2021/22 Vanarama National League Matchday 37 preview: London and the South East
Another matchday in the Vanarama National League brings more vital encounters for teams across the region as the season nears its climax. Here’s what the London and South East teams have in store for you this weekend.
Grimsby Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
The Daggers will face a trip to Blundell Park to face their Play-Off rivals head-to-head in a mammoth clash that could define their season.
After a narrow midweek victory at Eastleigh thanks to a goal from Paul McCallum, Daryl McMahon’s side will now face one of the biggest games of their season against Grimsby Town.
The East London team spent a lot of time in and around the top seven without being able to assert themselves in the playoff spots. With just three points now separating them from seventh-placed Boreham Wood, this would be the perfect opportunity for them to pounce.
Four wins from five have reinvigorated the Daggers’ season, and an FA Trophy exit at the hands of York means their only aim may now be to earn a place in the league’s top seven.
Moreover, in each of those four wins, Dagenham was able to keep a clean sheet while scoring ten goals during that span. Additionally, the East Londoners also boast the second-best attacking record in the league behind league leaders Stockport County. Fans of McMahon and the Daggers hope these attributes can lead them to victory in this game.
Grimsby, meanwhile, saw a somewhat stuttering resurgence as his charge towards the play-offs was halted by just one win from four. More recently, the Mariners would concede a last-minute winner at home to another direct play-off rival at Solihull Moors, having already led that game.
As such, the Daggers hope to inflict a similar fate on their opponents this weekend.
A win for Dagenham would not only take them above Grimsby, but could potentially move them back into the top seven with nine games to go.
Maidenhead United v Barnet
The 18th will fight the 17th as Barnet looks to end his season on a high with a trip to York Road to face Maidenhead United.
After a great end to 2021, Barnet struggled for form in the new year. Back-to-back wins over Dover Athletic and Boreham Wood helped dispel any lingering relegation worries, but their recent home loss to Woking reminded Bees fans of their sides’ weaknesses.
Once again Barnet struggled to defend from set pieces and crosses, allowing Woking’s imposing centre-half Moussa Diarra to score his second goal of the season. Defending from crosses and set pieces was a recurring problem for the north London side, exemplified by their 5-0 home tonking at the hands of Stockport County in which four of the five goals came directly from kicks. set foot or from a cross.
On paper, Maidenhead are level with Barnet as they are level on points, scoring four fewer goals but also conceding a singular goal less than the Bees.
As such, one would assume this is going to be a tight affair between two teams who admittedly have nothing to play for, but will be keen to go as far as they can to amend what has been a bad one. season overall.
Alan Devonshire’s side will arrive buoyed by their midweek win over an in-form Southend United.
Should Barnet emerge victorious, they could move past Wealdstone into 16th, while a defeat could see them fall as low as 19th.
Wealdstone v Bromley
Two teams from London and the South East will face off at Grosvenor Vale as Bromley desperately tries to get their play-off back on track.
Wealdstone was on cloud nine for 44 minutes at Edgeley Park as the part-timers not only took the lead but actually battled 2-0 to league leaders Stockport. A third goal in as many games for Jack Cook was followed by a senior debut for 18-year-old Charlton Athletic loanee Aaron Henry.
Meanwhile, Bromley have seen their season fall off a cliff edge, winless since late January. It came after a hugely impressive start to January 2022 by propelling the Ravens into the mix with four straight wins. These included wins over three play-off rivals at Solihull Moors, Grimsby Town and Notts County.
However, Andy Woodman hasn’t tasted league victory since that win over the Magpies at Hayes Lane on January 29. Losses to Southend United, Stockport County, FC Halifax Town and Yeovil Town set the team back significantly, along with a 0-0 draw with Wrexham. While these can all be seen as tough matches, dropping points against Weymouth and Torquay United could be what the Kent side will regret at the end of the season.
The Whites will have an FA Trophy semi-final clash against York City after this game, but Woodman will want his team to return to winning ways in the league and keep hopes of making the playoffs before this outing.
On the other hand, 16th-placed Wealdstone hopes the newly formed goalscoring partnership between Jack Cook and Rhys Browne can bear more fruit, as well as seeing star man Joshua Umerah regain his goalscoring form.
A win for Bromley could see them move within two points or the play-off places should the results go their way, while victory for Wealdstone would further secure a positive end to their second National League campaign.
