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Southern Premier Relegation Battle Goes To The Wire

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Although the top end of the Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division was sorted out on Easter Monday, issues at the bottom go into a nerve-tingling last day scenario.

Champions Chippenham Town topped the 100-point mark after winning 1-0 at Frome Town, thanks to a Jake Andrews goal 8 minutes into the second half in front of 552 fans.

Banbury United’s play-off hopes disappeared as Leamington gained a deserved 1-0 win at the New Windmill Ground in front of a crowd of 846 and assure themselves of a second-placed finish.

The only goal came on 20 minutes when a free-kick from the right was put into the penalty area and not cleared with Jamie Hood the hooking the ball home from six yards.

The remaining play-off places go to Merthyr Town, Hitchin Town and Slough Town.

The Martyrs were already assured of their spot in the top five ahead of Monday`s 1-0 win at Redditch United, courtesy of Ashley Evans` 65th minute goal.

Hitchin were held to a 1-1 Top Field draw by neighbours Biggleswade Town in front of 766 but had also secured their place ahead of kick-off.

Matt Lench gave the Canaries an early 2nd minute lead that Connor Vincent cancelled out right on half-time for the Waders.

Slough`s 1-1 draw at The Meadow against Chesham United ensured that Banbury couldn`t catch them.

The Rebels had to come back from the shock of going a Dave Pearce goal down inside the opening minute, but recovered to equalise 9 minutes later through Liam Enver-Marum.

At the opposite end of the table, only Cinderford Town are technically down, although Hayes & Yeading United need a miraculous last-day turn-around if they are not to suffer back-to-back relegations after losing 2-0 at Uxbridge`s Honeycroft to a Kings Langley side who climbed out of the drop zone as a consequence.

Ryan Plowright opened Kings` account right on half-time and Jeremiah Amoo`s goal 10 minutes after the break killed Hayes & Yeading off.

Kings Langley moved to fifth-bottom on goal difference and Cambridge City slipped back into the relegation places after sharing a goalless draw at Latimer Park against mid-table Kettering Town in front of 548.

Dorchester Town are still not safe after being held to a 1-1 draw at the Avenue Stadium by Basingstoke Town, whose Nana Owusu opened their account from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark.

Nathan Walker levelled, also from the spot, after 65 minutes, but the Magpies need a point on Saturday to ensure another Premier Division campaign.

Cirencester Town will need to win this coming weekend to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

They gave themselves that chance after beating mid-table Weymouth 3-0 at the Corinium Stadium, thanks to goals from Danny Gudger after 6 and 75 minutes, sandwiched by an Ellis Dunton effort on 69 minutes.

St Neots Town ensured they stayed up after beating Dunstable Town 2-0 at home with goals from the experienced Lee Clarke after 35 minutes and a spot-kick from Jevani Brown 5 minutes from time.

Elsewhere on Easter Monday, St Ives Town won 2-0 at the ProEdge against King`s Lynn Town with Liam McDevitt after 67 minutes and Danny Kelly on 80 minutes both on target, while already-doomed Cinderford gave their fans a bit of cheer with a final home game win over Stratford Town in which Lewis Bamford and Craig Norman cancelled out loanee George Forsyth`s 24th minute opener in the final 7 minutes.

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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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