Nuneaton Borough, currently leading the Dr Martens Premier League, know that if they
can overcome Boston United and Grantham over the Bank Holiday period, then they can begin
seriously to consider themselves as title contenders.
Borough are away to Boston United tomorrow and at home to Grantham Town on Monday
Both clubs are unknown quantities. Boston were runners-up in the strong Northern
Premier League last season, but find themselves in the Dr Marten League after a
They are one of the teams fancied to do well this season. Grantham are newly promoted
as champions of the Dr Martens Midland Division and they start the season with a big
revamp. Many of their players are full-time professionals and they have begun the season
with two victories to join Borough at the top of the pile.
Boro's manager Brendan Phillips is a realist. He says:
"It is far too early to talk about being top of the table. There is a long way to
go yet. But I am delighted with our start.
"We beat Hastings 1-0 but could have had more and to win 4-2 at Kings Lynn was a
great team performance because they are considered one of the fancied sides."
The Boro's teenage striker Malcolm Christie is attracting a lot of attention at
present. He has scored two goals already and is regularly policed by a bevy of league
"He has good control and is so quick we call him Linford," says Phillips with
a chuckle. "He is a level headed lad who is doing brilliantly for us. I know he is
being watched, but no one has been in with an offer for him yet. He is an outstanding
talent and I recognise he is certain to play in the league sooner rather than later, and I
have to plan for that."
Atherstone United had a tough opening to the new campaign and it gets no easier over
After losing at Merthyr Tydfil last weekend and drawing at home to Ilkeston Town in
midweek, they need some points to boost them up the table.
But tomorrow they run up against Cambridge at Sheepy Road and on Bank Holiday Monday
they travel to play Worcester City.
Manager Ron Bradbury says:
"We need to raise our game to get out of the relegation area, but Cambridge are a
tough prospect. We have not beaten them at home for three years, but there is always a
And Bradbury says Worcester will be in the top six when the end of the season rolls
round next May.
But he has taken some heart from the first two matches.
"The results went against us but on performances we should now have four points
from six," he says.
"We played well at Merthyr, but lost to two late goals. Against Ilkeston we were
3-0 and cruising it when our goalkeeper was sent off and we finished 3-3. There is no
criticism of the keeper. He made an error of judgement and handled outside the penalty
Bradbury is pleased with his latest capture Peter White from Nuneaton Borough Reserves.
He scored twice against Ilkeston and is slotting in well.
Dr Martens Midland Division side Bedworth United have lost their opening two games but
manager Billy Hollywood refuses to let it get to him.
"It's not all doom and gloom," he says defiantly. "I am a little bit
down but there were some good things to take from our performances.
"It is just that lapses of concentration cost us dearly. Against Solihull we were
defending quite well but one error cost us the only goal of the game when we were really
worth one point.
"A lot of encouraging signs came out of that match and gave us something to build
on. But we were a bit Jekyll & Hyde for Tuesday's home match against Wisbech. I was
really looking forward to that match because I thought we had trained well and put right
the little things which went wrong at Solihull.
"But the eleven players unfortunately produced garbage and the end result was a
Now Bedworth have a difficult home match against Stourbridge tomorrow and have another
tough contest at Bilston on Monday.
"They are all difficult games," says Hollywood. "When you look through
the fixture list you don't see any easy games. It is more competitive this season than it
has ever been. We have got to try to rectify our poor start and I cannot believe so many
players will have bad games like they did against Wisbech."
VS Rugby face a tough task as they go in search of their first Dr Martens Midland
Division win of the season at Stafford Rangers.
Just one point from the first two games has been a far from ideal start for Martin
Socketts men but it could have been so different.
They drew 1-1 at last seasons Midland Alliance League champions Bloxwich on
Tuesday when they really should have been celebrating a record win.
"They equalised in the very final minute of the game and while you cant take
anything away from their determination, we should have been out of sight by that stage.
"If it had been 6-0 at half-time they couldnt have moaned, and if we had won
10-0 at the end it would not have reflected our superiority. But we didnt do that
and we have ourselves to blame."
VS also conceded a last minute goal in their opening-day home defeat against
Stourbridge and it is something Sockett knows he has to nip in the bud.
Striker Matt Owen and midfielder Andy Carmichael are away on holiday and will both miss
Ashley Warner, a new signing from Atherstone, scored on his debut against Bloxwich and
he is set to start the game.
Not so long ago Stafford were just one promotion away from the Football League and they
are seen as one of the biggest clubs in the Midland Division.
"The division is split into two money-wise, and our first three games are all
against the better-off clubs."
Racing Club Warwick manager Martin Bewell is set to give a full debut to new
striker Robbie Ellison when the side travel to face Sutton Coldfield.
In Wednesday's 2-1 defeat against Cinderford, Ellison, signed from Premier Division
Atherstone, came off the bench but couldnt pull Racing back from the two-goal
deficit to clinch a draw.
They had gone two goals down early on and piled on the pressure but Cinderford held out
despite Stuart Clarkes 75th minute strike.
"Robbie was on the bench because I thought it was right the other two lads kept
their places after we beat Bloxwich on the opening day. We played three up front in a bid
to pull something out of the game but we couldnt quite manage it. We deserved
something, but you cant concede two goals in the first 10 minutes and then expect to
get a point."
Racing will be without Adam Munday who has been on trial with Coventry City. He has
played for the Sky Blues under-21 side but damaged an ankle and is ruled out for three or
"My number two Peter Garnell went to watch Sutton in midweek and they have beaten
Blakenhall, so we will be meeting a confident side.
"I know their manager personally so it will be a very keen encounter. We were
disappointed with the Cinderford result and want to put that right."
Racing face another testing away game on Monday when they travel to face Stamford.