Weekend preview - Friday 21st/Saturday 22nd September 2018
Fri 21st September 2018 | General | By Patrick Burke
The headline act this weekend is of course the Emirates FA Cup, but outside of Second Qualifying Round ties for City of Liverpool, Irlam and Ashton Athletic, there are vital games in all three of the Hallmark Security League’s divisions.
In the Premier Division, 2nd placed Silsden will be looking to return to the top of the table by extending their unbeaten start in the league on the road at Winsford United.
The Blues are third from bottom but recorded a morale-boosting 5-0 rout against Worksop Town in the Buildbase FA Vase last week. The Cobbydalers won 4-2 in the reverse fixture last month.
Behind them on goal difference are Runcorn Town, who have won seven of their first eight league outings, and travel to 7th placed Barnoldswick Town. Matt Barnes’ men will be looking to respond after set-backs in the Vase and the league.
Congleton Town are the last remaining side with a 100% record in the division, and only conceded their first goal last weekend in a 4-1 victory against West Didsbury & Chorlton. They go to 9th placed Charnock Richard, who play their first league game in almost a month.
Continuing the theme of the high-flyers facing away fixtures, Northwich Victoria will seek a fourth win on the spin at Whitchurch Alport, who are 17th, and Squires Gate are at mid-table Hanley Town.
8th placed Padiham will want to return to winning ways after losing 6-2 at Prestwich Heys in a Vase replay on Tuesday, with Litherland REMYCA hoping to climb from 15th as they visit the Arbories.
Bootle have had a mixed start to their campaign and play their first league game since the end of August as they welcome second-bottom Abbey Hey, and 1874 Northwich travel to West Didsbury & Chorlton, two places above their opponents in the bottom half of the table.
Going into the First Division North, leaders Longridge Town, fresh from an 11-2 triumph at Holker Old Boys last Saturday, are in action on Friday night as they host AFC Blackpool. Both have lost just once in the league thus far.
Match of the day on Saturday is arguably Avro against Carlisle City, with the pair both just a point adrift of the table-toppers after enjoying strong starts.
Cleator Moor Celtic and AFC Darwen are not far behind in 7th and 4th respectively as they meet in Cumbria, and 5th placed AFC Liverpool have won their last five league outings going into their trip to Shelley, who have rose to 10th after back-to-back away triumphs in the First Division North.
Lower Breck have won six of their last seven in all competitions as they host 15th placed Bacup Borough, who did hold Gary Moore’s side to a 0-0 draw earlier in the campaign.
Elsewhere, Steeton (9th) travel to a Prestwich Heys side sitting three places below them, although the hosts’ stunning win over Padiham in midweek perhaps shows that they are beginning to rediscover last term’s red-hot form.
Garstang are 11th, and their season has seen them go on two three-match winning runs, with a five-game losing streak sandwiched in between. This weekend, second-bottom Atherton LR visit having been beaten in their last six.
Nelson and Chadderton have both been a little inconsistent this term as they meet at Little Wembley with the Admirals looking to leapfrog their opponents, and St Helens Town will hope to arrest a five game losing sequence at home to bottom side Holker Old Boys.
And lastly in this division, Daisy Hill will be after a first league victory of 2018/19 as they welcome an Ashton Town side sitting one place above them.
The leaders in the First Division South also play on Friday night, as Wythenshawe Amateurs travel to New Mills hoping to respond to last weekend’s 5-1 reverse at nearest-challengers Rylands. Their opponents were the early pace-setters, but have since dropped to 8th.
Rylands themselves face another one of the sides who have started superbly as they visit Cheadle Heath Nomads. The hosts are just one place behind their visitors and have won three of their last four.
The two teams immediately below them also face off as Vauxhall Motors hope to leapfrog St Martins at the Syncreon Arena.
The Motormen are the division’s form team and overcame Cheadle Town 6-0 in a Vase replay on Tuesday, whilst the visitors made it four away wins on the spin in the league at Wythenshawe Town last Saturday.
6th placed Abbey Hulton United have had a good week after winning comfortably in league and Staffordshire Senior Cup action, but face a difficult trip to Sandbach United, who are 14th but have scored 22 goals to win their last four in all competitions, conceding just one.
Cheadle Town are 7th and will hope to respond to their Vase elimination at bottom club Ellesmere Rangers, and after three straight defeats in all competitions, Wythenshawe Town will look for three points at an Eccleshall side behind them only on goal difference.
It’s one win in six for 11th placed FC Oswestry Town, who visit Barnton in 15th, and Stone Old Alleynians will be looking to put last week’s first defeat of the season (7-3 against Sporting Khalsa in the Vase) behind them as they travel to 17th placed Maine Road.
13th placed Alsager Town go to second-bottom Stockport Town, who have lost their last three but results would suggest that they have been very competitive in all of their matches this season, losing by the odd goal at Lower Breck in the Vase last week, for example.
And last but not least, 16th placed Stone Dominoes will hope to halt a four-match losing run as they welcome Cammell Laird 1907. Lairds are third from bottom, but 6th in the form guide having won four of their last five in all competitions.
It’s a stage of the season where points are always precious as all three divisions begin to map out, so get yourself along to a game this weekend!