Vanarama Make Their Team Of The Weekend Picks!

By Sam Elliott

Freezing temperatures wreaked havoc with the fixture schedule and there were plenty of slip-ups in the FA Cup as Vanarama National League sides stole the show to reach the 3rd Round.

Maidstone United, Eastleigh, Chesterfield, Barnet and Aldershot Town are all in the hat and title sponsors Vanarama have leaned heavily on their heroics for this weekend’s Team of the Week selections.

Vanarama National League & FA Cup

National League South side Maidstone United reached the 3rd Round for the first time since 1988 and match-winner Bivesh Gurung takes his place in the heart of midfield, with centre-back George Fowler also given the nod.

There were 47 places between the Stones and EFL League 2 Barrow before kick-off but George Elokobi’s side pulled off the shock of the round to set up a tie with Stevenage or Port Valr.

On Sunday, Eastleigh also saw off EFL opponents with Paul McCallum carrying his red-hot National League form into the cup.

He opened the scoring against League One’s Reading before bagging a winner in the fourth minute of stoppage-time after the Royal levelled late on. It’s now six goals in five for the Spitfires’ No.9.

Midfield colleague Nigel Atangana is also included after a tireless display for Richard Hill’s men.

Barnet centre-back Danny Collinge has made a habit of scoring this season and nabbed number seven on Saturday. His 89th-minute intervention means Dean Brennan’s promotion-chasing Bees have a replay against League 2 Newport County.

If they can get through that, the Bees’ reward is an all-National League home tussle against Eastleigh.

The FA Cup thrills and spills continued on Sunday with Chesterfield making it to the 3rd Round for the third year in a row and now face a trip to Championship Watford.

Full-back Ryheem Sheckleford represents the league leaders following their 1-0 win over League 1 Leyton Orient – National League winners in 2019.

Aldershot Town’s Josh Stokes has been one of the signings of the season and continued to underline his credentials with a brace in the 2-2 draw with League 2 leaders Stockport County.

If the Shots advance from their replay, they’ll head to Championship West Bromwich Albion.

Three National League fixtures went ahead with Maidenhead United stretching their unbeaten run to five with a 4-1 win at Oxford City.

Winger Sam Barratt bagged a brace for the Magpies – his first goals since rejoining on loan. That double came from six shots but an expected goals (xG) value of just 0.65.

On the other flank, Kidderminster Harriers got a much-needed 2-0 win over Ebbsfleet United. Ashley Hemmings’ double sealed the win, coming from six shots, six touches in the box and an xG of 0.38!

Finally, it was a good weekend for Bromley with Chesterfield and Barnet in FA Cup action. Deji Elerewe helped the Ravens secure a 1-0 win over Rochdale to strengthen their grasp on second.

The Charlton Athletic loanee was successful in five of seven defensive actions and completed four interceptions.

Vanarama National League North & South

Where else to start but up front? Worthing hitman Ollie Pearce took his total to 10 Vanarama National League South goals with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Chippenham Town.

No striker attempted more shots (6) or had more touches in the box (9) than Pearce on Saturday.

He’s joined up front by Blyth Spartans’ Mikael Ndjoli who scored one and assisted another in the 3-1 win at Rushall Olympic.

Ten dribbles was more than any forward in the North, with four of those successful – behind only Rushall’s Andre Landell.

Scunthorpe United’s Jacob Butterfield has been a fixture in Team of the Week this season and secured his place once more with a brace in the Iron’s 5-1 win at Hereford.

Butterfield was second among all players in his position for final-third passes (8) while no one completed more crosses (2).

Elsewhere in midfield, Ruaridh Donaldson ensured Hampton & Richmond stretched their unbeaten run to 11 in all competitions with a 2-1 win over Hemel Hempstead Town.

Mel Gwinnett’s side are now behind only leaders Yeovil Town. Donaldson managed more shots (4), touches in the box (7) and attempted more aerial duels (13) than any winger in the South.

At the back Torquay United veteran Dean Moxey succeeded with 12/15 defensive actions and completed 39/43 attempted passes as the Gulls beat Tonbridge Angels 2-1 at Plainmoor.

Where next?

We Want History Not A Big Day Out Says On-Fire McCallum Paul McCallum is happy to miss out on Old Trafford and Anfield because he prefers progress over a big FA Cup away day.
Draw For The FA Cup Third Round Made As Upsets Continue The draw for the FA Cup third round has been made as National League clubs discover their fate after more upsets today.

Match centre

Vanarama National League North
Vanarama National League South