Lancashire and Cheshire AFL
Giant killers march into semi-finals
Rhodes Cup sponsored by GP Property Management
THE Rhodes Cup again produced upsets as two teams from lower divisions toppled Premier League giants to move into the competition semi-finals. Parrs Wood Celtic, who are through to the Manchester Amateur Cup final and flying high in division one, took on in-form Premier division title contenders Whalley Range and were soon a goal down with a clinical finish from Reggie Merriman. After a very tight first half Celtic showed great powers of recovery and why they are going so well in league and cup as they stormed back with four unanswered goals to set up a semi-final against Salford Vics this coming Saturday. Netting for Celtic were Pat Davin, Jack Timmons and Danny South (two).
Division three hotshots Radclyffe have already claimed two Premier division scalps in Trafford United and Old Stretfordians in the Rhodes Cup and took on recent cup winners Mellor from the Premier division. Mellor dominated the early stages and created numerous chances but paid dearly for their inability to convert them into goals as Radclyffe showed deadly finishing with strikes from Simon Ogden (two) and Kyle Hardman to take control. Both sides netted before the end but Radclyffe kept their nerve and now play Premier division leaders Rochdalians in the second semi-final.
In a Wray Cup quarter final Urmston Town ran out 4-2 winners at Dukinfield Athletic and will take on triple-trophy chasers Radclyffe in an intriguing semi-final.
The other cup competition was the first leg of a Hellawell Shield semi-final with Chadderton Park seconds taking a 3-1 lead into the second leg at Bury Ams A.
Long-time leaders Rochdalians went back to the top on goal difference from non-playing High Lane with a 6-0 win at Waterloo and they still have a vital game in hand. Rochdalians were inspired by skipper Davey Luker (two) who was backed by strikes from Reece Gregory, Lewis Mahoney, Jamie Luker and Nick Hands in a game that was much closer than the final score suggests
The only team with a chance of overhauling the top two is Whalley Range who are just two points adrift of them. The other game in the division saw basement team Old Ashtonians remain at the foot of the table after a 3-0 defeat by Abacus Media.
The top game saw leaders Dom Doyle increase their lead over Parrs Wood Celtic to seven points after a hard-fought 2-1 win at Irlam Tigers but Celtic have three games in hand on Dom Doyle.
The other game in the division saw Didsbury enjoy a welcome win by 4-0 at Oldham Vics to give themselves a chance of climbing out of the bottom two.
Just two games and new champions Newton showed that they do not intend to rest on their laurels with a bright 6-3 win at Santos. It was much closer in the other game with Spurley Hey winning by the odd goal in five against Bedians to see them get within a point of escaping the bottom two.
The top three teams were not in league action but Signol Athletic missed the opportunity to close the gap on them as they lost 3-1 at Aldermere. The other two games produced plenty of goals as Milton seconds won 6-1 at Village Manchester and Salford Vics came out on top in thriller with Mellor thirds by 5-3.
Elton Lib Hargreaves increased their lead at the top to eight points with a hard-earned 3-2 win at Signol Athletic seconds after Zac Galbraith had given them an early 2-1 lead.
Moston Brook seconds lost ground in second place as they were beaten 4-2 by Chorltonians Villa who had Adrian Barnett (two), Lee Cawood and Oli Alozie on target.
Chadderton Cott remain as the only unbeaten team in the league but they were taken all the way by AFC Oldham seconds in an entertaining local derby before winning 4-3 to stay ten points behind Elton Lib Hargreaves with three games in hand.
Another exciting game at Flixton saw them share eight goals with Rochdale Galaxy.
There was an upset as runaway leaders AFC Stockport suffered their second defeat of the season going down 3-2 to Parrs Wood Celtic seconds. AFC still have a comfortable five-point cushion over second placed Old Strets seconds who bounced back into form with a 7-0 win over Staly Lions.
Chadderton Cott seconds stay in third spot after grafting to a 2-1 win at Chorltonians Athletic who had Tony Hardy providing their consolation strike.
Moston Brook thirds enjoyed a 7-0 win over Didsbury seconds and Bury Ams seconds were convincing 4-1 winners at Stoconians thirds.
Deans virtually wrapped up the title with a 6-1 win over Hollingworth seconds, a score matched by second-placed Old Strets thirds at Moston Brook fourths. Deans need just one more win in their remaining three games to clinch the top spot as they are five points clear of Old Strets and have played a game less.
Pics – action from 1 Parrs Wood v Whalley Range (PW in black and white), 2 Mellor v Radclyffe (Radclyffe in orange), 3 Spurley Hey v Bedians (Spurley in yellow) 4 Signol Athletic seconds v Elton Lib Hargreaves (ELH in blue)