With the title and three of the four places in the play offs and all the relegation spots taken, there was not much to be played for on Saturday’s last round of matches, but that didnt mean they were short of action.
Luton took the final spot in the top five after securing a fine 2-0 win away at champions Fleetwood (who ended missing out on a record points haul by just two points). An own goal from Fleetwood’s Nathan Pond and a second half strike from Andre Gray made sure that the Hatters season isn’t over just yet. Their fifth spot came at the expense of Kidderminster, who after playing well during the first half, fell apart as Lee Stevenson, Louis Briscoe and Matt Green all scored second half goals as Mansfield won 3-0 at the Harriers expense.
In the other games, Wrexham hit fine form just at the right time with a convincing 5-1 win at home to mid table Braintree. Andy Morrell and Adrian Cieslewicz put the Dragons in a strong half time lead before Ben Wright threatened to bring Braintree back into it. That didn’t last long as Mathias Pogba, Danny Wright and a last minute penalty from Neil Ashton made sure of the three points. York ended the season in fourth place after beating Forest Green 1-0 at home. Adriano Moke scored late on to earn the victory. Gateshead picked up three points with a fine 3-0 win at home to Telford with Liam Hatch, Josh Gillies and Kris Gate scoring the goals. Tamworth and Cambridge drew 2-2 with a brace from both Jean Paul Marna and Adam Marriott providing the action in an entertaining game. A late goal from Darren Stephenson earned a 1-0 win for Southport in their away game at Grimsby.
Barrow picked up their first win in eleven games to end the season on a high by beating Newport 3-1 at Holker Street. Andy Cook put the Bluebirds ahead only for Ismail Yakubu to equalise a few minutes later. The victory was earned through goals in the second half from Richie Baker and Adam Boyes. Lincoln edged out Ebbsfleet in a five goal thriller in Kent. Joe Howe’s own goal put the Imps ahead before Callum Willock equalised from the spot. further goals from Peter Bore and Jamie Taylor made it 3-1 to the visitors at the break, although Liam Bellamy gave the Fleet a chance late on. Alfreton put an end to Bath City’s recent run with a 2-1 win at home to the relegated side. Danny Meadows and Anthony Wilson scored within minutes putting the home side in a strong position. Scott Murray scored a penalty for the Romans a few minutes later but they couldnt find an equalising goal. Stockport beat relegated Hayes & Yeading 2-1 with Joe Connor scoring the winner after Danny Hattersley and Julian Owusu had earlier
Darlington won this battle of two teams that plummeted during the season, and even though neither could escape relegation, it is testament to the fans of the clubs that they both actually got to the point of finishing the season. On the day a Ryan Bowman double put Darlington ahead before Charlie Wyke gave Kettering hope from the penalty spot. the points were secured for the home side by Ben Ford’s own goal.
Jamie Vardy ended the season as the league’s top scorer with 31 goals for Fleetwood, followed by Matt Green of Mansfield on 29 and Gateshead’s Jon Shaw on 28.
The play off draw promised some exciting encounters as four teams battle for the chance to return to the Football League.
02/05/12 York v Mansfield
03/05/12 Luton v Wrexham
07/05/12 Mansfield v York & Wrexham v Luton