The non-league season – the Isthmian League aside – started yesterday, and we’re delighted to be able to bring you highlights of four matches this evening, one from the Blue Square Premier, two from the Blue Square South and one from the Premier Division of the Southern League. The first match is between Hayes & Yeading United and Alfreton Town. Hayes & Yeading are starting a season in exile at Woking, having sold their Church Road ground without the former home of Yeading, The Warren, and the problems that they may face were placed into sharp focus by the fact that a crowd of just 262 people turned out for this match yesterday. A decade ago, Alfreton Town were beginning a season that would see them win the Northern Counties East League. Yesterday, they were playing their first match as a Blue Square Premier club.
Our second match is from the Blue Square South, and is between Chelmsford City and Truro City. Chelmsford have been beaten in the semi-finals in the play-offs for the last three seasons, and will start this season with expectations of going one better than that this time around. Four years ago, meanwhile, Truro City were in the Premier Division of the Western League, but they start this season one step away from football’s fifth division, and optimistic of going higher than that themselves.
We’re going to stay in the Blue Square South for our next match, between Welling United and Staines Town. Welling had problems off the pitch last season, facing a winding up order from the HMRC and suffering a five point deduction by the Football Conference over financial irregularities, but on the pitch they performed well and only missed out on a place in the play-offs by a single point. Staines Town finished just a couple of places below them last season and will be hoping to improve upon that this season.
Our final match is from the Premier Division of the Southern League, and is between Weymouth and Cambridge City. Both are clubs that have had serious problems in recent years, but while Cambridge seem to be over the worst of theirs and signed an agreement to stay at their ground for a further two seasons earlier this year, whilst finishing in the play-offs in this league last season. Weymouth, meanwhile, remain in difficulty to a great extent, having only just avoided relegation at the end of last season.
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