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Non-League: Round-up

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With another week of non-league action out of the way, here's a look at the main talking points from the past seven days. 

Title Race

Cambridge United remain six points clear at the top of the Skrill Premier table, despite falling to their first defeat of the season last time out.

Lowly Southport pulled off the shock 1-0 win at the Merseyrail Community Stadium courtesy of Matty Brown’s header after just two minutes, ending their five match winless streak in the process.

Substitute Luke Berry came closest to rescuing a point for the U’s, as he saw his late strike flash against the upright, but other than several other half chances the visitor’s struggles to get past a dogged and determined Sandgrounders defence.

The result marks Richard Money’s side’s first defeat in 17 league matches, a run that stretches back to April and the final game of last season – when they were beaten 2-1 by Macclesfield.

Playoff Places

However, Kidderminster Harriers missed the opportunity to close the gap between themselves and the league leaders to three points, as they also fell to defeat – losing 1-0 away at Barnet.

Luisma Villa notched the game’s only goal at the Hive as the host’s extended their unbeaten league run to six matches.

Despite dominating long spells of the game, the Harriers could not find a way past Edgar David’s side, who had goal scorer Villa sent off late on.

Kidderminster did receive a boost last week though, with manager Steve Burr – who missed the game at Barnet in order to speak to Forest Green Rovers about their vacant managerial position – confirming his decision to remain with last season’s runners-up.

Luton Town missed the opportunity to move into second place, but still extended their unbeaten run to nine matches with a goalless draw against Gateshead.

Grimsby Town and Salisbury City complete the playoff places after they picked up victories in contrasting styles last weekend – the Mariners defeating Woking 2-1 with a last gasp goal from Craig Disley, while the Whites crushed Hereford United 4-1.

Game of the Week

Macclesfield Town continued their fine run of results as a hat-trick from Connor Jennings handed them a 3-2 victory over Wrexham, and made it six wins from eight matches.

The Silkmen, who only recorded three points from their first eight matches, have now taken 19 points from their last nine matches.

Much of their progress is down to the influence of Jennings, the man on loan from Scunthorpe United, who is now the division’s top scorer with 11 goals.

The 22-year-old made his name with Stalybridge Celtic, netting 51 times in 123 matches, before he made the switch to League One Scunthorpe. He scored his first and only goal for the Iron in the 5-5 league cup draw with Derby County. He finished last season on loan at Stockport County, scoring eight times in all competitions.

Fast forward to last weekend, and he had the ball in the net within a minute as he slotted home from the penalty spot against the Dragons.

Joe Anyinsah levelled for the visitors, before Jennings’ second of the afternoon ensured the home side went into the half-time interval in front.

Brett Ormerod looked to have rescued the Welsh side a point, until Jennings popped up again to head home Rhys Taylor’s free-kick in stoppage time.

Playoff Chasers

Braintree Town sit just a point adrift of the top five, but a run of just one win in four games has disrupted their surprise progress up the table. Last weekend they were held to a goalless draw by Tamworth.

Barnet’s afore mentioned run of strong results has them heading a list of three teams on 28 points separated by goal difference. Like the Bee’s, both Welling United and Alfreton Town claimed victory in their last matches – the Wings defeating Lincoln City 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jake Gallagher, and the Reds beating FC Halifax 3-0 with Jake Speight (2) and John Akinde finding the net.

Nuneaton Town complete the top ten, but are now eight matches without a win, they drew 2-2 with bottom of the table Hyde in their most recent fixture.

Relegation Battle

Hyde will however, be desperately disappointed not to have claimed their first victory of the season against the Boro’. Louis Almond cancelled out Freddie Ladapo’s opener for the visitors, before Scott Spencer’s stoppage time strike looked certain to end the Tigers 16-match winless streak. But there was still time for substitute Dave Hibbert to bundle in Nuneaton’s second and break Hyde hearts.

Scott McNiven’s side remain bottom of table with just three points, ten adrift of second bottom Aldershot Town.

The Shots are also struggling, having won just one of their last seven matches. Last weekend they drew 1-1 at third bottom Chester, who have recorded just one success in their last eight outings. Conor Wilkinson gave the home side the lead mid-way through the second-half, before Jaydon Gibbs rescued a point for the visitors in stoppage time.

Woking still occupy the fourth and final relegation place after their cruel defeat at home to Grimsby, they are three points behind Tamworth and Hereford United. None of the three sides have won any of their last four league matches.

FA Cup Qualifying

Shortwood United from the Southern Football League Division One South & West pulled off the shock of the fourth round of FA Cup qualifying as they defeated Aldershot Town 2-1 in a replay at the Recreation Ground.

Sean Lawson, a lifelong Aldershot fan, netted Shortwood’s late equaliser in the two side’s first meeting, which finished 1-1, before Duncan Culley and Adam Mann netted twice in five minutes to send their team into round one.

Shortwood, from the eighth tier of English football, will have (since the time of writing) hosted League One Port Vale in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Other notable first round ties include Daventry Town travelling to Chesterfield, Boreham Wood hosting Carlisle United, and six all non-league ties that guarantee participation from outside the football league in round two.

Elsewhere in Non-League

Bromley moved four points top of the Skrill South after a 5-0 thrashing of Chelmsford City, who have lost their last two games by a combined score of 11-0 (also losing 6-0 to Boreham Wood). Clarets manager Dean Holdsworth, the former Aldershot boss, resigned after the game.

Eastleigh have a game in hand, but a 1-1 draw with Sutton United has allowed the Lillywhites to gain an outright lead atop of the league standings.

Third place Bishops Stortford are also within touching distance after a 2-1 success against Tonbridge Angels kept them within five points of the leaders, with two games in hand. Sutton and Basingstoke Town complete the top five, while Tonbridge, Gosport Borough and Dorchester Town make up the bottom three.

Hednesford Town’s 3-1 success over Altringham Town moved them four points clear at the top of Skrill North, while both Brackley Town and North Ferriby United leapfrogged Altringham into second and third place respectively. The former defeated Boston United 3-2, while the latter won 1-0 away to Worcester City.

Solihull Moors complete the playoff places at this stage, while Worcester are joined in the bottom three by Gloucester City and Oxford City.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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