Football: NON-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: Nuneaton threaten leaders

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NUNEATON BOROUGH have missed out on two chances to go to the top of the Nationwide Conference during the last week, but it has still been a magnificent season so far for the Warwickshire club.

Just over three years ago Borough were in the Midland Division of the Dr Martens League. Their rise since then has been rapid, however, and in May they won the Dr Martens Premier Division by a massive margin of 23 points.

Consolidation was expected to be Borough's aim this season, but on Tuesday they entertained the Conference leaders, Rushden & Diamonds, knowing that victory could propel them to the top of the table.

Nuneaton had missed out on a chance to take over the league leadership last weekend. The top two, Rushden and Kingstonian, were playing in the FA Cup, but Borough were beaten 1-0 at Telford United. On Tuesday a crowd of 4,490, the biggest in the Conference this season and the largest for a league game at Manor Park for 39 years, assembled to see if the Diamonds could be toppled.

The home fans were in good voice in the early stages when Nuneaton were well on top, and it was no surprise when they took the lead with a glancing header from Terry Angus. Rushden earned a 1-1 draw, however, with a well- taken goal from Miguel de Souza early in the second half. With Kingstonian drawing 2-2 at Sutton United the Diamonds held on to top spot, one point above the Surrey side and two ahead of Borough.

Brendan Phillips, the Borough manager, said: "We fully deserved that point. Rushden are a very good team and are most people's favourites, so for us to match a club who are a league outfit in everything but status, then I'm very happy. Their goalkeeper [Billy Turley] cost more than my entire team, which says a lot."

However, Manor Park's capacity of 6,500 is inadequate and would bar Borough from promotion to the Nationwide League should they win the Conference. The club are making plans to build a new stadium as well as, in the short term, effecting emergency improvements to their current ground.