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The Conference Years: Nuneaton Borough

6 June 2014

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Remembering where we once were.

Doncaster Rovers had to wait until March 2002 to record their first ever win over plucky Nuneaton Borough – as they were once known.

Rovers – under the stewardship of first Ian Snodin and then Steve Wignall – were unable to crack the Warwickshire outfit in their first five outings.

The meetings of the 99/00 season rendered Rovers goalless as they were beaten 1-0 at Belle Vue before a stalemate in the return.

Rovers kicked off the following season under Wignall, but his new troops barrely fared better as Jamie Paterson’s opener was quickly equalised by a goal which was awarded to Andy Warrington as an own goal.

A single goal separated the sides at the Liberty Way later in the season; but that goal belonged to Ian King – of the hosts – in front of 1,377.

Rovers had to rely on goals from Neil Campbell and Gareth Owen to respond to Alex Syskes’ double at Belle Vue – before the win finally came with Penney at the helm.

Paul Barnes’ opener from the spot put Rovers in command before that was levelled by Michael Love. Robert Gill put Rovers ahead again before future Rovers midfielder Warren Peyton also scored a penalty. It was left to Justin Jackson to be Rovers’ hero on the day with a winner 6 minutes from time.

Barnes was on the scoresheet not once, but thrice the following year – his double in the away game contributed to a 3-0 win and another spot kick salvaged a point in the return just a month later.

Since then, there had been troubled times for Nuneaton’s football club, which is now under the guise of ‘Nuneaton Town’ following liquidation in 2008.

The club were relegated from the Conference at the end of the 02/03 season and had a brief stint in the Southern Football League, before being transferred to the Conference North. Depsite promising performances in that division in which the club twice made the play-offs but ultimately failed – they rapidly went from administration to liquidation.

The liquidation demoted the club two tiers, before three promotions in four seasons followed after they accounted for the Southern Football League Midlands Division (2009), Southern Football League Premier Division (2010) and Conference North (2012) – all three coming by virtue of the play-off system.

They have since had two comfortable mid-table finishes in the Conference National, where they remain to this day.

*Rovers hitman Paul Barnes slams home a penalty past Chris Mackenzie in the Nuneaton goal to break the deadlock in a Conference game at Liberty Way. Rovers would go on to win the game by the odd goal in five courtesy of Justin Jackson in front of 1,661 fans on 2nd March 2002*

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