Cambridge United reclaimed top-spot in the Skrill Premier on Saturday as a 2-1 victory over Forest Green Rovers helped them leapfrog Nuneaton Town, who were beaten by the same scoreline at home to Salisbury City.
Defeat for Boro’ means the U’s are now the only unbeaten team remaining in the division, with seven wins, three draws and 24 points from their opening ten fixtures.
Against Rovers, they struck within a minute as Luke Berry found the net with a neat shot slotted under goalkeeper Sam Russell. Tom Champion then added a second shortly after half-time, and although Yan Klukowski pulled one back, it proved to be little more than a consolation.
The result, as well as sending Richard Money’s side to the top of the table, leaves pre-season favourites FGR struggling in tenth place, with just one win from their last four matches.
Despite their defeat, Nuneaton remain a comfortable second, a point adrift of Cambridge but four points clear of the rest of the field.
They found themselves stunned on Saturday by an ever improving Salisbury, who now find themselves in fifth place and a playoff spot after a run of seven games without defeat.
Louis Moult looked to have handed his side all three points when he netted his ninth goal of the season 17 minutes from time, but the Whites fought back and levelled through an 87th minute penalty from substitute Ben Wright, before Elliott Frear bagged the winner two minutes later.
Alfreton Town went up to third in the table after inflicting only a second defeat of the campaign to recently relegated Barnet. Keanu Marsh-Brown did find the net for the Bees shortly after half-time, cancelling out John McGrath’s opener, but a Paul Clayton brace ensured a 3-1 success for the Reds – their third win in their last four games.
Kidderminster Harriers remain in fourth place, but missed what seemed an ideal opportunity to close the gap on the top two, after slipping to a surprise defeat against struggling Dartford. It was even a comprehensive success for Tony Burman’s side as goals from Jason Prior, Elliot Bradbrook and Danny Harris secured a 3-0 win – the Darts first victory in five matches lifting them up and out of the bottom four.
On the bright side for the Harriers, they are still 13 points better off than they were at the same stage last season, so a repeat of the form they showed in the remaining 36 games of their last campaign will comfortably see them achieve their promotion ambitions.
Lincoln City and Halifax sit outside of the top five on goal difference alone. The Imps slipped to sixth after a 3-2 defeat at Luton Town, who themselves move up to ninth place – their now back-to-back wins ending a run of only one victory in six matches.
It was an entertaining game at Kenilworth Road. Alan Power put the visitors ahead with the only goal of the first-half – which some may of thought would have been enough when considering the fact that, before the game, the two sides had only been involved in a combined 26 goals (scored and conceded) in 18 matches.
However, Mark Cullen struck back within moments of the re-start, only for Ben Tomlinson to fire Lincoln back in front five minutes later. Luke Guttridge levelled again for the hosts after 77 minutes, before Cullen grabbed his second and the winner three minutes later.
Halifax did avoid defeat, but were unable to claim the necessary victory that would have lifted them into the playoff places, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hereford United: Richard Brodie putting the Bulls in front, before Danny Gardner’s free-kick levelled things for the Shaymen.
Elsewhere, Grimsby Town have confirmed that Rob Scott has been sacked as joint-manager of the Skrill Premier club.
The Mariners, languishing in 13th place in the table, announced a fortnight ago that Paul Hurst had been put in sole charge of first-team duties going forward.
No further word was forthcoming from the Cleethorpes outfit on Scott's absence until Thursday afternoon when it was revealed that the 40-year-old had been axed for a breach of conduct.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “For a considerable time the club and directors have worked with Rob Scott in an effort for him to accord with an acceptable standard of conduct, knowing that he had self-acknowledged difficulties which he was working to resolve.
“Given Rob's failure to improve and the circumstances relating to Gross Misconduct during the Nuneaton home fixture led to the disciplinary panel concluding there is nothing to suggest he was likely to change.
“It is therefore with regret Rob's employment with the club has been terminated in accordance with the club's disciplinary procedure. Rob has appealed the decision and on the basis of the information he has provided the appeal has been rejected.
“In the meantime the club will make no further statement until this process concludes, which may take a couple of weeks or more.
“The club appreciates and understands the fans frustration in not knowing the detail relating to this situation and thank them for their loyal support at this difficult time.
“In looking forward to the weekend's fixture we ask for our fans continued support to manager Paul Hurst, players and everyone at the Football Club during this period.”
The turmoil at the club has continued in recent days, with the club’s director John Fenty issuing his own statement, again via the club’s website.
“I am appalled by a considerable number of vile and rude responses towards me following my recent radio phone-in.
“Whilst travelling in a car on a noisy road last Wednesday I heard reporters on Radio Humberside debating, amongst other things, Paul Hurst's position as Manager of our Club. Specifically one of them said: ‘I feel sorry for Paul Hurst he doesn't know where he is. Is he in charge this week or the next week?’
“I decided to call in as I felt they were being sensational and inciting.
“I politely asked what don't you understand about Paul being in SOLE CHARGE? Also I clearly reiterated that the Club, in respect of Rob Scott's departure, is limited in what it can say, as it needs to be very careful it doesn't damage its position. Therefore statements relating to this situation have had to be carefully worded and do leave questions, which at this time cannot be answered.
“The point I was stressing was that Paul is in SOLE CHARGE, as it was clearly stated in Thursday's official statement. What don't people understand about that?”
At the bottom, Hyde remain rooted to the foot of the table after a 1-0 home defeat by Welling United – their sixth loss in succession. Joe Healy grabbed the game’s only goal.
They are now four points adrift of second-bottom Macclesfield Town, who claimed their first victory of the season at home to Woking – where late goals from Giuseppe Sole and Kevin Betsy were not enough to cancel out strikes from Connor Jennings (2) and Jack MacKreth for the Silkmen. The Cards, two points better off, are now only outside of the bottom four on goal difference.
Aldershot Town remain third-bottom, but after a run of four games without defeat, three of which have ended in victory, the Shots know that if it were not for their point’s deduction, they would now be in a playoff place.
On Saturday they defeated struggling Wrexham 2-0, thanks to second-half goals from Mark Molesley and substitute Jordan Roberts.
Chester remain in the fourth and final relegation spot, but will no doubt take the positives from a goalless home draw with Grimsby, that means they have lost just one of their last five games.
In Saturday’s only other fixtures, Braintree Town defeat Southport 1-0 thanks to a goal from top scorer Sean Marks, and Gateshead won at Tamworth by the same scoreline, Colin Larkin netting the only goal from the penalty spot. Ben Richards-Everton also received a late red card for the Lambs.
Skrill South’s run-away leaders Eastleigh and Bromley remain five and four points clear of the chasing pack respectively after both claimed victory at the weekend – the Spitfires defeating Hayes & Yeading 1-0, while the Ravens scored a 3-2 success over play-off chasing Basingstoke Town.
Weston-super-Mare remain third, but could only manage a goalless draw with Whitehawk in their last game, while Sutton United and Staines Town complete the top five.
In Skrill North, early leaders Altringham have now slipped to sixth after a surprise defeat at North Ferriby United, their first loss of the season – while Hednesford kept their place at the top of the division with a 2-1 win away at Guiseley. Brackley remain just a point adrift of the leaders after defeating Harrogate Town 1-0.
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