The 2017/18 campaign entered the month of October this weekend and celebrated Non-League Day on Saturday, an annual event since 2010 dedicated to those in the footballing world beyond the realms of the professional game whether it be players, coaches, managers and the supporters.
The team leading the way in the top flight are Avro who made it a perfect ten out of ten (!) wins, with the latest batch of three points coming from their game with Heyside. James Hampson continued his purple patch after netting his tenth league goal of the season, with Chris Howell also on target to give their side victory at Crompton House.
Keeping up the pressure in second place are Wythenshawe Amateurs who hosted the second game in their new home at Hollyhedge Park and it was AFC Monton who were the visitors in a clash of ‘The Ammies’. Fresh from their Norman Noden Cup defeat on Wednesday night, Monton were on the losing side again as they were put to the sword in a 7-0 thrashing by Wythenshawe. Matthew Dodwell hit a hat-trick following his transfer from Manchester Gregorians and was joined on the score sheet by David Wright, Danny Egan, Joel Aikenhead and Nialle Rodney.
Following their defeat to Avro last time out, East Manchester made a return to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over current league champions Rochdale Sacred Heart to remain in third place. Liam Turner had initially given East the lead before Thomas Bradburn levelled things up but a second half brace from Brad Byrne meant the hosts claimed maximum points at Wright Robinson.
Stockport Georgians registered consecutive wins on Saturday with another 4-0 win at Cromley Road, moving them up to 11th place in the table. Joe Bevan scored twice, Gordon Beattie and Tyrone Turner from the spot sealed the win to put a brighter look on their start to the campaign.
There was late drama in an epic clash at the Oldham Academy North as Royton Town hosted Dukinfield Town. Joe Jacombes and James Done had given Royton the lead but Duki battled back to claim all three points including two late goal. Andrew Newton, Matt Burgoine and Adam Ridings all found the net for the visitors.
Two sides still without a win so far this campaign are Old Alts and Manchester Gregorians. The latter managed to claim a point from their game at Hindsford with a 2-2 draw which isn’t a bad result in itself. However, Old Alts remain rooted to the bottom of the division after a 3-0 defeat at Prestwich Heys Reserves with Jordan Burton, Lee Grimshaw and Greg Wills getting the goals for Heys.
Atherton Town boosted their promotion hopes with a fantastic 4-1 win at home to local rivals Leigh Athletic. Connor Critchley gave Town the lead before Keeran Parker equalised early on in the second half but quick-fire goals from Sam Boydell and Ben Rodgers killed off any Leigh threat to the points and the win was secured when Gaz Shaw scored Town’s fourth.
In the division’s other game of the day, Pennington got their first points of the season thanks to a 2-1 win at home to Westbury Sports. Niall Battersby and Zach Sutton got the goals for the hosts with Sam Howe getting Westbury’s reply. The win puts Pennington level on points with their opponents at the bottom of the table.
There was just one league game on Saturday which saw two of the new clubs go head to head at West Drive. League leaders Tintwistle Athletic continued their fantastic start to the season with a 4-1 win at home to Atherton LR Development. Tom Burns scored a hat-trick with Sam Swann getting the other to seal Tinny’s sixth win from seven and extend their lead at the top. Edmund Walker claimed LR’s consolation.
Rochdale Sacred Heart Res retain top spot with a tidy 3-0 win at home to Royton Town Res to maintain their 100% start to the season. Their fifth win took them two points clear of second place as Avro Res were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Walshaw Sports Res.
Springhead Res took advantage of the dropped points by beating Stockport Georgians Res 3-1 at St Johns Street. Richard Ferguson, Thomas Holroyd and Scott Owen all scored to reduce the gap between themselves and second place to four points with a game in hand. Peter Carley claimed his side’s consolation but the defeat leaves Georgians rooted to the bottom of the table making it a disastrous defence to their title.
Pennington Res got their first win of the season and it came in the form in a 2-0 score line against Old Alts Res thanks to a Louis Morris double. The win moves them up to 5th place while Old Alts remain rooted to the bottom with just a point to their name.
There was just one fixture in the division as Govan Athletic Res hosted Altrincham Hale Res which saw five goals scored. Christian Slawinski was on the double, added to by Chris Dodson and James Rayner to move Hale up to sixth while Govan are yet to get off the mark from five attempts.
There were plenty of goals scored in the day’s Murray Trophy ties, thirty to be exact in.
