Fan Club

ATHERTON LR 0 SHELLEY 4

NWCFL First Division North

Finally. We get some proper football. The rain holds off for a couple of days and Crilly Park was managed by the LR staff to a level that was acceptable for the game to go ahead. The pitch a little heavy but the same for both teams, credit must go to those responsible, at any club, that manages to get a game on.

On a dry if a little chilly night at Crilly Park LR welcomed promotion hopefuls Shelley who had made the trip from Yorkshire.

Considering the amount of rain the pitch looked in heavy but in good condition.

I like the other club in Atherton. When I started watching football again they were at the same level as ‘Colls’ but as their rivals have gone on and on LR along with the other local NWCFL side, Daisy Hill, have struggled to get a foothold and climb the ladder.

LR kicked up the hill in a first half where both teams went for it. After 10 mins the visitors took the lead through Waller who finished clinically coming in off his wing.

LR hit the bar, Day saved well as LR threatened.

The club, once FA Vase semi-finalists, have had some good results this season, wins over Emley AFC and AFC Liverpool have shown they have potential, their lack of consistency means they are in the wrong half of the table. I am sure that they will look back on this season as an opportunity missed to challenge for one of the four promotion spots.

At the other end, the final ball was close but just missing as Waller and O’Keefe threatened.

The h-t score of 0-1 was probably right.

The 2nd half belonged to Shelley. A goal from O’Keefe on the hour was followed up 10 mins with the 3rd.

Which is exactly where Shelley find themselves, fairly new to Step 6 and after consolidating in their debut season they have certainly kicked on. I was impressed with their performance, in particular after the break and am sure the ywill find themselves in the Premier Division next season.

This came from the penalty spot. Waller claiming his second. He got his hat-trick at the death as a well worked move was finished off with ease.

A deserved win for the visitors. Though I am sure LR will be thinking what if?

Attendance: 78

Moment of the Match: Matthew Waller finishing off his hat-trick. A complete performance from the visitors winger.

Match Tunes: Damned Damned Damned – The Damned.

 

Denis

WIDNES 1 COLNE 2

Northern Premier League North West Division

Little point in disguising it, this was not my first game choice. As Storm Dennis started it destruction of the fixture list I kept casting my eye to this clash. I am probably not alone with the thought that the Halton Stadium is not one of my favourite grounds to watch football, however, it has a great advantage, games are rarely called off. So, in the end I jumped on the Liverpool bound train and alighted at Widnes Station.

Following a 25 minutes stroll in the wind I was at the ground and trying to find my way in, this time it was at the turnstiles at the town end of the main stand. Drink and programme purchased I took my seat as the teams warmed up in pouring rain. Weather that had changed to bright sunshine with a glorious rainbow over North Cheshire by the times they came out for kick-off.

Very little happened for the first quarter of this match other than both teams trying to cope with the wind, especially in the south-east corner where the corner flag touched the ground at times the wind was so strong. Then we had a moment that the nome keeper Mottram will want to forget as soon as possible, a long clearance from Hasler-Clegg bounced harmlessly towards him just outside his box, he moved round the ball to clear it and missed it. Colne’s striker Bradley was onto the loose goalbound bouncing ball making sure and sidefooting into the empty goal. 0-1.

Widnes tried to get back into the game, but the visitors playing 3 at the back looked comfortable. Player/Joint-Manager Towey went close, Jennings tried a clever flick, but Colne stood firm. With 5 minutes to go Bradley was played in on the edge of the area, his first touch let him down, even so it needed a good tackle from Humphries to stop him, McQuade picked up the loose ball, forward to Steele, he waited for the defender to close and went past him with ease playing in Murray who was 45 yards out but through against the Reds keeper Burton, Hasler-Clegg in chase. What happened next was quite bizarre. As he got in the area Burton came out, he poked the ball past him, the ball was bobbling towards the goal, but Hasler-Clegg would surely clear it. He slid in, but didn’t even swing a foot. As the ball hit the post the defender slid into the net, the ball then spun off the post around the prone full-back and somehow across the line. 1-1. One of the weirdest goals I have ever seen. The Colne defenders team-mates and manager did not look best pleased with the number 3.

