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Premier Preview: Chance for new team to take top spot

By James Gordon

Five Premier Division games take place this weekend alongside the FA Trophy, with a chance of a new team to take top spot.

Third-placed Lancaster City sit behind table toppers South Shields by just two points, meaning a victory could see them claim the spot over the Mariners and Basford United.

The Dolly Blues, who will play their second qualifying round of the FA Trophy against Stourbridge on Tuesday 12 November, and will welcome Hyde United this weekend to the Giant Axe in the Premier Division.

Mark Fell’s side have won their last five league games - including a 1-0 victory over South Shields thanks to a goal from David Norris in the 66th minute.

“It was unbelievable,” Fell told the Lancaster Guardian.

“Nothing surprises me anymore with this group of players.

“We went up there with a bit of belief knowing that Hyde had been up there and won, Colne had knocked them out of the FA Cup and Grantham had got a point there.

“I said it last week that it was conceivable that we could go top of the league by this weekend.

“Did I really believe that would happen – probably not. I would have been happy with a point at South Shields.”

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Warrington Town host Stafford Rangers at Cantilever Park. Paul Carden’s side recently defeated Hyde United 4-1 at home, with a brace from Tony Gray and two more from Bohan Dixon and Warrington’s top goal scorer Ben Garrity. Their opponents head into the fixture following a 2-0 defeat away to Bamber Bridge, and sit at the foot of the Premier Division table.

In 18th place after claiming their third win of the season over Stafford, Brig host mid-table Stalybridge Celtic, who suffered a 1-0 defeat to Radcliffe.

Jon Macken’s side host Scarborough, who have been told to take their opportunities by manager John Deacey following their 2-1 loss to the Gingerbreads.

“I am tired of saying the same things over and over again, but I cannot believe how we missed so many chances on Saturday at Grantham,” he wrote in the Scarborough news.

“By the time we took the lead after only eight minutes through Connor Thomson, we should have already been 4-0 ahead.

“We were excellent in the first half and created a lot of chances - but yet again we missed most of them.

“I tried to freshen things up on Saturday by changing the line-up, but we need to be a lot more ruthless in front of goal, we need that cutting edge to win games.”

Meanwhile, Witton Albion travel to Mickleover Sports in a mid-table clash, with the hosts just one-point outside of a play-off position in seventh place.

Where next?

Stafford Rangers announce new signings Stafford Rangers have announced the permanent signing of Brad Grayson from Buxton, whilst also adding Will McGuffie and Shakeel Jones Griffiths on loan.
Droylsden welcome back striker Droylsden have announced the signing of Reece Webb-Foster.

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