Baguley Athletic move top of Division Two

Ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, here’s a recap of what happened last time out.

It was back into action in all eight divisions for the first time this season although Covid problems caused some games to be postponed.

Premier Division leaders Milton were not in action but stay top by three points from De La Salle who won a vital game against Mellor by 4-2 to keep up their 100% record with a game in hand on the leaders.

The only other game played in the top flight ended in a 1-1 deadlock between Abacus Media and Manchester Polonia.

There was more action in Division One with a congested title race seeing Signol Athletic stay one point clear of three other teams after a 3-1 win at Hadfield Athletic.

Irlam Tigers were without a game but stay in second spot on goal difference from Old Stretfordians and Chadderton Cott.

Strets fought hard to win a point as they shared eight goals with Shaw Athletic.

Strets took an early lead through Steve Drabble but Shaw hit back quickly to lead 2-1 with Sheldon Clarke on target and it was ebb and flow from then on.

Chadderton Cott were also without a game and Didsbury moved to within a point of them as they won their second successive game by 4-2 at Bury Ams.

There were plenty of goals in what looks set to be a very exciting Division Two and new boys Baguley Athletic hit the top with an impressive 5-0 win at another new team Eccles United.

South Manchester are in second spot on goal difference after winning an exciting home encounter with Newton by the odd goal in seven.

Netting for South were Chris Lydon, Reece Horan (two) and John Chukwu while Newton showed their fighting spirit with a hat-trick from Jake Hatton.

Wythenshawe Wanderers were the big hitters in the division with an emphatic 8-0 win at Stoconians and Hattersley also kept an immaculate clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Bedians.

Division Three is also looking to be a very competitive with plenty of close games seeing just a point separating the top six teams and four teams are level on points at the top of the table.

The early leaders are Radclyffe who shared the spoils in a 2-2 deadlock with second-placed Village Manchester.

In the mix are Hooley Bridge Celtic who impressed with a 3-0 win at Woodhouses and Chadderton Park who beat Stoconians reserves 3-1.

The other games in the division saw AFC Stockport beat Abacus Media reserves 4-2 and Aldermere and Salford Albion drew 2-2.

Plenty of action in Division A and Moston Brook reserves hit the heights with a big 10-3 win over Milltown Firgrovia.

Salford Storm are level on points with Moston Brook after winning a nerve-jangling game with Trafford United reserves by 5-4.

North Walkden reserves picked up their first points with a comfortable 4-2 win over Great Manchester FC but the other games were close affairs.

Salford Vics reserves drew 2-2 hosting Santos and there were no goals in the games between Woodsend Athletic and Milton reserves and AFC Oldham reserves and Stretford Paddock Development.

Division B had its first action of the season and there was a big opening day win for AFC Oldham reserves in their local derby with Moston Brook thirds.

Aldermere reserves were in an exciting local derby at Old Strets reserves and were delighted to emerge with a breathless 4-3 victory.

Parrs Wood Celtic had had a close encounter with Great Manchester FC reserves winning 2-1 and the other game was locked at 1-1 between Heaton Mersey and Flixton JFC.

Plenty of action in the opening day for Division C with the top scorers being Dukinfield Athletic who eased to a 9-0 win over Stoconians thirds.

There were also wins for Salford Storm reserves by 4-1 at AFC Stockport Warriors, Bury Ams thirds by 3-1 at Chadderton Park thirds, Urmston Town Vale 3-0 over Altrincham Hale, Mellor thirds by 3-1 over Eccles United reserves and Village Manchester reserves by 3-2 over Staly Lions.

The final action was in Division D and there were goals galore led by Moston Brook fourths by 7-1 at new boys Altrincham Hale.

Bury Ams fourths won by the odd goal in nine hosting Irlam Tigers thirds and it was also close at Didsbury reserves who went down by 5-3 to Milltown reserves.

The last game saw Whalley Range reserves win by 4-2 at Mellor Development to set up the usual lively celebrations back at their club.

