Weekend preview - Saturday 13th October 2018

Fri 12th October 2018 | General
By Patrick Burke

There’s an abundance of matches involving clubs from the Hallmark Security League this weekend as the First Round Proper takes centre stage in the Buildbase FA Vase, alongside action in all three divisions.

In the former, only three of the 16 ties pit teams from our league against each other.

Impressive wins over Silsden and Squires Gate have lifted Northwich Victoria into 6th in the Premier Division going into a home fixture with Cammell Laird 1907. Lairds are 16th in the First Division South but only had their run of six consecutive victories ended by Vauxhall Motors in the First Division Cup last time out.

Squires Gate meanwhile have now lost four on the spin, slipping to 13th after a promising start, and they welcome a Sandbach United side who are 11th in the First Division South but are in terrific form as a midweek triumph over Ellesmere Rangers made it seven wins from eight.

There’s also an all-First Division North clash in West Yorkshire between Steeton and Avro, both sides making their first ever appearance in the competition this term, and excelling at this level as they sit 6th and 3rd respectively.

The remaining ties see our clubs face teams from three other leagues – the Northern Counties East League (NCEL), the Northern League and the Midland League.

NCEL opposition stand in the way of seven sides, with SIlsden’s trip to Staveley Miners Welfare looking particularly enticing.

The Derbyshire-based hosts are 12th in their Premier Division but have lost just once in the league as they play catch-up due to success in both the Emirates FA Cup and the Buildbase FA Vase. It should be a terrific contest against the visiting Cobbydalers, who are 3rd in our top tier but winless in their last four.

There are two other all-step 5 clashes between the two leagues, with our side having home advantage in both.

Claiming six points this week has moved Litherland REMYCA up to 14th going into their meeting with Thackley, who are third from bottom and lost on penalties at Steeton in the West Riding County Cup on Wednesday, whilst Irlam’s form has been the opposite to REMY’s as they seek to arrest an alarming slide down to 17th against a Handsworth Parramore team who occupy 8th place.

Although Charnock Richard, 8th in our Premier Division and 4-0 winners at Winsford United on Monday, travel to Hallam as the higher-ranked side, they will be wary of opponents who are 6th in the NCEL First Division and conquered Bootle in the previous round as part of a seven game unbeaten streak.

In contrast, Prestwich Heys are underdogs in terms of league position as they entertain Garforth Town, and although they are winless in three since being awarded September’s Macron Club of the Month, eliminating Padiham in the previous round should give them confidence. Heys’ visitors are 10th in the NCEL Premier Division.

The remaining two trans-Pennine ties are all step six affairs.

Winterton Rangers are top of the NCEL First Division, so it looks to a tough place to go for Lower Breck, who are 8th in our First Division North but have already staged an upset against West Didsbury & Chorlton in the Vase.

And in-form Garstang are 12th as they travel to Swallownest, who are 15th but have proved tough customers for teams from our league so far as they progressed past Abbey Hey and AFC Blackpool in the qualifying rounds.

As for ties against Northern League clubs, Hebburn Town vs City of Liverpool looks one of the highlights of this round nationwide. The hosts are 3rd in their top tier, though lost 4-1 at home to Whitley Bay last Saturday, whilst the Purps lead the way in our Premier Division.

Their closest challengers are Runcorn Town and they kick-off their Buildbase FA Vase campaign at home to Guisborough Town, who are 15th in the Northern League top division but did knock out Barnoldswick Town in the last round.

Nelson and Vauxhall Motors will both be hoping to record scalps against higher-ranked sides from the North East. The Admirals are 17th in the First Division North, and 10th placed Ashington are the visitors for Andy Harrison’s first game as manager, whilst Vauxhalls will hope to extend their 10 match unbeaten run at home to Seaham Red Star, who are second bottom in the Northern League First Division.

Moving south of our league’s boundary, Winsford United are second bottom in the Premier Division, and face a difficult-looking trip to Sporting Khalsa, who are 4th in the Midland League Premier Division, and have put seven past both Eccleshall and Stone Old Alleynians in cup games this term.

The final First Round tie sees Hanley Town – 12th in our Premier Division – visit Cadbury Athletic, who are 5th in the Midland League First Division.

Onto the league action, and there’s a half schedule in the Premier Division.

Barnoldswick Town have the chance to climb a place to 3rd if they can record a fifth win out of seven at Whitchuch Alport, who appear to have found their feet after promotion as 13 points from the last 15 has them 11th.

5th placed Congleton Town had made a 100% start in the league until losing their last three, so they will look to get back on track at third from bottom West Didsbury & Chorlton.

Padiham aim to move up from 7th as they visit bottom club Abbey Hey, Bootle (9th) will want to pick up from Tuesday’s impressive 4-2 victory against Runcorn Town at home to Burscough (16th), and Ashton Athletic will hope to continue their recent resurgence at home to 1874 Northwich, the Yellows handing their opponents their only defeat in their last five in the reverse fixture at the start of the month.

In the First Division North, Shelley’s impressive form has taken them up to 5th, and next up is the small matter of leaders Carlisle City visiting the Stafflex Arena.

2nd placed Longridge Town were knocked off the summit as City won at Holker Old Boys midweek, but they will hope to maintain the pressure on them at Bacup Borough, who are 14th but have proved a tough nut to crack recently, winning at Steeton last weekend on the back of a draw at Avro.

AFC Liverpool in 4th make the trip up to 9th placed Cleator Moor Celtic, with the Merseysiders triumphing 3-0 at home against the same opponents in the First Division Cup last Saturday.

AFC Blackpool are 10th despite having played the joint-fewest league fixtures in the division, so they will seek to convert games in hand into points at home to Holker Old Boys, who moved off the bottom last Saturday as they thrashed Atherton LR 5-0 for their first victory of the campaign.

Daisy Hill now prop up the division and face a trip to 13th placed St Helens Town, and Ashton Town begin the day only a place above hosts Chadderton, who are 16th but did beat Avro in the Manchester Senior Cup on Tuesday.

Into the First Division South, leaders Abbey Hulton United a fifth straight league win away at 8th placed Cheadle Heath Nomads, who lost 4-0 to the table-toppers a fortnight back but returned to winning ways last Saturday against St Helens in cup action.

Wythenshawe Amateurs are back up to 3rd after a 3-2 comeback triumph at Stockport Town on Monday, and they visit fourth from bottom Eccleshall, whilst six wins from their last seven in all competitions has Rylands 4th as they travel to New Mills, who are 9th but have lost their last four.

5th placed Cheadle Town are away at Alsager Town, who fell to 14th after a 5-1 midweek reverse at Barnton, and Stone Old Alleynians will want to extend their unbeaten start to life in the First Division South at home to 15th placed Stockport Town.

A four game unbeaten run has returned FC Oswestry Town to the top half as they welcome Stone Dominoes, who are hoping to halt a run of nine consecutive defeats.

Elsewhere, 12th placed Wythenshawe Town host bottom side Ellesmere Rangers, and Barnton seek a fourth straight win at home to Maine Road (19th) in a battle between the two sides who dropped from the Premier Division last term.

With 35 games going on across Saturday afternoon, it promises to be a busy day in the Hallmark Security League


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