The Vanararma National League Final Day Preview

Published on 20 April 2024 at 10:00

We have entered the pinnacle of the football calendar, where teams meet their fate - will it be a euphoric final day promotion, shock relegation or yet another 11th place mid-table finish of averageness. While, Premier League and EFL fans will have to wait in the Vanararma National League this Saturday signals the end of a rollercoaster season as the curtain closes on the 2023-24 campaign.

what can happen?

Oxford City's debut season in the National League proved a fairy-tale venture which ended in the inevitable, relegation straight back to the National League North & South.

They face a team who have experienced opposite fortunes this season, Altrincham Town have finished in their highest position in the club's history and have qualified for the Play-offs to put them on the brink of a first ever season in the EFL.

Phil Parkinson has been at Altrincham since April 2017, managing 343 matches and after securing promotion to the National League in his debut season, he brought consistency in the fifth tier for three seasons before their rise this campaign.

After a harrowing five consecutive defeats in February, the Robins ensured the Play-offs with six wins out of their last 10 league games and are currently five games unbeaten.

Dorking Wanderers and Kidderminster Harriers have both suffered relegation prior to the final day too. Founded in 1999 Dorking rose from the Crawley & District League to the National League in their first 23 seasons, winning 12 promotions and their drop after two seasons in the fifth tier means a first ever relegation.

Marc White will want his players to show pride on the final game of the season against former EFL regulars Hartlepool United and end their campaign on a high with a win.

Despite a shock 3-1 victory over runaway champions Chesterfield Town, Kidderminster Harriers have collected just seven points from a possible 30 from their last 10 games and face a buoyant Barnet on Saturday. 

Dean Brennan could heavily rotate ahead of Barnet's opening Play-off tie on Tuesday though so don't automatically expect a Barnet win especially with the unpredictability of the National League, which is what makes it so entertaining.



The game of the final day will be a fight for survival showdown between Boreham Wood and Ebbsfleet United. Boreham Wood go into judgement day on 51 points, two behind both Ebbsfleet and York City and just a point from Woking.

Since, Luke Garrard announced his departure at the end of the season after nine years with 'The Wood' they have experienced a U-turn in form collecting seven points from their last three games including three clean sheets.

If only they had not endured a six game streak of losses through March, their fate on the final day could have been very different. Instead, they have to beat Ebbsfleet at Meadow Park to retain their National League status.

Ebbsfleet have conceded the second most goals away from home this season and with Boreham Wood's threatening attack consisting of non-league journeyman Lee Ndlovu, former Peterborough United striker Kabongo Tshimanga and Crystal Palace academy star Kweshi Appiah expect lots of goals.

Woking and York City's fate remains in their own hands; York face a Solihull Moors side who have secured the play-offs after a tremendous 2024, including reaching the FA Trophy final.

Meanwhile, after the club's highest ever finish in their history last season reaching the Play-Off quarter finals after a fourth place finish Woking have endured a miserable season which still hangs in the balance.

It's incredible that last season the 'Cards' finished on 82 points and could smell League Two and yet a year later they have to beat Flyde to survive, it just shows the impact of losing the Play-offs and the financial struggles as a result.


Meanwhile at the top of the table Chesterfield Town have been in freefall since celebrating promotion as champions, losing four successive games and they face a in form Maidenhead Town side who are unbeaten in their last five games.

Nevertheless, Paul Cook's side are deserved winners commanding a 12 point lead and have breached the 100 goal mark with EFL hero Will Grigg scoring 25 goals second only behind Eastleigh striker Paul McCallum (31)

FA Trophy finalists Gateshead United will play their fifth game in nine days on Saturday against an in-form Bromley side who are battling for second place with Barnet.

Despite securing the play-offs, Gateshead have three losses in their last five games while their opposition boast back-to-back wins scoring three goals in each and they have lost just once on the road since February. 

Expect Rob Elliott to rest players for Gateshead in preparation for the first round of Play-offs next week, but it should still be a seismic clash between two of the league better performers this season.

The final play-off place is still up for grabs...

Halifax Town picked up a valuable point against Oldham Athletic on Thursday night, that result meant a second successive season in the fifth tier for Oldham and 32 years since they were last promoted.

Aldershot and Southend are the two rivals who can rob Halifax Town's Play-off place but for both it is out of their hands. Halifax just have to beat Eastleigh to secure seventh place, but if they lose then Aldershot just have to better that result.

If Aldershot and Halifax lose, then Southend just have to win and their superior goal difference of 23 will be enough to secure a place in the Play-offs. It's been an incredible finish to the season for Southend who are on a 15 game unbeaten streak and have put themselves in Play-off contention despite a 10 point deduction.

Southend face Rochdale United, while Aldershot are at home to Dagenham and Redbridge.


how do you see the final day finishing?

season stats:

Top Scorer - Paul McCallum: 31 gls                Eastleigh

Most Assists - Liam Mandeville: 12 asts        Chesterfield

Most Clean Sheets - Grant Smith 13 cs       Bromley


Written by - Lewis Eadie

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