Back came Colne and Bradley, the lively forward was played in on the inside right channel, lobbing the ball over Mottram only to see bounce wide of the far post. Half-time. The second part of the half a lot more lively and better than the first.

After the restart both teams tried to assert themselves on this match, the visitors going close when Bradley failed to get a full touch on Hey’s cross. The Whites half-time substitute Hodkinson tested Burton from distance wit ha fierce effort in the swirling wind, the number one keeping it out. With a quarter of the game to go we got our winner, good build-up in midfield and Hughes was free on the left wing, free he had plenty of time to pick out Bradley who took his chance well from 7 yards out. Mottram no chance. 1-2.

The hosts came again, Steele went on a run, his placed shot bringing off a nice for the photographers save from Burton and that was pretty much that. As various non-league managers and coaches left just before the end, all taking in a game as their own teams had fallen foul of the weather this fan trudged back to the station in the rain and off home.

Attendance: 204

Moment of the Match: Cannot believe I am not going for either of the goal howlers, but it has to go to the worst electronic scoreboard I have seen in years. Needs a bit of TLC.

Match Tunes: Plastic Letters – Blondie.

Logic vs Emotion

BRENTFORD 3 MIDDLESBROUGH 2

Football League Championship

It was a long long day, but a quite enjoyable one.

Leaving home before 7am to head into Manchester city centre and sample my first ever experience of National Express, and so we headed off to London. Following Virgin Trains’ demise the cost of train tickets to the capital has shot up dramatically, taking the coach may well be my new way of heading to games down south.

We arrived ahead of schedule and after grabbing a bite to eat I jumped on a train changing at Clapham Junction before heading over to Brentford. The station is about a 10 minutes stroll from Griffin Park, Brentford’s home for another few months. Their move to a new home nearby is imminent, and a last chance to visit The Bees home of 116 years, the third oldest Football League ground in London, a tag that will pass to Loftus Road.

As with every such move it must be a hard decision to make, but one that I am sure will benefit the club in the long run. Also be another new ground for me when I get round to visiting, but until the summer I have 69 grounds left to visit to complete the top 4 leagues.

So I took my seat in the Braemar Road Upper Stand on a weird seat on the back row in the aisle, more than a little uncomfortable, but it served its purpose. Out came the sides into a sun bathed West London afternoon. It took a little while for the teams to get going and it was the hosts that nearly broke the deadlock, Mbeumo swinging in a cross to the far post from the right wing, somehow Benrahma kept it in play nodding it back to DaSilva his header hit the post before squirming goalbound. Somehow Fry cleared it off the line.

Midway through the half the hosts took the lead. A corner was swung in deep Pinnock nodded it back in Jeanvier poked the ball goalbound, this time Saville cleared, a scramble was then interrupted by the referee pointing to his watch to let everyone know that technology had advised Saville hadn’t cleared it before it crossed the line. 1-0. Other than a fair bit of huff and puff that was the half.

After changing the board down from 9 games to go at their current home down to 8 the sides came back out and the match got going in earnest. Woodgate, he of own goal and red card on his debut for Real Madrid, must have inspired his players with his words, because they looked a different side.

Firstly, Johnson’s left wing cross curled over Raya and back off the post before Wing went close twice for Boro. It wasn’t all one way as the Bees looked dangerous on the break, though it was the visitors who struck next on the hour and it was Wing who finally got his reward. Picking the ball up 30 yards out he was given so much time to advance and pick his spot beating Raya and the ball settling in the back of the net via  the upright. Cue limbs galore in the away end. 1-1. It was a short-lived parity. Boro failed to clear their lines and Mbeumo struck instantly, his shot taking a wicked deflection off Moukoudi, Pears in the visiting goal was unlucky in not stopping the ball crossing the line. 2-1.

