Over the years, the National League has seen many prolific forwards making life difficult for defences up and down the country. However, which players have been the most prolific in a single season?
Macauley Longstaff (42 goals scored in 45 appearances for Notts County in season 2022/23)
The Notts County forward built on a prolific spell with Gateshead in the National League North by scoring an incredible 42 goals in just 45 National League appearances in season 2022/23, which is a record for the fifth tier of the English game.
Longstaff’s goals helped his team to finish second in the table and eventually secure promotion back to the EFL courtesy of a penalty shootout victory over Chesterfield in the play-off final at Wembley.
The season was the most prolific season of Longstaff’s career and saw him win both the Notts County Players Player of the Year and the Fans Player of the Year awards.
Ricky Miller (40 goals scored in 41 appearances for Dover Athletic in season 2016/17)
The forward was the player who had scored the most goals in a single National League campaign until Longstaff’s achievement. Miller enjoyed by far the most prolific season of his career in season 2016/17 while playing for Dover Athletic.
Miller had scored 20 goals in their previous season, so there were signs that Miller could be prolific. His 40 goals in the fifth tier won the forward the National League Player of the Year award. Miller last featured in the National League in season 2021/22 with Dover, but he failed to score in ten league appearances.
Paul Mullin (38 goals scored in 46 appearances for Wrexham in season 2022/23)
The Liverpool-born forward earned himself hero status at the Welsh club due to his goalscoring exploits. However, in season 2022/23, Mullin scored a highly impressive 38 goals in 46 National League appearances.
He competed with Longstaff for the fifth-tier top goalscorer award but fell slightly short. His goals were enough to help the Dragons to the National League title and earn them a return to the Football League after a decade and a half absence.
His goalscoring exploits in season 2022/23 were not just reserved for the National League either, as Mullin also won the FA Cup Golden Ball, as he scored nine goals in the famous old competition.
John Akinde (31 goals scored in 45 appearances for Barnet in season 2014/15)
The striker enjoyed the most prolific campaign of his career in season 2014/15 with Barnet, as he fired home 31 goals in 45 appearances. Akinde not only finished as the league’s top goalscorer, but his goals helped Barnet win promotion back to the Football League.
Akinde went on to score 23 and 26 goals in the next two seasons in League Two and became Barnet’s record highest-ever League goalscorer.
Jamie Vardy (31 goals scored in 36 appearances for Fleetwood Town in season 2011/12)
One of the most famous former non-league players to make it at the highest level of the English game, Vardy made a name for himself at Fleetwood by scoring 31 goals in just 36 appearances.
His goals were enough to see him finish as the top goalscorer in the then-Conference, helping Town to win the title and earn promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history. His goals were enough for Championship Leicester City to pay a fifth-tier record fee of £1m.
Vardy went on to become a Premier League champion with the Foxes in their miracle campaign in season 2015/16 while also representing England at international level on 26 occasions.
Andre Gray (30 goals scored in 44 appearances for Luton Town in season 2013/14)
The much-travelled Jamaican international produced a career-high 30-goal season in the 2013/14 campaign. Gray’s goal helped the Hatters win promotion back to the Football League.
On an individual basis, the forward finished as the league’s top goalscorer while also winning the Young Player of the Year award. He was also named in the Team of the Year.
Dan Holman (30 goals scored in 44 appearances for Woking/Cheltenham Town in season 2015/16)
The forward scored 30 goals for two different teams in season 2015/16, as he started the season at Woking, where he scored 14 goals in 26 appearances before finding the net 16 times in 18 games for Cheltenham Town.
Holman never quite enjoyed the same success in the rest of his playing career. However, he will always have that stellar season to look back upon.
Danny Rowe (27 goals scored in 45 appearances for AFC Fylde in season 2018/19)
The forward has enjoyed a prolific career in non-league football, including scoring 20-plus goals in five straight seasons. However, the most prolific campaign of his career came in season 2018/19 while playing for Fylde when he scored 27 goals in 45 appearances.
Rowe won the National League Player of the Year in the same season. He left the club in 2020 for Oldham Athletic as Fylde’s top goalscorer.
Andy Cook (26 goals in 41 appearances for Tranmere Rovers in season 2017/18)
The Bishop Auckland-born star enjoyed a prolific spell from 2014-2018, scoring 20-plus goals in four straight seasons. The most prolific season of Cook’s career came in season 2017/18 when he scored 26 goals for Tranmere Rovers.
His goals didn’t just win him the National League Golden Boot but also helped Rovers to win promotion back to the Football League.
Paul Mullin (28 goals in 38 appearances for Wrexham in season 2021/22)
This is the forward’s second appearance on this list, as Mullin scored 28 goals in 38 appearances in season 2021/22 in his debut campaign for the Dragons after a move from Cambridge United.
Unfortunately for the Welsh team, Mullin’s goals were only good enough to help Wrexham to second spot in the National League, only to lose out on promotion in the semi-finals against Grimsby Town.
On an individual basis, the forward won the National League Player of the Year and claimed the Golden Boot.