Mark Carruthers' five non-league games to watch

Our non-league expert Mark Carruthers returns with his five games to watch this weekend.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 1:09 pm

Morpeth Town v Boston United

Date: Saturday 15th January

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy Fourth Round

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Five to watch

Venue: Craik Park

Kick-off Time: 3pm

History will be made at Craik Park this weekend, no matter what the result is.

Morpeth Town will compete in the last 32 of the FA Trophy for the first time when they host National League North club Boston United.

The Highwaymen will be in confident mood after losing just two of their last 23 games in all competitions - a run that continued with a hard-earned 2-1 win at Ashton United on Tuesday night.

They face a Pilgrims side that were heavily tipped for promotion into non-league’s top tier ahead of the season - but currently sit 17 points shy of leaders Brackley Town.

They also travel to Northumberland without a permanent manager following the departure of Craig Elliott last week.

Morpeth will still have to be at their best to claim a notable scalp - but they will have to motivation of moving to within three wins of a place at Wembley if they come out on top on Saturday.

Player to Watch: Andrew Johnson (Morpeth Town)

Spennymoor Town v Plymouth Parkway

Date: Saturday 15th January

Competition: Buildbase FA Trophy Fourth Round

Venue: Brewery Field

Kick-off Time: 3pm

There were just two balls remaining in the hat when the FA Trophy fourth round draw was conducted last month.

Spennymoor Town were one of them, and Plymouth Parkway - a club that have shone on their maiden run in the competition - were the other.

The sighs of relief rising out of Brewery Field when the Moors came out first were probably loud enough to be heard at the other end of the country as that handed Parkway a mammoth trek to County Durham.

The Southern League Division One South club have already claimed a number of eye-catching results on their way to the last 32 by dispatching higher-level opposition in Dulwich Hamlet and Hampton and Richmond Borough.

Despite those results, Spennymoor will fancy their chances of taking another step towards replicating their run to the quarter-finals in 2018 - but they have been warned not to underestimate their visitors.

Player to Watch: Rob Ramshaw (Spennymoor Town)

Darlington v Kidderminster Harriers

Date: Saturday 15th January

Competition: Vanarama National League North

Venue: Blackwell Meadows

Kick-off Time: 3pm

After a challenging start to the National League North season, Darlington look to be finding their stride and currently sit just two points and three places shy of the play-off places.

They will be in confident mood ahead of their home clash against FA Cup heroes Kidderminster Harriers following last weekend’s 6-0 demolition of Farsley Celtic.

Attacking midfielder Jack Lambert was the star of the show with a stunning first-half hat-trick and the former Dundee and Scunthorpe United player is rapidly becoming a firm favourites with Quakers supporters.

Slowly, but surely, Alun Armstrong’s side are gaining momentum and they can be considered as genuine play-off contenders, especially if they can hold on to top goalscorer Luke Charman.

Saturday’s game will be a severe test of their top seven credentials as they face a Harriers side that sent Championship club Reading out of the FA Cup last weekend.

Player to Watch: Jack Lambert (Darlington)

Consett v Wythenshawe Town

Date: Saturday 15th January

Competition: Buildbase FA Vase Fourth Round

Venue: Belle View

Kick-off Time: 3pm

Consett know what it takes to get to Wembley - and, even more crucially, they know what it takes to beat Wythenshawe Town to get there!

It is just over two years since the Steelmen edged a tight and nervy contest against the North West Counties League side as a late Dale Pearson goal took his side into the fourth round.

That is the same stage where the two sides will meet once again this weekend and both are in fine form ahead of an eagerly anticipated tie.

Consett currently lie eight points clear at the top of the Northern League Division One table following last weekend’s uncomfortable 3-2 win at Seaham Red Star.

Their visitors are also eyeing up promotion and sit in third place in the NWCFL table - with only Skelmersdale and Macclesfield sat above them.

Anything could happen in this one!

Player to Watch: Luke Carr (Consett)

Harborough Town v North Shields

Date: Saturday 15th January

Competition: Buildbase FA Vase Fourth Round

Venue: Harborough Town Community Football Ground

Kick-off Time: 3pm

North Shields love an away day in the FA Vase - and so do their supporters.

Three of their five Vase wins this season have come on the road and they will make their longest journey yet when they make the 434-mile round-trip to Harborough Town this weekend.

The visit to Leicestershire presents a significant challenge with their hosts currently sat in second place in the United Counties League Premier Division South table.

The Bees have only suffered one league defeat this season and that came with a narrow 2-1 defeat at top of the table Hinckley in September.

North Shields remain one of the favourites for the competition as they look to reach Wembley for the first time since their Vase Final win under Graham Fenton in 2015.

If they can come through this tie, they will firmly believe they can walk out under the arch come the end of the season.

Player to Watch: Dan Wilson (North Shields)

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