Football: Non-League Notebook: Whyteleafe seek grand scalp

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The Independent Online
GEOFF CHAPPLE was an expert at the art of FA Cup giant-killing during his time in charge of Woking, but in the FA Umbro Trophy he often finds himself in the reverse position: a manager guarding against an upset.

That is the case tomorrow, when Chapple takes his Kingstonian side to Whyteleafe in the fourth round of the Trophy. The little Surrey club from the First Division of the Ryman League have reached the last 32 of the tournament for the first time in their history, and they are eager to put their name in the headlines.

Chapple won the Trophy three times in four years with Woking, but he has yet to make an impact in the competition with Kingstonian. Last season, his first with the club, they were knocked out at the first hurdle by Crawley.

The Ks beat the Conference leaders, Kettering Town, 5-2 in the last round to reach this stage, but Chapple is insisting that his players give Whyteleafe just as much respect as the high-flying Northamptonshire club. "It's a potential banana skin for us," he said, "and we must ensure we are in top form on the day."

Chapple's former club, Woking, entertain Rushden & Diamonds in one of two top ties between Nationwide Conference clubs. The other is at Whaddon Road, where Cheltenham Town, the Trophy holders, take on Stevenage Borough.

One of the more experienced sides from outside the Conference left in the Trophy are Ashton United, who are at home to St Albans City. The UniBond League First Division outfit have four players aged 34 or older.

The oldest, the 39-year-old midfielder Stewart Anderson, is also a marathon runner. The Lancashire club's secretary, Debbie Quaile, said: "He can still outrun all the younger players in training - he's remarkably fit."

Anderson appeared at Wembley in the 1992 Trophy final for Witton Albion and the 1988 Vase final for Colne Dynamoes. His fellow veterans at Ashton are the goalkeeper John McKenna, the player-manager John Coleman (both 36) and the latter's assistant and fellow striker, Jimmy Bell (34).

Another UniBond club, Lancaster City, lost their top scorer last month when Peter Thomson joined the Dutch side, NAC Breda, for a club-record five-figure fee. After scoring 24 goals for Lancaster this season, he hit two for Breda in a friendly in Spain during the Netherlands' winter break to seal his move.

Also exchanging the UniBond League for the European stage is Gainsborough Trinity's John Reed. The striker has signed for the Greek A Division side, Ethnikos Piraeus, where the coach, Howard Kendall, was his manager at Sheffield United.

The most exotic recent non-League transfer, though, took Sufyan Ghazghazi from Dorchester Town to the Tunisian club, Club Africain, on loan for the rest of season. The former Exeter City forward, whose father was born in the north African country, will cost the Tunis team around pounds 25,000 if the deal becomes permanent.

Kidderminster Harriers have confirmed Phil Mullen, formerly in charge of Redditch United, as their manager, in succession to Graham Allner. Jimmy Conway, who was briefly caretaker manager at Aggborough, reverts to the No 2 role he held under Allner.

Harriers' Conference rivals, Telford United, have given their caretaker manager, Alan Lewer, the job on a permanent basis. The former VS Rugby manager succeeded Jimmy Mullen at the Buck's Head last month.