In Group A, Altrincham Hale go top of the group with a 6-3 win at home to Wilmslow Albion. Arron Martindale and Leigh Sprostron both scored twice, Liam Paterson and Will Pidgeon getting the others, registering Hale’s second win of the group.
Four goals and the spoils were shared at Elton Vale Sports Ground as Elton Vale hosted Govan Athletic. Lewis Benson and Jamie Treanor scored Vale’s goals while Phil Boardman and Daniel Browne got the Latics’ goals in a four-goal thriller.
Group C boasted the highest scorers of the day as Beechfield United hit eight past Hindley Juniors to go into second place. Group leaders Manchester Central were toppled for the first time in the competition as Chadderton Reserves came from behind to win their opening game of the group. Corey Knight had given Central a first half lead but Liam Eadsworth equalised shortly after the restart. Alan Beckett completed the comeback with a late winner and make it 2-1 to Chaddy.
The one game in Group D saw six goals scored as Bolton Lads & Girls Club maintain their good start to the competition. The group leaders made it two wins from two after their 4-2 victory against Chapel Town. The defeat leaves Town without a point from their first three Murray Trophy fixtures.
Uppermill Res travelled to Howe Bridge Sports Centre for their game with Atherton Town A and left with all three points to continue their winning start. They were 2-0 winners and moved up to second place in Group A thanks to Jake Caudwell and Dylan Fitzgerald, and as a result, leaves Town bottom on goal difference.
Group B also saw top versus bottom as Leigh Athletic Res hosted Breightmet United Res at Leigh Sports Village. The Tics ran out comfortable 5-2 winners on the day to make it three wins out of three.
Lancashire Amateur Shield
Walshaw Sports progressed through to the next round of the Lancashire Amateur Shield after squeezing past Thornton Cleveleys. The MFL side required a penalty shoot-out to edge out their opponents after the game finished 5-5 at 90 minutes. Walshaw eventually put their name in the hat with a 5-3 spot kick success.
West Riding Challenge Cup
It was two wins out of two for our teams in the West Riding Challenge Cup with both teams on their travels on Saturday.
Uppermill had a tough trip to Kirkby Malzeard for their tie but came away with a very impressive 5-1 win thanks to goals from Danny Gartside (2), Nathan Driscoll (2) and Phil Armstrong.
An equally impressive score line was achieved as Springhead won 4-1 at Pool AFC with Cassi (2), Leighton Stephenson and Phil Armstrong all on target for Head to see them into the second round.
Derbyshire Junior Cup North
Tintwistle Athletic Res cruised through to the next round after their 5-1 success at Railway. Connor Simpson helped the cause with a hat-trick, Josh Westmerland and Jake Knowles getting the others.
Manchester Amateur Cup
There were eight MFL teams in Manchester County action as they played their second round fixtures of the Amateur Cup with all but two sides progressing.
Chadderton EDS made light work of their tie with Old Stretfordians 3rds as they cruised to a 7-0 home win. Four goals from Matthew Wilkinson and one apiece from Hasan Ali, Jack Ward and Tom Hogg sealed Chaddy’s place in round three.
It didn’t get much better for Old Stretfordians’ Reserves as they were thrashed by the same scoreline by East Manchester Academy. George Etchells hit a hat-trick, a double from Max Perry and one each from Daniel Booth and Charlie McGrath eased the visitors through.
However, the top scorers of the round were Hollinwood Res as they won 9-4 at home to AFC Oldham 2005.
Heywood St James Res and Wythenshawe Amateurs Res both hit their opponents for six whilst on their travels, both going through to the next round. Jimmies were 6-2 winners at Parrswood Celtic Reserves and Ammies were 6-4 winners at South Manchester Res. Rhys Jones helped himself to a hat-trick in addition to a Ben Wild double with Paul Cordock getting the other.
It was good news for Heywood St James’ first team as they also went through in an enthralling seven-goal thriller. Martin Love, Lamar Harrison, James Conroy and Lee Housley getting the goals to see them past Swinton.
Manchester Gregorians Res came out on top of the all-MFL tie as they toppled Wilmslow Albion Res 3-0 at Belle Vue.
The other MFL to lose out were Boothstown Res in their game with Village Manchester. The game was level at 2-2 after 90 minutes with both goals coming from Daniel Fitch but lost 5-3 on penalties.