Eccles United suffer cup heartache

The L & C fixtures opened on Friday night – the Manchester Amateur Cup trophy eluded Eccles United who were unlucky against AFC Middleton, suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat. In the second half in particular Eccles had several good chances and near misses, but it wasn’t to be, Middleton’s early goal just got them through.

In the Wray Cup Sale Amateurs won by 3-2 over Irlam Tiger Rangers, who had Karl Cassell and Jarrod Cassell on the scoresheet. Sale’s goals were from Duane Cook, and substitute William Sarwar scoring twice, taking them through to the semi-final.

Kartel Sports are in the final of the Whitehead Cup after their semi-final victory over Milton Reserves. After an even opening 15 minutes, Kartel began making chances through fast attacking play, Ben Wild with 2 and Matt O’Shea building a commanding 3-0 lead by half time. Sub Tom Buckley pulled one back for Milton early in the second period, but immediately Wild broke from the halfway line and completed his hat-trick with a shot into the corner. Phil Noon reduced the arrears with a penalty, but the late efforts were not enough to dislodge a determined Kartel. Also, in the Whitehead Cup an 85th minute winner at Heaton Mersey saw North Walkden reserves through to meet Hillgate in the semi-final.

The Hellawell Shield quarter final tie saw Altrincham Hale reserves claim a place in the semi-final with a narrow 5-4 victory over Eccles United reserves,

In the Premier Division, undefeated De La Salle registered what could be their most significant victory of the campaign, edging out Rochdalians 3-2, a result that keeps the destination of the title in their hands with two games remaining.

Nothing other than a win would have sufficed as leaders Moston Brook First trounced Manchester Polonia 10-2. They are five points clear after completing their league programme, but De La Salle have two games remaining and know maximum points will secure silverware.

Stretford Paddock FC First Team are certain to finish in the top three after an encouraging first season in the top flight. They rounded off their home fixtures with a scintillating 8-3 win over Abacus Media. Despite going behind, they never looked in doubt and went into the break 3-1 up, before running away with the game thanks, in no small part to a Kieron Molloy hat-trick.

Second-place Irlam Tiger FC saw their Division One title hopes go up in smoke after losing 3-1 at home to Bury Amateur AFC Firsts. Shaw Athletic gave themselves a chance of finishing above Signol Athletic JFC Firstsafter a hard-fought 3-2 win that puts their vanquished opponents within touching distance. A Warren Collier double helped Old Stretfordians First round off a challenging campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Didsbury FC Firsts.

Division Two leaders Hattersley Firsts maintained their title hopes with a vital 4-3 victory over South Manchester Firsts, thanks to a Rob Swallow brace, along with strikes from Declan Hince and Matthew Soares. They are 10 points clear of Irlam Tiger Rangers but, having played five more games, will be relying on results elsewhere.

Third-place Wythenshawe Wanderers were defeated 4-1 by Baguley Athletic, who now look well set to leapfrog their opponents, with games in hand to accrue the points. The big battle at the bottom saw Newton leapfrog Bedians AFC thanks to a 1-0 win that puts the defeated side at real risk of the drop, having played four games more than their victorious opponents who are two points ahead. In the division’s other game, Mellor Firsts ran out comfortable 5-2 winners at Stretford Paddock FC reserves.

In Division Three, Village Manchester FC Firsts notched four goals in a comfortable 4-1 away win over Hooley Bridge Celtic, a result matched by Stoconians Firsts, who went to bottom club Aldermere AFC Firsts and won by the same score. Leaders Chadderton Park Sports Club won even more emphatically with a pulverising 8-1 away win at Abacus Media Reserves which saw Kade Thomas Howarth net five of the goals.

The other game in the division this weekend also saw nine goals scored, and more away supremacy, as Salford Albion FC ran out 6-3 winners over Woodhouses Juniors FC.

It’s still all to play for in Division A, with the top five separated by six points. Leaders North Walkden reserves were in cup action and two of the chasing pack took advantage. Salford Storm FC ran out 4-1 winners at Moston Brook reserves thanks to a brace in each half. George Law scored two of the goals – one in each half – with Joe McGee and Jack McGee both on the scoresheet. They are two points behind the leaders with two games in hand.

Salford Victoria reserves are on the same points as Salford Storm, albeit having played three more games. But they did their chances no harm with a pulsating 7-5 win over Greater Manchester FC that saw Robert Payne notch an important treble. It’s looking bleak for basement boys Trafford United seconds, who lost their 16th game of the season, going down 3-0 to AFC Oldham Seconds.

Division B champions Aldermere AFC reserves continued to be professional despite having an unassailable lead at the summit, edging out Flixton Juniors Firsts 3-2. Greater Manchester FC Seconds made it 10 wins for the season with a 4-1 win over Hillgate Firsts and could still finish second in the division. Old Stretfordians Seconds are a place further back after easing past Spurley Hey Firsts 3-0.

Mellor Reserves kept their faint Division C title hopes alive with a routine 2-0 win over AFC Stockport Warriors, taking full advantage of a rare slip from runaway leaders Dukinfield Athletic who were held to a 1-1 draw by Village Manchester FC Seconds. Mellor reserves have six games in hand but the leaders hold a daunting 17-point lead. It is still in Mellor’s hands though, as winning all games would secure the league. Elsewhere in the division, Salford Storm FC reserves took all three points after Sam Wells helped them to a 2-1 win over Govan Athletic Development.

Whalley Range (Manchester) A Team have the destination of Division D in their own hands with a game remaining. Nicholas Doyle’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-1 win at AFC Oldham Fourths, a result that maintains their three-point lead at the summit. Moston Brook Fourths kept the pressure on though with a resounding 5-2 win at Didsbury reserves and are ready to pounce going into the final round of the season. A point for the leaders will be enough to secure glory.

The final game in the division provided plenty of entertainment, with Mellor Development and Irlam Tiger A sharing six goals in an eventful afternoon.