The battle for automatic promotion is getting incredibly tight at the top of the National League North and South. The weekend saw Gateshead dropping points to give Brackley Town plenty of hope, while Maidstone recorded yet another emphatic win to maintain their slender lead over high-flying Dorking Wanderers. Here’s a look at what happened last weekend in the National League North and South. 

Battle to win the National League North

Gateshead missed a big chance to extend their lead in National League North when they were held to a 1-1 draw away at Kettering Town. The home team actually managed to claim an early lead thanks to a goal from Connor Johnson, but Gateshead clawed themselves back in the match with a goal from Connor Malley in the 40th minute.

The lost points for Gateshead gave Brackley Town the perfect opportunity to gain lost ground in the battle for automatic promotion. It was an opportunity that Brackley didn’t miss out on as they claimed an impressive 2-0 win away at Darlington thanks to late goals from Lee Ndlovu and James Armeson. The result means that Brackley are just two points behind Gateshead, although Gateshead do have a vastly superior goal difference. 

Further afield, AFC Fylde continued their good form with a respectable 3-1 win away at Boston United to stay in third place, while Kidderminster Harriers were held to a 1-1 draw away at Blyth Spartans. Elsewhere, there were wins for Chester, Chorley, Hereford and Alfreton Town. The matches between York and Gloucester, Southport and Spennymoor, and Guiseley and Curzon Ashton were all drawn.

Plenty to play for in the National League South

Maidstone were in dominant form as they extended their lead at the top of the National League South with a 4-0 away win over Hemel Hempstead Town. The home team actually frustrated the visitors for much of the first half before Sam Corne scored the breakthrough goal in the 38th minute. The second half was much more straightforward for the league leaders with another goal for Corne along with strikes for Jack Barham and Jerome Binnom-Williams.

However, the result of the weekend had to be Dorking Wanderers’ astonishing 7-2 win over Concord Rangers. This featured no less than four goals for Alfie Rutherford, while Jason Prior, Jordan Cheadle and Darren Oldaker were also on hand to deliver an emphatic result for Dorking. The victory keeps Dorking within four points of Maidstone in the race for automatic promotion from the National League South.

Ebbsfleet United earned a tough 1-0 away victory over Tonbridge Angels to keep in third place in the table, while Dartford enjoyed a solid 3-1 home win over St Albans City and remain in fourth place. Further afield, there were victories for Bath City, Chippenham Town, and Hampton and Richmond. The games between Welling and Havant and Waterlooville, Oxford City and Braintree, and Chelmsford and Slough were all drawn. 


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