Weekend Round-up by Roger Hopkin

Catch up with the FA Cup and league action from around the country on Saturday 2 September with Roger Hopkin's round-up


There were 116 FA Cup ties over the weekend, with Boro one of the many winners. As usual there was a crop of unexpected results, with Whitby Town crashing out of the competition 2-3 at Penistone Church; Boston Town seeing off Hednesford Town 2-0; and Midland League outfit Haughmond removing Matlock Town from the competition by 3-2. Technically speaking, South Shields’ 2-0 success at Witton Albion could also be seen as a ‘surprise’, though the Mariners’ performance levels are known to be somewhat higher than their current status. Another North-East team, Shildon, won 1-0 at Bottesford, but Consett lost 1-2 at Ossett Town and Sunderland RCA were held at home 0-0 by NCEL side Liversedge. Altrincham drew 3-3 at Abbey Hey, but there were wins for Albion Sports, Ashton Athletic, Ashton United, Atherton Collieries, Droylsden, Hyde United, Lancaster City, Shaw Lane and Handsworth Parramore among the northern teams to make progress.

Action from the Flamingo Land Stadium on Saturday, as Boro saw off Workington AFC 1-0

As a result of the F.A. Cup, there were few matches played at Step 4 of the Pyramid, with the NPL Division 1 North the joint busiest with four fixtures. Ramsbottom climbed up to second place after defeating Glossop 4-2 thanks to two goals in the last 11 minutes and Tadcaster Albion reached third place by beating struggling Goole 3-0. Boro ended the day in seventh place, ahead of Prescot Cables, who won 2-0 at Trafford, on goal difference. In Division 1 South Stocksbridge won again, 3-0 at Belper Town, to go into eighth place, while Carlton Town came from behind to defeat Bedworth United and moved up to fourth spot, behind Alvechurch on goal difference. As things stand among the third-placed teams at Step 4, Dereham Town of the Bostik (aka Ryman, aka Isthmian) League 1 North have the best points per game score, though it is, of course, very early days!

At the top of the Non-League Pyramid, National League teams pressed on with their league programmes. In the top division, Sutton United lost again, 0-2 at home to Maidenhead United, and slipped from first to fourth. The new top dogs are Dagenham & Redbridge, who scored twice in the last 10 minutes to overcome visitors Gateshead 3-1. In second place after the weekend are Leyton Orient, who fell behind against Guiseley, but scored two penalties just before the break and went on to win 4-1. Wrexham eased into third after beating Bromley 2-0. Both Aldershot Town and Dover Athletic had 1-0 wins and stay tucked just behind the leading clubs. Hartlepool United beat Maidstone 3-1 and moved out of the bottom four, into which Chester slipped after their 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Torquay United. Also occupying a relegation berth at the moment are Guiseley and Soilhull Moors, both of whom lost for a fifth time.

At the top of National North, Brackley went ahead at leaders Harrogate after 3 minutes, but the Wetherby Road side were level six minutes later. That ended the scoring and the two teams remain first and second, separated by two goals at the moment. Southport moved up to third place following their 2-0 win against Darlington. The Haig Avenue team’s decisive second goal came three minutes into added time, which shows what a close encounter this one was. Salford City could only draw at Curzon Ashton 1-1 and dropped to fourth spot. With seven of the matches ending in draws, there was relatively little movement in the middle of the section, though Chorley did themselves a power of good by beating York City 2-0 and climbing several places up the table – most crucially, out of the bottom three. FC United lost at home to lowly Leamington and slid into 20th place, while North Ferriby managed a point from the visit of Tamworth but ended up at the foot of the table again.

Pontefract Collieries, promoted from the NCEL Division 1 last season, have started in style in this season’s Premier Division and continued to impress when thrashing Athersley Recreation 5-2. This kept Ponty on top of the table, with 18 points from seven games – one point more that Hemsworth Miners Welfare, who won 3-1 at Staveley. In third place, with 13 points from 5 games are AFC Mansfield, who were in F.A. Cup action on Saturday, securing their place in the 2nd Qualifying Round with an easy 4-0 success over Dunkirk of the East Midlands Counties League, a Step 6 competition. Rudy Funk’s team have matches in hand on the teams above them in the league. Barton Town, Clipstone and Parkgate, the bottom three clubs, all lost and stay therefore in the drop zone, without a league win between them. Division 1 leaders, Knaresborough Town, maintained their 100% record with a 2-1 success at Swallownest. Second-placed Yorkshire Amateur also won 2-1, at Selby, to stay 5 points behind the front-runners.

Northern League leaders Morpeth Town finished well-beaten, 0-4, at Seaham Red Star and were replaced at the top by West Auckland Town, who won 3-1 at lowly Washington to move onto 18 points from eight matches. Marske United, Ryhope CW and Dunston UTS all won and now have 15 points. Of this trio, Marske are performing best at the moment, having won all their games and having crushed Bishop Auckland 6-1 last weekend. United have the only 100% record in the section. The new Midland League leaders, Coventry United, have also won all their league games to date, with Quorn (2-0) their latest victims. United were helped in their move to the top by Coleshill Town’s F.A. Cup distraction and Heanor Town’s 1-2 reverse at Old Wulfrunians. Also yet to drop a point are North West Counties top side, Runcorn Town, who won 2-1 at Squires Gate, and are 3 points clear of Charnock Richard, who won 3-1 at Hanley Town. Bootle eased into third place after thumping Widnes 5-2. All the second-placed sides in the Midland, Northern, North West Counties and Northern Counties (East) Leagues are among the best 12 teams in position number 2 out of the 14 Step 3 divisions.

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