Football: NON-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: Workington back on the rails

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The Independent Online
ALTHOUGH Carlisle United may be relegated to the Nationwide Conference tomorrow, Cumbria's top two non-League clubs have had something to celebrate this week.

In front of an all-ticket crowd of 2,281 at Borough Park on Bank Holiday Monday, Workington beat Mossley, their only rivals for the championship, 2-1 to secure the North Western Trains League title. Goals from Stuart Williamson and Grant Hawke ensured that the Reds will return to the UniBond League next season.

Cumbria's other former Football League club, Barrow, won 2-1 at Kidderminster Harriers last weekend. The three points allowed the Bluebirds to finish fourth from bottom in the Conference, while Welling United occupied the highest relegation place after they could only draw 0-0 at the champions, Cheltenham Town.

However, the celebrations in Barrow after their escape from the drop may be premature. A mid-season financial crisis sent the Bluebirds into liquidation, and their continued membership of the Conference is by no means certain.

John Moules, the Conference secretary, explained yesterday that the league will be "seeking certain assurances" from the liquidator, and that a Conference management committee meeting next Thursday will decide Barrow's fate.

It is possible that Barrow may be expelled from the Conference and Welling reinstated. The main stumbling block is that, although a new consortium in charge at Holker Street has set up Barrow AFC (1999) Ltd to trade in place of Barrow AFC (which is in liquidation), the Conference, according to Moules, will only deal with the latter.

Two other clubs whose status next season will be decided off the field are Wealdstone and Carshalton Athletic. The Stones finished in a promotion place in the First Division of the Ryman League, but the ground they share at Edgware has been deemed unfit for the Premier Division.

Unless Wealdstone's appeal is successful they will stay down and Carshalton, who finished third from bottom, will escape relegation from the Premier. In a similar situation, Cambridge City may escape the drop from the Dr Martens League Premier Division unless Margate win an appeal against the adverse ruling on their Hartsdown Park stadium.

Brian Hall, who was Wealdstone's manager when they won the Conference and FA Trophy double in 1985, died last week. The 59-year-old, who was also in charge of Yeovil Town, had been suffering from cancer.

Watched by a remarkable Belle Vue crowd of 7,160, Doncaster Rovers beat Farnborough Town 3-0 on Monday to secure a 4-0 aggregate win in the final of the Endsleigh Challenge Trophy, the Conference's league cup.