Non-League Football: Leek to leapfrog Marine into GMVC: Merthyr Tydfil and Yeovil facing relegation with Witton

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The Independent Online
WHILE promotion from the GM Vauxhall Conference to the Endsleigh League looks like being decided off, rather than on, the pitch, the battle to escape the drop to the feeder leagues should be settled on the field of play.

Witton Albion, beaten 3-0 at home by Stalybridge on Tuesday, are relegated from the GMVC. Merthyr Tydfil and Yeovil are also in the drop zone, with five other clubs - including Halifax - three points or less above Merthyr.

In the feeder leagues, Marine, the Northern Premier League leaders, have not applied for promotion, but the Conference will accept the runners-up if their ground is up to scratch. Leek, three points adrift with two games in hand, should satisfy GMVC stadium requirements, as should Stevenage, 12 points ahead in the Diadora League, plus Farnborough and Cheltenham, who are contesting the Beazer Homes League title.

Unlike the Endsleigh League, the Conference has a friendly deadline for promotion aspirants, who have until the end of May to bring their grounds up to standard. Kidderminster Harriers won 5-0 at Runcorn on Wednesday to cut Kettering's lead in the GMVC to two points and, with four games in hand, they remain favourites for the title. If they win it, though, they will not go up (and the League's bottom club will survive) because of their well-publicised failure to install sufficient seats by 31 December.

'Kidderminster knew they had that deadline to get the work done by, and for some reason best known to themselves, they did not do it,' Ian Cotton, the Endsleigh League's press officer, said. 'There is zero chance of them going up.' It will be even worse for whoever wins the Conference in 1994-95 - their ground will have had to satisfy the League by 31 August this year.

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