Five minutes later and we were level again. A Boro corner from the right found Fletcher. His header found the back of the net. Boro fans rejoiced. 2-2.

Both sides went for it. Either side looked like they could win it. Brentford took their opportunity when it came. Norgaard on a rare venture forward crossed and the ball broke kindly for Watkins. He finished. 3-2. That was that.

I headed off home as Storm Ciara started to hit these shores, finally arriving home after midnight. A very good day and quite cheap too.

Attendance: 12,285

Moment of the Match: The raw emotion of a full away end when they score. Twice.

Match Tunes: Fanfare for the Comic Muse – The Divine Comedy

All That Jazz

AFC LIVERPOOL 4 AFC BLACKPOOL 2

NWCFL First Division North

I am not going to be too welcome watching The Mechanics at this rate. Following last weeks loss to Emley I was in attendance again as they were defeated; this time at the hands of The Little Reds.

Following a pleasant train journey I disembarked at Blundellsands & Crosby into a cold wind coming in off the River Mersey, not too bad when I was walking to the ground but biting once I was in Rossett Park, home of Marine AFC where Liverpool are tenants. That wind became bitter.

It has been a while since I have been here and a bit of work has been done behind the main stand, though sadly, most of it was closed for today’s game. I am glad to say that the Tea Bar was open and hot food and drink was served by two lovely, but very cold ladies. Thank you! I love this ground. The main stand is behind the goal at the College Road end, with standing below a fair size seating area, as mentioned with the food facilities, this is where you will find all the club’s amenities. Opposite at the River end is an open terrace that looks like it could hold a fair few if required. Now, for the quirkiness I like the best. The ground is sandwiched between houses on Rossett Road and Jubilee Road. So much so that only a narrow walkway/terrace along the Jubilee Road side is available to move between the two ends. On top of this, all the houses have their numbers displayed inside the ground so club officials know either where they get their ball back from or who they owe a few quid too for a smashed window!

I came to this game expecting goals. Especially from the hosts. In their last 4 home games they had found the net on 4 occasions, including against fellow promotion candidates Emley AFC, they would make it five on the trot today. There can’t be too many teams that are on that kind of run at the moment.

Liverpool took the lead after five or so minutes, a long raking ball from Stephens at the back was nodded down by McGrane, Blackpool’s keeper Kellett was off his line and Cockerline coolly lifted the ball over him and into the net. 1-0. For the next 15 minutes it was pretty much all Liverpool. They then got their second. Genius or good fortune? Only Hardacre will know. The hosts had a free-kick on the left-wing, Hardacre swung the ball in. Cross? Shot? Either way it doesn’t really matter as it sailed straight over Kellett’s head and into the back of the net. 2-0. This could be painful for Blackpool.

It actually seemed to do the reverse, it shook them into life and just before the half hour they were back in it. Minutes after forcing a good save from the home keeper they beat him. A free-kick just outside the box was curled home by Thomas through the wall giving Carr in the home goal no chance. 2-1. We had a game. The visitors were in control and looked the more likely to score again, though Liverpool looked dangerous on the break, especially Hardacre. It was the right winger who came closest to scoring again before the break, this time from the right. Did he cross? Did he shoot? Again it sailed over Kellett, fortunately for the keeper as he turned the ball bounced back into his arms off the foot of the post. Half-time and chance for a warming brew. Very much welcome.

The hosts looked a little brighter after the restart, but 10 minutes in we were all square. Again a cross cum shot was on hand to provide a goal. From Blackpool’s left wing it curled viciously and looked to be beating Carr, he made a great one handed stop, but the only player to react was Thomas who snapped up the rebound. 2-2. It was deserved. For a while the visitors were on top and it looked like they were going to be the winners if the game was going to get one.

