Blue Square Bet Premier – Newport hit the front

by Stephen Fallows

Newport regained top spot after beating Tamworth in a tightly fought game in the Midlands. Ismail Yakubu put the visitors ahead on the stroke of half time, but Adam Cunnington levelled the scores in the second half but parity didn’t last too long as Aaron O’Connor scored what proved to be the winner just two minutes later. They moved two points clear of Forest Green, who lost to third placed Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground. After a goalless first half, a double from Adrian Cieslewicz sealed the points for the Red Dragons. James Norwood’s last minute consolation was too little too late for Rovers.

Luton stayed in fourth after a 2-1 win away against Lincoln City. Luton went two up after a first half own goal from Paul Farman was added to by Jon Shaw in the opening moments of the second half. Jamie Taylor’s powerful strike gave Lincoln Hope with half an hour remaining, but the Hatters held onto their strong position. Dartford rounded off the top five, after beating sixth placed Grimsby. Tom Champion and Adam Birchall scored second half goals to moved the visitors four points clear of their rivals.

Alfreton secured a valuable win against their hosts Macclesfield with goals at opposite ends of the game. Dan Bradley gave the visitors a first minute lead before Matthew Barnes – Homer equalised from the penalty spot midway through the first half. The deadlock was finally broken with the just three minutes on the clock when Nathan Arnold secured the points. Darren Byfield’s seventh minute penalty was enough to see the Stags ninth in the league after Telford beat Woking 1-0. Craig Hobson scored twice in the first half as Stockport managed a win against Hereford, with Phi Marsh scoring a consolation goal in the last quarter of an hour.  Hyde and Gateshead fought out a draw which left the hosts bottom of the league. Scott Spencer put Hyde ahead after just six minutes but Josh Gillies equalised with ten minutes remaining in the half and neither team could break the deadlock after the break.

Cambridge began life under new boss Richard Money with a convincing 4-1 win at home against Mansfield. Michael Gash put the hosts ahead early on, but the action really started in the second half, with Luke Berry, Tom Elliott and Rossi Jarvis putting the U’s in an unassailable position. Jake Speight scored a consolation but never really threatened to get back into the game. Southport stormed to a 3-1 victory at home to Nuneaton after goals from Chris Lever, Simon Grand and Chris Almond with only Adam Walker finding the net for the away side. Danny Rowe was Barrow’s hero as a fine effort from the bluebirds saw them comeback from two goals down to win 3-2 at fellow strugglers Braintree.  Sean Marks and Dan Holman put the hosts in a string position after just 12 minutes, but a brace from recent loan re-signing Louis Almond and a last minute winner from Rowe saw Barrow move out of the relegation zone to 19th. Kidderminster Harriers moved out of the bottom four after a 1-1 draw away at Ebbsfleet, Nathan Elder put the hosts ahead but the lead only lasted seven minutes before Anthony Malbon equalised.

Outside the Blue Square Bet Premier, the big news was from the Evostik Southern Premier League where Kettering Town could only field ten players against Bashley and ended up on the wrong end of a 7-0 defeat. After falling out of the BSBP last year, the financial difficulties seem to have worsened at the Poppies. The 130 year old club’s future looked in more trouble when it looked as though they would be unable to field a team in Tuesday nights fixture at Leamington.

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