A round up of what is happening at the top of the non-league pyramid
This week, I want to take a break from looking at Barnet and have a look at how the non-league scene is looking this season. Many Barnet fans still have an interest in what is happening outside of the football league as the Bees have a long history in non-league football.
In the Blue Square Premier, only one former league club is in the top five and that is Torquay United who are currently 3rd. The league leaders are currently Burton Albion, who Barnet knocked out of the FA Cup last season. This weekend they travelled to Forest Green and won 3-2 with the winner coming from former Barnet loanee, Greg Pearson. Burton are three points clear of Histon, but the FA Cup giant-killers have two games in hand. Histon won 1-0 at home to Woking and had three former Barnet players in their side, Matt Langston, who scored the goal that knocked out Leeds in the last round of the FA Cup, Danny Naisbitt and Patrick Ada. Craig Pope was on the bench. Another former Bee, Paolo Vernazza was on the Woking bench.
The other two sides in the play-off places are Kidderminster and Crawley Town. Kidderminster defeated cash strapped Salisbury Town, 3-2, while Crawley thumped Altrincham 4-0. Meanwhile, Wrexham who were relegated from League Two last season are 7th after a 2-1 win over Kettering, who included former Barnet trialist, Mark Rawle.
Local Barnet rivals, Stevenage Borough are currently 11th after their 2-0 win at Lewes. Keiron St. Amie, who is on loan from Barnet, was an unused substitute for Stevenage. Another player on loan from Barnet, Joe Tabiri played for Lewes, who also included former Bees loanee, Aswad Thomas.
Lewes are currently bottom of the table, a point below Northwich, who lost 4-1 at Eastbourne Borough who were promoted from the Blue Square South last season. The other two clubs in the relegation zone are Grays Athletic and, perhaps surprisingly, FA Cup giant killer, Forest Green Rovers, who lost to Burton. Grays gained an important 1-0 win at York. Former Bees, Barry Cogan & Damien Batt played for the Essex side, while Simon Clist, a member of Barnet's promotion winning side in 2005, now plays for Forest Green. Woking are just out of the drop zone but are only ahead of Forest Green on goal difference. Perhaps the most surprising side down near the bottom of the Blue Square Premier are Mansfield Town, who came down with Wrexham last season. They are struggling badly in 19th, just two points above Woking.
In the Blue Square South, Chelmsford are four points clear at the top following their 3-1 win at Welling United. Former Dagenham & Redbridge midfield player, Dave Rainford was amongst the scorers for the Essex side who have made great strides in recent seasons. The four play off places are taken by Eastleigh, who include former Bee, Tony Taggart in their side, who won 1-0 at Hayes & Yeading, Hampton & Richmond, who won 1-0 at Bognor Regis Town, AFC Wimbledon who won 2-1 at Team Bath, and Hayes & Yeading. Former Barnet trialist, Ryan Hall scored in Bromley's 2-0 win at Fisher Athletic. The bottom three places are taken by Bognor, Basingstoke, who drew 1-1 at home to Bishop's Stortford and Fisher.
In the Blue Square North, Tamworth are top, a point clear of Southport following their 1-0 win over Solihull Moors. Southport went down 1-0 away at AFC Telford who are 3rd. The other two play off places belong to Harrogate Town who lost 2-1 at FA Cup giant killers, Droylesden, and Hinckley United who beat Hucknall 4-0. Hucknall are bottom of the Blue Square Premier, three points below FA Cup giant killers, Blyth Spartans and Burscough who drew 2-2 at home to Hyde. Blyth, however, do have at least three games in hand on all the teams just above them such as Hyde, who are only above them on goal difference and Solihull Moors who are only a point above.
At the next level down in the pyramid, in the British Gas League Premier Division, the leaders are Farnborough who have risen from the ashes of Farnborough Town who folded because of financial troubles. They beat Mangotsfield United 3-1 to go four points clear at the top of the table. Swindon Supermarine, Halesowen Town, Merthyr and Corby Town make up the play off places. Former Bee, Anthony Thomas who left Stevenage last week to return to Hemel Hempstead Town, scored twice on his debut as Hemel won 3-2 at Yate Town.
In the Midlands division, former Alliance Premier League side, Leamington are four points clear at the top with Atherstone Town and Nuneaton Borough, once Conference opponents of Barnet, occupying the next two places. In the South & West division, only one point separates the top four clubs with AFC Totton ahead of Didcot Town, Truro City and Windsor & Eton who seem geographically a bit out of place in this division.
In the Unibond Premier, Hednesford Town are two points clear at the top after a 2-2 draw at home to 2nd placed, Guiseley. Marine, Eastwood Town, another FA Cup giant killing side and Ilkeston Town are the other sides in the play off places. Former league club, Boston United lie in 15th place, two places below Leigh Genesis, former Leigh RMI and four places below fans club, FC United of Manchester.
Just two points separates the top four of the Division One North table. Bamber Bridge have a one point lead over Ossett Albion and Lancaster City. FC Halifax Town who have risen from the ashes of former football league club, Halifax Town are fourth. Carlton Town are top of Division One South, a point above Retford Town with Shepshed Dynamo and Quorn in close pursuit.
Meanwhile, in the Ryman Premier League, Andy Hessenthaler's Dover Athletic seem to be running away with the title as they are 7 points clear of second place Carshalton and have two games in hand. This is despite Dover losing 3-0 on Saturday at lowly Harrow Borough. Former Bees' legend, Guiliano Grazioli failed again to hit thetarget for the Whites, but did at least make his 2nd start for Dover. The other play off places are taken by Staines Town, Canvey Island and Tonbridge Angels. Former Conference club, Canvey look to be on their way back up the pyramid. Sadly, local rivals Hendon who have lost their Claremont Road ground are second from bottom, 6 points from safety.
Aveley are top of Ryman One North, a point ahead of Ware with Waltham Abbey a point behind. Local club, Wingate & Finchley are 8th and are pushing for a play-off place with games in hand on many of the teams above them. Potters Bar Town are a creditable 13th with Enfield Town in 16th place.
Former Conference club, Kingstonian are four points clear at the top of Ryman One South with Met Police, Cray Wanderers, Fleet Town and Dulwich Hamlet in the four play-off places.