With a quarter of the game we had the moment of controversy and it gave the hosts the lead. A through ball from midfield found Schorah in so much space that it looked suspiciously offside. Was it? I wasn’t level so I don’t know. The assistant said not, so lets be controversial and go with that eh? The Liverpool man drew the keeper before selfishly laying the ball off to McGrane to finish. 3-2.

That goal took the wind out of The Mechanics sails and whilst they continued to huff and puff you got the feeling the game was now away from them and any further strikes would come from the Reds. It did. As we were in time added on AFC Liverpool kept up that incredible scoring run. Another through ball, substitute Lyons was through on goal, on his own he finished with class. 4-2.

As the final whistle went, I headed back into the wind and rain to get to Blundellsands & Crosby station, the teams to the dressing rooms, I would expect AFC Liverpool thought they deserved the 3 points, their opponents probably thought they deserved at least a share of the spoils. I could understand both points of view.

Next up for AFC Liverpool at home is Cheadle Town. Another 4?

Attendance: 80

Moment of the Match: Not part of the match, but a nod and fist bump to whoever prepares what has to be the nicest toilet I have ever been to at any football ground. Amazing.

Match Tunes: Crocodiles – Echo & the Bunnymen – For me, the best band ever to come out of this city.

Play for Today

AFC BLACKPOOL 0 EMLEY AFC 3

NWCFL First Division North

Some teams just catch the eye don’t they?

I have seen league leaders Lower Breck dismantle promotion chasing Daisy Hill, 4-0 up in 20 minutes and game over. Last week it was in-form Prestwich Heys play like a team and see off AFC Darwen. This Saturday, it was Emley AFC.

This was a different kind of performance. Playing with 3 at the back, wing-backs and a tight midfield, 2nd in the league showed why they are there. Though I must say after this performance I am a little surprised that they have conceded the second most of the top 7.

AFC Blackpool had a fair amount of possession. They attacked. But I cannot say that they troubled Clarke in the visitors goal too much. He, like Price, Kherbouche and Cyrus in front of him were solid. Claisse sat in front of these three was protective and made the team tick. Up front, Bordman and Eyles were eye-catching. Those not mentioned here put in just as good a performance.

The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes, Eyles finishing after being played in, it was a warning that wasn’t heeded. 0-1. Blackpool then had their best spell of the game, forcing a number of corners, trying to find a hole in the defence, whilst the Emley continued to look dangerous on the break or from 45 yards as Bordman went close with 2 very long range efforts.

The score remained close at the break after debutant home keeper Kellett, borrowed from their big neighbours, Blackpool FC, pulled off a couple of close range reaction saves to deflect efforts wide.

After a warming brew to get out of the biting Lancashire wind we were underway again, the game following the same pattern until the tangerine’s midfielder Fishwick was shown a red card after a second yellow. This booking was nailed on. I did think his first in the opening 45 minutes was a little harsh, but I wasn’t as close as the referee. Emley were now in total control.

They then went about closing it off in style, with a quarter of the game remaining, it was 0-2, Bordman cleverly laying off the ball behind him for Claisse to strike in from 20 yards, unstoppable. The third was added with a little more than 15 minutes remaining, when once again Eyles was played in on goal. Once again he scored. 0-3. And that was that. 3 points for the visitors and a class performance to boot. For Blackpool time to shake themselves down and come again.

Finally, a couple of mentions for the hosts, thanks to Billy Singleton for his time for a quick chat as he was writing out the teamsheet and club photographer Adam Gee for his time pre-match, hope to see you soon fella.

That walk back to Squires Gate station was a bit chilly I tell you!

Attendance: 72

Moment of the Match: Emley’s second goal. Bordman’s lay off with the sole of his boot backwards to the oncoming Claisse who then struck an unstoppable effort rising beyond Kellett’s grasp. Class.

Match Tunes: Seventeen Seconds – The Cure. A nod to one of the town’s sons, Robert Smith.

