Saturday 7 August 2021
Typically, in the lead up to the opening weekend we saw heavy downfalls of rain which potentially could have caused some of the grass-pitch fixtures to be postponed but we were glad to see we got a full fixture programme completed.
Saturday saw the teams in the Premier Division and Division Two get their season underway while Division One don’t get their campaign going until 21 August. A decision was made by the MFL committee to delay the start for Division One due to lack of referees available with it being the early FA Cup rounds across the region.
Divisions Three, Four and Five all begin their campaigns on Saturday 28 August.
Hindsford, who are currently the top flight holders (2018/19), travelled to Radcliffe Road to take on Bolton County. The Tonics got the three points courtesy of Adam McKillop and Luke Sylvester who both scored in a 2-1 win after County's Freddie Stevens had originally given the hosts the lead inside two minutes from the spot.
Six goals and the spoils were shared at David Lewis Playing Fields where Beechfield United played host to Chadderton Reserves. Sam Bolton (2) and Callum Davies both scored for Beechy while Rescova Hamelton, Sam Traynor and Matt Wilkinson all scored for the visitors as both teams were made to settle for a point each.
It didn’t go to plan for Royton Town, who kicked off their campaign at their new home of the Vestacare Stadium, as Dukinfield Town’s Jack Saw stole the limelight. The Duki man scored four times in addition to an own goal in their 5-1 win to start their season in emphatic fashion. Celestino Nunes scored late on for Town on a miserable afternoon.
Also scoring five on Saturday were Rochdale Sacred Heart who saw off Heywood St James at Fox. The hosts romped to a 5-0 victory on home soil thanks to goals from James Hebb (2), Matthew Landregan (2) and Mike Kearney.
The Gilgryst Cup winners, Springhead got off to a winning start as they travelled to Walshaw Sports. Danny Toft equalised after the hosts took the lead from the spot through Lee Gaskell before goals from Jordan Jones-Waite and Nathan Lamb both scored before the break to make it 3-1. The hosts pulled another goal back by Jordan Hardman with 15 mins left but couldn’t manage a further goal as it finished 3-2 to ‘Head.
Manchester Gregorians got their campaign off to a winning start as they welcomed Stockport Georgians to Belle Vue Sports Village. Adam Dahou had originally put Georgians ahead but James Purfield (2), Marcus Nicholson and Dave Barker all scored for Gregs to put them 4-1 up before Paul Connor pulled one back late on as it finished 4-2.
It was a closely fought contest at Crossford Bridge where just one goal separated Old Alts and Heyside. Clinton Okunghe scored the only goal of the game to give the visitors a winning start to the 21/22 season.
Beechfield United 3-3 Chadderton Reserves
Bolton County 1-2 Hindsford
Manchester Gregorians 4-2 Stockport Georgians
Rochdale Sacred Heart 5-0 Heywood St James
Royton Town 1-5 Dukinfield Town
Old Altrinchamians 0-1 Heyside
Walshaw Sports 2-3 Springhead
It rained goals on the opening day in Division Two with a massive 49 scored across the seven fixtures which included an eleven-goal thriller at Oasis Academy Oldham.
Avenue made their MFL debut with a trip to face Hollinwood in a fixture that will throw up a spectacular score line. Carlton Norford (2), Tyler Smith and Maison Dinsdale all scored for the visitors but it was the hosts who would secure three points with the 7-4 victory thanks to Nathan Bourne’s hat trick and braces from Alex Brown and Jack Evans.
Astley and Tyldesley started their campaign at home to MFL newcomers, Daisy Hill Development and gave them a tough welcome. The hosts went two goals up when Kaiden Stanistreet and Alex Crowder netted but Hill fought back to level it up only for Callum McMahon to re-establish the lead for Astley before the break. However, it was a one-sided second half as Keeran Parker, Alex Cheetham, Alex Crowder and Derrell George all scored further goals to secure a 7-2 victory at Gin Pit Village.
Two of the new clubs went head-to-head on the opening day as AFC Burnley hosted Bolton Borough at Stanley Sports Hub. Daniel Maymond and Sohaib Ahmed both scored for Burnley but it was Bolton who took all three points as goals from Frank Zoltak, Jack Hughes and Kallum Russell sealed a 3-2 win.
Jason Knight stole the headlines in Hindley Juniors’ first game of the season as they eased to an 8-1 win at home to Oldham Community. Knight scored four times and was joined on the score sheet by Joshua Cheston, Albert Egboh, Michael Morris and Oliver Parkinson at Harrison Playing Fields with Abdul Bangura netting for Oldham.
Breightmet United travelled to New Alder Park to face AFC Monton who will be one of the teams tipped to challenge for promotion this season. The hosts gave themselves a good start as they went on to win 6-1 with Brandon Dawson (2), Ben McNamara, Max White, Mitchell Nolan and Adam Campbell all getting on the score sheet for The Ammies with Michael Stewart netting United's consolation.
Two promotion candidates went head to head at the Vestacare Stadium where Avro Reserves hosted Bolton United. In a closely fought affair, it was the visitors who would come out on top with a 3-2 victory. Ashley Carter, Amin Munshi and Ismal Matadar all scored for Bolton with Lewis Unwin and Sam Kellet netting for Avro.
At Wright Robinson, Manchester Central made their MFL return with a 3-0 defeat against Leigh Genesis. Dan Monaghan opened the scoring with a peach from outside the box before a Taylor Parkinson penalty doubled Leigh's lead shortly before the break. Jamie McCready added a third in the second half and saw his side through to a 3-0 win.
AFC Burnley 2-3 Bolton Borough
AFC Monton 6-1 Breightmet United
Astley and Tyldesley 7-2 Daisy Hill Development
Avro Reserves 2-3 Bolton United
Hollinwood 7-4 Avenue
Hindley Juniors 8-1 Oldham Community
Manchester Central 0-3 Leigh Genesis
TOP GOAL SCORERS
Jack Saw - Dukinfield Town - 4
Sam Bolton - Beechfield United - 2
James Hebb - Rochdale Sacred Heart - 2
Matthew Landregan - Rochdale Sacred Heart - 2
James Purfield - Manchester Gregorians - 2
Luke Sylvester - Hindsford - 2
Jason Knight - Hindley Juniors - 4
Nathan Bourne - Hollinwood - 3
Alex Brown - Hollinwood - 2
Alec Crowder - Astley and Tyldesley - 2
Brandon Dawson - AFC Monton - 2
Jack Evans - Hollinwood - 2
Carlton Norford - Avenue - 2