Action underway in three more divisions

THE Lancashire and Cheshire AFL extended their action to five divisions as well as the Cheshire Amateur Cup and there were goals galore on an exciting day.

The goalfest was led by the Premier Division games with Milton continuing their unblemished start to the season as their third successive win took them five points clear of their nearest rivals but they had to work hard for a 3-2 win at Manchester Polonia.

Their nearest challengers are Moston Brook, on their return to the top flight, as they chalked up one of their biggest-ever wins in the top flight as their vibrant new-look young team were too hot for a depleted Abacus Media to handle in a comprehensive 8-1 victory.

Stretford Paddock were also in great scoring form as they posted their first win in the top flight in emphatic style by dispatching North Walkden 6-2.

Salford Vics opened their season with a comfortable 5-2 win over AFC Oldham as they dominated the game from start to finish with the goals flowing from Matty Bailey (two), Josh Lawman, Jono Hayes and Mikey Lawler.

It’s tighter at the top of Division One with just a point separating the top three teams.

Irlam Tigers lead the way on goal difference and they looked to be on their way to an emphatic win as a hat-trick from George Bell saw them roar into a 3-0 lead over Signol Athletic.

But Signol showed great powers of recovery as they hit back with goals from T Lee, K Egerton and I May to share the spoils.

Chadderton Cott are level on points with the Tigers after winning a thrilling local derby with Shaw Athletic by the odd goal in seven.

Old Stretfordians continued their solid start with an emphatic 6-3 win at Bury Ams to keep in close contact with the top two.

Didsbury opened their season with a 4-2 win over Signol OB and Hadfield Athletic also began well with a 3-1 win at Trafford United.

Action began in Division Two and it looks as if their league will be full of drama with some new teams looking to make an impression.

Eccles United were one of them and they showed their intent as they opened the scoring at Stretford Paddock reserves with a goal on two minutes from Mason Dickson to settle their nerves as they went on to win 4-0.

Milltown were making their debut and they stormed into an early 4-1 lead over Newton with braces from Anthony Morris and Jake Williams.

They then took their foot off the accelerator and Newton reduced the arrears after the break before a late goal from Williams, to complete his hat-trick, sealed the Milltown victory.

Baguley Athletic also made their league debut with a close 3-2 win at Irlam Tiger Rangers.

League stalwarts Bedians and South Manchester enjoyed a local derby with South winning 5-2 and the other game in the division saw Mellor seconds win 4-1 at Wythenshawe Wanderers.

The opening games in Division Three saw Radclyffe in hot form with the biggest win of the day by 9-0 at Elton Lib Hargreaves and Village Manchester were also in scoring mode with a 7-2 win over Woodhouses.

It was closer in the other games with Chadderton Park sharing six goals with Hooley Bridge Celtic and Abacus Media reserves won 2-0 hosting Salford Albion.

The final league action came in Division A with three of the teams going nap.

Santos beat Stretford Paddock Development 5-1, a score matched by Moston Brook reserves at Greater Manchester FC and AFC Oldham reserves won 5-2 at Milton reserves.

Salford Vics reserves made it a double for the club as they beat Kartel 2-1 in a tight game.

Kartel were dominated for the first 30 minutes but scored on their first real attack.

Vics drew level with a far-post header from James Grantham as he was totally unmarked and the winner came late in the second half from Mason Pickard.

Milton Firgrovia picked up a point on their league debut in a 1-1 deadlock with another new team Woodsend.

Salford Storm won 3-2 in a local derby with North Walkden reserves and AFC Oldham reserves completed the league action with a useful 5-2 win at Milton reserves.

Not much joy in the first round of the Cheshire Amateur Cup as there were early exits for Hattersley by 2-0 at Poulton Vics, Sale Ams by 5-1 at home to Bollington United, Stoconians by 7-0 hosting Winnington Avenue and AFC Stockport by 8-0 at home to Knutsford.

In memory of John Howard

It is with tremendous sadness that the L & C announce the death of our former League Secretary John Howard at the age of 85.

