Football: Yeovil prevail as local dispute draws the fans

THE STRENGTH of semi-professional football in Somerset and Dorset was illustrated this week when a combined attendance of 7,249 watched two FA Umbro Trophy fixtures between Weymouth and Yeovil Town.

Last Sunday's second-round tie at Weymouth produced a gate of 4,053 - a record for a competitive fixture at the Dorset club's Wessex Stadium. The match finished goalless and 3,196 fans turned out for Tuesday's replay at Huish Park - more than the combined crowd figures for nine other replays on the same night.

Yeovil secured a 2-1 win over their opponents from the Dr Martens League thanks to late goals from Warren Patmore and Paul Tisdale. David Laws pulled back a goal for Weymouth from the penalty spot. The replay victory earned the Nationwide Conference title chasers an attractive home tie against Stevenage Borough in the third round.

Stevenage had little trouble dismissing the challenge of another Dr Martens side, Merthyr Tydfil, in a second-round replay on Monday. Junior Samuels hit a hat-trick in Borough's 4-0 win, after Carl Alford had opened the scoring.

In another of Tuesday's replays, Kettering Town survived a tricky trip to the Ryman League side, Thame, where they won 1-0 thanks to a second- half goal from Dale Watkins.

Tomorrow the focus switches to the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase. Twelve Ryman League clubs are among the 64 teams left in the tournament and only two of them, Marlow and Metropolitan Police, are drawn together.

If, however, recent history is relevant, then the finalists are likely to come from the Screwfix Direct Western League and the Arnott Insurance Northern League. From the former, Taunton Town, who are at home to Tooting and Mitcham United, are the favourites to go all the way. From the latter, last season's beaten finalists, Bedlington Terriers, who entertain North Ferriby United, are keen to make a return trip to Wembley.

In the Nationwide Conference the leaders, Nuneaton Borough, let slip a 2-0 half-time lead in Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Altrincham. Shaun Wray and Andy Ducros scored two goals in two minutes for Borough just before the break, but the home side responded with goals from Brendon Burke and Kevin Ellison.

Nuneaton, who have a two-point lead at the top of the Conference, will be expected to beat the bottom club, Forest Green Rovers, at Manor Park tomorrow. Altrincham have sold Paul Ellender to Scarborough for pounds 50,000. The 25-year-old can play in midfield or the centre of defence.