Saturday 24th October - Review

By Simon Harrison

We cover off the results from the weekend and take a look at the fixtures coming up.

PREMIER DIVISION

In a day of surprise results, and marred by biblical rainfall at times, three of the Division’s unbeaten records tumbled, whilst at the other end of the table, the last two teams without a point picked up their first positive results with a win and a draw.

In what was a very close encounter, Rochdale Sacred Heart saw their unbeaten start brought to an end at Woodhams Park, where Dukinfield Town secured a fine win with the only goal, MITCH ANDREW the Town scorer.

Hearts retain top spot however, though their lead is now down to one point, and this loss is their first in eleven games stretching back to January.

The rise of Stockport Georgians in recent weeks continued with another high-scoring victory, putting Pennington to the sword with a 4-2 win at Cromley Road, which ended the visitors’ unbeaten start.

KYLE WYCH opened the scoring for Stockport and JAMIE PICKERING doubled their advantage before DARYL COPE reduced the arrears for Pennington.

The visitors’ hopes of a comeback were then dashed by a second goal from WYCH before Georgians live-wire JOE BEVAN netted his tenth of the season to establish a three-goal cushion, but Pennington were not quite finished as OBUA MUGALULA pulled a goal back.

The only team without the blemish of defeat are now Springhead, who picked up a prize scalp on the road with a 5-3 at Hindsford in a game that lived up to pre-match predictions of a humdinger.

The visitors led early on when MATTY BARLOW found the net from a Liam Eadsworth cut back, but the lead would last only seven minutes as ALEX HONEYBALL headed home an equaliser for the Tonics.

Recent returnee to ‘Head RYAN HANSON converted a rebound on thirty-six minutes and JORDAN HALL slotted home a penalty just before the half-time whistle was blown to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.

Nine minutes into the second half and HANSON added his second, exploiting a goalkeeping error to give Springhead a healthy lead, but Hindsford responded quickly, and reduced the arrears with a close-range header from HONEYBALL just before the hour, his second of the game.

With ten minutes left on the clock, ‘Head substitute ADAM NUTTALL headed home his team’s fifth to again establish a three-goal lead, but a fine free-kick from HONEYBALL sealed a fine hat-trick, his tenth goal of the season, and brought the Tonics back in touch so set up a grand finale, but Springhead held their nerve to clinch a third successive victory.

After a mixed start to the campaign, Old Alts banked a third win of the season with an eye-catching 3-1 triumph over an unbeaten Bolton County at Crossford Bridge, taking the lead on twelve minutes, DAVE DRINKWATER taking advantage of a defensive error.

County have been the Division’s surprise package so far, and levelled just before the half-hour mark through MATT LEATHAM, but DRINKWATER was to prove the difference between the teams as he scored twice more, one from a retaken penalty, to seal Alts’ win.

Royton Town and Walshaw Sports shared four goals in an entertaining encounter at the Oasis Academy, JOE HEAP gave Town a first half lead, but DYLAN MCMAHON levelled things up before the break.

When HEAP restored Royton’s lead, it looked good for a first win since the opening day of the season, but their hopes were dashed when LEE GASKELL converted a late penalty for Walshaw to leave the game all-square at 2-2.

Beechfield United will be delighted to get their first point in the bag from a 2-2 draw at Manchester Gregorians, the home side stretching their unbeaten run to three games, JOSH RIPLEY helping himself to a brace of goals.

Going one better were Chadderton Reserves, who racked up their first three-pointer of the campaign with a 1-0 derby win over Heyside, JONATHAN THOMAS netted in the first half for Chaddy and they held on to their lead after a highly competitive and absorbing second half.

DIVISION ONE

Govan Athletic upset the Division One form book as they swept aside leaders Elton Vale at Platt Lane 3-0, thwarting an attack that had scored eighteen goals in five games, Govan’s goals came from CHRIS LEWIS, SIYAM MUHAMMAD and their Man of the Match TADI DZVOTI.

Taking advantage of this slip by the leaders were Atherton Town, who made it four wins on the bounce with a 3-1 victory at Boothstown, the visitors are in scintillating form and scored through ADAM GRIFFITHS, CALAM WILLIAMSON and an own goal.

Another side on a roll are Moorside Rangers, who banked their third successive win with a 2-1 triumph at Altrincham Hale, the home side securing a 1-0 half-time lead through a PETE O’SHEA own goal in a close opening forty-five minutes. O’SHEA made amends with the equaliser on the hour for Rangers before recent signing OLE BARNES netted the decisive goal for Moorside late on.

