I suggested a few weeks ago that Macclesfield Town were the kingmakers of the Conference as they had games in the run-in against four of the five title contenders. Well, they managed to make a decisive impact on one side’s prospects: they held us to a draw at The Racecourse which deal a huge blow to our title hopes. Other than that, they’ve not fulfilled the role terribly well, suffering a couple of poundings and losing a manager in the process. So they’ve passed the title on: we’re now the power behind the throne.
With two of our three remaining games against the two title contenders left standing, it’s in our hands as much as theirs as to who geso straight into the Football League. Wish we were still in contention, but at least we’re still involved, eh?
The fact is that if Kidderminster don’t beat us the title might be decided tomorrow. Should Mansfield win at Braintree while we deny the Harriers, then that’s that and we’ll have sent the Premier Sports cameras to Aggborough next Saturday to watch Stockport try to avoid relegation.
Andy Morrell has a tricky conundrum to deal with (or he would do if he didn’t have so many players injured that he’ll probably have very little choice in his team selection.) Obviously he needs to keep his players fresh and aim to hit the play-offs running. However, if you cast your bias to one side for a moment and adopt the cloak of logic, you’ll see that there’s a real chance that a side rotating its squad against two title contenders is likely to come out of those two matches with no points.
That’s why Grimsby dropping two points at Luton tonight is good news for us. If we disregard the points from those two games, at least we know that if we can beat Braintree on Tuesday then Grimsby will need to win both their remaining matches to come above us and make us face the side that came second in the play-off semi-finals. As one of those matches is against Newport and the other a ong trip to Woking in midweek, that’s a big ask.
Not that I should be so worried about avoidign finishing fifth though. If anyone should know that the play-offs are a random shake-up of the top teams in which anything can happen and the second-placed side is not necessarily the one to fear, then we should. How many points ahead of Luton did we finish last year?
And while we’re at it, when did Hereford become the sixth best team in the Conference? At least it’s good to know that we’ve been detached from the rest of the Conference for so long that I didn’t notice them creeping up the table!