A number of vital play-off games took place last night as sides from across the Non-League pyramid attempted to plot their promotion charges.
National League North
Kidderminster Harriers 0 Bradford PA 2
There was a repeat of the final day of the season as Bradford PA picked up a second win at Aggborough in a matter of days. Adam Boyes gave the visitors an early lead when he did well to latch onto Oli Johnson’s through ball before rifling an effort into the back of the net. The Avenue then had to withstand a fierce Kidderminster onslaught as Elton Ngwatala and Dan Bradley forced Steven Drench into smart saves, while Jon Ironside headed a good second half opportunity wide of the post.
Kiddy were made to rue their missed chances as the visitors doubled their advantage with 15 minutes left on the clock to put the game beyond doubt. Johnson did brilliantly to turn home a powerfully drilled in cross from striker Adam Boyes to send the 78 visiting Avenue fans back to Bradford with a smile on their faces.
Stockport 0 Chorley 1
A late Jason Walker strike gave Chorley a well earned victory at Edgeley Park. Stockport went closest in what was a relatively quiet opening half as Matt Urwin reacted quickly to prevent Chorley skipper Andrew Teague from inadvertently heading the ball into his own net. As the game wore on Matt Jansen’s visitors sat back and looked to whether Stockport’s attacks, whilst playing on the counter attack. These tactics worked perfectly as Chorley nicked the decisive goal on 67 minutes when Marcus Carver’s cross was thumped home by target man Walker.
As the game moved towards full-time Darren Stephenson had an opportunity to force the match into extra time but the former Chorley man saw his effort brilliantly cleared off the line by Josh O’Keefe.
Semi-final fixtures to be played Sunday May 6 at 3pm:
Brackley Town vs Bradford PA
Harrogate Town vs Chorley
National League South
Hampton and Richmond Borough 3 Truro City 1 (AET)
Truro City suffered heartbreak as they were knocked out of last night’s eliminator by Hampton and Richmond Borough. The Tinners took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock when Rockey Neal beat a crowd of players to bundle the ball home and break the deadlock from close range.
Hampton leveled as defender Jack Cook fired home a deflected effort 20 minutes later before the visitors were gifted the perfect opportunity to regain their lead midway through the second half. Ben Gerring was hauled down in the box, which presented Connor Riley-Lowe with a chance from the penalty spot. However, the left-back’s spot kick was brilliantly kept out by Senny Dieng in the Hampton goal.
The match therefore ticked into extra time, where the home side found the extra gear needed for victory. Hampton edged in front with 99 minutes on the clock when Bradley Hudson-Odoi finished from close range. The Ghanaian striker then put the game beyond doubt as the game edged towards full time when he finished well after being put through on goal by Elliot Charles.
Hemel Hempstead 0 Braintree 0 (Braintree win 4-3 on penalties)
The match between Hemel Hempstead and Braintree needed to be settled by a dreaded penalty shoot out as the two sides failed to find the net after 120 minutes of action. While Hemel edged the game on possession, both sides struggled to create clear cut opportunities in what was a nervy encounter between two sides desperate for promotion.
Braintree ultimately kept their hopes of an instant return to the National League alive as Scott Shulton and David Moyo failed to convert their spot kicks for the home side before Sanchez Watt sent the decisive penalty wide to spark jubilant scenes in the away end.
Semi-finals to be played on Sunday May 6 at 3pm:
Chelmsford City vs Hampton and Richmond
Dartford vs Braintree Town