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Nuneaton Town 0 Northampton 2

By Danielle Hicks on Jul 28, 10 11:22 AM

TWO first-half goals from Northampton Town striker Steve Guinan sent Nuneaton Town to their first pre-season defeat at Liberty Way last night.

The first came after just four minutes when Boro keeper Darren Acton misjudged a low right wing cross from Courtney Herbert, leaving Guinan to tap into the net from close range.

Simon Forsdick went close to equalising with a powerful shot which visiting keeper Paul Walker saved with his legs and after 29 minutes Boro midfielder James Armson limped off with a hamstring problem, to be replaced by Mark Noon.

Guinan was again on target in the 32nd minute when he rifled home an 18-yard drive after Herbert had galloped through and laid on a square pass.

Kevin Thornton went close to adding to the score when he forced Acton into a flying save with a free kick, before Kyle Storer did the same at the the end, just before the break.

Boro had more of the play in the second half and defender Guy Hadland moved forward to flick the ball onto on upright. Noon and Walker were inches away from reducing the arrears for Boro but Acton did well to prevent a third Northampton goal when he saved from Michael Jacobs in the dying minutes.

* BEDWORTH United suffered a 1-0 defeat at Cogenhoe with a first half penalty netted confidently by Alfie Taylor deciding the friendly.

The all important goal came when Ashley Wilkes conceded the spot kick with a careless challenge on Taylor. However, the Greenbacks had their chances with Mark Withers firing just wide on the half hour while after the interval Lee Greenway and Withers again came close to equalising.

PROMOTION remains Nuneaton Town's main priority but manager Kevin Wilkin insists the woeful winter weather that's hit fixtures will not curb the club's bid to win cup games.

Virtually a month without a game, Boro look at the prospect of playing at least twice a week between now and the end of the season and - while they have 26 Zamaretto Premier matches remaining, more than virtually every other team in the league - there's also Birmingham Senior and Red Insure cup ties still outstanding.

"I know some will think that the cups are a hindrance to the main objective but from the playing side of the equation they offer squad players, who are short of match practice, pitch time.

"It's crucial we have everyone tuned and fit. If the cold snap continues it could be three matches a week we are facing and that would put more pressure on the squad that by the end of January could be reduced with Adam Walker set to return to Coventry City and Kevin Thornton possibly joining Northampton.

NUNEATON Town's away trip to Didcot Town tomorrow looks certain to be postponed as the winter freeze continues to hit non-League football hard but one man not too down-hearted is banned midfielder Kyle Storer.

The 22-year-old, who has less than three weeks remaining before his 112-day suspension is served, is champing at the bit for a return to action and in the words of manager Kevin Wilkin it will be like having 'a new signing' at his disposal.

Storer was certainly an influential figure during the opening dozen games in which he was an ever-present and though the side has managed to string together an impressive run since, Wilkin admits he will be delighted to have the former Hinckley United and Atherstone Town schemer up for selection again.

"Kyle gives us a little extra quality in midfield," said Wilkin. "He's a ball winner and play-maker. He brings people into the game and at times we've missed that a little bit.

"What you see with him is what you get. He's really competitive and combative, too much at times, but that's something you do not what to take out of his game.

"He's still only a youngster but has played at higher levels and knows what the game is all about at this level.

"Obviously he has to curb his temper at times and avoid the red mist although it's that feisty, rugged edge which I like to see from my midfielders. He doesn't let the opposition dictate to him, he wants to be calling the shots and it's that sort of attitude and desire I shall be looking for from Kyle as well as his passing ability."

Boro go into 2010 with high ambitions but Wilkin is putting no added pressure on the shoulders of his charges.

COVENTRY Sphinx, bolstered by their excellent League Cup success over runaway Midland Alliance leaders Barwell in midweek, look to strengthen their top three place in the table tomorrow when newcomers Kirby Muxloe are the visitors to Siddeley Avenue.

Danny McSheffrey's boys have an unblemished league record on home soil this season with eight wins in a row and it will be disappointing if they fail to enhance that eye-catching run at the expense of last season's East Midlands Counties League champions.

Sphinx are currently in a rich vein of form with the Barwell triumph being their fifth victory on the go and with former Sky Blues midfielder Kevin Thornton pulling the strings, the home faithful are sure to be expectant of another positive outcome.

Stratford Town are also entertaining tomorrow as lowly Shifnal Town visit Knight's Lane with Rod Brown's charges aiming to consolidate at the right end of the table.

Three Alliance wins on the bounce have hoisted Town into the top six and they were well on the way to making it four only to have their fixture at Cradley Town last weekend abandoned at half-time.

FORMER Sky Blues midfielder Kevin Thornton netted an extra-time winner as Coventry Sphinx sent unbeaten Midland Alliance leaders Barwell spinning out of the Polymac Services League Cup at Siddeley Avenue.

Thornton's crucial goal came in the 118th minute of a keenly-contested second-round tie.

It had begun with Barwell, who are still undefeated in the league after 18 games and enjoy a 12-point advantage over the field, snatching an early advantage through Nick Green, but Callum Davenport's penalty just beyond the half hour squared matters.

And with a penalty shoot-out looking inevitable, up popped Thornton, who was released by City last month, to fire Danny McSheffrey's men to an excellent victory and into the last 16, putting paid to The Canaries' hopes of a league and cup double.

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