Geezers Need Excitement

PRESTWICH HEYS 2 AFC DARWEN 1

NWCFL First Division North

I think every hopper has clubs that they prefer to go to for a variety of reasons. A really warm welcome. Ease of getting there. Exciting football. Well, Heys tick all three of those boxes for me.

Since their promotion to the NWCFL in 2016 I have been here five times. Five victories for Heys. 24 goals for and 6 against, almost averaging out at a 5-1 home win. I have been long overdue a return. With a new manager at the helm, Heys are in a mid-table battle with a few clubs (including their opponents on the day, AFC Darwen) where a nice little run is potentially going to have them in the promotion race.

I arrived at Adie Moran Park after a short walk from the Metrolink and was pleased to notice that we were joined by Assistant Referee Kat McEvoy, one of the rare Female Officials that can be spotted in these parts.

With the game underway it looked like the visitors who were the sharper of the sides and so it proved when they took the lead just shy of the 10 minutes mark. Heys playing the ball around at the back, keeper Simpson was put under pressure and his pass miss-hit giving Creech a chance, his low shot was well saved by the stopper, but he couldn’t prevent Edwards from slamming home the loose rebound. 0-1.

The next 15 minutes or so were a battle of wills, both sides trying to gain the upper hand, the change in the game came with Heys swapping their wingers, when Shawcross and Hill moved to their more natural sides they caused problems. Suddenly full-backs were being beaten. Crosses were coming in. An equaliser was inevitable. Surely? It came just after the half hour mark and from a cross. After more home pressure, Shawcross swung in a deep cross and the ball as if being remote controlled was too high for Stone’s grasp, hit the top of the far upright and nestled into the back of the net. 1-1.

Half-time came too soon for the hosts as they continued to press. After the break, the battle for supremacy was reset. The visitors had moments. Back would come Heys. Midway through the half Darwen had the ball in the net. Offside.

With 15 minutes remaining the ball was in the net again. AFC Darwen’s. This time it counted. This was the winner. A corner on the right swung in to the far post by Shawcross. Out of Stone’s grasp and met by Bellamy, Heys’ defender, his header hit the back of the net. 2-1. Cue celebrations. Whilst the defenders run, timing and header were spot on, his knee-slide was poor!

Heys won. The moved above AFC Darwen into 10th, just 8 points off a promotion place and they have a game in hand. They might just make it.

Attendance: 129

Moment of the Match: I don’t normally do this, but I would like to use this bit for a ‘Man of the Match’. Heys’ number 4 Rothwell. Starting as a holding midfielder, his protection was good, reading of the game excellent. Moving further forward later, his engine was incredible. A joy to watch.

Match Tunes: Original Pirate Material – The Streets

So Blue

IRLAM 4 MAINE ROAD 1

Manchester Premier Cup Quarter Final

Sometimes things work out for a reason.

This game being postponed the evening before and put back 24 hours meant that I could attend. I ummed and aahed between this and my original choice, but the news that Mr and Mrs Fungalpunk and rljohnny were going to be in attendance swung my decision. Irlam it was.

So for just the third time in the last 12 months I was off to Silver Street. The last 2 had finished in defeat for the hosts. In fact I had to go back to September 2017 for my last home win for them, a 2-1 defeat of Parkgate from Rotherham way in the FA Vase. It was only a few months later that I last saw Maine Road win on their travels, a 4-0 thumping of Abbey Hey in December of the same year.

A place in the semi’s and a trip to FC United of Manchester awaited the victors, a decent reward for either of these teams and a few quid as a bonus too, so there was a fair bit to play for as we got underway.

At half-time, I was stood with the afore-mentioned folks discussing just how charmed the visitors goal had been. Irlam had been the better of the sides and had looked the more likely to score, but that had not taken into account the luck of O’Carroll in the visitors goal. It started with a clearance bouncing off an attacker straight into his arms. The half finished not longer after the woodwork had been struck for the second time. There had been a number of other chances. Though to be fair, Road had some too.

