Danny Burnell – @dannyburnell_92
I take a look at the crucial games over the next couple of weeks, as we try to avoid the drop.
POINTS: 46 GD: -22
Altrincham (A) – All the permutations more or less go out out the window should United fail to win at Altrincham. A vastly inferior goal difference, not helped by the two thrashings handed out by Chesterfield, now mean Torquay will need to get some sort of result against champions-elect Wrexham. Altrincham is winnable, but the stuffing has well and truly been taken out of them after Tuesday night. The Robins’ have nothing to play for except pride, finding themselves 16th in the table and in poor form. They’ve been on the beach since February and results back that up, taking just two points from their last five matches, with their last victory coming at the end of March over Southend. It’s possible we may need a favour from them on the last day away at Aldershot.
Wrexham (H) – IF, and it’s a big IF, Torquay are still within a shot of survival come the final day, they will have to do it in the hardest way possible. Some sort of result will be required, whether that’s a draw or a win remains to be seen. Should the Red Dragons’ defeat Boreham Wood on Saturday, they will be crowned champions and that offers small hope for the Yellow Army who may envisage Wrexham ‘hung-over’ and in party mood (ala Hungerford @ home!) come the 29th. A Wrexham side without the worry of sealing the title on the final day will undoubtedly still be daunting, but not as daunting as a Reds’ side needing a victory.
POINTS: 49 GD: -15
Barnet (H): Bottom line is should Maidenhead match or better Torquay’s result on Saturday, taking into account their superior GD, that would render them safe. Maidenhead have been the side in free-fall having picked up just two points in their last five games, and winning just once in their last 10. Easter Monday further evidenced why the Magpies’ are flirting with the drop. Safety is still firmly within their grasp as they host play-off confirmed Barnet. The Bees’ can’t finish lower than 7th, but can pip Woking to 4th for a potentially more favourable play-off tie. They have exceeded expectations this season and have become a force to be reckoned with but there’s no doubt they are prone to the odd mishap. Recent loses at Dorking & York evidence their struggles against the bottom sides, but it’s just one defeat in nine (York) for them, albeit drawing five of those. A disappointing draw at Maidstone was countered by an impressive draw against 10 man Wrexham, and a hard fought win over Solihull. Barnet are a strange team, but you’d like to think they’ll be wanting to enter the play-off’s with momentum.
Gateshead (A): You wouldn’t have given Maidenhead a chance a couple of weeks back against a ‘Heed side who were flying. An incredible run of form seen them propel to safety with games to spare, but no goals and one point in their last two outings suggest they are winding down for the season. In the midst of their formidable run they dispatched the likes of Eastleigh & Dagenham with ease, but a heavy 0-3 defeat at home to Bromley saw momentum come to an abrupt end. A draw at home to Dorking confirmed their place in the NL for another season, and with a Trophy final on the horizon it will be interesting to see how they approach this. Players could be playing for shirts at the Wembley showpiece, or they could be coy in the challenge as they try to avoid injury. Personally, I see it as not a bad last game to have from Maidenhead’s point of view.
POINTS: 49 GD: -8
Aldershot (H): Like Maidenhead, should York match or better United’s result on Saturday, that will in effect secure their safety. The Minsterman would have thought they were safe a few weeks ago, particularly with impressive wins over Barnet & Chesterfield however, two defeats in a row, crucially one of those at Plainmoor, sees York still in the thick of it as we approach the final hurdle. York face an Aldershot side with renewed hope after securing back-to-back wins over a sorry Scunthorpe and under-performing Wealdstone. York will be buoyed by an expectant home crowd, willing the team onto victory.
Notts County (A): As final days go, York couldn’t have asked for much tougher. Should Wrexham clinch the title against Boreham Wood, County will enter this game in the knowledge that they will finish second. A worry for the Yellow Army is that this could deflate them and pan out to be an end-of-season lull for the Magpies’. You’d hope they will want to finish strong and build momentum as they enter their biggest games in their recent history, and with a 40-goal man spearheading your attack, you will always be favourites to come away with a positive result. York will be hoping they can wrap safety up on Saturday, without the added stress of having to potentially get a result at Meadow Lane.
POINTS: 51 GD: -12
York (A): Barring a huge swing in GD, a point from their final two games will see Aldershot safe for another season. Failure to do this at York wouldn’t be disastrous for them in the knowledge they host Alty on the final day. Those back-to-back wins have all but secured safety but they will want to avoid last day nerves. Should Torquay, York & Maidenhead all win on Saturday, it will be Shots vs Gulls’ on the final day, with the Shots’ overwhelming favourites to come out the happier.
Altrincham (H): A favourable last day for Aldershot as they host the afore mentioned ‘beach-going’ Altrincham. The Robins’ could have a massive say on who and who dosn’t stay in the division but as far as final fixtures go, you probably couldn’t have asked for much better.
Best case scenario: A Gulls’ victory at Altrincham, coupled with Shots’ and Barnet victories is of course the best scenario for us. This will put us level pegging with the two of them come the final day, however, we would still need to better one of their results. That could be in the form of a draw, with York going to Notts County, that may just be enough. Either way, should we record victory on Saturday, we will take it to the final day in some capacity.
Worst case scenario: Don’t win on Saturday, it’s all but over. Other results will determine whether it’s mathematically confirmed, but realistically, 4 points, most probably 6, is required to stay up (even that may not be enough). Not counting any chickens, but IF we win at Alty, we really got to hope for either Barnet or Shots’ victories, ideally both! With the final fixtures, if you could only pick one, you’d prefer us to be level pegging with York come the 29th.