The National League’s 44-game season came to a conclusion yesterday, and there was a lot at stake.
Promotion was still very much up for grabs with the automatic and play-off places still yet to be decided.
Stockport County and Wrexham were battling for that top spot, with the Hatters very much in the driving seat going into the final 90 minutes.
Chesterfield have had an awful fall from grace since the departure of former manager James Rowe, but the Spireites knew that a point against Eastleigh would secure them a play-off spot.
The relegation battle had already been done and dusted for weeks, with King’s Lynn, Weymouth and Dover Athletic all dropping out of the fifth tier of English football.
Stockport County 2 – 0 FC Halifax Town
— Stockport County (C) (@StockportCounty) May 15, 2022
Stockport County knew that a draw would be enough to send them back to the Football League for the first time in 11 years, but Dave Challinor’s side did not want to settle for that.
The Hatters grabbed an early goal through Paddy Madden, sending a five-figure crowd into a frenzy. Ten minutes into the second half, Will Collar sealed the deal crowning the Greater Manchester Club champions of the National League.
Dagenham & Redbridge 3 – 0 Wrexham AFC
Both Dagenham & Redbridge and Wrexham were in similar situations. The home side needed a win to stand a chance of snatching a play-off spot from Chesterfield, with the Welsh away team also needing a victory to try and upset Stockport’s promotion party.
Daryl McMahon’s side scored three second-half goals, but unfortunately for the Daggers they agonisingly miss out on the play-offs due to Chesterfield’s result.
Wrexham will be hoping for a Hollywood promotion story in the play-offs.
Chesterfield 0 – 0 Woking
Chesterfield were top of the pile for a large portion of the start of the season, but since Paul Cook has come in to replace James Rowe as manager things have only gone downhill.
Two wins out of nine games left the Spireites clinging on to a play-off place, when many thought they would have been gunning for automatic promotion.
It was an expectedly cagey affair, with the home side unsurprisingly low on confidence.
Chesterfield came the closest to opening the scoring when Said Khan’s header hit the bar. Woking had a few efforts on goal of their own, but it was clear that the Cardinals had nothing to play for.
The result means that Chesterfield edge out Dagenham & Redbridge by a point, but despite this Spireite fans are very pessimistic of their chances in the play-offs.
Chesterfield supporter Tom Burr is one of those, “We are going into them bang out of form, with key players missing and absolutely no momentum. But you never know what can happen in on off games. It is the hope that kills you.”
Eastleigh 4 – 4 Grimsby Town
Grimsby had already secured a play-off spot, Eastleigh had secured survival, so this match was a free hit and that was very clear from the off.
The Mariners were cruising going into half time, two goals to the good and ready to collect a comfortable three points. Eastleigh had other ideas and the second 45 minutes turned into an end-to-end encounter.
Two goals in as many minutes got the back Spitfires level. The away side reacted well and went back into the lead on two further occasions.
But a 90th minute penalty equaliser from Tyrone Barnett levelled things up for Eastleigh and concluded the eight-goal thriller.
Boreham Wood 0 – 3 Solihull Moors
Solihull Moors were the most in-form team in the league coming into this game, and they solidified this winning their fifth consecutive game.
Goals from Kyle Hudlin, Joe Sbarra and an Adam Rooney penalty secured a spot in the semi-finals of the play-offs. The Moors have a lot of momentum, so the other sides will not be looking forward to facing them with so much on the line.
Maidenhead United 0 – 1 Notts County
Notts County will also be heading into the play-offs in winning form, picking up a deserved three points away at Maidenhead. Callum Roberts got the only goal of the afternoon, from the penalty spot in the 71st minute.
The Magpies will be taking on Grimsby at Meadow lane in their play-off quarter final.
Aldershot Town 1 – 3 Wealdstone
Altrincham 0 – 1 Yeovil Town
Barnet 2 – 4 Bromley
Dover Athletic 1 – 2 Weymouth
Southend United 1 – 1 Torquay United
A – Monday 23rd May – Notts County vs Grimsby Town
B – Tuesday 24th May – FC Halifax Town vs Chesterfield
A – Saturday 28th May – Wrexham AFC vs Winner of Quarter-Final A
B – Sunday 29th May – Solihull Moors vs Winner of Quarter-Final B
At The London Stadium.
Sunday 5th June – Winner of Semi-Final A vs Winner of Semi-Final B