As we got back to the action John remarked that a mistake would lead to the opener. He was correct, with both of the goals scored just before the hour. Maine Road’s defence did their best Jamie Pollock impression to allow Perry put the ball in their net. 1-0. Feeling outdone, Irlam kindly gifted Coop an open goal for an almost immediate equaliser. 1-1.

So to the final third of the half, and 3 more goals that were awaiting us all. With penalties peering over the horizon, substitute Malumo showed a trick, beat his opponent and flicked the ball over O’Carroll with all the nonchalance of a Premier League showmen. Brilliant finish. 2-1.

Any hope Maine Road had of recalling those disappearing penalties were well and truly stamped on by Irlam’s Cassell. With 5 minutes remaining he scored with ease from the spot. 3-1. He added his second and the hosts fourth with a fine header from a corner as the clock struck 90. 4-1.

So as we all made our way home, massive thanks to John for the lift back to Urmston, I think the general consensus of opinion was that Irlam deserved to progress but the final score was a little unfair on the visitors.

Attendance: 95

Moment of the Match: Malumo’s goal. Well his finish. So cool. Taken with an ease that you rarely see.

Match Tunes: For You – Prince

Buzzbomb

TRAFFORD 5 RAMSBOTTOM UNITED 2

Northern Premier League Cup 2nd Round

Terminator 2. Godfather 2.

Two films that I can think of where the sequel is better than the first one.

As meetings between two teams go this will go down as a much better sequel than the previous meeting. The game on New Years Day was not the best, I am sure all 243 of us who were that day would agree.

This was a belter. For the hosts made just 3 changes from the previous meeting, whilst for Rammy just 5 survived. Maybe, just maybe, they have one eye on promotion. Though the biggest change was on the Trafford left wing. Palma. Boy did he turn up. Virtually everything the hosts did either started with him or he was involved somewhere along the line. He turned United’s right-back Moran inside out. Several times.

The hosts took the lead on 10 minutes through Kenny, started on the left, involving Palma, the striker was left with a golden chance that he took. 1-0. The winger visibly grew in confidence. Minutes later he was in full flow running at Rammy’s defence, they stopped him by bringing him down. It was in the area. Penalty. Palma slammed it home. 2-0.

A third was added just before the interval. Moments after the visitors defender Thompson lambasted an official for “killing” them, he trapped the ball beautifully in the area, fell to the side to allow Trafford’s Egerton an easy finish. Killing yourself sir. 3-0.

Trafford continued where they left off after the break. In an almost biblical parting of the sea, Palma ran right through United’s defence and finished with the lesser spotted right foot. Too easy. 4-0. Game over right?

Oh not on your life. Trafford’s skipper Egerton decided it was all too comfortable. A couple of minutes after his side went four ahead he glanced a perfect header past his keeper Cooper. 4-1. Another couple of minutes later he gave away a penalty. Oh Mr Egerton! Evangelinos got his third on this ground this year as he scored. 4-2. Very much game on.

And for 20 minutes the game went from end to end, the hosts looking increasingly nervy. The visitors increasingly desperate.

With five minutes to go the game was settled. A corner saw a bullet header from defender Baird leave United’s keeper Wade with no chance. 5-2. We had some handbags following the goal which helped to round off a fun evening.

Loved it!

Attendance: 129

Moment of the Match: Sorry Mr Moran. But it has to be Palma turning you more times than a steak on a bbq. You must have been dizzy when you got home.

Match Tunes: Plastic Surgery Disasters – Dead Kennedys. Keeping with the same band from the game on 1 January 2020.

The Watcher

ABBEY HULTON UNITED 0 ELLESMERE RANGERS 2

NWCFL First Division South

This was a trip that was long long overdue.