John’s contribution to the league, its reputation and what it has become today cannot be measured and is “unlikely to ever be surpassed.” The outpouring of love and affection since news of his passing confirms as much, with messages from committee members, football clubs, the Lancashire Amateur League (LAL) and Manchester FA emphasising the regard he was held in.

He has been described as “influential,” “dedicated,” “a gentleman,” “mentor,” “a special man,” a man for whom respect came naturally, from people who enjoyed his company, passion and love for the game and the advancement of the L & C and grassroots football.

His knowledge of our league was unrivalled and he penned the most significant piece of history that exists about the L & C – a comprehensive history of our first 100 years.

It is typical of John’s nature that, in more than 250 pages, he only recounts his own time in the L & C in less than a page, not even detailing his time as League Secretary, instead thanking his devoted wife Doreen, “who has shown great patience in accepting that football was part of our life together and I would not have been able to complete this book without her encouragement,” and also preferring to focus on his contemporaries and their contributions

That says a great deal about the man, considering the L & C is a labour of love. His involvement in the league began in 1953 when he began playing for the Manchester Town Clerks and City Treasurers (Mantact) Football Club. During his time with the club as a player and administrator, Mantact enjoyed success by winning the 3rd Division, Division E, and Reserve B Division, as well as the Wray Cup.

John’s enduring passion for the league is remembered by his son Stephen, the L & C Referees Appointment Secretary, whose “first real memories” of football were his dad’s involvement in managing Mantact and being part of the L & C.

Stephen said: “Early memories were at Hough End where he organised everything, picking up players on the way to the game involving long detours, washing the kit, getting the oranges and cutting them into quarters for half-time, team talks and shouting from the touchline.

“He organised training at various venues and he also enjoyed a drink after training. To be honest, growing up for me, it was his passion.”

John progressed all the way through Mantact’s administration, onto refereeing, time as the Discipline Secretary, and membership of the League Management Committee.

Mantact’s resignation from the league meant a stint as Results Secretary, a time which Stephen fondly recalls involved “an answering machine that never stopped on Saturday evening with all clubs ringing in results, and he would leave a message with all the results on, so Sunday night the phone again would never stop, and my job was to take all the results to the post office to ensure they got to the newspapers on time.” It paints an accurate picture of a man who “lived for the league,” as his son eloquently described it.

In later years, John enjoyed a three-year spell as League Secretary, succeeded by current incumbent, Brian Davies. Brian is unequivocal about his predecessor’s influence, both on a personal and professional level, a man described as “the life and soul” of the L & C.

Brian said: “My first interaction with John was going to discipline meetings because the club I was with had discipline problems at the time so I used to have to go to John Howard. He was feared for his power as a disciplinarian but was always very fair and everybody came out of those meetings with a massive amount of respect. Everything was accepted because he was so good at it.

“The influence he had couldn’t be measured. John was a dedicated man of integrity and was the life and soul of the L & C for so long.”

During his time as Secretary, he pushed for greater automation and communication with the clubs. He was a major reason for the Full Time system of recording results, and the continuous lines of dialogue in the weekly updates.

Fiercely protective of grassroots football, John was a great advocate of the L & C vs LAL Interleague Trophy, and maintaining the relationship between the two leagues, along with the ongoing annual games, which have now reached 100 years. The two leagues have always been friendly and helped each other where possible. It is a mark of John’s influence here that the Interleague trophy is named after him, leaving a legacy that he can be proud of.

Peter Duffy of the LAL, described John as “iconic” with “limitless knowledge.”

He said: “On behalf of the LAL, please pass on my condolences to all of John’s family and friends.”

Colind Bridgford, Manchester FA CEO, added: “My thoughts and all at Manchester FA are with his friends and family, personally and within football.”

John’s loyalty to the league meant he not only safeguarded its traditions, but he also embraced change and was a representative for the league on a body that is committed to improving equality and diversity. Even during the Covid pandemic, he was looking to the future, keen to continue developing grassroots football and was responsible for the collation and publication of L &C match sheets as recently as the end of the 2020/21 season.

