Saturday March 17th 2012
Just six weeks remain of the Blue Square Premier season now and there is still plenty to play for at both ends of the table.
With Wrexham not in action, Fleetwood secured their position at the top of the table and all but secured a play off place with a comprehensive 4-1 win away at Telford. A brace each from Andy Mangan and Jamie Vardy ensured the points, with Telford’s Jonathon Brown briefly bringing the home side back into the game. Mansfield kept their excellent recent form going with a crushing 7-0 victory at home to Barrow, whose recent poor run of form continued. Louis Briscoe scored a hat trick and further goals from Lindon Meikle, Anthony Howell, Matt Green and Matt Rhead pushed the Stags into third and things went from bad to worse for the Bluebirds, losing goalkeeper Shaun Pearson for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Southport leapfrogged York City into fifth place with a fine 5-0 win at home to Stockport County. Two goals each from Tony Gray and Shaun Whalley and an own goal from Carl Piergianni made sure the home side won the points and kept in the hunt for the play offs.
Kidderminster came from behind to beat Braintree 4-1 in a decent away win which keeps their play off hopes alive. Ben Wright put the home side ahead, but they couldn’t hold onto the lead and Tom Marshall levelled before Jack Byrne’s double and Anthony Malbon won the points for the Harriers. Liam Hatch brought Gatehead within six points of the top five with his goal against Cambridge, which proved to be the only goal in a good win at the Abbey Stadium. Grimsby and Tamworth couldn’t be separated in a 0-0 deadlocked mid table clash. Hayes win three vital points against Forest Green at The New Lawn to keep up hopes of avoiding relegation. Tom Cadmore had put the visitors ahead but Michael Uwezu equalized. Parity was short lived though as goals from Michael Thalassitis and Daniel Wishart put Hayes in the bottom four only on goal difference.
Ebbsfleet stayed mid table and easily safe after a 2-0 win away against struggling Darlington. Liam Enver – Marum and Gozie Ugwu scored the goals that left the Quakers without a win in twelve and survival in the league is starting to look a tall prospect. This is also the case for the leagues other club in crisis Kettering. They lost 2-0 at home to Alfreton. Two early goals from Darran Kempson and Jake Moult left the poppies seven points from safety. Bottom club Bath City look all but gone from the league despite fighting all the way after a poor start to the season. Marc Canham and Marley Watkins scored two quick goals to put them in the driving seat. Danny Lloyd gave Lincoln hope but it wasn’t enough and the basement side won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
Fleetwood’s Jamie Vardy now tops the goalscorers list with 27 goals, overtaking Liam Hearn of Grimsby and Jon Shaw from Gateshead, who are close behind on 26.
Tuesday March 20th 2012
In a shortened midweek programme, there were seven games which affected both ends of the Blue Square Premier. Mansfield Town opened up a five-point gap between third and fourth in an entertaining game at North Street where visitors Mansfield came out on top in a nine-goal thriller against Alfreton. Jake Moult put the hosts ahead only for Anthony Howell equalised ten minutes later. Nathan Jarman put Alfreton ahead soon after only for Louis Briscoe, Matt Green and Anthony Howell to put the Stags in control, before Anton Brown hit the last of seven first half goals to leave the match in the balance. The defences started doing a better job in the second half until two late goals from Exodus Geohaghon and Matt Green scored two quick late goals to make score 6-3 to the visitors.
Mansfield’s grip on third place was tightened when Forest Green beat the Stags closest rivals Luton 3-0 at The New Lawn. A first half goal from Yan Klukowski gave the home side the lead before two late goals from Matty Taylor secured the points for the Rovers and ensured their mid table position. Gateshead kept up their hopes of a play off place after a 1-0 win against Bath City. Jon Shaw scored midway through the second half to end the visitors mini revival and keep the pressure up on the top five.
Grimsby Town also kept their play off dreams going as they beat Hayes & Yeading 2-1 to move just four points away from the top five. Rob Duffy and Shaun Pearson scored either side of half time for the Mariners, but a Jamie Hand penalty just three minutes from time made sure of a nervy end to the game.
Tamworth kept their place in mid table and Kidderminster lost ground on the play offs with a 0-0 draw at the Lamb Ground. Cambridge and Newport also shared the points at the Abbey Stadium. Josh Dawkin put the U’s ahead before an Andy Sandell penalty just a few minutes from time rescued a point for Newport.
Kettering managed to raise hopes of a great escape despite still being unsure of their future beyond this season with a 2-1 win at home to Telford. Charlie Wyke and Ben Joyce score two goals early in the second half to take a comfortable lead before Chris Sharp briefly gave Telford hope, but the Poppies managed to hold on for the priceless victory.