National League: Who Will Be Relegated?

It’s been an extremely frustrating time this season watching my team York City crumble in the National League after such high expectations at the start of the year. However York are in a relegation scrap, it is what it is, and it’s going to go down to the last game against Forest Green.

Because of this I thought I’d do some research on the teams who can be relegated from the National League. As Southport and North Ferriby have already been relegated this means that two teams from a possible 7 can be relegated.

Relegation - Key Fixtures

The graphic above shows the seven teams who can be relegated this year. Since it’s come down to the wire I thought I’d elaborate and give a bit of a background and opinion on each teams situation.


16th – Chester

52 Points (-5 Goal Difference)

Chester are mathematically in the best position to stay in the National League for next season. They are 5 spots from the relegation zone and 4 points clear. Which basically means that they have to lose the next two games and most of the teams below them have to win their next two. Which is highly unlikely.

That being said they are on a poor run of form with only 2 wins in their last 10 games and are without a home win since December last year. So you wouldn’t put it past them to lose their last two. However even if they did I think they will be okay.


17th – Woking

51 Points (-14 Goal Difference)

After last seasons mid table finish would would put your money on Woking to build upon their place in the National League. I mean even Jay Cartwright took Woking from the Conference to the Champions League in six seasons.. how hard can it be?

Jokes aside Woking are in decent form currently having gained 10 points from a possible 15 in their last 5 games. However they have a tough end to the season with fixtures against relegation rivals York City and playoff hopefuls Dagenham and Redbridge. Both of whom they have lost to in the reverse fixtures earlier in the season.

Even if they lose these games however I believe they are in a strong position to stay up with 3 points and 4 places separating them and Braintree.


18th – Solihull Moors

51 Points (-15 Goal Difference)

After the defeat against York City I thought Solihull were done for. Without a win in 6 games and losing a record 9-0 to Tranmere Rovers must have seen the dressing room hit an all time low. The win on Monday against Macclesfield was massive for Solihull as now they have broken the streak of 6 successive defeats and eased the pressure.

I was surprised when they appointed Liam McDonald who was managing two leagues below at Hednesford Town. Also losing their main source of goals; Akwasi Asante has been tough. However from what I have seen of youngster Oladapo Afolayan, he is more than capable of supplying the goals.

A win against Eastleigh would near enough secure them National League status for the 17/18 season. However there is a slight chance that if the teams below them win on Saturday and Solihull lose then it will come down to a possible six pointer against Guiseley on the last day.


19th – Guiseley

49 Points (-17 Goal Difference)

Guiseley have matched their points tally from last year with two games to go. That sounds like improvement, however 49 points was enough to see them stay up by a point last year. This season it will no doubt take another 3 points or ideally 2 wins for the West Yorkshire side.

They have Bromley away on Saturday and more crucially play Solihull on the last day which could be a massive game for both sides should all the other teams at the bottom win on Saturday.

A few weeks ago it looked like Guiseley wouldn’t be in this situation again however a bad run of form has dragged them right into the thick of things


20th – York City

48 Points (-15 Goal Difference)

It’s arguably the biggest 2 weeks in York City’s existence as they play a vital game against Woking on Saturday which is a must win as well as the last game of the season against Forest Green.

Forest Green are at the other end of the table and will be pushing for promotion in the playoffs as they have missed out on automatic promotion. This means that Rovers will have nothing to play for which could work in City’s favour.

The York Press have reported that goalkeepers Scott Loach and Kyle Letheren may be unavailable for the Woking clash which means than 3rd choice Luke Simpson would be between the sticks at the Kingfield Stadium. Simpson has only played twice all season which could be a concern for Gary Mills.

In terms of the form table York City are 9th in the National League. York have one of the best front lines in the division at the moment and with a wage budget in the top 3 in the league you would assume that they have a team more than capable of doing a job at Woking and Forest Green.


21st – Braintree Town

48 Points (-21 Goal Difference)

Braintree have endured a massive turn around since last year, beating eventual playoff winners Grimsby in the first leg of the playoff semi-finals, and now fighting for survival. It just goes to show the effect the Crowley brothers have had as they continue their managerial success with Lincoln this season.

Goals have not been a massive issue for Braintree with striker Michael Cheek on 19 this season. However in contrast they have conceded 72 goals, the 4th most in the division. This has led to a -21 goal difference which could be their eventual demise as it is likely to go down to goal difference in my opinion.

They also have Barrow and Aldershot to play who are both looking to secure playoff spots, this coupled with the fact that Braintree have won once in their last 6 games makes me think they are a certainty to be relegated.


22nd – Torquay United

47 Points (-10 Goal Difference)

Manager Kevin Nicholson is no stranger to a relegation fight after last season’s great escape earning him the nickname ‘The Ranieri of the Riviera’. I actually interviewed Kevin Nicholson earlier in the season and he told me that relegation is a concern for anyone in the bottom half. I wonder what he would say now with two games left and sitting 22nd in the league.

Torquay have Dover next up which I think they will struggle as Dover are looking at attaining a playoff spot. This will put pressure on their last fixture against North Ferriby should they lose this weekend. It’s obvious that Torquay will need 6 points from their last two, but ultimately their fate lies with results elsewhere at the bottom of the table.

Torquay have had financial constraints this season which has obviously not helped their league position. Due to my age I only really know Torquay as a football league side so it feels strange to me seeing them near the bottom of the National League but I guess you can’t go off reputation as York City are also a club finding it hard in non league.

So who will go down?

My opinion is that Braintree and either Guiseley/Torquay will be relegated. I think Braintree just because of the poor form and the fact they are playing two playoff hopefuls in the last two fixtures.

I expect Torquay to pick up three points against North Ferriby on the last day of the season which would force Guiseley into earning at least 2 points from their last two fixtures. 1 point for Guiseley would not be enough because of Torquay’s superior goal difference.

Obviously there is a bit of bias that I think York City will stay up. However I seriously believe they deserve to stay in this league based on performances over the last few months. I think if will go down to the last game but Forest Green have nothing to play for so will give The Minstermen an advantage going into the fixture.

Published by Dan Simmonite

Aspiring sport media professional currently working with Northumberland FA. Also write for the grassroots section of the Newcastle Chronicle.

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