Welfare Hit Top Spot – Non League Roundup

Non-league focus across Nottinghamshire is firmly arrowed on the battle at the top of the United Counties League Division One at present as Kimberley Miners Welfare took over top spot following victory away to Barrow Town, whilst Hinckley crashed to defeat when home to Radford.

Those two wins were added to by further victories of Nottinghamshire clubs in the division from Hucknall Town, Gedling Miners Welfare, and West Bridgford; but it was Kimberley, ably led by Ant Ward and Graham Furnell, and hopes are certainly reaching fever point, that are dreaming (read our interview with Graham Furnell here).

Away to Barrow at the weekend the Miners would storm to victory, their eighth in a row, courtesy of a hat-trick from Sacha Markelic, he now on thirteen goals in eighteen games; goalless at the break, all three goals would arrive in the closing half-hour (not the quickest of the day, that goes to Newark Town’s Ainsley Finney).

Markelic would open the scoring in the 62 minute, before completing his hat-trick with a double in the final ten minutes, victory meaning they not only move three clear of Hinckley, but also have a game in hand.

Lining up against Barrow was that of – Danny Rigley, Lewis Partridge, Tom Eccleshall, Takunda Mushambi, Samuel Brown, Ryan Wheatley, Sacha Markelic, Jordan Wheatley, Luis Rose, Josh Barr-Rostron, Aaron Coyle

Kimberley’s biggest assist of the day went to fellow Notts club, Glenn Russell’s Radford, who completed a league double over Hinckley to strengthen fourth place, and dispose their opponents from top spot, in turn ending what was a 100% home record, and making it two-defeats-from-two.

Radford captain Joe McLaughlin would open the scoring late in the first half after a free-kick is returned, and headed home; that lead would be doubled with less than twenty remaining, Solace Uyi-Olaye with a bicycle kick finish.

Victory for Radford keeps them in the hunt for a play-off spot, six ahead of fifth place Hucknall (who’ve games in hand), and, perhaps more importantly, eight ahead of Aylestone in sixth.

Andy Graves’ Hucknall side also kept up the pressure for a play-off spot and enjoyed a comfortable, 4-1 win, when home to third bottom Blackstones, even if all the goals arrived in the second half, taking the lead ten minutes after the restart through Joe Ashurst; Joe Butler double the home sides’ advantage with less than twenty remaining and, with the Yellows now in the ascendency added further efforts through a Louis Kinnerley goal-of-the-season contender (fired in from the left sideline, looped over the ‘keeper, and in off the post), and a Grant Ryan header.

That trio of goals, from Butler, Kinnerley and Ryan, arrived with a devastating, six minute spell from the hosts, even if the copybook was muddied when conceding a penalty in the dying minutes.

West Bridgford also bagged four goals as they won 4-2 at home to Birstall United Social, Louis Nicholson with a hat-trick alongside one from Finlay Gaynor.

Mid-table Gedling Miners Welfare also picked up three points, when on the road at basement club, Borrowash Victoria, overturning a half-time deficit to win 3-2 with goals from Niall Hylton, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, and a late third from Courtney Hastings.

Elsewhere in the division there would be home defeats for Clifton All Whites, and Dunkirk, whilst fortunes weren’t all that good higher up the pyramid.

Basford United fell to a 3-2 defeat when away to FC United of Manchester whilst Worksop were held to a goalless draw at home to Tadcaster in the Northern Premier League, Carlton Town picking up a narrow, 1-0 win at Sutton Coldfield, Arron Opoku with the only goal.

Eastwood CFC were held to a 2-2 draw away to Boston in the United Counties Premier, Selston lost 2-0 at Skegness, whilst Newark were on the end of an eight-goal drubbing at home to Loughborough Students, that game only separated by one at the break.

There was also mixed fortunes lower down the pyramid as, in the Northern Counties Premier, AFC Mansfield crashed to a 5-0 home defeat to leaders Grimsby Borough, and Sherwood Colliery moved into second place with a convincing, 3-0 win away to Bottesford Town; Gareth Curtis notched twice in the opening twenty minutes before Lewis Belgrave added a third.

It was similar in Division One, Rainworth going down 2-0 away to Dronfield, and Retford were held to a 2-2 draw when home to FC Humber, Liam White and George Severn netting for the latter.

In the Central Midlands League Premier North meanwhile Newark Town have a three point advantage over second place Retford United after the leaders romped to a 7-0 home win over Sheffield Reserves, whilst Retford were held to a devastating, 3-3 draw at Crowle Colts.

Newark’s victory, their twenty-second in the league this season, saw Sam Bartle’s opener added to by hat-tricks from Ainsley Finney, and Lewis Chambers, the hosts taking a more-than-comfortable, five-goal interval lead; Finney’s hat-trick, five minutes, give-or-take, he netting in the 37, 39, and 42 minutes.

Newark Town lined up against Sheffield Reserves as follows – Harry Haywood, Max Jemson, James Gardner, Rhys Lewis, Sam Bartle, Kosi Nwobi, Jackson Buckthorp, Jonny Wiles, Lewis Chambers, Ainsely Finney, Chanju Mphande

Meanwhile Retford United were pegged back when at Crowle Colts after Dean Conway and Liam Frost afforded then a two-goal lead only to concede before the break, then Tom Brook restored the two-goal advantage just before the hour mark ahead of conceding twice in the closing ten minutes to draw.

SJR Worksop snatched a point in their race for a top five finish when home to Kiveton thanks to goals from Thomas Mullen, Matthew Thompson and Scott Wesley, whilst in the South Division there were defeats for Arnold Town, Mansfield Hosiery Mills, Nottingham, and Sherwood Colliery Reserves.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @KimberleyMWFC celebrations as Kimberley go top with a win at Barrow.

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