Firstly, the Manchester Football League hope you all had a great Christmas and wish you all the very best for 2020. To kick off the new year, we had a plethora of fixtures of which all survived the recent wet weather we have experienced. Anyhow, football is back and we look at the goings on from Saturday 4th January.
Current champions and league-leaders, Hindsford entered the new year with a five-point lead but they could only add one point to their total on their visit to St Johns Park where they faced third-placed Springhead. Ryan Fagan had given the hosts the lead but Alexander Honeyball’s late leveller earned his side a point on the road.
Dukinfield Town took advantage and closed the gap to just three points after they collected all three points from their encounter with Bolton County. Liam Delaney got Town off the mark with a superb strike from long range before Elliot Handley and Tyler Devlin added further goals to seal a 3-1 win.
Heyside move up a place after they thumped five past Beechfield United and kept a clean sheet to start off the new year in perfect fashion. Adam Dale found the net twice from two penalties while Mark Hopwood, Lee Knowles and Chris Ollerton completed the scoring at Salford Sports Village.
It was a crazy affair at the Oldham Academy North where Royton Town and Stockport Georgians produced one hell of a spectacle for the 2020 opener. Having been behind at 3-0 and 4-2 in the game, the hosts turned it around to clinch the nine-goal thriller 5-4 with the winning (own) goal coming in the injury time. Liam Wood, Wayne Dean, Luke Heron, Travis Martin and the OG registering for Town whilst Sam Noar (2), Paul Beresford and Sam John netted for Georgians.
Manchester Gregorians missed a chance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table after they fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to Chadderton Res. Matthew Wilkinson’s brace helped Chaddy’s cause with Jordan Booth getting the other for the visitors as the win sees them move up two places to eleventh.
Heywood St James got 2020 off to a winning start when they welcomed Old Alts to the Phoenix Ground. Reece Malone and Alexander James scored the hosts’ goals in the 2-1 win which moves them up to seventh. Dave Drinkwater scored Alts’ reply who remain four points off the bottom.
Rochdale Sacred Heart secured their third-straight victory when they hosted Pennington on Saturday to move them up a place to sixth. Ross Farrington scored the visitors’ first goal of the new year but it wasn’t to be on this occasion as Josh Wooler and Jack Holt both scored to seal a 2-1 win for Hearts.
It was a crucial encounter at Bridgewater Park on Saturday as top hosted second place with just goal difference separating the sides. The league leaders triumphed in emphatic fashion as they won 5-1 to maintain top spot. Following their defeat, Tinny drop to fifth with other results going against them.
Elton Vale move up to second place and are a point off the pace courtesy of a Jack Alderson brace and a George Pierce goal to give them a 3-2 win at Wilmslow Albion. Tom Crompton and Danny Pearson scored for the hosts but Albion remain in tenth place.
Atherton Town came away from Leigh Sports Village with all three points and the bragging rights after a 6-0 win over local rivals Leigh Athletic. Jordan Lloyd’s four goals helped the cause massively and was joined on the score sheet by Calam Williamson who netted twice himself.
There were seven goals scored at Hopwood Hall where Middleton Colts kicked off 2020 with a home tie against East Manchester in which the hosts edged it by the odd goal. Colts remain three points off the summit but are now in fourth spot, two points off the two teams above them whilst East drop down a place to eighth.
Moorside Rangers left Platt Lane with all three points from their encounter with Govan Athletic to stretch their unbeaten run to 7 games which dates back to September. Soman Muhammad scored for the hosts but it wasn’t to be on the day for the hosts.
It was a stalemate at Churchill Playing Fields where Uppermill and Altrincham Hale played out a 2-2 draw. Ash Ainsworth and Samuel Hatherill scored the goals for Uppermill and are now six points off the bottom.
Bolton United started 2020 just as they ended 2019 and that’s with a crucial win as they stay on course to be in contention for promotion and the title. United saw off fellow MFL newcomers FC Unsworth at Pole Lane to maintain their place at the top of the division thanks to a Shakil Abdullah brace, in addition to Nadir Patel’s strike in the 3-1 win.
