Conference Premier 13/14 XI

Its getting to that time of the season where all the media experts start putting together their “team of the season” in their respective leagues. What I would be interested to know Non League fans is what is your conference dream team of the year? I am picking a team based on how players performed against me (Hereford United) this season, not being influenced by stats and other opinions.

You can include three players from your own team you support as a maximum. I would be also intrigued to find out how your current players compare to those you have picked and if any could rival their form this season. Stuart Hammonds (NLP Chief Editor) wont be far away from this team I am sure as usually gets it right?!

Setting up how Luton Town (they have been the best team) have played mostly this season in a 4-2-3-1 formation which can be interpreted in different ways while the game is going on…

GK – Mark Tyler (Luton Town)

Two clean sheets against me this season. His kicking and handling was immaculate as ever.

RB – Lee Vaughan (Kidderminster Harriers)

Tenacious in the tackle and loves to get forward. Sets the tempo for his team and has a great passion to win a football match.

CB – Steve McNulty (Luton Town)

He is very much like marmite but I think he is great at this level. Reads the game well, has a good touch for a centre back and was a key figure against us. Miller and Coulson have obviously been fantastic for Cambridge this year with their defensive record yet Michael Rankine had the better of them at our place before Christmas.

CB – David Stephens (Barnet)

A man mountain of a centre back at 6ft 5 and he won just about everything in the air against us in both games. Still young enough to move on higher and I am sure he will. Dean Wells of Braintree and Blaine Hudson of Welling have also impressed me this season.

LB – Greg Taylor (Cambridge United)

Another full back who likes to get forward yet looked stronger and more disciplined defensively this season.

CM – Josh Payne (Woking)

Was individually superb up at Woking this season. Had a great range of passing and scored a wonderful half volley to cap off a fine display.

CM – Phil Turnbull (Gateshead)

Always looks to receive the ball off defenders and get his team playing. Hardly gives the ball away and dictates the tempo of the game. Surprised he hasn’t moved on higher. Marcus Kelly has been Forest Greens best player this season and caught my eye in their game at the new lawn.

RW – Keanu Marsh Brown (Barnet)

Just edged out Andre Gray by a whisker for his performances over both games against us. Gray scored a stunning hat trick against us. Yet in both games Marsh Brown was a constant thorn in our side, full of running and creativity that set him apart. Scored two goals as well.

LW – Elliot Frear (Salisbury City)

Again was picked for both of his performances against us. He was very lively and always looked to take on his full back. Producing some great crosses into our box which were a nightmare to deal with. My old Uni team mate Joe Lolley was very close who produced a fantastic display for Kidderminster on boxing day.

ACM – Luke Guttridge (Luton Town)

Has to be the signing of the season for me. A Northampton fan I know wasn’t happy when he chose to sign for Luton in the summer, we have seen why. Gets in pockets of space where defenders don’t like to go in, uses the ball very well and can score from almost everywhere. A very experienced player and Luton have missed him recently. James Norwood has also had a great season at Forest Green and impressed with 16 goals.

CF – Lee Gregory (Afc Halifax)

I used to play with Lee at Mansfield and he has gone to be a top striker at this level. Very much like Paul Benson (who ran him close) for me but obviously he is in his prime and looking a good bet for the golden boot. Always used his body well, brought his team mates into play and looked to play on shoulder of the last defender when ever he got the chance.

From my current Hereford United squad, unfortunately not enough players have been consistently good enough to have pushed the eleven players I have picked for a variety of reasons.

I feel Daniel Lloyd Weston has done very well in the twenty games he has played and has a good future in the game. Daniel Leadbitter has had some good games at right back and has improved since the season started defensively.

Rod Mcdonald and Dominic Collins have had a great battle at centre back this season and have both had some good games for us this season. I think Dom has improved the most due to starting the season on the bench, he has done a job at right back on more than a few occasions and has also chipped in with some important goals.

All these players are under 23 and part of our backline. Last season when we finished 6th, we conceded 63 goals with an experienced backline of James Bittner, Andy Gallinagh, Stefan Stam and Chris Carruthers playing a lot of games. We have a great chance of beating that this year (currently on 56) and in turn will be something they can take out of the season as young players.

What do you think? Would love to know your views…



After hundreds of games (way too many) playing in the conference national, I thought it would be fun to put together a squad of players I have played with over the last 10 years or so.

It has been great going down memory lane with lots of good times and plenty of runners up medals! From experiencing Play off defeats with Kettering x2, York City and Luton Town and winning the Conference North with Kettering, it has all been remembered well. Not to forget the ecstasy when staying up on the last day of the season with Forest Green when I was 19 (I am hoping for that again this season).

