Non-League Football: Leek thwarted by Conference

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The Independent Online
LEEK TOWN'S dream of a place in the elite of the non- League pyramid, the GM Vauxhall Conference, seems to have been dashed, writes Rupert Metcalf. The Staffordshire club finished a point behind Marine, who did not apply for promotion, in the Northern Premier League, which should have been enough to secure one of three vacancies in the GMVC.

However, Leek learned this week that the Conference has blocked their application - due, according to Peter Hunter, the GMVC secretary, to 'their financial situation'. Hunter was unwilling to provide further details, and Mike Rowley, the Leek secretary, was similarly tight-lipped.

'We don't want to go into details,' Rowley said, 'but it's just an accounting problem. We are confident that it can be resolved, and our accountants are working hard to sort out the balance sheet. We are appealing against the decision.'

Unless Leek's appeal succeeds, Merthyr Tydfil, who finished third from bottom in the GMVC, will escape relegation. Only Witton and Slough will go down - as long as Stevenage, the Diadora League champions, and Farnborough, who won the Beazer Homes League, pass next week's Conference ground- grading inspections.

At the Arms Park, Cardiff, on Sunday, Barry Town will be attempting to qualify for the European Cup-Winners' Cup by beating Cardiff City in the final of the Welsh Cup. Barry have experience on their side: their team includes the former Welsh internationals, Alan Curtis and Terry Boyle, and the former Birmingham and Norwich striker, Keith Bertschin.