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Evo-Stik South West Play-Off Race Tightens Up

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Taunton Town had already been anointed as champions of the Evo-Stik League South West ahead of Saturday`s matches, so it`s who joins them in the Premier next season and who goes down where the focus of attention lay.

Salisbury FC hold second spot and have a five-point advantage over third-placed Bristol Manor Farm and seven over fourth-placed Wimborne Town after Saturday`s results.

Steve Claridge`s Whites won 1-0 at Yarnton Road against Kidlington, courtesy of a 69th minute penalty from Owen Howe after he had been brought down in the box.

Manor Farm had a more comprehensive 5-1 win over second-bottom Barnstaple Town at The Creek – a result which means Barum are still not safe from finishing bottom.

Dean Stamp gave Farm an early 7th minute lead that Nathan Cooper levelled 4 minutes later, only for Jordan Metters to send the home side into the break in front with a second a minute before the whistle.

A Kyle Holly spot-kick on 71 minutes settled the game, with Metters adding his second 7 minutes later and Stamp doing likewise on 81 minutes.

A crowd of 391 at The W+S Stadium saw Wimborne share a 1-1 draw with champions Taunton.

Nuno Felix gave the Peacocks a 20th minute lead that Matt Oldring levelled just 9 minutes later.

Evesham United and Swindon Supermarine hold the remaining top six spots, but down to Bideford AFC in tenth – as they have six games still left to play – still have a shot at the play-off places.

Winchester City are just outside that batch of clubs but held `Marine to a 1-1 draw at WebbsWood Stadium where Rob Carr equalised for City 8 minutes from time after the hosts had led through Joe Selman`s 29th minute effort.

Evesham kept Bishop Cleeve at the foot of the table, eight points behind Barnstaple with two games in hand, after winning 2-1 at the Spiers & Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.

It certainly wasn`t easy for United as they trailed from the 9th minute to a Jack Watts goal until just before the hour-mark when they struck twice in 3 minutes from Archie Haskayne and Adam Mann.

Didcot Town are two points behind the top six but were held to a 0-0 draw at the Loop Meadow by an AFC Totton outfit who really required all three points to stay in the race as they have only three games left.

The same could be said for Cirencester Town who, despite a 2-1 win at Eynsham Hall Park Sports Ground against North Leigh, are level on points with Didcot but with only three matches to go.

After Brad Chambers had given North Leigh a 16th minute lead, Alan Griffin after 33 minutes and a Matt Sysum own goal on 66 minutes won it for Ciren.

Bideford remain in contention, albeit with a very busy schedule ahead, after beating Paulton Rovers 2-1 at The Sports Ground.

And this was yet another game where the losers led through a 40th minute Matt Tippins goal before Craig Allan 5 minutes after the break and Kevin Squire 8 minutes later turned the game in the Devonians` favour.

Elsewhere, a Nick Humphreys goal on 66 minutes sealed Shortwood United`s home win over Larkhall Athletic, and Richard Greaves and Dan MacDonald both bagged braces as Cinderford Town edged out Mangotsfield United by the odd goal in seven – Kye Simpson also netting twice for the visitors.

Jamie Price put Slimbridge in front at Yate Town in the 15th minute, but Adam Price restored parity 14 minutes from time.

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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