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    Non league friendly to go ahead without a referee or officials

    An upcoming non league friendly is set to go ahead, but incredibly without a referee or any officials according to reports on Friday.

    Two playoff clubs have revealed earlier this week that they will face each other, subject to protocols, after they were given the go to play in preparation for the National League playoffs.

    The first playoff tie has been given a confirmed date of Friday the 17th of July, with ties from all three divisions also being played out that weekend.

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    National League South side Dorking Wanderers announced on Tuesday that they would be travelling to and playing Notts County on Saturday as they prepare for the upcoming playoffs.

    Magpies boss Neal Ardley has been hoping to play a warm-up game to help get the players fit, and last week it was reported the league organisation had turned down all friendly requests, before doing a u-turn on that decision.

    But the newly announced fixture will go ahead without any officials in place and will be officiated by staff members from both sides rather than a referee.

    Ardley has come out and said that the reason the non league friendly is to go ahead without a referee or officials was in line with coronavirus protocol from the governing bodies.

    “While the result doesn’t necessarily matter too much, getting the edge from a game against another team is vital to us in terms of preparations,” he said.

    “We will have to follow strict guidelines. There will be no officials to do the match.

    “Any friendlies that have taken place, even at the Premier League, club staff have had to officiate.

    “The players moan at us enough in training when we make bad decisions!

    “So between ourselves and Dorking we will have to officiate.

    “This is all about the legs and July 25.

    “So when the fans do get to watch us on BT Sport, hopefully that will all pay dividends.”

    On this day in 2019, journalists accompanied two Notts County supporters to London’s High Court amid fears the club would go bust.

    The end of the 2018–19 season saw them relegated from the Football League for the first time in their 157-year history.

    It came following a 3–1 defeat away at Swindon Town. Notts County were at one point in the game safe, but ended up finishing the 2018–19 season with a 9–14–23 record in 23rd place with 41 points.

    It was grim times back then, but it was on the 26th of July 2019 that the club was sold by Alan Hardy to Danish businessmen Alexander and Christoffer Reedtz, who have done a superb job in bringing in stability and reassured fans of the club’s future.

    Now they are two wins away from a return to the Football League at the first attempt, something that has given the fanbase plenty of optimism. It truly has been is is a remarkable story.

    All five of the National League play-off matches, including the much anticipated final will be held at Wembley Stadium, without fans, and will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

    www.fanbanter.co.uk – Fan reaction to the latest football news, gossip & funnies

    However, according to a statement by Chester, the league have a “desire to enable streaming of the matches given the unique nature of them being played behind closed doors”, but “no final decision has been made (in) regards streaming of the games or associated arrangements.”

    At least some of the Step 2 playoffs will be ‘streamed live by the National League’: Altrincham v Chester and Havant & Waterlooville v Slough or Dartford.

    These games will be ‘pay per view’. Ollie Bayliss has spoken to other Step 2 clubs who haven’t had it confirmed how their games will be shown.

    Due to the current Government sporting guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, all matches will be played behind closed doors.

    The Vanarama National League
    Friday 17th July – 7pm (on BT Sport)
    Elimination Round – Match A – Boreham Wood vs FC Halifax Town

    Saturday 18th July – 3pm (on BT Sport)
    Elimination Round – Match B – Yeovil Town vs Barnet

    Saturday 25th July 2020- 2.30pm (on BT Sport)
    Semi Final – Harrogate Town vs Winner of Match A

    Saturday 25th July 2020 – 5pm (on BT Sport)
    Semi Final – Notts County vs Winner of Match B

    2nd August 2020 – 3pm (on BT Sport)
    Promotion Final – Wembley Stadium

    The Vanarama National League North
    Sunday 19th July 2020 – 3pm
    Elimination Round – Match A – Altrincham vs Chester (streamed)
    Elimination Round – Match B – Brackley Town vs Gateshead

    Saturday 25th July 2020 – 3pm
    Semi Final – York City vs Winner of Match A
    Semi Final – Boston United vs Winner of Match B

    1st August 2020 – 3pm
    Promotion Final – Stadium of highest ranked finalist

    The Vanarama National League South
    Sunday 19th July 2020- 3pm
    Elimination Round – Match A – Slough Town vs Dartford
    Elimination Round – Match B – Bath City vs Dorking Wanderers

    Saturday 25th July 2020 – 3pm
    Semi Final – Havant & Waterlooville vs Winner of Match A (streamed)
    Semi Final – Weymouth vs Winner of Match B

    1st August 2020 – 3pm
    Promotion Final – Stadium of highest ranked finalist

    It was in May 2017 that the National League gave their playoffs a revamp for all three divisions. Under the new system, the number of teams playing for promotion was increased to six.

    The clubs who ended up finishing in second and third automatically got a bye to a semi-final at their home ground, while the clubs in fourth and fifth stage qualifying round ties against the teams finishing seventh and sixth. The winners of those matches then complete the semi-final line up.

    The current favourites to win the National League’s top tier playoffs according to popular bookmakers Sky Bet can be viewed below.

    Harrogate Town – 7/4
    Notts County – 2/1
    Yeovil Town – 11/2
    Boreham Wood – 7/1
    Barnet – 10/1
    FC Halifax Town – 12/1

    Who can you see being the winners for each division’s playoffs? Let us know by commenting your opinion HERE.



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