Football: Race for Conference hots up

Non-League notebook
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The Independent Online
Unlike last season, when Dover escaped the drop, the bottom three in the GM Vauxhall Conference will almost certainly be relegated this term, as the three feeder leagues all look set to provide promotion candidates.

In the Icis League, Yeovil lead Enfield by six points, but that gap will be halved if Enfield beat Staines at home tonight when they play their game in hand. Yeovil, who beat Staines 3-1 on Tuesday, are at Sutton United tomorrow.

Leek gained a 2-0 win, with goals from Steve Soley and Dean Trott, at fifth-placed Boston United on Wednesday to earn a three-point lead in the UniBond League. Leek have played three fewer games than second-placed Barrow, while Hyde and Boston United are also in contention for promotion.

In the Dr Martens League, Gresley Rovers lead the Premier Division by eight points but have not applied for promotion, as their new stadium will not be ready in time. However, the runners-up are eligible for promotion, and two fierce local rivals are scrapping for this spot. Gloucester trail second-placed Cheltenham by three points and have two games in hand. Both clubs have their grounds inspected by the Conference today, and both expect to pass.

England's semi-professional team are still waiting for their first goal this season after Tuesday's 0-0 draw away to the Netherlands at Appingedam on Tuesday. Their chances of finding the net were not improved when Lee Hughes, Kidderminster's highly-rated striker, limped off in the first half with a foot injury.

ENGLAND SEMI-PROFESSIONAL XI: Price (Macclesfield); Bignot (Kidderminster), Cramman (Rushden), Harlow (Farnborough), Payne (Macclesfield), Butterworth (Rushden), Webb (Kidderminster), Walters (Northwich), Leworthy (Rushden), Byrne (Macclesfield), Hughes (Kidderminster). Substitutes: O'Connor (Hednesford) for Hughes, 35; Prindiville (Kidderminster) for Harlow, 60.

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