Lucy Waldon rounds up another weekend in the Conference.
Having won their first game of the season earlier this week, normal service was resumed for Hyde at the weekend, as they succumbed to another heavy defeat. Their opponents, Forest Green Rovers, trounced them on the opening day of the season 8-0 and that scoreline seems to have set the precedent for the Tigers’ campaign. Rovers were three up in the opening 15 minutes, before Hyde manage to pull one back through Adam Blakeman’s free kick. The visitors’ three-goal cushion was restored with Adam Styche adding his name to the score sheet, before the goals dried up. Danny Carlton netted on 50 minutes for the hosts, before Eddie Oshodi and James Norwood added to their earlier efforts to send Rovers home resounding winners – the final score, 6-2.
There were also big wins this weekend for Hereford and Welling. Hereford remain 16th, despite their demolition of Southport, who now sit precariously above the drop zone. The Bulls went in at the break with a slender lead, courtesy of Jonathan Brown’s strike, but two goals in as many second half minutes saw them cruising – Michael Rankine’s long-range effort was quickly followed by Dan Walker’s tap-in. Steve Akrigg managed to reduce the deficit before he was sent off with minutes remaining. And those few minutes were just enough time for Hereford to complete the rout – Rankine on the score sheet again to give the Bulls their first win of the year.
Meanwhile, Welling responded well to their midweek defeat to the league’s bottom side as they condemned Woking to a heavy loss. The Cards were forced to play the second forty-five with ten men as Kevin Murtagh received his marching orders and the home team took full of advantage of their extra man. Joe Healy made it six for the season after the hour mark and that soon became seven as he was quickest to capitalise after Ross Lafayette’s penalty was saved. Lee Clarke wrapped up the win moments from time, slotting home from 18 yards to keep Welling midtable.
Chester unveiled new manager Steve Burr at lunchtime on Saturday and he began life at the Deva with a win. As one manager arrives, another departs, as opponents Barnet parted company with football legend Edgar Davids later that evening. Incidentally, Davids wasn’t there to witness the Bees latest defeat. Lewis Turner opened the scoring for the hosts on half an hour before there was late drama – Jake Hyde levelled for the Bees from Harry Crawford’s cross while a minute later, Chester’s lead was restored; Jamie Reed heading home for a vital three points.
Nuneaton ended their five match winless streak with maximum points over Macclesfield, while Salisbury hosted Dartford, winning by the same margin on home soil. Andy Brown got the game’s only goal at Liberty Way midway through the second period. Meanwhile, Dartford have lost 11 of their last 12 games and went behind as early as the 15th minute – Jamie White’s low-footed drive putting Salisbury in front. The Darts also ended the game a man short, after Danny Harris received a second yellow card.
Grimsby move up into the play-offs after they came from behind to pick up a point against Gateshead. The Mariners took an early lead when Clayton McDonald headed home, only for Gateshead to level six minutes later – Colin Larkin converting from the spot after Marcus Maddison was fouled. Maddison then got on the score sheet himself, putting the Heed in front early in the second half. But Grimsby left it late and Paul Bignot popped up to give the Lincolnshire outfit a share of the spoils. Grimsby also have a number of games in hand over their rivals and maximum points could see them challenging for the top spot.
It was also honours even at The Shay where Halifax entertained Cambridge. The Us could have closed the gap at the top to two points, with Luton out of action this weekend, particularly as they took the lead: Tom Elliot converting Harrison Dunk’s cross on 65 minutes. Lee Gregory equalised for the hosts 10 minutes later and should have taken the lead, only for John Sullivan in the Us goal saving from the penalty spot. Halifax ended the game with 10 men after Scott McManus saw red but they managed to hold on for a point.
Before Saturday’s fixtures, there are a number of teams in action on Tuesday night. Barnet – under interim boss Paul Fairclough – take on last season’s other relegated side, Aldershot; Cambridge, meanwhile, will look to regain top spot as they travel to Tamworth and a win for Chester against Woking could see them move out of the bottom four.