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The Non-League Football Paper

National League play-off preview

National League Eliminator

Aldershot Town v Ebbsfleet United – 7pm KO live on BT Sport

The first eliminator match sees fifth-placed Aldershot take on Ebbsfleet, who finished one position below them. The Shots missed out on grabbing third spot to Sutton United after being beaten at Gander Green Lane on the final day of the season.

Nonetheless, Gary Waddock will be thrilled to have landed a play-off place for the second consecutive season. Daryl McMahon’s Fleet are the visitors to the EBB Stadium this evening, having been on a fantastic run of form over the last couple of months to finish in the top seven.
Ebbsfleet were promoted last season and have enjoyed a magnificent first campaign.

When these two met at the EBB in January, the game finished 0-0. Aldershot won 2-0 at Ebbsfleet earlier in the season.

The winner will play Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park in the semi-finals on Saturday lunchtime.


National League North Eliminators

Kidderminster Harriers v Bradford Park Avenue – 7.45pm KO

Bradford PA scored twice in the last ten minutes of their final league game at Kidderminster to sneak into the play-offs on goal difference. It was the fifth win on the spin for Mark Bower’s side, who will go into tonight’s match full of confidence. That was Kidderminster’s first defeat in six games but with their play-off place already assured, they’ll be playing without the handbreak on this time around.

Stockport County v Chorley – 7.45pm KO

A run of just one defeat in ten has seen Stockport storm into the top seven which included winning six consecutive games. It is the first time the Hatters have finished in the play-off places since they were relegated to the National League North in 2013.

After losing in the 2015 final to Guiseley, Chorley will be hoping to go one better this year. They only finished a point behind Stockport and have won their previous three games.


National League South Eliminators

Hampton and Richmond v Truro City – 7.45pm KO

These two sides meet again for the second time in four days after drawing 1-1 on the final day of the season. Just three points separated the clubs, in a play-off and title race that went to the wire.

Truro’s form was inconsistent last month, winning three but also losing the same amount. Hampton have enjoyed a steadier season under Alan Dowson and boast the second best defensive record in the league, having conceded just 37 goals in 42 games.

Hemel Hempstead v Braintree Town – 7.45pm KO

After missing out on the play-offs last season because their ground didn’t meet National League requirements, Hemel Hempstead have a shot at redemption. Dean Brennan has done another superb job at Vauxhall Road this season, finishing fifth.

He’ll be up against another promising manager in Brad Quinton. The 38-year-old took over the reigns last summer following Braintree’s relegation from the National League and he has given the Iron a chance to bounce back at the first attempt.

 

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