Woking v Solihull Moors
Woking are looking to continue their revival under caretaker manager Ian Dyer as they welcome Play-Off contenders Solihull Moors at Laithwaite Community Stadium.
2022 has seen a tough introduction for the Cardinals, who have won just one game in January and February combined, while all three of their wins have come against out-of-form teams sitting below them in the league standings. National League.
That being said, Woking kept three clean sheets at the trot to secure those wins, something the Surrey side have struggled with a lot so far this season.
At Solihull Moors however, Woking faces an entirely different task. Unbeaten since January 8, the Moors have established themselves as a real play-off candidate with victories at Chesterfield and more recently at Grimsby Town.
There’s not much at stake for Woking other than pride and the hope of capping off a disappointing season nicely by making a run for the top half. Neal Ardley’s side will have plenty to play for however, with the chance to close the gap on Wrexham and the home semi-final places occupied by Chesterfield and FC Halifax Town.
Wrexham v Dover Athletic –
Dover’s inevitable relegation was confirmed with a 2-0 loss to Yeovil Town at the Crabble Sports Ground. While that fate was widely accepted for some time, it did not lessen the sadness of an eight-year stint at the top of the Non-League following promotion from National League South in 2014.
This included a play-off run in their second season, where they would lose to Forest Green Rovers. Los Merengues would continue to fight for play-off places for most of their National League tenure, before financial problems came at the wrong time and the effects of Covid crippled the Kent club.
Now, with a return to the National League South set in stone, Andy Hessenthaler is tasked with finishing this season on a high and building a side that can bounce back next season in the English sixth tier.
However, the task at hand won’t be any easier, as they face a trip to the racecourse to take on a Wrexham side who have amassed an almighty assault on the play-offs after a disappointing start to the season.
The Dragons have suffered only one league defeat since January, dropping points only three times in this series. Phil Parkinson’s team beat Chesterfield, Boreham Wood and FC Halifax Town in this race. What’s more, the big-under signing Paul Mullin has five goals in as many games since returning from a short injury absence, and as such has helped to further invigorate the Welsh squad.
As a result, it would be easy, if not sensible, to remove Dover from this fixture altogether. But that’s football, and in sport there are no guarantees. Dover have 11 games to reach half the tally they have in 33 games, eight points. If successful, they will avoid ending the season on negative points. Moreover, with negative points removed from the equation, Dover currently have the lowest points tally of the century and need two more points to reach the tally of 10 that Hyde United amassed in 2013/2013.
Yeovil Town v Southend United
After the Shrimpers cheered the New Year resurgence which saw them soar in the table, the Essex club’s momentum was halted by defeats to Dagenham & Redbridge and Maidenhead United.
Both Kevin Maher and Blues fans will have hoped the chaotic performance against the Daggers was only once, and that notion would have been perpetuated after a 2-0 home win against Altrincham and when Tom Clifford gave to the Shrimpers the 63rd-minute lead at York Road.
However, the tides would quickly turn as Will De Havilland equalized for Maidenhead, before Ryan Upward turned the game completely in favor of the Berkshire side. To make matters worse for Southend, James Dunne received a straight red card on his full return from injury.
As such, a possible play-off charge that would surely have diminished as one of the greatest season comebacks of all time was all but shut down. That being said, any pressure to make the playoffs in the most unlikely way will have been lifted, and Southend players can now focus on winning each game as they go and finishing as high as possible.
They will make the 378 mile round trip to Huish Park to take on a team from Yeovil Town looking for a third straight win. For Yeovil to remain 13th, just one place below Southend after winning just once in 2022 before victories over Dover Athletic and Bromley will likely highlight what a missed opportunity this season has been for the Somerset side . This is evidenced by the fact that Yeovil was 10th after an impressive end to 2021 and looked set to rebuild an assault on the top seven.
However, a series of difficult encounters combined with a catalog of draws halted this progress.
Consequently, this clash is now a mid-table affair with virtually nothing to play for. However, both former Football League sides will be desperate to build momentum in what they hope will be a return to 92 next season.
This concludes fixtures involving teams from London and the South East. Here is the full list –
Grimsby vs. Dagenham and Redbridge
Maidenhead United vs. Barnett
Wealdstone v Bromley
working against Solihull Moors
Wrexham vs. Dover Athletic
City of Yeovil versus Southend United
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