Lucy Waldon rounds up another weekend of frantic action in the Conference.
Cambridge made it ten wins out of ten on home soil as they secured victory against Woking, courtesy of a Harrison Dunk double. The midfielder netted as early as the third minute, with a close-range effort after Woking had failed to clear. He later added to his afternoon’s tally with a diving header from Kwesi Appiah’s cross. With Kidderminster also winning, the Us lead at the top stays at six points.
Fans at Aggborough were treated to a thrilling afternoon as Kidderminster beat Tamworth 5-3. Kiddy went in at the break two goals to the good – Joe Lolley picking up from where he left off last weekend, adding to Anthony Malbon’s earlier effort. Richard Peniker pulled one back against his former club, but the Harriers’ two-goal cushion was restored through Amari Morgan-Smith’s low drive. Tamworth grabbed another with David Morgan setting up an exciting final 30 minutes. However, two goals in six minutes killed off any hope the visitors had of gaining something from the match – Morgan-Smith adding a fourth, before Kyle Storer topped off a five star performance. Nick Chadwick completed the scoring in what was an exciting eight goal encounter and the Lambs remain a point above the dropzone.
Luton also remain in the top three following their victory over mid-table Welling. Andre Gray notched his eighth and ninth goals of the campaign, opening the scoring with a curling drive in the first 20 minutes. The Wings levelled when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Joe Healy. Although Ross Lafayette saw his spot-kick saved, Alex Dyer pounced fastest to the rebound to fire the ball home. The Hatters retook the lead when Gray notched his – and Luton’s – second, while Fraser Franks was dismissed for the visitors in the fourth minute of stoppage time to top off a disappointing afternoon.
Barnet were the only team in the top ten of the Conference to lose this weekend, as they travelled to Grimsby. After a goalless opening half, the Mariners broke the deadlock with over an hour played – Ross Hannah’s half-volley from the edge of the box handing the hosts an advantage. Liam Hearn then increased their lead and despite David Stephens halving the deficit with a deft volley from 25 yards out, the Bees returned home pointless. Defeat also seems them drop four places to 11th.
Salisbury made it six home wins on the bounce as they came from behind to snatch victory late on against Macclesfield. Dan Fitchett put the home side ahead just before half time, but their lead was short lived, with Macc quickly hitting back – Scott Jennings converting from the spot. The visitors took the lead in the second period when Paul Turnball latched on to Danny Rowe’s pass to slot home. However, two goals in 10 minutes saw Salisbury clinch all three points. First Fitchett added to his earlier effort, this time with a penalty, before turning provider for Jamie White to lash in an emphatic winner. The Silkmen also saw Scott Kay dismissed in the game’s dying stages, but at that point, it was too late for them to salvage anything.
There were also narrow wins for Nuneaton, Gateshead and Braintree this weekend. Louis Moult’s late close-range effort was the difference as Nuneaton beat Chester, who still languish in the bottom four. Also down in the basement are Dartford, who had to see their game against Gateshead out with 10 men. Lee Noble received a red card after allegedly hitting an opponent and almost held on for a valuable point. The Heed capitalised on their advantage though when James Brown headed in the winner with only a minute of normal time remaining. Halifax slip to 10th, after a solitary goal saw them defeated by Braintree. Kenny Davis had the Essex side back to winning ways as he coolly put away the penalty awarded for Marc Roberts’ foul on Sean Marks.
They may still find themselves in the relegation zone, following a 10-point deduction, but Aldershot certainly didn’t struggle on Saturday, putting five goals past Southport at the Rec. The emphatic win also saw striker Brett Williams take home the match ball as he notched a hat-trick. It took Williams only 30 seconds to get on the scoresheet, firing the opener in from 25 yards. A James Smith own goal doubled the Shots’ advantage, before Adam Mekki added a third from distance, with less than 20 minutes played. Williams made it four midway through the first half and then the goals dried up. Late in the second period, however, Williams completed his treble, converting a penalty, while Brice Irie-Bi pulled a goal back for the Port. It was no more than a consolation though and while Aldershot sit five points behind their opponents, a win on Tuesday could see them edge closer to getting out of the dropzone.
Wrexham made it two wins in a week as they also secured a sixth successive victory at the Racecourse. Player/Manager Andy Morrell volleyed in the game’s opener on half an hour and the points were secured minutes later – Johnny Hunt’s left-footed drive making it two. Jamie Turley picked up two yellow cards in as many minutes as he was dismissed for Forest Green and although they played most of the second period with 10 men, Wrexham couldn’t capitalise.
Poor Hyde were yet again denied their first win of the campaign, despite leading against Alfreton. Scott Spencer put the Conference’s bottom club in front, but their lead lasted less than 10 minutes, as Dan Bradley levelled for Alfreton. Hyde’s misery continued as Chris Westwood headed in from 6 yards out, condemning the Tigers to a fourth defeat in a row – and their 18th of the season.
The only other game of the weekend saw Lincoln and Hereford share the points. It was 16th versus 17th at Sincil Bank and it was the hosts that made the breakthrough – however Ben Tomlinson’s effort was cancelled out by Frankie Artus in the final minute of the 90. The Imps goal scorer had previously been dismissed for a rash challenge in the closing 10 minutes, before Hereford’s last-gasp smash and grab.
Tuesday night sees 12 teams in action, as Nuneaton (7th) host Alfreton (5th), while Luton could close the gap on Cambridge with a win over Southport.
Aldershot v Braintree
Dartford v Barnet
Hereford v Halifax
Salisbury v Forest Green