NEWPORT Pagnell Town manager Terry Shrieves says his side would be sitting on top of the table any other year, but has still backed his men to push their United Counties League title rivals all the way.
The Swans sit second behind St Neots, and closed the gap down to just three points with a routine win over lowly Rothwell Corinthians on Saturday - their 16th of the season.
But the Cambridgeshire side are yet to taste defeat in the league all season, and like Kings Lynn Town in fourth place, are considered the ‘big spenders’ of the division.
In fact, they would both probably be considered big spenders even if they played a couple of steps above the UCL Premier Division. Former Aston Villa striker Stefan Moore is on their books and has played a big part in his side scoring a ridiculous 83 goals in 20 league games. But for the record Newport’s Daren Dykes is currently sitting joint top of the scoring charts, level on 22 goals to date with Shane Tolley - the former Peterborough United forward now also playing for St Neots.
They have successfully blown the rest of the league away on route to the Premier Division summit - but the Swans are one of three sides to take a point off them when the two teams met earlier in the season.
St Neots are still to visit Newport later in the season - a fixture that was previously postponed during the recent cold snap - and Shrieves says he’s looking forward to it.
The Swans boss said: “They have a budget 10 times bigger than what we have. Like Kings Lynn they are spending an awful lot of money, so it’s no surprise that they are sitting top of the table.
“I have about £400 a week to work with, but we’re doing it in the right way and still keeping pace with the two of them. Any other season and we would be top of the league.”
Former Conference North outfit Kings Lynn attract crowds of over 1,000 and have the spending power of a club way above their playing level. They sit fourth but would go above the Swans if they take nine points from their games in hand.
But Shrieves isn’t bitter and says his side are capable of challenging for the title going into the second half of the campaign - and just two defeats this term suggest he’s right.
Their latest win wasn’t a classic, but goals from Richard Armstrong and Darren Lynch helped them see off Rothwell 2-0 at Willen Road.
Armstrong’s 27th minute opener didn’t open the floodgates against the league’s bottom side - in fact it took a goalline clearance by Swans skipper John Thorpe to preserve that lead at half time.
The visitors then had a goal ruled out for offside after the break and it wasn’t until the 75th minute that a Lynch strike made the points safe, although Newport should expect a much tougher game at Cogenhoe United on Saturday.
UCL Division One leaders Olney Town welcome Thrapston Town to East Street on Saturday for a bit of a top of the table clash. Thrapston sit third in the pile but could move to within a point of Neil Griffiths’ men with a win.
The Nurserymen will be looking to return to winning ways after a surprise defeat to Wootton Blue Cross last time out.
In the South Midlands League Division One Stony Stratford were thumped 6-0 by Bedford, while in Division Two Old Bradwell drew 1-1 at Caddington, and things are going from bad to worse for MK Wanderers who fell to a shocking 15-0 defeat at The 61 FC (Luton).
MK Sunday League
COUNTY pride was on the agenda for the city’s Sunday League sides at the weekend with four ties and plenty of goals.
The highest scoring game saw Steven Eagell Toyota win a nine-goal thriller with Open University in the third round of the Intermediate Cup. But there was disappointment at Willen who lost 5-2 at home to Langley Murphs.
The Junior Cup brought more disappointment - AFC Santander losing 3-2 against Waddesdon and Loughton losing 7-1 to FC Disraeli.
On the league front there was a surprise 7-5 victory for Stoke Hammond over Kings Arms in Division One, while in Division Two leaders MK Dynamos thrashed bottom side Great Linford 7-0.
North Bucks League
WOLVERTON Town are in desperate need of some new year good luck - they slipped to their eighth defeat of the season and sit rock bottom of the Premier Division table.
They stay two points away from safety after a 3-2 loss to Loughton Manor, and it will take a big improvement in 2011 to see them avoid a relegation battle.
MK Wanderers remain top of the Intermediate Division after their 2-1 victory against AFC Santander.
Old Stratford were beaten 5-2 by Sherington in Division One while Deanshanger saw off Woughton 3-1. In Division Two there was an 8-4 win for Yardley Gobion Res against LB Galaxy while United MK beat Great Horwood 10-3.