Uppermill’s home game with East Manchester was postponed due to Covid-19 issues.

The Tier Three regulations meant that the fixtures between Tintwistle Athletic v Middleton Colts and Wilmslow Albion v Bolton Lads and Girls Club, both outside of the Greater Manchester Region boundary, had to be cancelled.

DIVISION TWO

Leaders Rochdale Sacred Heart bolstered their goal difference with an 11-1 home victory over a plucky Hindley Juniors side. Hearts scorers were REECE GREGORY and JAMES HEBB, who scored two apiece, a LEWIS WILD hat-trick with the rest coming from LEWIS ALBIMAS, JOSH BRIERLEY, SAM TOFT and ZAC MADDEN with ANTHONY HART grabbed Juniors’ consolation goal.

AFC Monton welcomed the Division leaders Hindsford Reserves to New Alder Park for a vital fixture, and in testing conditions, both sides produced a contest of high-quality. The breakthrough came after seventy minutes, and it was the prolific MARTIN LOVE who popped up for the home side to secure all three points.

Astley and Tyldesley inflicted a first loss of the season on Avro Reserves at Gin Pit, and fired themselves into third-place thanks to a 3-2 win, and it was a brace of goals from their Man of the Match ALEC CROWDER and a RYAN CONNER strike that edged them past the visitors, CALLUM JACKSON and LEWIS BOWDEN replying for the visitors.

Bolton United have had a stop-start season to date, but are one of only two teams with a 100% record in the League with three wins from three, and the trip to Hollinwood saw them record a thumping 10-0 win, NADIR PATEL bagging seven of his teams goals, ASH CARTER adding two and SHAKIL ABDULLAH one.

Leigh Genesis will be delighted with an 8-0 home victory over Oldham Community, which propels them up into mid-table, ROB BOARDMAN opened the scoring on eight minutes with JASON KNIGHT, ALAN RIGBY and TOM SIMMS establishing a four-goal half-time lead.

Genesis doubled their tally after the break, all four goals coming in a ten-minute spell starting around the hour mark, ROB ENTWISTLE scoring twice with JAMES DOOLEY and sub GREG TRAVERS getting one each.

LEADING GOALSCORERS

PREMIER DIVISION
Joe BEVAN Stockport Georgians 10
Alexander HONEYBALL Hindsford 10
Lee GASKELL Walshaw Sports 6
Jordan HALL Springhead 5
Josh RIPLEY Manchester Gregorians 5
Mahal SHEREEN Bolton County 5
Carl AIREY Bolton County 4
Kerrim CALLISTE Old Altrinchamians 4
Matt DIXON Heyside 4
Jack DOOLIN Rochdale Sacred Heart 4
Dave DRINKWATER Old Altrinchamians 4
Jack HOLT Rochdale Sacred Heart 4

DIVISION ONE
Calam WILLIAMSON Atherton Town 7
Ash AINSWORTH Uppermill 5
Jack ALDERSON Elton Vale 5
Declan GUY Elton Vale 5
Wes BROWN Elton Vale 4

DIVISION TWO
James HEBB Rochdale Sacred Heart Res 10
Nadir PATEL Bolton United 8
Harry ROYDS Rochdale Sacred Heart Res 7
Rob BOARDMAN Leigh Genesis 6
Lewis WILD Rochdale Sacred Heart Res 6
Joe BARRETT Rochdale Sacred Heart Res 5
Ash CARTER Bolton United 5
Jonathan ESTACIO Hindley Juniors 5
Ben MEREDITH Hindsford Res 5
Georgi TERRY Oldham Community 4
Jordan WALSHE Hindsford Res 4

PREVIEW – SATURDAY 31st OCTOBER 2020

PREMIER DIVISION

The Match of the Day is undoubtedly at Fox Park where leaders Rochdale Sacred Heart welcome the only unbeaten team in the Division Springhead. The form book gives little away, but goals do look likely as these two teams average over five goals a game.

Looking back, Springhead were healthy 3-0 winners in the corresponding fixture last season and haven’t lost at Rochdale since January 2017, a run the home side will be eager to bring to an end.

Stockport Georgians take their winning run to an unpredictable and talented Dukinfield Town, Town won 3-0 last season, and recent seasons all point to a home win, Georgians last winning at Woodhams Park way back in August 2016.

