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Non-League News Round-up


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 evening (7.45pm).

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 geographical reshuffle.

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 scouts.

"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."

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Atherstone United had a tough opening to the new campaign and it gets no easier over the weekend.

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 first time."

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 area."

Bradbury is pleased with his latest capture Peter White from Nuneaton Borough Reserves. He scored twice against Ilkeston and is slotting in well.

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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 2-0 defeat."

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."

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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 Sockett’s men but it could have been so different.

They drew 1-1 at last season’s Midland Alliance League champions Bloxwich on Tuesday when they really should have been celebrating a record win.

Sockett said:

"They equalised in the very final minute of the game and while you can’t 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 couldn’t have moaned, and if we had won 10-0 at the end it would not have reflected our superiority. But we didn’t 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 the trip.

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.

Sockett added:

"The division is split into two money-wise, and our first three games are all against the better-off clubs."

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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 couldn’t 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 Clarke’s 75th minute strike.

Bewell said:

"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 couldn’t quite manage it. We deserved something, but you can’t 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 four weeks.

Bewell added:

"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.

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CWN / Sport / Football / News / 28 Aug 98

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