Avro Res have done their own title hopes no harm after they secured a 4-0 win at Wythenshawe Amateurs. Max Davidson and Rico Stewart both scored twice at Hollyhedge Park, ensuring they stay two points off the top.
Third-placed AFC Monton couldn’t quite start the year off as well as they’d like as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Squires Lane. Mark Battersby and Jake Smith both scored for the visitors who finished the game with ten men but Hindsford Res couldn’t find a winner after Alec Crowder and Chris Hopwood had scored earlier in the game.
Rochdale Sacred Heart Res hit Breightmet United for six at Moss Park and remain seven points from the top. The visitors ran out 6-3 winners to draw level on points with third place courtesy of goals from Lewis Wild (2), Lewis Greaves (2) and Matthew Dell (2).
Astley & Tyldesley lifted themselves off the bottom with a 2-1 win at home to Hindley Juniors, their first of the campaign. The vital three points puts them level on points with Breightmet United but go above them on goal difference.
Dukinfield Town Res are the new league leaders but are only ahead by a point as Town were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Walshaw Sports Res. Michael Jones and Peter Susca scored for Town, who finished the game with ten men.
Leighton Mills scored both goals for Atherton Town Res who were 2-1 winners at home to Uppermill Res. The visitors remain rooted to the bottom as a result, despite Greg Burgess’ goal which proved to be a consolation on the day.
Maison Dinsdale was the hero for Rochdale Sacred Heart A after he scored both goals in their 2-1 win away to Stockport Georgians Res. The win moves them up two places and into third as they sit four points off the leaders.
Pennington Res now sit in fourth spot following their 3-1 win at home to Tintwistle Athletic Res on Saturday thanks to Luke Davies, Bradley Dlamini and Declan Daly. The win marks their first on home soil since October while Tinny were previously unbeaten in the same period.
Stephan Howard scored for Boothstown Res in their 1-1 draw at Heyside Res as the visitors closed the gap to six points between them and league leaders Dukinfield Town A. Boothstown still have five games in hand over Duki so a point on Saturday isn’t the worst result in the bigger picture.
It remained goalless at Agecroft Farm where Moorside Rangers Res welcomed Heywood St James Res. Both teams remain in the bottom half of the table with a point separating the two sides.
Hindsford Dev maintained their position at the top of the table following their 4-2 win at home to Springhead A. They held a seven-point lead at the summit and they've done all they can to ensure they stay there. Connor Grimes, James Lindsay, Jonny Morris and Dan Stone all on target for the Tonics while Hayden Smith and Hussam Haj Mustafa netted for Springhead.
AFC Monton Res move up to second place with a 4-0 win at home to Govan Athletic Res thanks to goals from Brandon Dawson, Zach Faulkner, Matthew Taylor and Cale Byers.
Dukinfield Town Dev drop a place to third after a disappointing defeat at home to Beechfield United Res. Beechy upset the odds with an emphatic 5-0 win to ease their woes of finishing near the bottom.
Atherton Town A registered a good result at home to Breightmet United Res thanks to a hat-trick from Ashley Palin. He helped his side to a 5-1 win along with goals from Rhys Bustard and Gareth Slater despite James Moscorp's reply for United.
Moorside Rangers U21's clinched their third win of the season when they travelled to Bolton United Res on Saturday afternoon. The 2-1 victory lifts them up a place to 10th and denies Bolton the chance of moving up to second spot.
Bolton Lads & Girls Club Res triumphed against Walshaw Sports A with a 4-1 victory with the huge help of an Adam Spencer hat-trick. Luke Howarth also found the net at Hacken Bridge whilst James McDonald scored for Walshaw.
West Riding Challenge Trophy
Springhead Res booked their place in the next round after they saw off Golcar United Res. The MFL progressed from Round Four with a 3-2 win.