That is an association with the league of 68 years. It is why messages have arrived in their droves from football clubs far and wide, it is why Fixtures Secretary Malc Kershaw spoke of his “admiration for the man,” and the reason Geoff Garnett describes knowing John as “a pleasure.” It is why Keith Marsden, Registrations Secretary spoke of a “special man” that nobody had a negative word about, and why the likes of Spurley Hey, Stretford Paddock, Govan Athletic, and Chorltonians to name a few paid tribute by speaking warmly about a man who put so much time into the league and amateur football, who will be “a real loss,” who will be greatly missed, was pleasant, and was respected in ways that cannot be adequately put into words, as Dave Jameson of Spurley Hey said.

It is an incredible legacy to leave and whilst we will miss our dear friend immeasurably, we are eternally grateful for his contribution and his indelible mark on the L & C will always be remembered.

John passed away peacefully at Bury Hospice, surrounded by his loved ones and will be deeply missed by his wife Doreen, children Stephen and Helen, his five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Milton set the early pace

THE second weekend of fixtures for the Lancs and Cheshire League continued with matches for teams in the Premier and Division One.

Again, Covid problems caused some games to be postponed but of those played, early season Premier Division high-flyers Milton again showed their potential and maintained their 100% record, with a 5-1 away victory over struggling former champions Rochdalians.

Pre-season favourites Mellor came out winners in a nine-goal thriller with AFC Oldham the final score 5-4 to Mellor, whilst in the mid-table clash between Manchester Polonia and North Walkden honours were even in a 2-2- draw.

The other match in this division between De La Salle and Abacus Media was abandoned due an injury to an Abacus player.

There were four matches in Division One, where pick of the day was the encounter between in-form Irlam Tigers and Bury Amateurs. Tigers continued their current form with a thumping 8-1 victory.

Possible contenders on early form Signol Athletic enjoyed a 5-2 win at home to Shaw Athletic, whilst Chadderton Cott cruised to a relatively straightforward 3-0 victory over Trafford United.

Old Stretfordians got some points on the board with a 2-0 win at home to Signol Old Boys moving Strets up to 4th place in the table.

Lively start to the new season

THE eagerly awaited start to the season began with fixtures for teams in the Premier Division and Division One.

Unfortunately Covid problems caused some games to be postponed including that of Mellor, the pre-season favourites to win the Premier Division.

Last season, Milton showed their potential by reaching the Lancashire Amateur Cup final and they kept up their momentum with an emphatic 4-0 win over AFC Oldham.

They fielded some new young players and looked to be a title contender playing some attractive football.

Abacus Media were also impressive as they won their local derby with Rochdalians by 4-1, who are building a new side for the coming season.

De La Salle were also in the goals with a 5-2 derby win at North Walkden to show their title intent.

Moston Brook and Stretford Paddock were both promoted to the Premier Division and a great contest ended in a 3-3 thriller.

The other game between Dom Doyle and Manchester Polonia was unfortunately abandoned at half-time due to misconduct

In Division One there were three tight games led by last season’s Wray Cup finalists Chadderton Cott and Signol Athletic.

In the final it went to a record shoot out decided by the 36th penalty.


Again there was little between the two teams with Signol taking the lead as Chris Carroll slid George Bell through for the opening goal.

Cott showed their fighting spirit with a late equaliser for a deserved share of the spoils.

Promoted Old Stretfordians hosted a lively Irlam Tigers who swept into a 3-0 lead with strikes from Callum Patrick and Ryan McDonough backed by an unlucky own goal from a Strets defender.

But Strets stuck to their task and pulled a goal back on 80 minutes from Warren Collier.

They reduced the arrears in the last minute of the game with a scrambled effort from Steven Drabble but it was too little too late.

There was also the same 2-3 scoreline at Bury Ams as Shaw Athletic edged a close win.

L & C season structure and start dates confirmed

The L & C is delighted to confirm the official start dates for the 2021/22 league season.

