Division One Preview - 18th March 2017
Fri 17th March 2017 | General | By Gary Langley
Like with the Premier Division, The Hallmark Security League Division One is too close to call with a number of quality teams in decent form all pressing for the various honours and positions come the end of the season, just eight weeks away. It’s a brave soul who predicts the various winners at this point.
So lets start with the leaders, Litherland REMYCA travel to Silsden to face the Cobbydalers with Phil Stafford’s men keen to put last weekends defeat to fellow title rivals, Charnock Richard behind them. The defeat was only Remyca’s second defeat of the year, however such is the proximity of the other teams it puts the pressure right back on the leaders.
It’s a tough old fortnight for Silsden, they faced City of Liverpool in the Macron Cup Quarter final last Saturday (L 0-2), Remyca on Saturday, then they face Charnock Richard and Whitchurch Alport over the next seven days!
FC Oswestry Town welcome City of Liverpool at The Venue in their best form of 2017 with two wins in their last three games. Their play-off hopes are pretty much done now, however they still have a lot to play for, as their fixtures show, they will have a big influence on who finishes where.
Simon Burton’s City of Liverpool side will be on a high at present having reached the semi-final of the Macron Cup last week as well as defeating promotion rivals Widnes 3-0 albeit in the Reusch Cup Semi-Final. The win suited them on two fronts as they reached the Reusch Cup final as well as psychological advantage over the Halton side in the promotion race. They are still very much on for a treble and are a tough challenge for Oswestry this weekend.
Charnock Richard host Prestwich Heys and have put themselves right back into the automatic promotion race of late. Recent wins include victories over Widnes and most recently, Litherland Remyca, lifting them to fourth in the table and with enough games in hand to by-pass the other sides.
Prestwich Heys still have aspirations of their own and currently sit second in the divisional form table. Five straight League wins including wins over Remyca and Whitchurch Alport sees Prestwich in a strong position and a real challenge to Charnock this weekend.
Bacup Borough welcome Widnes to the Brian Boys West View stadium with the Brent Peters side in the bottom five of the table and with midweek results, they have AFC Blackpool breathing down their neck trying to leap frog them. Their form isn’t too great of late but they will be hoping to clock up enough points over the next few weeks to avoid having to look over their shoulder on the run-in.
Widnes are facing a different battle as they eye automatic promotion. They will be keen to put the disappointment of their Reusch Cup semi-final defeat behind them and get back to league business. Their league form is good, only one defeat since October but their last seven in all competitions doesn’t make good reading for Joey Dunn, winning two, Drawn one and lost four.
Daisy Hill host Alsager Town at New Sirs with both clubs progressing of late, Daisy more so off the park with some impressive Car Park infrastructure work taking place as well as other works suggesting a bright future. On the field they are mid-table and capable of beating anyone on their day and a 3-3 draw against promotion chasing Sandbach last time out proving that they can hold their own against the top sides.
Alsager had been at risk of slipping out of the play-offs, however, four points over two days last weekend from Cheadle and St Helens Town puts them right back in the buxom of the play-off zone.
Chadderton welcome AFC Blackpool at ARK Fleetch Stadium having secured a high profile semi-final appearance in this seasons Macron Cup which in turn should gee them up for a strong finish. In 2017 they have been in strong form and have been particularly effective over sides in the lower half of the table. Blackpool have reasons to be cheerful too having defeated Atherton LR in midweek putting five points between them and their relegation threatened rival and more importantly, thirteen points ahead of second from bottom Eccleshall.
Speaking of which, Carlisle City host Eccleshall this weekend in the first of a double header over the next seven days, such has the weather affected this fixture. It’s the first meeting of these two sides with City being safe and sound in sixteenth in the table, however Eccleshall have an increased sense of urgency. They have been in 21st place for a while now and with sides like AFC Blackpool netting big wins in midweek, the pressure is really on the Pershall Park side to rack up points quickly.
Atherton LR play Stockport Town at Crilly Park this weekend with them looking to put their midweek defeat to Blackpool behind them and attempt to heap the pressure on the two sides below them. Stockport are in cracking form and are unbeaten in their last nine games since the appointment of Dave Wild as Manager at the turn of the year.
Ashton Town look in real trouble now and the games don’t get any easier for them as they host title chasing Whitchurch Alport to Edge Green Street this Saturday. Ashton Town's form isn’t too brilliant at the moment whilst Whitchurch Alport’s is the stuff of title challengers so this looks like a coupon buster.
However, Whitchurch’s record against sides from the bottom five is excellent this season so your money may be safe. If… Just if Ashton Town can pull off a miracle over the next eight weeks they need look no further than this weekend’s opponents for inspiration as to what can be achieved after a rotten season.