Planters face tough test as play-off chase begins to hot up

Norwich United boss Steve Easthaugh. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich United boss Steve Easthaugh. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norwich United travel to third-placed AFC Hornchurch today sitting in eighth place, but just five points behind fifth placed Haringey Borough and with a game in hand on the team they play on the final day of the season.

The Planters have recorded 10 wins and a draw in their last 14 league games to stay firmly in the play-off hunt, after appearing to be stuck in mid-table.

And with five of their last seven games at home they will be hopeful that a positive result today can set them up nicely for the run-in.

Steve Eastaugh's men came through a hard fought match at Ware last Saturday with a 2-1 victory over lowly Ware, Christy Finch netting his 12th goal before forcing the match-winning own-goal.

The Urchins will be keen to get their promotion effort back on track after being held at home by relegation threatened Wroxham last Saturday, the Yachtsmen's Connor Deeks cancelling out Martin Tuohy's first half strike.

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With Hornchurch taking all three points at Plantation Park thanks to a David Knight goal in October the Planters will be keen for revenge, but they still have skipper Andy Eastaugh unavailable due to a broken nose.

Wroxham will be aiming to build on the morale-boosting result in their previous fixture when they take on 10th placed Aveley at Trafford Park.

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The Yachtsmen ended a miserable sequence of nine successive defeats in all competitions at Hornchurch last Saturday.

A long overdue win would be another big tonic, although relegation still looks inevitable, and could even be confirmed today should Wroxham lose and either Soham or Ware pick up a point. A more reastic target for the Yachtsmen now is to avoid finishing bottom - they are currently level on points with Great Wakering Rovers, having played the same number of games, but are above them on goal difference.

Dereham Town, with successive wins behind them, have nothing but pride to play for but could do Norwich United a favour when they take on Phoenix Sports at Aldiss Park. The visitors are also eyeing a late charge for the play-offs and are currently level on points with the Planters.

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