Buidling Dreams Together


Non-League Day 2024: The top 10 matches from Saturday’s Non-League action

Saturday afternoon marked the 14th occasion of Non-League Day, an initiative setup in 2010 to showcase the best of semi-professional, amateur and grassroots football while the professional teams pause for the international break.

All of the Non-League teams across the UK were in action as usual and a lot of teams were involved in fighting for playoffs or survival, while others were chasing promotion and/or securing the title in their league.

However, some results had bigger implications than others. With that in mind, here are some of the best and most dramatic matches from Saturday afternoon.

Chesterfield secure the National League title – Chesterfield 3-0 Boreham Wood (National League)

Picture credit: Jake Smith, University of Derby

Chesterfield secured League Two football for next season after a 3-0 win at home to Boreham Wood saw three points fall their way and hand them the National League title.

After missing an opportunity to win the title away at FC Halifax Town midweek, the chance fell for the Spireites to win the National League at home to Boreham Wood, 11 months after Wrexham achieved the same title at home against the same opposition.

It had been on the cards for a while and seemed a matter of when rather than if they would secure the title.

A season record crowd of 9,907 fans were in attendance to watch as skipper Jamie Grimes grabbed the first goal before Tom Whelan tapped in a second after the break. Grimes ensured three points for the Spireites as he added a third goal in the 67th minute.

Altrincham battle hard with Gateshead for playoffs – Altrincham 2-3 Gateshead (National League)

Picture credit: Altrincham FC

Non-League is known for being particularly close and competitive, and this season is no exception with both Altrincham and Gateshead locked in a battle for the National League playoffs.

Coming head to head yesterday, it was visitors Gateshead who edged the victory after the lead bounced between the sides throughout the game.

Altrincham came into the game off the back of two consecutive wins, where they ended their losing streak by winning 6-1 at home to York City before following it up with a 1-0 win at Boreham Wood.

They took the lead against Gateshead too as they scored in the 16th minute, and they managed to hold on until after the break, where an equaliser from Marcus Dinanga lasted for three minutes before Dan Mooney took the lead again for Altrincham.

Kieron Evans squared the game again in the 57th minute before Kain Adom won the game in the 73rd minute.

Dorking drop into relegation zone after hammering at Barnet – Barnet 6-0 Dorking Wanderers (National League)

Picture credit: Dorking Wanderers FC

National League side Dorking Wanderers have gained popularity over social media with popular manager Marc White and his side’s documentary channel, Bunch of Amateurs. However, following a 6-0 defeat at Barnet, White branded the game a “f*****g demolition” as their winless streak extended to five games in a row, dropping the Wanderers to 23rd in the National League table.

Dorking Wanderers have picked up just one point in the five games since beating Chesterfield in March.

Meanwhile, North London side Barnet equalled their biggest win of the season after they beat Boreham Wood 6-0 at home in December.

However, Dorking were unable to find anything of note as Barnet blew them away in the first half, racing to a 4-0 lead before half time. A brace from Callum Stead came after Nicke Kabamba’s penalty and Gatlin O’Donkor’s goals.

Barnet added insult to injury with goals from Dale Gorman and Zak Brunt late on.

Rushall Olympic increase the pressure in survival fight – Rushall Olympic 3-2 Darlington (National North)

Picture credit: Rushall Olympic FC

Rushall were the only team in the bottom ten of the National North to secure a victory on Saturday as they turned up the heat in a relegation six pointer at home to Darlington.

The 3-2 win for The Pics put them just two points away from safety in the sixth tier and gives them a chance to survive as they head into the final six games of the season.

While Darlington went on a four-game winning run throughout February and March, they won two and lost one of the next three, setting up an important match with Rushall as neither side wanted to lose ground in the fight.

The game didn’t take long to come to life, as all five goals came in the first half with Cedric Main drawing first blood for Darlington.

However, Walsall loanee Ronan Maher struck twice with goals in quick succession to turn the game on its head. Main levelled the scoring in the 45th minute before Owen Farmer put the Pics 3-2 up in added time.

Taunton find their way out of relegation despite late defeat – Taunton Town 2-3 Chelmsford City (National South)

Picture credit: Taunton Town FC

Sixth-tier Taunton Town were close to pulling off a shock victory over Chelmsford City in the National South only for two added-time goals from Charlie Ruff to secure the three points for the visitors.

Taunton’s pitch has caused them a backlog of games recently due to the weather causing postponements, and as a result the Peacocks will be playing twice per week for the rest of the season.

Taunton fell to a late defeat to Chippenham on Wednesday, and it seemed like faint déjà vu on Saturday, as two late goals saw visitors Chelmsford secure the three points.

Zac Bell took the lead for Taunton in the sixth minute and doubled their lead in the 20th minute through Nick Grimes.

Despite a Chelmsford goal in the 35th minute, it looked as if Taunton would hold on to secure a shock win and move out of the relegation zone. However, Charlie Ruff had other ideas as he equalised in the 93rd minute and grabbed a winner four minutes later at the death.

Radcliffe have to wait for title win – Radcliffe 2-5 Ashton United (Northern Premier League Premier)

Picture credit: Radcliffe FC

Another surprise result came at the top of the seventh tier as leaders of the NPL Premier, Radcliffe, fell to a 5-2 defeat at home to Ashton United. The hosts could have secured promotion to the National North if they won and Warrington Rylands lost to Hyde United, however that game ended goalless.

