Title race: Cambridge United made it thirteen matches unbeaten on Saturday, as their 1-0 victory over Hereford United extended their lead at the top of the Skrill Premier to seven points and secured the club’s best ever start to a season.
Kwesi Appiah, the 23-year-old striker on loan from Crystal Palace, scored the game’s only goal after seven minutes. The Premier League side signed Appiah, who began his career with Ebbsfleet United, after he scored 35 goals in 34 appearances for Margate in the 2011-12 Isthmian League Premier Division season. He had spells with Aldershot Town and Yeovil Town last season.
Despite the U’s success, manager Richard Money is still not satisfied. After the match, he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that he was disappointed with some of the home crowd’s backing on the day.
The former Liverpool defender went on to say that he would be prepared to re-enact a scene from the film ‘Gladiator’ in order to inspire the Abbey Stadium, as he stated: “I wanted to walk into the middle of the pitch like Russell Crowe [saying] ‘Are you not entertained?’ We did entertain them - but it was as quiet as a mouse."
In the film, Russell Crowe's character Maximus kills a number of opponents before posing the question to the Roman crowd.
However, the 57-year-old tactician commended the majority of the home support after the match - ignoring only the Main Stand, where he felt the 'unacceptable' criticism was coming from.
He added: "The second half we got under pressure and people are saying 'push up'. Do they not understand the game? We're talking about managing the game. We have to manage the game.
"I think I'm right in saying were now seven points clear. I think I'm right in saying that's the club record start to the season. And for the last 10 minutes you would have thought we were in the bottom four. It's not acceptable - not good enough."
Playoff Places: Nuneaton Town have fallen out of the top two for the first time in a month after their winless streak was extended to four games by Lincoln City.
The Boro’ did at least end their run of three straight defeats as Andy Brown’s late equaliser earned them a 2-2 draw.
Wesley York initially gave the home side the lead, only for goals from Tom Miller and Jon Nolan either side of half-time to give the visiting Imps the advantage. But six minutes from time, Brown headed home Danny Sleath’s cross and won his team a point.
WithBoro’ falling to fourth, they have been overtaken by bothGrimsby Town and Braintree Town, although all three teams are only separated by goal difference. The trio have identical records with seven wins, three draws, three defeats and 24 points.
The Mariners extended their run to 10 points out of 12 since the official departure of joint-manager Rob Scott, as they defeated Aldershot Town by three goals to nil. Lenell John-Lewis and Ross Hannah put the visitors two up inside the first ten minutes, before substitute Liam Hearn made the game safe shortly after half-time.
Meanwhile, Alan Devonshire’s side made it four straight wins, as they comfortably brushed aside bottom of the table Hyde by the same score-line: Charlie Strutton (2) and Jordan Cox with the goals.
Game of the Week: The final team currently occupying a play-off place is Luton Town, who rose to fifth with a 4-3 success over FC Halifax, their fourth victory in five matches.
They had to do it the hard way however, as the fought back from 3-1 behind in dramatic circumstances.
Paul Marshall gave the Shaymen an early lead at Kenilworth Road before Luke Guttridge equalised for John Still’s side. But a quick-fire double from Simon Ainge and Danny Gardner had the hosts in real trouble just 23 minutes in.
But in contrast to many of the Luton performances over the last 18 months, this time they responded well – pulling one back through Paul Benson before Andre Gray levelled six minutes before the break.
Luton keeper Mark Tyler had to be alert to prevent the visitors from going back in front for a third time as the shot-stopper blocked a low effort on the turn from Gardner with his legs just after the hour.
The frame of the goal then came to Luton's rescue ten minutes later when Kevin Holsgrove saw his shot deflected onto the base of the post before bouncing to safety.
But it was Alex Wall, not always the most popular figure amongst Hatters fans, who would have the final say with a superb strike from 25 yards out, that flew into the top corner of the goal, despite Matt Glennon diving at full stretch to try and keep the ball out.
Having only scored five goals in their first eight matches, the Hatters have now found the net 14 times in their last five outings.
Playoff Chasers: Kidderminster Harriers and Salisbury City occupy sixth and seventh position, and they are only outside the top five on goal difference. The former dropped out of the playoff places last weekend after being held to a 0-0 draw by lowly Chester.
The Blues went closest to opening the scoring when Alex Titchiner fired against the woodwork from inside the area in the second half.
Harriers did have the ball in the back of the net at the death, but Nathan Blissett's effort was disallowed for offside.
Burr admits it was a drab affair at the Deva Stadium, with only substitute Joe Lolley providing some excitement for the visitors in the closing stages with a couple of strikes that tested John Danby in the Chester goal.
He told the club's official website: "I want to get excited when I am sitting in the dug-out and, particularly in the first half, I didn't get excited by what I was seeing. It was just a drab game and there was nothing of any note, really.”
Salisbury meanwhile returned to winning ways against Wrexham, after their nine match unbeaten run had been ended by Barnet a week earlier.
They left it late to grab the points as goals from Dan Fitchett (79 minutes) and Angus MacDonald (82) cancelled out Joe Anyinsah’s first-half opener for the visitors.
Relegation Battle: Goal difference is now all that separates last year’s playoff finalists and FA Trophy winners from the relegation zone.
Wrexham player-manager Andy Morrell insists his immediate concern is getting his side heading in the right direction after a poor start to the season.
The Dragons currently sit 20th in the Skrill Premier standings, with Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Salisbury City extending their winless streak to four matches.
With pre-season promotion hopes surely being shelved, Morrell told The Leader: “It is going to have to be a monumental effort but let's just win a game of football first; we have got to do that.
“I wouldn't worry about where we are going to be at the end of the season, we are down in 20th so we have got to make sure that we pick up some points and start heading the right way up the table. Then we will worry about where we go from there.
“I am really concerned; if I wasn't then there would be an issue. We need to get points and we need to get them fast but if we stop the stupid goals that we are conceding, we have got half a chance.”
Morrell stressed that his players need to stay positive as they look to get their stuttering campaign back on track.
He added: “I am just gutted for the lads because their effort, hard work and everything, I thought they came away and did a great job for a fair bit. It is just not happening at the minute.
“They are giving everything they have got; we just can't catch a break at the minute. I am sure it will turn soon but it has got to turn sooner rather than later.
“I think there are a fair few positives to take out of it. We have got to look forward and be positive because if we are not, then we have got a long old season ahead.”
The bottom four: Woking, Chester, Aldershot Town and Hyde remain unchanged, although goal difference is not all that is keeping the Cards in the relegation zone.
Elsewhere in Non-League: Bromley missed the chance to go top of Skrill South as both they and league leaders Eastleigh were held to 1-1 draws last weekend, keeping the gap between the pair to one point. The Lilywhites drew with Boreham Wood, the Spitfires tied with Concord Rangers. But the result of the day went to Ebbsfleet United, who stuffed playoff chasing Weston-super-Mare 6-0.
In Skrill North, Hednesford Town won their fourth consecutive game, beating Gloucester City 4-1 to maintain their single point advantage over nearest challengers Brackley Town. Early pace setters Altringham are third.
Look out for more news and reports from around the Skrill Premier, North and South in your next match-day programme, when Woking take on Grimsby Town on Saturday 2nd November.
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