Vanarama Make Their Team Of The Weekend Picks!

By Sam Elliott

There was no shortage of drama in the Vanarama National League on Matchday 22 as 53 goals flew in across 12 fixtures.

AFC Fylde and Dorking Wanderers set the tone in front of the TNT Sports cameras, with viewers treated to a six-goal thriller at Mill Farm.

Every week, title sponsors pick their ‘Team of the Week’ for the National League, North and South and here they attempt to put a little more meat on the bone of their selections…

Vanarama National League

York City have lost just one of their last five – and a large part of that run can be attributed to new goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy. The former Bradford (Park Avenue) stopper saved five of six shots in City’s 1-1 draw at Maidenhead United, a result made all the more impressive given Alex Woodyard was sent off after just 19 minutes.

At the back, Wealdstone’s own captain Jack – Cook, not Sparrow! – scored a match-winning brace against rivals Wealdstone to extend the Stones’ formidable home record. Stuard Maynard’s men are now unbeaten in eight at Grosvenor Vale.

Cian Harries played a key role in Aldershot Town’s 1-0 win over in-form FC Halifax Town. No National League centre-back attempted more defensive actions (31) than the 26-year-old who was successful with more (28) than any of his peers.

Ebbsfleet United’s forward line stole the show in their stunning 4-1 win at Oldham Athletic – but it’s Huddersfield Town loanee Mustapha Olagunju who completes our defence. The Fleet have only been beaten twice in his five outings.

Rochdale winger Cian Hayes was on target in Dale’s 2-1 win at Dagenham & Redbridge. No National League winger received the ball more often (32) and Hayes led the way for progressive runs.

On the opposing flank, Justin Amaluzor bagged a brace in Altrincham’s 6-1 demolition of Solihull Moors. With 11 forward passes, Amaluzor topped the charts for wingers and was second for final-third passes (2). His double came from an expected goals (xG) value of just 0.37 – indicating razor-sharp finishing from the Alty flyer!

Chesterfield extended their lead at the summit to 11 points with midfielder Ollie Banks notching his fifth and sixth goals of the season in the Spireites 3-2 win over Eastleigh. The 31-year-old attempted more shots (7), completed more dribbles (3) and more progressive runs (5) than any other central midfielder on Saturday.

Midfield partner Greg Cundle – crowbarred in to recognise his contribution – bagged a goal and an assist as the Fleet overpowered Oldham 4-1. The wing-back tied with Banks on a league-leading five progressive runs.

Up front, James McShane bagged his first goals since September 19 as Dorking Wanderers drew 3-3 with AFC Fylde in front of the TNT Sports cameras. Last season’s 17-goal top scorer for the Wanderers, McShane also assisted Josh Taylor’s strike for the visitors.

Bromley hitman Michael Cheek is an ever-reliable source of goals and his brace in the 4-1 win at Hartlepool United came from just five touches in the box. Cheek’s total xG value? Just 0.62 – further proof of his unerring finishing.

Completing the National League XI is Boreham Wood’s Tyrone Marsh. Wood boss Luke Garrard got a reaction after last weekend’s defeat at Dorking, beating Woking 4-2 at home. Marsh notched twice but also chipped in defensively. No striker attempted more loose ball duels than his nine.

Vanarama National League North

Five-star Scarborough Athletic stole the show in the North and no-one more so than York City loanee Finlay Barnes. A goal was his stand-out contribution but less heralded were his five successful loose ball duels – more than anyone in his position. No one managed more forward passes (15).

Dion Sembie-Ferris struck twice as Peterborough Sports left it late to win 3-2 at Blyth Spartans. Those goals came from an xG value of 0.79 for the Scunthorpe United loanee, who has five goal contributions since rejoining his old side.

At the back, Brackley Town stalwart Gaz Dean got the only goal as his side won 1-0 at Alfreton Town and saw the job out by winning the third-most aerial duels (10) in the division.

Vanarama National League South

Where else to start but Tristan Abrahams? The Welling United forward ended Yeovil Town’s 12-game unbeaten run in the South with a hat-trick in a 4-1 win. Remarkably, Abrahams’ treble came from an xG of just 0.85! He’d only scored twice before Saturday’s resounding victory.

Slough Town midfielder Johnny Goddard set the tone for a fine result as the Rebels won 3-0 against Braintree Town. The 30-year-old attempted four shots and six ball recoveries in the opposing half, ranking second versus all wide midfielders in National League South.

Tonbridge Angels' versatile full-back Tariq Hinds opened his account for the season with a double in the Angels’ 4-1 success over Havant & Waterlooville. No full-back – on either side – attempted more shots (3) or recorded more progressive runs (8) than the 23-year-old.

Where next?

My Wings Haven't Clipped Yeovil's Title Charge Says Bloor Danny Bloor doesn’t expect Welling United’s wonderful win over the run-away leaders to change Yeovil Town’s outlook one bit - but thinks it might just alter his side’s season.
Goals Galore On Another Exciting National League Day Chesterfield’s lead at the top of the National League is now an incredible 11 points as they put their foot down in the race for the EFL.