How things look going into the last round of league fixtures

Words John Edwards Picture Jonathan Moore

FC Halifax Town's 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic on Thursday night means the scene is now set for a dramatic final set of Vanarama National League fixtures on Saturday lunchtime, with every team having just one game left to play and key issues still to be resolved.

Who will clinch the all-important seventh place in the table, who will each play-off participant be up against in next week's eliminators and where and exactly when will each team find themselves battling it out to reach the following week's semi-finals?

All will become clear at roughly 2pm on Saturday afternoon after all the 12.15pm kick-offs have reached a conclusion.

There will be twists and turns without doubt, but one thing is sure as a nerve-shredding final day fast approaches - if Altrincham win against Oxford City at The J.Davidson Stadium, we WILL finish fourth and we WILL have home advantage against whoever claims seventh at The J.Davidson next Wednesday April 24th at 7pm, live on TNT Sports.

As things stand, our opponents will be Halifax, but, needless to say, that is subject to change. The Shaymen currently occupy seventh after a 2-2 draw with Oldham that eliminated the Latics from the equation and meant they cannot now qualify.

It also meant it is now a three-way contest for the one remaining play-off place, going into Saturday, with Aldershot trailing Halifax on goal difference only and Southend United a further three points adrift and therefore the outsiders but still in with a shout.

Southend, who are home to Rochdale, have by far the best goal difference of the three but have to rely on a win for themselves being accompanied by defeats for Halifax, who face a long journey to the south coast to take on Eastleigh, and Aldershot, who are away to Dagenham & Redbridge.

Alty are currently one point ahead of Solihull Moors and two in front of Gateshead, the only two teams who could overtake us and deprive us of fourth if we don't win against Oxford.

The only way Solihull could leapfrog us is if they win at home to York City and we draw or lose, such is our advantage over them in terms of goal difference. As for Gateshead, if they manage to beat Bromley at home, we would probably need maximum points against Oxford to stay above them, as they are only one goal behind us on GD and have scored more than us, if it comes down to that.

So, there is still plenty at stake in Saturday's 12.15pm kick-off, with the Robins looking to banish all the ifs and buts with a victory over Oxford that would assure us of home advantage next Wednesday in our first-ever appearance in a National League promotion eliminator.

A vibrant, packed J.Davidson Stadium is needed more than ever to cheer on Phil Parkinson's in-form squad and help them over the line to secure a tie that would have all the makings of another memorable night under the Moss Lane lights.

Your support can play a crucial role in getting the job done against an Oxford side who will be eager to bow out of the National League in style, and you can make sure of your place by clicking on the link here to purchase a ticket.

As the table here shows, Chesterfield are promoted as champions and Barnet and Bromley will fill the next two positions, in whatever order, and will therefore enter the play-offs at the semi-final stage on April 28th. To reiterate, with Alty, Solihull and Gateshead already through to next week's eliminators, the one remaining place will be taken by Halifax, Aldershot or Southend. 

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