Lucy Waldon rounds up a rather depleted weekend programme of fixtures from the Conference.
Gateshead moved within a point of the play-offs as they recorded an emphatic victory over the division’s bottom side, Hyde. Marcus Maddison made it two goals in two games as he opened the scoring in the North East. James Brown added a second with 58 minutes played, before Liam Hatch made it three 10 minutes later. Within moments, Jamie Chandler completed the scoring, condemning the sorry Tigers to an unenviable 23rd defeat of the season. Meanwhile, Gateshead have two games in hand over Halifax, who occupy the final play-off place.
Also down in the basement, Tamworth picked up their first league win since November 12th with a shock victory over Halifax. A goal in each half saw the Lambs secure maximum points and leapfrog Chester at the bottom. On the stroke of half time, Lloyd Kerry broke the deadlock – his curling cross from the left-hand side of the pitch finding the back of the net – while a volley from Andy Todd sealed the points early in the second period.
Alfreton remain third, despite defeat to Barnet who ended their run of three successive defeats. Dani Lopez grabbed the game’s only goal, the on-loan Stevenage striker converting from 25-yards out on 40 minutes. The Bees move up three places to sixth, level on points and goal difference with Halifax.
There were also slender wins for Wrexham and Southport, with both teams leaving it late to snatch the spoils. Wrexham recorded their first win of the year and opened the scoring against Aldershot early in the first half, courtesy of a Joe Clarke header. Five minutes later the visitors equalised, with Brett Williams netting his 16th goal of the campaign. With the game looking likely to finish in a draw, Jay Harris struck three minutes from time and his 30-yard effort sees the Dragons return to winning ways. Meanwhile, Nuneaton fall two places following defeat to Southport, who extended their safety margin at the bottom of the table. With time running out, Danny Hattersley netted a vital goal when he latched on to Osayemen Osawe’s header to find the bottom corner. Boro had previously been forced to play the majority of the second half with 10 men, after Gareth Dean was given his marching orders.
Luton’s visit to Lincoln ended goalless, but with Cambridge out of action this weekend, the Hatters extend their lead at the top to five points.
Before next weekend’s action, there are a number of midweek games with teams playing catch-up, due to postponements and cup runs:
Tuesday 7th January
Braintree v Cambridge
Halifax v Salisbury
Lincoln v Alfreton
Thursday 9th January
Forest Green v Hereford