Leyton Orient, led by Zimbabwean striker Macauley Bonne, secured promotion to the Football League thanks to a goalless home draw against Braintree on Saturday.
The east London side required just a point on the final day and earned it with little fuss to be crowned National League champions. Both of Orient’s rivals, Salford City and Solihull Moors, failed to win their respective games meaning that the London side would still have gone up even if they lost at home on the final day.
It was a tense affair at Brisbane Road, with Leyton Orient coming closest to securing all three points when Macauley Bonne put the ball into the net from close range before being ruled out for offside, but it did not matter in the end. Fans streamed on to the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate with the players after a turbulent spell for the club.
Salford City’s dreams of winning the National League went up in flames, despite taking a third-minute lead at Hartlepool through Devante Rodney. Things turned sour for Graham Alexander’s side when Matt Green was shown a red card just before half-time for a second bookable offence. The hosts took control of the match after the break, with Nicky Featherstone drawing his side level. Nicke Kabamba then gave Hartlepool the lead after 69 minutes, before Luke James sealed the victory.
Solihull Moors could only draw at Dagenham and Redbridge after going behind to a Conor Wilkinson goal, when the striker capitalised on an error from the goalkeeper to chip the ball into an empty net from distance. The equaliser arrived via Jermaine Hylton thanks to his determination down the left flank when he converted his own cross after a defender failed to clear.
Salford City and Solihull Moors now have another chance for promotion through the play-offs.
One team who will definitely be playing in the National League next season is Stockport County who defeated already relegated Nuneaton 3-0 to finish top of National League North. Ash Palmer, Matty Warburton and Adam Thomas scored the goals to ensure the Hatters will not be playing regional football next season. — The Guardian