So we’ve done the Conference and Conference South and there is plenty to play for on the final day, now its the turn of the Conference North and it is also far from over going in to the final fixtures of the regular season.
We start at the top with the 2014/15 Conference North champions title still up for grabs going in to the last game with Barrow and AFC Fylde still fighting for thr automatic promotion spot and Conference North trophy. Barrow are the current league leaders with 84 points with Fylde, playing their first season at Conference North level, two points behind with 82. Both sides face teams who looked like they were in a relegation battle until recently with Barrow travelling to Lowestoft who are safe by nine points and AFC Fylde hosting Gloucester City who are safe by 10 points, so both really just playing for position. AFC Fylde may be at home but they face one of the most inform sides in the Conference North at the moment, in the last six games Gloucester lead the form table and if you look at the last eight games they are second behind Boston. Fylde are just behind the Tigers in the eight game form table in third so it should be a very interesting game. Like Gloucester, Lowestoft have gone on a good run to avoid relegation being in the top eight of the form table and being at home it could be a tough game for the current league leaders. Barrow have it in their own hands, all they need to do it better Fylde’s result, If Barrow draw and Fylde win Fylde will win the league on goal difference. Nothing more than a win will do for Fylde, as I said above if Barrow draw they win the league on goal difference if Barrow lose they’d win on points.
Now to the play-offs and we have our four teams already with one of Barrow or Fylde along side Boston, Chorley and Guiseley. Those three will be playing for league positioning with Boston on 71 and Chorley and Guiseley both on 70 points it could all swap around with those sides. Boston host relegated Leamington, Guiseley travel to Oxford City and Chorley host Solihull Moors.
Finally we look at the bottom and that final relegation spot still to be filled. Who will be joining Hyde and Leamington in ending the season in the relegation zone, we have three teams to fill one spot. Staylbridge had a big chance to become safe with one game to spare as they faced Bradford PA last night, a game which they lost bringing their season to a dramatic end this Saturday as they hope to avoid relegation. They are currently two spaces out side the relegation zone on 44 points the same amount as the side below them, Brackley. Occupying the final relegation spot going in to Saturday are Colwyn Bay with 42 points. Colwyn travel to Worcester, a side who can only move up one more space with a win. Brackley host Hednesford who are one space above Worcester and can’t climb any further up the table with a win but could be overtaken by Worcester. Arguably, Stalybridge have the easiest game as they face the side one space above them, Gainsborough at home. Gainsborough secured safety a few weeks ago but could climb up a few spaces with a win and if results go their way. Now the maths. Colwyn need a win regardless of what happens, If they win and the two above them draw Colwyn would need to win by two goals or more to survive on goal difference with Brackley the team to go down. If Stalybridge win and Brackley draw, again, Cowlyn would need to win by more than two goals. If Staylbridge and Brackley lose and Colwyn win, again, Brackley would go down on goal difference from Stalybridge. Stalybridge look safest going in to this with them really only needing a point unless Colwyn or Brackley can over turn a 8+ goal difference, however if they lose and Colwyn and Brackley win, they would be down.
Now we know that lets see whos coming in to the Conference North from the Northern and Southern Premier Leagues. We have one team confirmed so far with FC United Of Manchester winning the Northern Prem title last night. The playoffs aren’t confirmed yet either with only Workington and Ashton United confirmed to be playing in them, Curzon Ashton and Ilkeston who currently occupy the final two spots could be replaced by Blyth Spartans depending on results. Curzon have 82 points with a plus 33 goal difference followed by Ilkeston with 80 points and plus 23 goal difference and finally Blyth with 79 points with plus 31 goals. Curzon just need a draw to guarantee playoffs. Ilkeston need a win or just better Blyth’s result. Curzon could still miss out if Blyth win and they lose with a three goal swing and Ilkeston win.
In the Southern Premier, as mentioned in the Conference South post, no one is guaranteed promotion yet with Corby and Poole battling it out for to be league champions, of course Corby would go in to the Conference North should they win it, the steelmen and Poole are level on points at the top with the two facing each other in a championship showdown. There are three teams trying to get the final playoff spot which is currently occupied by St Neots Town, who could go Conference North should they win. Three points below them are Redditch and Weymouth, although Weymouth are behind by 22 goals with just a plus two goal difference and they would obviously go to Conferene South. Redditch how ever could beat St Neots to the final spot if they beat Arlesey and St Neots lose to Frome with a 4 goal swing in the favor of United.
So that’s it, you’ve see who needs what in the three conference leagues and who could be coming up from the league below. Which ever non-league match you watch this weekend its sure to be a big one! Good luck to everyone.
Join us at Wembley on May 17th as we are LIVE at the Conference playoff final with coverage on our social media outlets as well as build up and post match of the biggest non-league game.