The 2022-23 season in the English National League (England’s 5th tier football league) has been defined by the phenomenal race at the top of the table between Wrexham AFC and Notts County. As good as Wrexham was this season, Notts County was equal to the task, keeping everyone in suspence all the way to the critical match at the Racecourse on April 10. It was a battle for the ages with (essentially) automatic promotion to League 2 (England’s Fourth Tier) to the winner, while the 2nd place team likely had to reckon with the playoff round for the final promotion spot. And as we all know, just about anything can happen in a playoff round, as Wrexham found out last year.
Yesterday, Notts County took on Boreham Wood with the winner going to Wembley for the National League Playoff final. Boreham Wood has the best defense in the National League. Notts County accumulated a record 107 points this season, a clear 25 points better than Boreham and only bested by Wrexham’s 111. All those facts didn’t matter yesterday, as Boreham took a 2-0 lead in the first half. And from there, Notts County staged a comeback for the ages – scoring the tying goal in the 97th minute of regulation – literally the last minute of the game (And you must remember, the April 10 game against Wrexham was decided in the last minute as well) – and then scored the winning goal 30 minutes into extra time. Just watch the highlight reel above. It is an amazing summary of the game – especially because each team had ample opportunities to score throughout the entire game.
The quality of football in the English Premier League is world class – there is no argument there. However, the energy, passion and enthusiasm that we have witnessed through this year’s National League season has been every bit as spectacular.