Hopes are high for a campaign free of disruption after the previous two truncated seasons and although we were pleased that the committee enabled an ending of sorts to last season, we hope that the following season is one that is played in its entirety.

The popularity of the competition remains fierce; despite the many challenges encountered by teams in amateur football, we have actually seen the size of our structure increase once again. All eight divisions have at least 12 teams in them, and in total, there are 104 sides competing for league and cup glory.

There will be a different start date for the different divisions, confirmed below with the rest of the latest update. Fixtures are yet to be confirmed, but will be released in due course.

Here’s to another competitive campaign for all of our teams.

  1. Club Affiliation to County FA. Please continue to complete your affiliations, I can see from WGS that progress is being made, however a handful are still to make a start.
  2. The next general meeting will be held at Curzon Ashton FC, Richmond St, Ashton Under Lyne OL7 9HG on Thursday 19th August, starting at 7:30 PM. All clubs must be represented. The agenda and other papers will be sent nearer the time.
  3. Commencement of the season: SATURDAY – 21st August 2021 – Premier and Division 1. SATURDAY 28th August 2021 – Premier and 1 (B/H weekend). SATURDAY 4th September 2021 – Premier, 1, 2, 3, A.        SATURDAY 11th September 2021 – Premier, 1, 2, 3, A, B, C, D
  1. Please continue to send in any ground information for us, and detail changes for the club details file.
  2. The league structure was issued on Sunday, and was sent to all clubs on email last week.
  3. We have still some work to do before we are able to generate the fixtures on Full Time, so the sooner you send in your information the better.

Village Manchester FC complete GFSN Cup hat-trick

The Lancashire & Cheshire AFL is proud that Village Manchester FC have won the national Gay Football Supporters’ Network (GFSN) Cup for a record third time, beating Millwall Romans 3-1 on penalties after a dramatic 3-3 draw in normal time.

Both sides went into the game, which was meant to take place in May 2020 but was delayed due to Covid, looking to triumph in the GFSN Cup for a third time, so the stakes were high in the encounter held in Birmingham.

GFSN Chair Mike Kalogerou, who plays for the Leicester Wildecats inclusive team beaten by Village Manchester in the first round, said: “The GFSN has provided a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to support, campaign and play football in a safe and encouraging arena for over 30 years. The final was an example of two honest teams battling out to be this year’s cup winners. It was an enthralling match which Manchester edged after a penalty shootout.

“We would like to thank both teams for playing the game in a fantastic spirit and to Millwall Romans who showed fantastic dignity in defeat. Both teams have raised the bar again with respect to the quality of football on show that afternoon.”

Village Manchester FC was formed 25 years ago to give gay and bi men a safe, welcoming space to play and support football. Over the years, the club has grown and developed, and now has five teams, a number of trans players in addition to players of every sexuality and race, and an increasing number of straight players attracted by the club’s ethos of inclusivity.

VMFC Chair James Cole said “I am absolutely delighted that in our 25th anniversary year, and after much delay, Village Manchester Football Club is once again the national GFSN Cup champions. I would like to congratulate the team’s manager Jay McNaught. It’s a huge achievement for him, having managed our previous GFSN Cup winning squad three years ago.

“The club is based at Trinity Sports Centre near Manchester University, not far from the Gay Village, from where it gets its name. New players are always welcome, and with five teams there is a wide range of ability.”

James continued: “We always want to hear from more players in the LGBTQ+ community who want to join us, whether because they feel uncomfortable in their current team or because they’ve never even dared try to play the sport they love because of their fears of discrimination. We offer a welcoming atmosphere to queer players and straight allies alike.”

Full information on joining Village Manchester FC can be found at www.vmfc.co.uk/new.

L & C Diversity Officer Rob Brown said: “This is brilliant news and I give my congratulations to Village for their success.”

L & C chairman Mike Yates added: “The Village teams are a credit to the league and this victory is well deserved for their superb organisation and quality of play.”

