League Cup Action
The delayed Hellawell Shield match between Chorltonians Athletic and Hillgate went to the wire of a penalty shoot-out after the tie ended at 3-3.
Hillgate kept their nerve to win the shoot-out 3-2 to make it through to the quarter-finals.
The league resumed action after the festive break with a full programme and plenty of action on the field with some vital games being played throughout the divisions.
Range show their intent in top game
Undoubtedly the game of the day was at Whalley Range where the runaway Premier Division leaders took on the fine challenge offered by Waterloo.
It was an excellent game with some fine football from both teams and well controlled by referee Mike Crump and his team. An even first half ended deadlocked at 1-1 with Reece Jones on target for Whalley Range and with Ewan Malcolm providing the strike for Waterloo.
The game took off in the second half as Rob Swallow flew through the air to give Waterloo the lead with a great header, but Whalley Range were not to be denied and in a deadly spell turned the game around as Jason Fowl and Tim Kinsella netted to take the lead and Reece Jones provided the festive icing on the cake with a stunning 30-yard free kick to see Range home by 4-2.
The win keeps Whalley Range eight points clear at the top of the table from reigning champions Rochdalians who won a tight derby against Abacus Media by the odd goal in five.
There was also a thriller at High Lane as they took on Dom Doyle with Lane enjoying the first half as they led 3-1 at the break. Dylan Higginbottom, Mayo and Bembo struck for High Lane with Dom Doyle replying through Suarez. Matt German then added another for Dom Doyle before the break and they gained momentum to run out breathless 4-3 winners.
Plenty more thrills in the other two games with Trafford United celebrating the New Year with their first league win of the season as they beat Milton 5-3 to move above them out of bottom spot.
There were also eight goals at Mellor which were shared evenly with South Manchester in another entertaining encounter.
There were just three games in Division One but Duncan Edwards-inspired Old Stretfordians provided one of the shock results of the season by earning themselves a 1-1 draw at leaders Radclyffe FC to end their 100 per cent record. The goal difference between Radclyffe and Stretfordians is a total of 78 but they showed that their recent improvement in form could stand them in good stead in 2020.
Irlam Tigers have three games in hand over Radclyffe and they were impressive as they took out third-placed Urmston Town by 5-1. The other game in the division was an excellent and enjoyable match between Signol Old Boys and Newton with Signol edging home 3-2.
The top two teams clashed in Division Two in a spectacular game at South Manchester Reserves where they entertained leaders Dukinfield Athletic. Dukinfield showed their intent as they raced into a 3-0 lead with Keelan Burton (two) and Kane Kershaw netting, but South drew on their fighting spirit to have it all square at the break thanks to a double strike from Alex Robbins and another from Doyle.
The ding-dong battle continued in the second half with South Manchester eventually emerging with an amazing 6-5 victory to move to within two points of Dukinfield Athletic but with a game in hand.
The other top two teams also staged a dramatic encounter with Hadfield Athletic and North Walkden sharing eight goals to stay in the promotion mix. Oldham Victoria and Stoconians also drew 4-4 and the game between Santos and Mellor Reserves was not short of goalmouth excitement either with Mellor running out 5-2 winners.
In the other match in this division Bedians were too hot for Rochdalians Reserves to handle in a big 13-2 win to complete a 49-goal fest in the division.
Plenty of goals also in Division Three with leaders Chadderton Cott staying a point clear with a big 6-2 win at Elton Lib Hargreaves. Signol Athletic stay a point behind after a 3-1 win at third-placed Village Manchester.
Salford Vics Reserves are on a hot streak as they posted their second successive double-figure haul hosting Milton Reserves. In a ruthless first half Vics raced into a huge 8-0 lead but to their credit Milton enjoyed a much better second half to restrict the final score to 10-1. Scoring for Vics were debutant Craig West (three), Jay Carney (two), Steve Stephenson (two), Andy Kidby, Keir Jones and James Grantham.
Chadderton Park stay in touch with the leading group with a comfortable 3-0 win at Denton Town Reserves and Hooley Bridge Celtic were celebrating their first win of the season as they took victory in their local derby with Abacus Media Reserves by 3-2.
It was also close in the other game in the division as Aldermere picked up a much needed 2-1 win at Stoconians Reserves.
There were shocks for the top two in Division A as they both suffered defeats, with leaders AFC Stockport going down 3-2 at Deans and Mellor 3rds being beaten by the same score at AFC Oldham Reserves.
Old Strefordians Reserves were held to a 3-3 deadlock against Salford Storm and Wythenshawe Wanderers moved above them into third spot with a neat 2-0 win at Dukinfield Athletic Reserves.
The other games in the division saw lowly Moston Brook Reserves score the only goal of their game at Rochdale Galaxy and Waterloo Reserves were 3-1 winners at Trafford United reserves.
In Division B Parrs Wood Celtic kept their unbeaten record and stay eight points clear with a routine 3-1 win at Chadderton Cott Reserves and Moston Brook 3rds stay in second spot after winning 2-0 at Old Stretfordians 3rds.
It was close in the other games with Heaton Mersey winning their local derby at Spurley Hey Reserves by 1-0, Stoconians 3rds won 3-1 at Flixton Juniors and Bury Ams Reserves shared two goals with AFC Oldham 3rds.
With Division C leaders Irlam Tiger Rangers out of action Chadderton Park Reserves closed their lead down to four points with a 5-1 cruise over Stoconians 4ths.
Salford Storm Reserves and Oldham Victoria Reserves missed their chance to close the gap as Storm were blown away 6-3 by AFC Stockport Warriors and Vics went down 2-1 at Govan Athletic.
Bury Amateurs 3rds eased to a big 8-1 win over Moston Brook 4ths and Altrincham Hale and Whalley Range Reserves shared four goals.