You see the problem this groundhopper has is that I do not drive, thus making trips to Stoke-on-Trent and the likes a nightmare for a midweek game, but also at times not far enough away for a Saturday. That needs to change. Every time I visit this part of the world everybody makes me feel very welcome.

If you get the chance to visit this corner of north-east Stoke then you must, where whatever the weather the warmest of welcomes awaits.

Entry to Drayton Beaumont Park is through the car park that is on Birches Head Road, the guys on the gate are very friendly and will assist with any advice required as will Dave who is the next person you will meet, he is on tunes duty and an absolute star. Any hopper will be made to feel right at home by the time you venture past the clubhouse, which is your place for a pint. Walking in the direction of the pitch the food bar is on your right and this is a must, the ladies working in there are so friendly, Staffordshire Oatcakes a speciality and available with a variety of fillings. For those not Oatcake inspired, pies, chips, peas etc are all available.

Unfortunately, only 50% of the ground is accessible, the River Side, where the dugouts are and the far end are off limits. At the Clubhouse end in addition to Dave and the Tea Bar are a number of fantastic wooden seats; to the east are 2 covered seating areas along with plenty of room for uncovered standing.

With both teams at the wrong end of the table this was always going to be a tense game. Somebody could have told the visiting keeper Cairns. Flying out he brought down a United attacker, was it in the box? The referee originally looked to have given a penalty, then changed his mind, his assistant was moving towards the goal to take up a position for a penalty. They then had a chat. Free-kick. Correct decision I thought. I also thought that Cairns was lucky to get away without a caution given United’s attack being halted.

The visitors looked the more likely to score, they hit the post midway through the half. It was a warning that went unheeded by United. A minute or so later they went behind, good work on the left and a dangerous cross was whipped that had to be dealt with. Unfortunately for the hosts it was one of their defenders who turned the ball past his own keeper. 0-1. The goal shook Abbey Hulton into a bit of life and they threatened a bit more for the rest of the half, but the visitors should have gone into the break with their lead double what it was, as their #10 went through in on goal only to slot his chance wide of the goal.

Following the chilly 15 minutes where substitutes warm-up a bit, also called half-time, United came out on a bit of a mission. The ball was played forward quickly, whether it be down the middle or from the wings and Rangers were under pressure. The bar was hit from a corner, it bounced down about a yard in play, though that didn’t stop a home fan from screaming at the officials that it was over the line, think he was the only guy in the ground that thought so. United were getting close.

Rangers defence held firm, the pressure was ramped up even more, but United just couldn’t create that clear cut chance. Then with a quarter of the game left Rangers got the goal that finished the match off. Again it was a good cross that was United’s undoing, only this time it was a visiting player who scored, 0-2. The club’s twitter account gave it to Taylor, the league’s website says Williams. Apologies, I can’t help you any more than that. Whoever it was it certainly took some of the wind out of Abbey Hulton’s sails. Which was a shame as the game had been building and building.

Abbey Hulton United continued to huff and puff but I think they realised it was not their day, Ellesmere Rangers continued to defend resolutely. Cairns in the visiting goal waited an age for the ball to come down outside of his box and fouled an onrushing striker, receiving a caution in the process. Lucky he wasn’t booked earlier.

For effort and continued perseverance United deserved something out of this game and their current run of 6 straight defeats must come to an end soon. Surely. They have a massive game next week against fellow strugglers Barnton.

Rangers are flying! Fourth in the form table, 4 wins in their last 6 games and since Courtney and Brown were installed as new managers in early October winning 9 out of 16 games shows just what progress the club is making and I am sure they are looking forward to their quarter-final in the NWCFL League Cup.

Attendance: 89

Moment of the Match: When Rangers keeper Cairns, fouled an opponent for the second time outside the area. The lad certainly plays without fear. Love it.

Match Tunes: Motorhead – Motorhead. Lemmy. For me, Stoke-on-Trent’s most talented musical son.