Elite suffer in Trophy

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The Independent Online
Non-League notebook

The GM Vauxhall Conference's status as the country's elite non-League competition has suffered a series of setbacks in the FA Umbro Trophy this season: it provides only five of the 16 teams contesting third-round ties tomorrow.

Among the clubs trying to become the first from outside the Conference to reach the Trophy final since Leek in 1990 are Dorchester Town, who have an attractive home tie against Woking. The Dorset's key players are the former Plymouth, Swansea and Torquay playmaker, Russell Coughlin, and the striker Owen Pickard, once of Plymouth and Hereford, who is the top scorer in the Trophy with six goals and the joint top scorer in the Dr Martens League Premier Division.

Kidderminster Harriers travel to Essex to take on the Icis League side Heybridge Swifts, who will be looking for another peak performance from their midfielder Mitchell Springett, one of the best non-League players in East Anglia in the 90s.

England's semi-professional side, playing their first fixture this season, suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday. Shelbourne's Stephen Geoghegan scored both goals for the home team.

ENGLAND SEMI-PROFESSIONAL XI: Cooksey (Hednesford); Gill (Yeovil), Howarth, Gardiner (both Macclesfield), Brown (Woking), Webb, Doherty (both Kidderminster), Butterworth, Cramman, Leworthy (all Rushden), Hughes (Kidderminster). Substitutes: O'Connor (Hednesford) for Doherty, 61; Kimmins (Hyde) for Hughes, 70; Harlow (Farnborough) for Webb, 74; Gothard (Dagenham) for Cooksey, 78.