It has been very tough with so many good players to chose from and having to miss out. This team is strictly players I have crossed the white line with on a Saturday, no reserve team/youth team games or players I trained with. A pure Non League XI I would field tomorrow and win the league with in the old school 4-4-2 formation!

GK – Lee Harper (Kettering Town)

This was extremely tough having played with Mark Tyler, Michael Ingham, Alan Marriott, Sam Russell and on certain days even James Bittner! Lee was just a man mountain of a guy and was very vocal and commanding. A great man too.

RB – John Dempster (Mansfield Town)

Demps will laugh with me on this one. The poison chalice for a centre back who doesn’t like running! I could of went with Ben Purkiss, Nicky Eaden or Jared Hodgkiss (Height factor again Jared sorry)…But Demps is a big presence, can chip in with a goal and can wriggle his way out of the toughest of situations.

CB – David McGurk (York City)

Me and Dave just struck up one of those partnerships that we just didn’t have to think about each other when we played together. We conceded just a club record 35 goals in the 09/10 season we had together. He was very calm and assured, had good technique and always put his body on the line. A proper clubman. He just edged out Luke Jones. A mention for Chris Todd who I never had a proper run with as well.

CB – George Pilkington (Mansfield)

George at the time I played with him he was for me the best centre back in the league. I can play him on the left hand side as I still don’t know what his strongest foot is. Always lead by his performance and read the game superbly. Glad to see him back playing this season. He was run close by Jamie Turley, who is a very powerful and quick man with a good future in the game. A word for Daniel Parslow too, who is a dedicated as they come.

LB – Fred Murray (Retired)

Fred was plagued by injuries during a career which should of been played a lot higher. He had everything, a great engine, tenacious, strong and someone you would want in your team. I also witnessed his only professional goal which took ten deflections on the way in! He has done well to beat off Tommy Jaszczun, James Meredith and Damon Searle.

RCM – Alex Lawless (Luton Town)

The little Welsh wizard has done well where ever he has been with his energy and drive from midfield. Has great technique, can play in a variety of positions and can also chip in with a vital goal. Hopefully he will finally win promotion to the football league this year. He just edged out Marley Watkins, James Norwood and Jon Brady.

CM – Paul Wanless (Retired)

Wanny was an absolute rock and was the best header of the ball I have still ever seen. I never played with him in his prime but he was a leader of men. He was also capable of scoring a spectacular goal, I remember he scored from the halfway line once. A good man as well. Keith Keane, Kieron Forbes and Yan Klukowski run him very close.

CM – Marcus Kelly (Forest Green)

Finally Marcus is getting a chance to make the play offs this season after struggles with Kettering and Tamworth in recent years. Brave as a lion to receive the ball anywhere on the pitch and really moves the ball well. Scores some wonderful goals and is a very committed footballer. He done well to fend off Andre Boucard (my first five a side pick),David Bridges and Josh O’Keefe.

LCM – Chris Carruthers (Corby Town)

Chris is one of those underrated players which a team mate appreciates. With Fred Murray always looking to get forward he would cover well at left back during the game. A peach of a left foot which provided many assists from set pieces and used the ball very well. Can play in virtually every position and plays every game like its his last. Ben Harding, Alex Meechan and Jake Howells run him very close.

CF – Jean Paul Marna (Kettering Town)

He was an absolute joy to play with and always played with a smile on his face. Was capable of conjuring up pure magic on his day and seen him leave defenders ready to hang up his boots. He really did play futsal on an 11 a side pitch at times! Good mentions hear also for fox in the box Matty Taylor, Rene Howe and Michael Rankine on his day.

CF – Sam Clucas (Mansfield Town)

I just couldn’t leave him out and he has been playing upfront for Mansfield this season. Last season he went from strength to strength and even excelled what I thought he was capable of. Quick with fast feet, a great dribbler and always commits a defender one v one. He always left me having to give him a kick in training he could be that good. Regularly scoring goals now and destined for better things. He edged out Daryl Clare, Craig Westcarr and in that amazing season he had at York Richard Brodie.

On the Bench

Michael Ingham – Was a great talker and massive presence behind me whilst at York.

Jamie Turley – Can fill in at Centre Back and Right back equally as well.

Josh O’Keefe – Great man to have in your squad, especially when you need a goal and the calmest penalty taker I have witnessed.

Yan Klukowski – Dedicated professional who is now Forest Greens all time top goal scorer! Has that knack of popping up with a goal when you need it most.

Matty TaylorHas a real knack of scoring in the 18 yard box, very good finisher and good to bring on when you need a goal.

What do you think? I would like to know your views…