Crawley Town lifted the Blue Square Bet Premier title trophy on Tuesday night after their draw with Luton Town.
The Red Devils still have plenty to play for though as a couple of Conference records are in sight. Just three more games without defeat will break the record for the longest unbeaten league run at this level. Steve Evans’ team also need just seven more points (from a possible 12) to break the divisional record for the most points gained in a season. They can keep in touch with both honours with a victory at Southport on Saturday at odds of 8/11. The hosts are involved in a wide open relegation battle in which two remaining places could go to any of seven teams.
Two of those teams meet at the New Lawn this weekend where 19th placed Forest Green Rovers entertain 17th placed Cambridge United. A win for The U’s at 9/5 should put them clear of danger, but a record of one win in eight would temper confidence. The home team are the favourites at 6/5 and their good recent form makes them the tentative selection to leapfrog the visitors with a win.
Tamworth are on a winless run of eight matches and parted company with manager Des Lyttle in midweek. It’s no surprise to see them offered as big as 5/1 for a difficult trip to York City. The Minstermen are still aiming for a top five finish, although their inferior goal difference could be their ultimate downfall. A home win is priced at 4/9 and City are 13/10 to win by more than one goal on the ‘match handicap’.
Eastbourne Borough need a miracle to survive and it would be no surprise if plans for a Blue Square Bet South campaign for next season are already being made. Kidderminster Harriers are the visitors to Priory Lane on Saturday and look like solid favourites at 4/7. In a similar fixture, already relegated Histon are 9/2 outsiders at home to AFC Wimbledon who are 8/15 favourites to get the three points that will help them cling on to second place and a thoroughly commendable Runners-Up trophy.
Luton drew at champions Crawley in midweek and also enjoyed a team-building day at Newmarket races the following afternoon. The Hatters will be hoping to emulate Oxford United, who last season dragged themselves back into form just in time for the play-offs after missing out on the title. Gary Brabin’s side travel to Mansfield Town as the 11/10 favourites on Saturday. The hosts have been making up fixtures this week and this will be their fourth match in eight days. For that reason I have to fancy an away win here.
Fleetwood Town are holding on to that all important fifth place and have the chance to stay there as heavy odds-on favourites for the weekend visit of Altrincham. A home win is 4/9 and that will be a worry for Dean Saunders and his Wrexham team. The Red Dragons have been inconsistent of late and with their major play-off rivals having relatively easy games they will need to improve at home to Kettering Town. Saunders’ side are also odds-on at 4/7 but have let plenty of favourite backers down in the last few months.
Darlington are the only other team capable of making the play-offs but will need lots of results to go in their favour and even then that may not be enough. Unusually they are the 13/8 outsiders at Hayes & Yeading United this weekend, which would almost have been unthinkable at the start of the season. The hosts improved form can partly be attributed to some decent loan signings and that could be the reason that they escape the drop.
Barrow have plenty to play for at Newport County and a win at 2/1 will end any relegation worries. It will be interesting to see how County’s new boss Anthony Hudson copes with his team’s first defeat and if they bounce back – they are Evens favourites to do so. Bath City have had a very good first season back at this level but their away form hasn’t been that good of late – Grimsby are solid Evens favourites to beat them at Blundell Park on Saturday. Gateshead and Rushden also have little to play for except pride and a draw at 23/10 could be the call.
ALAN’S BEST WEEKEND TREBLE
CRAWLEY TOWN to win at Southport
LUTON TOWN to win at Mansfield Town
AFC WIMBLEDON to win at Histon
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