Blue Square Bet Premier League – Mixed bagged for top sides

by Stephen Fallows

With the majority of Conference teams taking part in the first round of the FA Cup, there was only two games on the Saturday. Grimsby briefly moved into third place with Andy Cook scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win away at Tamworth and Gateshead continued their push towards the play offs after coming from behind to 2-1 win at home against Woking, with Josh Gillies and Liam Hatch scoring the winning goals after Jack Parkinson had given Woking an early lead.

There was mixed fortunes for the top four on Tuesday nights full programme. Newport County opened up a four point lead at the top after a 6-2 rout at home to Cambridge United. Lee Minshull and Michael Flynn scored early to put the Exiles in a strong position. Tome Elliot briefly brought the U’s back into the game but Andy Sandell’s free kick restored their two goal advantage going into the break. Things didn’t get any easier for the visitors after the break with a brace from Aaron O Connor and a last minute strike from Michael Smith adding further misery, with only a Luke Berry goal to add a little consolation. Wrexham moved into second after coming from behind to earn a convincing 4-1 win away at Southport. Steven Tames put the Sandgrounders ahead at half time but second half goals from Jay Harris, Chris Lynch, Robert Ogleby and Christ Westwood all hit the target in the second half for the valuable win for the Red Dragons. Luton Town dropped to third after James McQuilkins second half goal earned a shock win for hosts Hereford United and Grimsby couldn’t keep up the momentum from Saturdays win, going down 3-2 in an entertaining game away at Hyde United. Hyde took a two goal lead through Alex Brown and Ryan Crowther but the Mariners fought back with a brace either side of half time from Ross Hannah but Alex Brown scored his second and Hydes third to earn the victory which moves them off the bottom of the table.

Forest Green’s Yan Klukowski scored the only goal of an edgy game which saw both teams reduced to ten men as the Rovers beat Dartford 1-0. A goal in each half from Amari Morgan – Smith and Ryan Jackson was enough for Macclesfield to beat Tamworth 2-0. Gateshead also won by the same margin against Alfreton Town with Liam Hatch and Josh Gillies both on the scoresheet again as Gateshead stayed eighth in the table. Stockport continued their decent season as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners against a Barrow side that had been improving recently. A double from Danny Hattersley and another from Matty Mainwaring put the Hatters three up before Danny Rowe scored a consolation as Barrow pushed to get back into the game.

Ebbfleet gained a well-deserved point after coming from behind twice away at Telford, but still stayed in the bottom four, two points from safety. Nathan Elder twice equalised goals from Telford’s Steve Jones, who later missed out on a hat trick after missing a late penalty. Woking drew 2-2 against Kidderminster in a match which saw chances to win for both sides. Lee Sawyer gave Woking a lead in the third minute, before two from Nathan Blissett put Kidderminster in the driving seat. Bradley Bubb scored the equaliser for Woking midway through the second half with a goal which proved to be the last of the game.  Lincoln continued their fine recent run to take their run to seven matches unbeaten after a comprehensive 3-0 win at home to struggling Braintree. Goals from Alan Massey, Andrew Boyce and Jamie Taylor earned the points for the Imps.

The recent story surrounding Kettering Town looks to have been solved for the time being with a deal being done to host their next league game, which would be the Poppies first since October 6th at Corby Town’s Steel Park. The deal looked as if it might fall through at one stage and could lead to the expulsion of Kettering Town, but they were given a reprieve and the transfer embargo has been lifted. This allows caretaker manager Alan Doyle to re assemble a squad which until recently had only three members. Speaking to the BBC about bringing the squad together, Doyle said he was unsure about the budget, but it would probably “…be things like petrol allowances”. The club would be allowed to groundshare for up to thirteen weeks, by which team it is hoped that investment would be found and that the issues surrounding the power supply at Nene Park (which was shut off, leading to two of the postponed games) could soon be solved. This story is not over yet, but the club has time to find new investment.

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