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      National League 'Team of the Season'

      2024/04/24 16:35

      The National League play-offs kick off tonight with Solihull hosting Halifax, and the battle to follow Chesterfield into League Two promises to be an enthralling one. 

      Although there is plenty of football still to be played, now's a great time to cast our eyes back over the regular 46-game campaign with a view to naming a 'Team of the Season' from the fifth tier. 

      To ensure that players from a small pool of clubs don't dominate, Playmaker have opted for a format in which only ONE player per National League club can be chosen...tricky!

      We've selected a tried and trusted 4-4-2 formation and are delighted with our final line-up, which includes four substitutes (a keeper, defender, midfielder and forward). 


      Goalkeeper: Collin Andeng Ndi (Southend United)
      Our number one is Southend's hot 20-year-old prospect Collin Ndi. The young stopper made 33 appearances for the Shrimpers this season, as the Essex club overcame a 10-point deduction to finish ninth in the table, with the best defensive record in the division. Former West Ham keeper David Martin deputised fantastically for a spell when Ndi was out injured, but the young Cameroonian reclaimed the gloves at the end of a positive campaign. 

      Connor Barrett (AFC Fylde)
      AFC Fylde won three of their final six league games to preserve their National League status and their rampaging full-back Connor Barrett makes our 'Team of the Season' after a fantastically productive season. The 22-year-old former Leicester academy product contributed two goals and nine assist to the Coasters' cause - no defender in the fifth tier able to match him in the assist stakes. 

      James Clarke (Solihull Moors) 
      Solihull have one of the better defences in the National League and fan favourite James Clarke is a dependable and progressive performer for the play-off participants. Clarke was the only Solihull player to clock over 4000 minutes in the fifth tier this term and he scored two goals and laid on three assists, in addition to his sterling defensive work. 

      Jamie Stott (Halifax Town)
      They may have needed a final day win over Eastleigh to seal their play-off place, but Jamie Stott was never in doubt Halifax would make it. "If you ask me how confident I am we're going to finish in the top seven, I'd say 100 per cent," said the 26-year-old back in November. The former Oldham and Stockport man has been crucial to The Shaymen making the play-offs - only Southend and Bromley shipping fewer National League goals than Halifax (50) in the regular season. 

      Louis Storey (Gateshead) 
      The Heed may have been controversially excluded from the play-offs, for issues concerning the lease at the International Stadium, but they certainly deserve a representative in our TOTS. We've opted for left-back Louis Storey whose influence extends off the pitch given his first-team coaching role. With three goals and two assists to his name, the 30-year-old provides attacking intent, as well as defensive solidity...and he even went in goal against Aldershot recently!


      @Getty /

      Liam Mandeville (Chesterfield)
      Picking one player from the National League champions was a tough gig, and we've had to leave out the likes of Will Grigg and Armando Dobra to create space for our one Spireites representative: Liam Mandeville. The former Doncaster player is the ultimate team player and his relentless industry, work ethic and availability have been integral to Chesterfield banishing the memory of their play-off final defeat to Notts County last season. Mandeville's eight goals and 14 assists have been very helpful too obviously! 

      Chris Conn-Clarke (Altrincham)
      'Alty' have been sensational this term in the fifth tier and their Northern Irish midfielder Chris Conn-Clarke has been the main star of the show. The former Burnley man has been involved in 31 National League goals (23 goals and nine assists) already this season and his ability to create for others, in addition to scoring goals himself has been priceless for Altrincham. With quick feet, a trick or two and plenty of end product, Conn-Clarke was an obvious choice for our 2023/24 'Team of the Season'. 

      Josh Stokes (Aldershot)
      The Shots narrowly missed out on a play-off spot, but they enjoyed a positive season that saw them play some great stuff going forward. Having arrived last summer from AFC Sudbury, Stokes wasted little time in making an impact in the National League and he also sparkled in the FA Cup, as Aldershot knocked out eventual League Two champions Stockport and Swindon. Signed by Bristol City in January, the teenager contributed 15 goals and eight assists this season for Aldershot and he has a big future ahead of him. 

      Ben Krauhaus (Bromley)
      Snapped up by Premier League Brentford in the winter transfer window, Ben Krauhaus is another young prospect destined for big things. Still only 19, the dynamic midfielder enjoyed a sensational season with the Ravens and finished the regular campaign strongly with three goals and an assist in his last five games. With seven National League goals and four assists to his name, the rangy midfielder has a lovely left foot and a knack for making the game look easy. Entering the play-offs at the semi-final stage, Bromley will hope Krauhaus can sign off in style before joining the Bees this summer. 


      @Getty /

      Paul McCallum (Eastleigh)
      There was never any doubt regarding one of our striking berths, was there?! Eastleigh's Paul McCallum has enjoyed a prolific campaign that saw him reach the coveted 30-goal mark, scoring 31 goals in total in the National League. Averaging a goal every 104 minutes and scoring 42% of his team's goals, McCallum was a potent force in the fifth tier and no player in the division notched more match-winning goals than the 30-year-old (4) during the course of the season. Remarkably, not one of McCallum's 31 goal was a penalty either!

      Nicke Kabamba (Barnet)
      Barnet forward Kabamba notched an impressive 19 National League goals last term, but he upped the ante this time round and fired home 25 strikes for the league's runners-up. With eight assists also to his name, Kabamba has been a right handful up front for the Bees, who registered 91 goals in total this season - only Chesterfield (106 goals) outscoring them. Involved in 11 goals (six goals and five assists) in Barnet's last 10 games of the season, Kabamba is in very good nick heading into the play-offs. 

      The Bench

      GK: Louie Moulden (Rochdale) - On loan from Wolves, Moulden recorded five National League assists! Enough said.
      DF: Scott Cuthbert (Woking) - The former Stevenage and Luton defender was a rock at the back, as Woking recorded the fourth-best defensive record in the division. 
      MF: Reece Smith (Maidenhead) - The Magpies academy product enjoyed an impressive campaign, which saw him net 11 and provide five assists. 
      FW - Mani Dieseruvwe (Hartlepool) - In the most prolific form of his career and joined a select group of only four Pools players ever to score 20+ goals in a season




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      2024-04-24 18h52m by eedwards
      Midfielder: Ollie Banks (Tranmere Rovers)

      As a Tranmere fan, I am extremely satisfied with Ollie Banks being chosen as the midfielder in the National League's Team of the Season. He has been a key player for us, always putting in 100% effort and contributing to our successful season. Well deserved recognition for his hard work and talent!
      2024-04-24 18h35m by awalkerson7
      With a string of impressive performances, he has established himself as a key player in the team and has even caught the attention of several Premier League scouts.

      Midfielder: Jordan Ponticelli (Wrexham)

      As a Solihull fan, I can't wait for tonight's match against Halifax! The National League play-offs are always intense and it's going to be a battle to follow our rivals Chesterfield into League Two. Plus, I'm excited to see who will make
      2024-04-24 18h25m by lhalliday_bart
      The young Cameroonian has played a vital role in the club's promotion push and has kept an impressive 12 clean sheets in his 28 games.

      Wow, what a season it's been! And now the play-offs are finally here! Can't wait to see my team, Solihull, battle it out with Halifax for a spot in League Two. Excitement levels are through the roof!
      2024-04-24 17h07m by omitchellsonjones
      As a die-hard fan of Solihull, I am beyond excited for the play-offs! It's been a rollercoaster of a season and now is the time for our team to shine. I can't wait to see who will step up and be named in the Team of the Season from our club.
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