The Top Five National League Defences So Far This Season

11 months ago By Tom Feaheny

We all know how important goals are to win games of football but sometimes the defence and keeper's fine work goes unnoticed well, we've picked out five teams who have so far impressed.

It is no surprise to see four of the five teams are competing for a place in the automatic or play-off places as that is what a good defence can bring, writes Tom Feaheny.

Played 32
Goals conceded 24
Clean sheets 18

Dean Keates made it clear in the summer that the defence would be key and so it has proved.

Skipper Shaun Pearson was always going to be a good signing with the centre back impressing since his arrival from Grimsby Town, he has not only the defensive but also the leadership qualities that the Red Dragons have needed.

In net they now have Chris Dunn after Luke Coddington's loan expired from Northampton Town, while they strengthened with David Raven joining last week from Inverness.

Aldershot Town
Played 31
Goals conceded 32
Clean sheets 11

Last season Gary Waddock's side ended the campaign in the play-off places and with the best defensive record, this campaign they are doing well at the back once again.

Two players who have continued to stand out are Callum Reynolds and Cheye Alexander, although captain Reynolds has been out injured for a few weeks.

Another positive for Town is the fact they have two keepers they can rely on with Lewis Ward and Jake Cole both being picked for many games so far this season.

Dover Athletic
Played 31
Goals conceded 26
Clean sheets 12

While last season the goals of Ricky Miller got the headlines, this season it is the team that is getting the credit with the goals shared around and a good defence being key as well.

Mitch Walker has played every league game this season in net with the England C international impressing, captain Mitch Brundle has been a standout player since joining in the summer from Gateshead and Giancarlo Gallifuoco after arriving from Torquay United has done well, with Chris Kinnear once again bringing in some shrewd signings.

Athletic have kept six clean sheets both home and away so have been keeping clean sheets has been spread out both at the Crabble and on their travels as well.

Tranmere Rovers
Played 32
Goals conceded 30
Clean sheets 13

Tranmere have the best goal difference in the league, with a good defence and attack leading to them climbing the table quickly and now with a realistic chance of claiming top spot.

There has been a change in who is number one for the side with goalkeeper Scott Davies injured, Rhys Taylor joined the side and has so far played four games keeping a clean sheet during the win at Woking.

There is though a settled defence in front with the experienced Steve McNulty, Ritchie Sutton and Adam Buxton, the three of them have stood out.

Played 30
Goals conceded 31
Clean sheets 11

Steve Watson has seen an upturn in results in recent weeks with the 0-0 draw against Wrexham showing the strength of the defence although in recent weeks they have kept conceding but scoring more.

On Tuesday that was their first clean sheet in a number of months but they have kept the scores down even when they have conceded.

Paddy McLaughlin has been a key figure for the Heed, with Jamal Fyfield also standing out in the back four.

Gateshead are the only team outside the top ten places who have a positive goal difference with the defence being key to that.

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