Emotional reunion at Didsbury FC

MANY club and league legends enjoyed a great day at Didsbury FC with ‘old’ boys from Burnage HSOB, Metro FC, Burnage Metro and Didsbury at a match played in memory of some club heroes.

The main organiser was Mal Maginn, a former President of the L & C,  who has been involved in the club for the best part of 50 years and also played in the game before pulling several muscles that he never knew he had forcing an early exit from the game.

Mal said: “The main purpose of the event was in memory of Ross Fowler- the son of my schoolmate Stuart Fowler and both played for the Burnage HSOB for many years.

“Ross sadly died in December 2019 in Colorado but the planned event was prevented by Covid until the recent lifting of some restrictions.

“It was also in memory of Mick Marchington, who also played for Burnage HSOB and sadly died recently when walking in the Peak District and other Old Boys no longer with us.

“Paul and his son Chester videoed the game and other events on the day which I will forward to Ross Fowler’s wife Ann and the kinds in the US and also to Mick’s wife Lorren.”

There was a great attendance of former players watching the game and enjoying refreshments and the presentation outside their splendid clubhouse after the game and it was good to see Mo Perkins back in action with a superb performance running the line in his inimitable style.

The trophy was presented to Alistair Fowler, brother of Ross by L & C league committee member Keith Marsden.

Burnage HSOB was founded in 1938 and has played for many years at Didsbury Sports Club.

They initially played in the Lancashire Amateur FL before joining the L & C in 1999.

Metro FC was founded in 1982 and switched from the Stockport League to the L & C in 1992.

The two clubs merged in 2002 to form Burnage Metro and subsequently changed their name to Didsbury FC and was joined by three senior teams from Chorltonians in 2020.

Signol Athletic edge marathon shootout to claim Wray Cup glory

Signol Athletic outlasted Chadderton Cott in a marathon penalty shootout to secure the Wray Cup. 

In a record for the competition, Signol edged out their opponents 16-15 after a goalless 90 minutes in the blazing sun at Flixton FC.

It was a fitting end to the L & C season and the fourth cup final in three days was the third to end in penalty agony and ecstasy. 

In the climax to the amateur football season, this encounter for teams in Division Two and Three couldn’t match the heights for drama during normal time, but certainly did so after the end of the 90 minutes. 

The teams were second and fourth respectively in Division Two when the regular season ended and the result in regular time reflected the similar qualities of the sides. 

Although there were no goals, the game was high on quality, with both created good chances, but respective defences came out on top and both Aaron Barrow in Chadderton’s goal and Signol stopper Chris Singleton produced fine goalkeeping displays to take the game to penalties. 

Nerves were evident in the penalty shootout as neither side could take advantage of the other’s slip-ups and remarkably, it took 36 spot kicks to separate the sides, with Signol prevailing 16-15. 

It was a fitting conclusion to the season and the competitive nature of the games bodes well for the start of the new season in August.

Radclyffe Reserves lift Hellawell Shield after pulsating final

Radclyffe reserves lifted the Hellawell Shield after edging Salford Storm 6-5 on penalties in a pulsating final. 

In a weekend of tight and tense finals, this was perhaps the most thrilling of the three to date. 

Played at West Didsbury & Chorlton FC, the game swung back and forth, with two goals in the final five first-half minutes giving Radclyffe a healthy and deserved two-goal advantage.

But Salford stormed back after the restart with two goals of their own and it was fitting that only sudden death penalties could separate the two sides who had the same number of points after the end of the regular season.

Radclyffe flew out of the traps in the first half, only to be denied by the excellent Darren McCartney in Salford Storm’s goal. 

He could do nothing about Kade Howarth’s 40th-minute penalty though, which broke the deadlock and Howarth doubled his and Radclyffe’s goal tally for the afternoon just before half-time. 

Salford’s Shea Smyth notched a penalty of his own within three minutes of the restart and Dale Taylor completed the comeback 15 minutes from time. 

But it was heartbreak for Salford Storm, who couldn’t convert after 11 perfect penalties had been taken in the shootout, sending Radclyffe into raptures who celebrated wildly after securing the trophy.