Something For The Weekend: Vanarama National League

1 week ago By Steven Coney

Tuesday night was a hectic one in the National League for various different reasons and it looks like this weekend will be no different.

There are massive games at both ends of the table and the results could well have a big bearing on where clubs end up.

The worst of the bad weather is now firmly behind us so let’s take a look at a bumper weekend of action and four games you really should be keeping a close eye on.

AFC Fylde v Aldershot Town

Arguably the game of the weekend and one that should provide plenty of entertainment - for the neutrals at least!

February wasn’t ideal for Fylde. They only won two of their five fixtures but bounced back well at the end of the month to beat fellow play-off hopefuls Dover Athletic. The Coasters will need to be just as good to overcome Aldershot and reduce the gap to seventh from the five points it currently is.

Aldershot have had a very mixed few weeks but they’re still in the title hunt. Draws with Bromley and Wrexham were followed up with a slim victory over Hartlepool United. The Shots have been very good on the road - they’re unbeaten in nine National League trips - and know a win on Saturday could potentially take them up to second.

Dagenham & Redbridge v Tranmere Rovers

This is almost a must-win for both clubs if they are to achieve their desired goals this season.

For Dagenham, their slim play-off hopes are still alive but need a big shot in the arm. They just squeezed past struggling Chester last time out but they’ve still lost five of their last seven games. Nine points separate the Daggers and seventh and John Still will know his side need to go on a run to really have a chance.

Similarly, Tranmere are just about hanging onto their title hopes. They’re seven points off leaders Macclesfield - who have a game in hand - and they will also need to leapfrog Aldershot and Sutton United. A tricky trip to Boreham Wood follows this one so a victory at Victoria Road would be a great starting point for Micky Mellon’s men.

Maidstone United v Torquay United

A huge game at the bottom of the table for both sides. Can Maidstone break their duck or will Torquay give their survival hopes a boost?

The Stones’ scheduled game against Macclesfield on Tuesday night was postponed with home players unable to get to the Gallagher Stadium due to a severe crash on the M25. That summed up the club’s last few months. It’s been tough but their performance against Tranmere last time out will give them hope. Who did Maidstone last beat in the National League? Torquay…

The Gulls need to start picking up points if they are to pull off yet another great escape. The recent home defeats against Dagenham and Sutton will have deflated Gary Owers’ side following two straight wins. And now they face three away games in a row starting in Kent. You have to think a return of at least four or five points is required but it’s going to be extremely tough.

Wrexham v Chester (Sunday, 12pm on BT Sport)

Arguably the biggest derby game in the National League, there is plenty riding on this one for both clubs.

Wrexham need to get back to winning ways following four straight draws and boss Dean Keates reckons his side need to win all ten of their remaining fixtures if they are to have a chance of lifting the National League title. Nine draws in 12 games has really seen their promotion push falter. What better way to get it back on track than a win over your nearest rivals?

Chester will cross the border hoping to close the gap between them and safety to just three points but they know they face a tough task. Wrexham have lost just once in 18 National League games at the Racecourse Ground this term and Chester have only twice on the road all season. The form book goes out of the window on derby day, however, and the result of this one will have a big bearing on both clubs' immediate futures.

Honourable mentions go to Macclesfield Town v Barrow and Sutton United v Solihull Moors. The U’s could go top if the Silkmen slip up at home.

National League Fixtures - Saturday, March 10th

AFC Fylde v Aldershot Town
Bromley v Guiseley
Dagenham & Redbridge v Tranmere Rovers
Eastleigh v Dover Athletic
Gateshead v Maidenhead United
Hartlepool United v Boreham Wood
Leyton Orient v Ebbsfleet United
Macclesfield Town v Barrow
Maidstone United v Torquay United
Sutton United v Solihull Moors
Woking v FC Halifax Town

Sunday: Wrexham v Chester (12pm - BT Sport)

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