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National League Eliminators: Round Up

This week saw the National League Playoffs begin on Tuesday with 6th place Boreham Wood knocking out 5th place Barnet in a 2-1 win and 7th place Bromley coming back from 1-0 down to beat 4th place Woking on Wednesday evening, both to advance to the semifinals this Sunday.

Barnet's hopes of promotion were ended on Tuesday night as Luke Garrard's Borehamwood beat them 2-1.

Barnet began the game initially looking like the better side, beginning with a fantastic cross delivered to Leyton Orient loanee Harry Smith, who unfortunately couldn't quite reach the ball; this was later followed by another cross into the box Borehamwood's defenders swiftly intercepted.

Borehamwood would open the scoring against the run of play when a superb long ball from Chris Bush fell to top scorer Lee Ndlovu who managed to take the ball under control and slotted it past Laurie Walker, giving the visitors the advantage.

Ndlovu would double his tally just before halftime after firing home his second attempt after his first rebounded off the post, giving Borehamwood a comfortable lead going into the half.

The two-goal lead would not last for long as Harry Pritchard would shoot from the edge of the box straight past Nathan Ashmore to give Barnet hope in the second half of a comeback.

Barnet's last real equaliser chance would come when Harry Smith and Danny Collinge had headers fly just over the bar from close range.

Barnet brought wave after wave of attacks at Birehamwood's defence; however, they could not create a clear opportunity to level the game; despite the pressure, Borehamwood held out and clinched the win, which sees them travel to Meadow Lane to take on Notts County in the first of this weekend's semifinals.

Borehamwood won't be worried about the task at hand of taking on Notts County as during the league; they were one of few teams that were able to force Notts County to drop points during their title charge against Wrexham, with a 2-2 draw back at the start of the season in August thanks to a late Tyrone Marsh penalty and a 1-1 draw in January when the two sides last faced each other at Meadow Park.

Bromley progressed to the semi-finals of the National League playoffs on Wednesday night in a hard-fought win away at Woking.

Bromley started the game on the front foot; Michael Cheek had a header from an Omar Sowumni long throw, tipped past the post by Will Jaaskelainen, and Charlton loanee Deji Elerewe had another header saved by the keeper after a cross from the corner.

Bromley's pressure would still not let up as Lousi Dennis had his effort saved; however, on their first actual attack of the game against the run of play, Woking looked dangerous. In the 12th minute of the game, they took the lead.

Marcus Dackers played on a throw-in from Josh Casey to James Daly, who crossed the ball aiming for Rohan Ince, who struck the ball high into the net to make it 1-0 to Woking. Bromley would continue to pile on the pressure in the first half; however, they could not let the ball fall for them in the final third of the pitch and create meaningful chances.

The second half began with Bromley looking lively and ready to create more chances; the Ravens continued to press with a series of corners looking to catch Woking out, but the Cardinals also came close when Padraig Amond had his shot from the edge of the box save by Reice Charles-Cook.

Bromley was given a vital lifeline just before the hour mark. Corey Whitely was brought down just inside the box by Dan Moss to provide Bromley with a penalty. Michael Cheel stepped up to the penalty spot and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to level the game at 1-1.

Woking rallied together, but Bromley stayed firm and fought back to look for a potential winning goal. Corey Whiteley and Micahel Cheek helped set up Kellen Fisher, whose shot was saved by Jaaskelainen.

Bromley went in front in the 77th minute as another long throw effort from Omar Sdowumni took a bounce in the six-yard box before Deji Elewere rose at the back post to head home the ball and put Bromley 2-1 up.

For the remainder of the game, Bromley dug in and kept Woking's chances of an equaliser at bay; despite a late spell of pressure from the Cardinals, Andy Woodman's side did enough to get the win and create even more history for the club.

Bromley will travel to Chesterfield on Sunday for the playoff semi-final, with a place under the arch in Wembley in the playoff final on the 13th of May at stake. Bromley and Chesterfield will be very familiar with each team, both winning their respective home games against each other in the league, with Chesterfield coming out 3-2 winners last time they both met at the Technque Stadium and Bromley winning 2-0 at Hayes Lane only a few weeks ago.

The national league playoffs have been full of surprises so far, and there has only been one round of fixtures, and with the semi-finals coming up this Sunday, fans of all four clubs remaining will be eagerly anticipating what promises to be a great day of football and another brilliant advert for the National League.

The playoffs ultimately come down to which team wants it more and which team can handle to pressure of the occasion. The semi-finals and the final will be the ultimate test of the remaining team's abilities and will provide a thrilling end to an exciting set of playoffs so far.

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