It was a case of ‘New Year, Same Old’ as the National League returned with another thrilling day of football.
Despite Southend suffering their second consecutive postponement due to Covid-19 cases, 14 teams battled it out hoping to start 2022 on a positive note.
We’ve taken a look at the scores around the grounds.
Chesterfield 1-0 King’s Lynn Town
Chesterfield remained top of the National League on New Year’s day after beating 22nd placed King’s Lynn 1-0 when midfielder Liam Mandeville scored his second goal of the season in the 51st minute. The result meant Chesterfield have now scored in 18 consecutive games, with European Champions Chelsea next on their fixture list, while King’s Lynn remain five points from safety, having played an extra game than Southend, who occupy the last survival spot.
Eastleigh 3-2 Weymouth
Weymouth had a chance to escape the relegation zone and move above Blues on Sunday if they won away at Eastleigh. However, the Terras’ afternoon got off to a bad start when Tyrone Barnett got his second goal in as many games. Midfielder Jake Hesketh received a red card just minutes after, but it didn’t seem to harm Eastleigh who doubled their lead in the second half through Christian Maghoma. Weymouth, desperate to escape the relegation zone, mounted a comeback and Josh McQuoid’s 79th-minute strike brought hope before former Blue Brandon Goodship levelled things up in the 89th minute. Terras fans probably thought their team had salvaged a point but Eastleig's Danny Whitehall broke their hearts as his 95th-minute winner sent Weymouth home without any points.
Woking 2-3 Aldershot
It was derby day in Woking as Aldershot hoped to return to winning ways after their defeat at Dagenham in midweek. It was Woking who got the better start when Max Kretzschmar's 7th-minute strike gave the Cardinals the lead going into half-time. The second half started perfectly for Aldershot when Jayden Harris levelled in the 46th minute, but Kretschmar again continued his fantastic form, scoring from the spot after Jamar Loza was tripped in the box. With tensions high, Aldershot were awarded a penalty of their own in the 83rd minute, and after five long minutes, Corie Andrews finally stepped up to slot home. Not done there, Aldershot continued charging on and in the 95th minute, it was derby day delight as Mikael Ndjoli volleyed home the winner for the Shots. The result kept Aldershot 17th, just four points behind their rivals, who dropped to 14th.
Dagenham 3-1 Dover
Any Dover fans hoping 2022 could bring a change of fortune for their team were given a harsh telling as Dagenham piled yet more misery on the Whites. First-half goals from Junior Morias and Josh Walker gave Daggers a two-goal advantage going into half-time before Alfie Pavey pulled one back for the visitors. However, any chance of a comeback for Dover was squashed when Myles Weston’s 54th-minute goal made it 3-1. Out of sight and out of mind for Daggers, who moved up to fifth after Sunday’s win. For Dover, they will need a miracle to survive with them already 24 points from safety.
Yeovil 1-2 Torquay
It was another derby in Somerset as Yeovil hosted Torquay United at Huish Park. After a quiet opening half, Jordan Bennet gave Yeovil the lead in the 66th minute as they looked to avenge their Boxing Day defeat to the Gulls. It wasn’t to be though as Torquay equalised less than 10 minutes later through Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, before Dan Holman’s spectacular 89th-minute volley made it two derby day wins for Torquay in the space of seven days, giving them bragging rights and more importantly moving them just one point behind Yeovil.
Notts County 3-1 Wrexham
The title race took another twist on Sunday afternoon as Wrexham fell to a 3-1 defeat to Notts County. With Welsh teams being ordered to play behind closed doors due to COVID-19, almost 2,000 Red Dragons made the trip to Nottingham to see their team play live again. Their loyalty was repaid in the fourth minute when Reece Hall-Johnson’ goal of the season contender powered into the back of the net. Their joy was short-lived, though, as in the ninth minute former Southend defender Harry Lennon was sent off and a penalty was given for handball. Kyle Wootton stepped up and scored to claim his 12th goal of the campaign before adding his second of the day in the 39th minute. Wrexham did have a chance to equalise in the 56thminute but Paul Mullin saw his penalty well-saved, before Notts piled more misery on with Jayden Richardson scoring a controversial goal which saw Phil Parkinson, Aaron Haydenson and captain Ben Tozer booked for their reactions. Notts County moved up to sixth, whilst Wrexham missed an opportunity to move into second.
Boreham 0-0 Barnet
The third and final derby of the day came from North London as Boreham Wood hosted Barnet at Meadow Park. With not much to report on, Boreham Wood extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games, and remain unbeaten at home this season whilst Barnet moved up to 15th, having not played in the league since 11thDecember.
Grimsby 1-1 FC Halifax Town
Jordan Maguire-Drew's 90th minute header salvaged a point for Grimsby and stopped Halifax from going level on points at the top of the table with Chesterfield. Kian Spence had given Pete Wild's high-flying Shaymen the lead in the second half, but the Mariners came away with a crucial point in the televised game on Monday afternoon.