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Vanarama National League North Preview

Posted: Mon 20 Mar 2017
Author: Philip Duff
Curzon Ashton

Curzon Ashton

Image by: Action Images/Craig Brough

A Look At......

There weren’t many smiles on show for the home fans at the Shay on Saturday after Joe Hanks’ 75th minute penalty meant the Tigers were roaring at full-time as Gloucester knocked Halifax out of the play-off places with a 1-0 win.

The Shaymen are now seventh, two points off the playoffs with nine games remaining. More importantly, Halifax still have a game in hand, so the chase for the prized playoff spots is still well and truly on.

Next up for the Shaymen is a visit from Lincolnshire side, Gainsborough Trinity. The Holy Blues recorded a 3-2 win over Halifax back in September, but they haven’t had much else to celebrate since then, as the club find themselves 20th, in the drop zone.

As well as FC Halifax Town versus Gainsborough Trinity, there are plenty more intriguing ties taking place during the week.

Firstly, there’s Monday night football in the form of a Manchester derby. Curzon Ashton take on FC United of Manchester, with both sides fighting for 12th place. The Nash will be aiming to build on their weekend win over Nuneaton Town, while the Red Rebels will look to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to Alfreton Town.

Tuesday is chock-a-block of fixtures, with two clashes definitely ones that many will be keeping their eyes on. AFC Fylde host Stockport County looking to continue their dominant stance as league leaders. The Coasters, unbeaten in their last six, take on another team in good form. The Hatters have only suffered defeat once in their last 16 league games.

In another top of the table clash, Chorley take the rather short trip to Salford City, as 2nd host 4th. Both teams have only lost once in their last five, and neither won on the weekend so will be looking to put things right when they face off at Moor Lane. The Ammies drew 1-1 with Stockport, while the Magpies suffered a surprise loss to Harrogate Town.

As for the Sulphurites, they travel to Greater Manchester to take on relegation-threatened Stalybridge Celtic. Simon Weaver’s side are undefeated in seven, while Celtic have only recorded two wins in their last seven. Stalybridge are currently eleven points from safety, while Harrogate are six points off the playoffs, in 9th.

Another relegation fighting side, Altrincham are also in action, hosting Nuneaton Town. Alty, who are rock bottom and 13 points from safety, are undefeated in two games, after victory over Boston and a stalemate with Stalybridge. Nuneaton haven’t won in two games, so despite the positions in the table, many Altrincham fans will be hopeful of a surprise victory over Boro.

Kidderminster Harriers make the trip to the other side of Birmingham to play Tamworth. Both teams are in rather inconsistent form – both sides’ form over the last eight competitive games is 3W 1D 4L. Kidderminster remain in 3rd, and Tamworth occupy 8th, so the result on Tuesday night could be so much for each respective team’s finishing positions.

 Worcester City host Brackley Town, hoping to end their run of 17 games without victory. The Blues are currently avoiding the drop zone due to goal difference and will face a Brackley side who are also on a run of bad form – winless in their last three competitive fixtures.

The last game on Tuesday comes courtesy of Alfreton Town and Boston United. Both teams have taken two wins from their last eight games and will battle it out for 15th place when they meet at the Impact Arena.

The last game to look at comes on Wednesday night at Blackwell Meadows as Darlington 1883 host Bradford Park Avenue. The Quakers have lost just once in their last five, while Avenue have only won once in that same time. Both teams will be fighting for something different in the game – Darlington aiming to secure their position in the playoffs, while Bradford will aim to bridge the gap between themselves and the relegation places.

Monday 
Curzon Ashton v FC United of Manchester

Tuesday 
AFC Fylde v Stockport County

Alfreton Town v Boston United

Altrincham v Nuneaton Town

FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough Trinity

Salford City v Chorley

Stalybridge Celtic v Harrogate Town

Tamworth v Kidderminster Harriers

Worcester City v Brackley Town

Wednesday 
Darlington 1883 v Bradford Park Avenue

All kick-off times are scheduled for 7:45pm.