/1105034-york-city-vs-curzon-ashton-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-predicted-lineups-team-news-and-ones-to-watch.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/13/1105034-york-city-vs-curzon-ashton-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-predicted-lineups-team-news-and-ones-to-watch.html'>Curzon Ashton</a></strong> the lead (Photo: Stefan Willoughby)
Tom Peers gives Curzon Ashton the lead (Photo: Stefan Willoughby)

 

  • Gloucester 1-0 Hereford

A brilliant end to the season is anticipated after yet another playoff fighter, in Hereford, slipped up, this time at Gloucester City.

It took until the 71st minute for the deadlock to be broken at the TigerTurf Stadium, Gloucester's Jordan Thompson finding the winner as he headed home from a free kick.

It is now a matter of who really wants promotion this season in National League North, as Hereford slid further away from the target zone. On the other side, The Tigers may have just about confirmed their safety as they push further up the table and away from the sole relegation spot.

A crucial Yorkshire derby for rock bottom Guiseley ended in a bore draw, with the local visitors failing to move level on points with second bottom Telford.

It could be considered a much improved performance from The Lions following their 6-0 drubbing by Gateshead, however neither themselves or Bradford Park Avenue were able to capitalize on any chances

Whilst Guiseley are only three points adrift of AFC Telford in 21st place, with only four games remaining the situation is looking ominous and nothing short of a win against Curzon Ashton at Nethermoor on Saturday will keep their faint hopes of avoiding the drop alive.

  • AFC Fylde 3-1 Chester

Unlikely to face the drop now, Chester fell victim to 3rd place AFC Fylde, who smashed three past the Welsh side within the first 56 minutes.

Fylde's Nick Haughton set the tone after just three minutes, driving a shot into the far left corner, before doubling his tally with a cheeky panenka from the penalty spot just before the break.

Coasters forward Douglas Taylor finished Chester off 11 minutes into the second period, latching onto a cross from Nathan Shaw. Kevin Roberts managed to pull one back minutes later but it wasn't enough to take anything back across the border.

  • Spennymoor Town 3-0 Blyth Spartans

Spennymoor Town moved up to ninth in the National League North following an accomplished and clinical display against Blyth Spartans, making promotion an increased possibility.

Former Moors defenders Nathan Buddle was the one who opened the scoring, but diverted it into the wrong net, resulting in an own goal.

Third top scorer in the league Glen Taylor was back at his best, grabbing two valuable goals either side of half time to put the home side three goals up against their North-East opponents.

Whilst Spennymoor continue in their playoff pilgrimage, Blyth now drop down to 20th, four points off relegation to the Northern Premier Division.

  • Kidderminster Harriers 0-0 Kettering Town

Kidderminster Harriers found everything but a goal against Kettering Town on Easter Monday as the two teams played out a goalless Aggborough draw.

Harriers dominated the majority of the game, with the 'best' chances - Ashley Hemmings failed to keep his effort on target as he dragged a shot wide, plus Alex Penny's header from a corner looked destined to be the initial goal, but struck the crossbar instead.

Kidderminster won't be overly fussed with the result, as they have already mathematically secured a playoff spot, however The Poppies are currently in a bid to keep their final playoff place, with four games left to play.

VAVEL Logo