Why Ebbsfleet United Are Most Likely To Take The Final National League Relegation Place – Opinion

The National League relegation battle takes its final twist and turn at lunchtime on Saturday and will end in heartache for one of five clubs by mid-afternoon.

Only a few weeks ago as many as eight to ten clubs were fighting to get themselves away from the trapdoor sending teams into regional part-time football.

Many of those involved in the battle to survive have at one stage in the last four weeks felt they have been safe. Fifty points is the benchmark every season however a club could go down with fifty-three points this year, a record total compared with previous seasons.

No club has been relegated with more than 51 points in the last ten years, the million-dollar question is who will join Kidderminster Harriers, Dorking Wanderers and Oxford City.

Back in the summer, very few would have had Boreham Wood versus Ebbsfleet United on the final day as a bottom-four decider. Wood were minutes away from a Wembley final whilst the Fleet romped away with the National League South last season. One of these clubs could potentially be in that division next year.

A simple Ebbsfleet win saves themselves and everyone else whilst sending Luke Garrard’s side down in his last game in charge at Meadow Park. Should Wood triumph and Woking also pick up at least a point the Fleet return to Step 2 after a single season unless York City or Wealdstone suffer a huge loss and take their place.

Woking have the best goal difference of the five clubs involved, but just a single point in front of Boreham Wood. Like the Fleet with Danny Searle arriving as manager, the Cards got the new manager bounce eventually under Michael Doyle.

But also like the Kufflink Stadium outfit they’ve been dragged back into the dogfight. A draw for the Surrey side would be enough if Boreham Wood triumph, a loss could even see them survive but only if the result at Meadow Park is a draw and Wood are then relegated on goal difference.

The most likely to survive are Wealdstone and York City. The Stones have rallied in the last three games under interim boss Sam Cox, a 1-0 defeat to Eastleigh on Tuesday evening however has left them still in with a chance of being relegated.

However, an extreme set of results would be needed to send the Grosvenor Vale outfit down. A heavy loss for themselves coupled with a smaller Boreham Wood win over Ebbsfleet plus three points for York City and Woking leaves them in danger of the drop.

York’s situation is similar to that of Wealdstone. Adam Hinshelwood had masterminded a run of results to move his new side out of trouble. The final day has the ex-Worthing boss needing one more effort from his team to survive.

For York to find themselves back at Step 2 it would take Boreham Wood having a marginal win over Ebbsfleet, Woking to also pick up three points and the Minstermen to suffer a heavier defeat than the Stones. The permutations are plenty and no doubt throughout the early afternoon more than one side will be trading places with another in that dreaded fourth spot.

Hinshelwood’s side are the team in form with four wins from their last six matches and head to Solihull Moors. Woking have won only two of their last six as they host AFC Fylde.

Wealdstone head to Oldham also with only two wins from the same amount of games, however, those wins have come within the last three played.

Wood are unbeaten in their last three games since announcing Garrard would be leaving after Saturday’s game, the Fleet have the worst form of the five sides with just one win in their last six.

The TNT Sport cameras will be in attendance at Meadow Park to see if the home side can pull off the great escape and in turn, condemn one of these four sides to relegation.

The smart money would be on one of these two sides heading to the National League South by full-time, there are too many twists and turns needed to surely believe it will result in a side outside of this match being involved in the drama at the death.


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