Much will depend on whether the visitors bring their shooting boots, and especially their main marksmen Joe Bevan.

Bolton County will be looking to bounce back from their first loss of the campaign when Manchester Gregorians visit Radcliffe Road, but despite sitting in tenth spot, the visitors prove difficult opponents to overcome.

County defeated Gregs 3-1 in their last home game of last season’s curtailed campaign, but this game looks likely to a tight one.

Draw specialists Walshaw Sports await Old Alts at Sycamore Road, though most of the one-pointers have come on the road for Sports, and the visitors have two away wins behind them.

Walshaw’s only defeat came at the hands of Georgians and they have held Springhead to a draw too, much will depend on whether Alts bring their free-scoring form of the last two games.

After two consecutive defeats, Hindsford’s visit to Heyside takes on added significance for both teams, the Tonics excellent start having been tarnished by consecutive home defeats, albeit to form teams Georgians and Springhead.

For the home side, all four games have been close run affairs and they will be looking to stop the prolific Alex Honeyball and showing a more clinical edge in attack.

Pennington lie in something of a false position in the table, having games in hand on everyone above them, and they welcome a young Royton Town side to Jubilee Park, where they are unbeaten.

After three comprehensive defeats, Royton were unfortunate to only take a point on Saturday, and they will be striving for a similar performance against a good Pennington team.

Bolstered by last Saturday’s win over Heyside, Chadderton Reserves will be looking for the same again when Heywood St James are the visitors to Andrew Street.

Jimmies did not play on Saturday, but had gone three unbeaten before that, including an eye-catching 3-3 draw at leaders Rochdale Sacred Heart.

DIVISION ONE

Leaders Elton Vale welcome Middleton Colts on Saturday, and after four home wins on the spin, will be confident of returning to winning ways. The teams met five weeks ago, with Vale comprehensive 7-2 winners at Hopwood Hall, so Colts will have revenge on their minds.

Atherton Town are the hottest ticket in town at the moment with four wins from four, and they face an Altrincham Hale side at Butler Park who have endured a disjointed season so far with postponed games. Averaging four goals a game, Town will take some stopping on current form, but Alty Hale were a promotion dark horse for some in the close season and will turn the corner sooner or later.

Unbeaten at home, and in their last four games, are Moorside Rangers, who have quietly edged up the table, and they will see the visit of Uppermill as an opportunity to extend that run, but the visitors have shown they have teeth with two wins to date and a real goal threat in Ash Ainsworth.

After vanquishing leaders Elton Vale last weekend, Govan Athletic travel to an out-of-sorts East Manchester team who have yet to bank their first point of the season, a victory for Govan would see them keep in touch with the three teams above them with games in hand.

The two clubs caught up in the new Tier Three Covid-19 regulations meet at Oakwood Farm where Wilmslow Albion play Tintwistle Athletic. Albion will be determined to bag a second victory whilst Tintwistle will be looking to rekindle their promotion ambitions with three points on the road.

Two Saturdays without a game will have Bolton Lads and Girls Club chomping at the bit to get back into action, and Boothstown make the relatively short trip up the M61 on the back of a three-match winless run. The home side have not win since the opening day, and both sides will see this game as a possible win.

DIVISION TWO

Three teams share top spot on ten points, with Rochdale Sacred Heart Reserves breath taking goal difference of plus 32 is worth another point, and they travel to Hindley Juniors in confident mood.

Hindsford Reserves have a local derby on their hands as Leigh Genesis make their first visit to Squires Lane on the back of a fine win. The Tonics will see this as a must win after slipping to a narrow 1-0 loss at AFC Monton last week.

Looking to exploit any slip ups are Bolton United, but they have no easy task as they travel to Avro Reserves. The hosts slipped to a surprise defeat at Astley last week, so this game is definitely one to watch.

Despite losing their first six games, there is no doubting the spirit in the Oldham Community ranks, and they return to home turf at Ten Acres Lane for the visit of an unbeaten AFC Monton side. The visitors have plenty of quality in their ranks which will be a useful gauge as to how far Oldham have come this season.

Breightmet United have bounced back well after losing their first two games, taking four points from nine, and they welcome Hollinwood to Moss Park hoping to add to their tally. The visitors have had a difficult start to the season, but they too will eye this game positively as a potential three-pointer.

Where next?

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