Hosts Radcliffe had won seven games out of the previous eight, with the only defeat coming in March away at Guiseley, where Gabriel Johnson scored in added time.

Despite Radcliffe being top of the league and on the verge of securing the title, Ashton would be no pushover, having picked up nine goals and three clean sheets in the last three games.

Radcliffe weren’t waiting around as Jordan Hulme scored in the first minute, but it didn’t take long for an equaliser either, coming through Alex Byrne eight minutes later.

Ashton United moved two goals ahead as Keilen Adams and Nathan Lowe scored either side of half time.

A 76th minute penalty conversion from Josh Hancock gave the hosts some hope, however late goals from James Hardy and a penalty from Byrne saw Ashton run away with the victory.

Hitchin Town extend winless run to 14 games – Hitchin Town 1-1 AFC Telford (Southern Premier League Central)

Picture credit: Peter Else, Hitchin Town FC

Despite starting the season with playoffs in their sights, seventh-tier Hitchin Town went on a run of 13 games without a win, something which new manager Brett Donnelly was unable to change as a 1-1 draw with AFC Telford on Saturday saw the run continue to 14 games.

The point sees the Canaries sit four points above the drop zone with six games to go while Telford continue to consolidate their place in the playoffs following last season’s relegation from the National North.

Hitchin saw their biggest attendance of the league season with 757 people watching new manager Donnelly take to the dugout.

It looked as if the typical cliché of the new manager bounce would work out once again as Finley Wilkinson scored in the 11th minute.

However, the goal was cancelled out a short while later as Orrin Pendley grabbed an equaliser for Telford in the 22nd minute.

The hosts will take some comfort in the fact that they do still have some space between themselves and relegation, as AFC Sudbury’s draw at Stourbridge means there is still a four-point gap between the teams.

Wingate & Finchley maintain playoff spot with late comeback – Billericay Town 1-2 Wingate & Finchley (Isthmian Premier League Premier)

Picture credit: Wingate & Finchley FC

Two evenly matched teams fighting for the playoffs would be an interesting watch on any day, but the seventh-tier clash taking place on Non-League Day gave the game some extra perspective.

The visitors came into this just one place and one point higher than Billericay and had better form too, as they had lost just one in the last eight games, while Billericay have failed to win since February.

However, It looked as if Billericay would buck the trend and Wingate & Finchley would drop out of the playoffs as the hosts raced to an early lead, but a late comeback in added time turned fortunes around for the visitors.

A crowd of 1,176 saw Bradley Stevenson put the ball in the net in the tenth minute, and were in the playoffs until added time, where Wingate & Finchley fought back.

Zack Newton equalised in the 95th minute before Joseph Boachie secured all three points in the 99th minute.

Quorn make statement for playoffs as they thump AFC Rushden & Diamonds – Quorn 7-1 AFC Rushden & Diamonds (Northern Premier League Midlands)

Picture credit: Quorn FC

One of the bigger scorelines of the day came in Leicestershire as playoff chasing Quorn saw off bottom-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds with ease.

The Diamonds are struggling at the bottom of the eighth tier following relegation from the Southern League Central last season, but are now facing a strong threat of double relegation, which has not been helped by Saturday’s result.

The hosts had scored 11 goals in their last three games, including a 5-3 defeat at Sutton Coldfield Town, while Rushden & Diamonds had conceded nine goals including a 5-0 loss to Quorn.

The game started quickly as the hosts were 2-1 up inside the first ten minutes. Cairo Taylor scored first for The Diamonds, before Cain Noble and Tyree Wilson quickly turned the game around.

Paddy Webb added a brace for himself just after the half-hour mark, leading the hosts into half time with a 4-1 lead.

Ryan Beswick and Silvio Bello quickly added to the scoresheet, and Courey Graham added insult to injury by scoring a seventh goal with 20 minutes to go.

Harborough keep top spot despite scare at Spalding – Spalding United 1-1 Harborough Town (Northern Premier League Midlands)

Picture credit: Harborough Town FC

While Rushden & Diamonds were struggling at Quorn, Spalding and Harborough were battling it out at the top of the same league.

A late goal in each half saw the points shared in a promotion six-pointer, as the two sides battled hard in one of the biggest matches of Non-League Day.

Riley O’Sullivan scored for Spalding on the stroke of half time, with a win being enough to send them top of the table.

The crowd of 605 was Spalding’s best of the year so far, but it ended in late heartbreak for the hosts as their dreams of top spot were dashed in the final moments. A 95th minute equaliser from Jake Duffy meant Harborough Town maintained the top spot in the NPL Midlands.

Farnham Town become Champions despite draw in Jersey – Jersey Bulls 2-2 Farnham Town (Combined Counties Premier Division South)

Picture credit: Jersey Bulls FC

Farnham Town secured promotion from the ninth tier on Saturday with nine games to go, as a late comeback secured a point at Jersey Bulls. The title win means the club will be playing in the eighth tier for the first time in their history.

The visitors had won every single league game this season until this month, where a draw against Knaphill saw them lose points for the first time.

Kick off in Jersey was delayed by 15 minutes due to the late arrival of the officials.

Early goals from Jersey Bulls in the fifth and the 34th minute meant Farnham would have to wait another day for the title, however they found some energy in the tank late on.

Kai Tanner and Max Meaton scored a goal each in six minutes, levelling the playing field. Despite dropping points, it was enough for them to become champions as Knaphill also dropped points at home to Balham.

Written by