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.

Irlam Tiger Rangers battle to Whitehead Cup glory

Irlam Tiger Rangers survived a late onslaught to defeat Salford Albion 2-1 and lift the Whitehead Cup. 

In a weekend of tense finals, the cup competition for teams playing in Division A and B lived up to expectations as the Tigers toppled Albion, who had made the final without losing a single game. 

But Rangers upset the form book and two second-half goals from Sean Dawson and Tom Nelson gave them a commanding lead with 20 minutes to go. A late David Hudson goals ensured a nervy finish in the game played at West Didsbury & Chorlton, but Irlam deservedly held on. 

Irlam Tiger Rangers were rewarded for a performance in which they dominated the first half against the team who they finished runners-up to in the group stage of the Whitehead Cup competition. 

It was only a combination of superb goalkeeping from Michael Ayres and some heroic last ditch defending that kept Salford Albion level at the break. 

However, the Tigers put the first-half profligacy behind them and hit the front five minutes after the restart when their forward Dawson broke the deadlock, and when Nelson tapped in following a corner in the 70th minute, the game looked up for Albion.

However, they displayed the spirit and quality that has characterised their run to the final, and Hudson’s strike 10 minutes from time meant a nervy end to the game.

But Irlam survived the late surge to deservedly take victory and the trophy.

Mellor win Rhodes Cup after dramatic penalty shootout

Mellor broke Dom Doyle hearts with a dramatic penalty shootout win after salvaging a late 1-1 draw to secure their fourth Rhodes Cup in the past decade.

The L & C’s outstanding side over the course of the truncated season were made to work mightily hard in what was surely their most difficult game all season. Up until this point, Mellor had been imperious, boasting a perfect regular league record and had progressed to the final without too much trouble. 

But Dom Doyle, appearing in their first Rhodes Cup final, knocked out the holders Salford Victoria last week and took an early lead in front of a lively crowd at Hyde United through a stunning 12th-minute Justin Pickering strike. 

The underdogs continued to press and should have added to their lead, although they were reprieved just before half-time as Mellor squandered a golden chance to equalise, when club captain Dave Whelan blazed over from the penalty spot. 

Mellor were indebted to goalkeeper Ben McGregor who produced an outstanding one-on-one save to prevent Dom Doyle from doubling their advantage, and that intervention proved crucial as Mellor struck with a minute remaining to break Dom Doyle hearts, through a close range Matt Gallagher effort. 

And Mellor kept their composure in the penalty shootout, scoring their four spot kicks, while the valiant Dom Doyle side could only manage to net one of their three penalties.

The Rhodes Cup is kindly sponsored by GP Property Management

Dom Doyle reach first Rhodes Cup final

Dom Doyle shocked Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics on a weekend in which the identity of the finalists for the four cup competitions were confirmed. 

In a dramatic, topsy-turvy encounter, Dom Doyle upset the fancied Vics side who had been second in the Premier Division before the season was curtailed. The holders held a slender 2-1 lead early on before Dom Doyle turned the game around to lead 3-2. 

Salford Vics equalised to force a shootout, which Dom Doyle edged 6-5 to reach the final for the first time. 

Their reward is an all-Premier Division final against the L & C’s best side this season, Mellor, who showed their class to oust Rochdalians 2-0 in a tight affair. 

And the Premier Division’s outstanding side will fancy their chances of ending the season on a high next week. 

It wasn’t to be a cup final double though, as Signol Athletic JFC convincingly defeated Mellor reserves 4-1 in the Wray Cup semi-final. 

Chadderton Cott avoided an upset as the Division Two outfit raced into a 5-1 lead against Division Three’s Sale Ams in the second semi-final and although Sale struck twice late on, Chadderton had built up enough of a lead and secured a 5-3 victory to take their place in the final. 

In the Whitehead Cup semi-finals, Division B Salford Albion provided the afternoon’s biggest upset, toppling Division A’s premier side AFC Stockport with two goals in either half to post an impressive 4-0 win.

That win guaranteed a final comprising of two Division B teams, as the other semi-final – an all-Division B affair – was won by Irlam Tiger Rangers, who enjoyed a 3-1 win over Flixton JFC. 

There were no divisional shocks in the Hellawell Shield last four, though Division D’s Urmston Town Vale were agonisingly edged out 3-2 by Salford Storm reserves, who play in the division above. 

They booked a final date with Radclyffe reserves, who came out on top in the battle of Division C’s top two at the time the league season ended by coming from behind to beat AFC Stockport Warriors 3-1. 

Radclyffe had the better of the first-half exchanges but went behind on 40 minutes with a clinical free-kick from Anthony McGuinness.

Radclyffe quickly responded with a neat header from Ryan Trelfa two minutes later to have it 1-1 at the break.

There was little between the teams in the second half but late goals from Kane Howarth and Ryan Williams took Radclyffe across the finishing line.

Semi-final line-ups confirmed

Rhodes Cup holders Salford Victoria marched into the semi-finals on an afternoon when the last four of all cup competitions were decided. 

Salford Victoria put paid to North Walkden’s campaign, as two early Joe Axon strikes secured an assured 2-0 win, in which they restricted their opponents to one shot on target. 

They will meet Dom Doyle in a competition involving Premier Division and Division One sides, after they recorded their own comfortable 3-0 win over Moston Brook. 

Mellor continued their imperious form with a controlled display against Stretford Paddock, triumphing 3-0, and Rochdalians’ 2-1 victory over De La Salle Reds ensured there were no shocks in the Rhodes Cup, with the semi-final involving four sides who were in the top six of the Premier Division before the regular season was curtailed. 

The Wray Cup quarter finals included two dramatic penalty shootouts. Division Two high-flyers Signol Athletic avoided a shock against Division Three leaders Hattersley by clinically prevailing 3-0 on penalties after the encounter finished 2-2. 

There will be Division Three representation in the last four as Sale Ams held their nerve in the penalty shootout after an end-to-end thriller finished 2-2. 

Mellor Reserves joined the first team in semi-final action after comfortably defeating Aldermere 4-2, and in the final quarter final, Chadderton Cott edged out Shaw Athletic to book a last four date with Sale Ams. 

The Whitehead Cup semi-finals will include three teams from Division B. The stand-out result was Irlam Tigers Rangers, who defeated Division A’s Kartel Sports 4-2 to confirm their spot. 

They will meet fellow Division B side Flixton JFC who cruised to a 4-0 victory over Dukinfield Athletic reserves. 

The favourites AFC Stockport needed a penalty shootout to see off fellow Division A outfit Mellor thirds after a 2-2 draw. 

Salford Albion will be their semi-final opposition after a nail-biting 2-1 win over Hillgate. 

AFC Stockport Warriors made it a dream weekend for the club by reaching the Hellawell Shield last four. Division C’s leading outfit recorded a comfortable 4-1 victory over Moston Brook fourths. An opening goal in the first five minutes from Milo Tarimo settled any nerves and they never looked back.

Division D leaders Irlam Tigers A were edged out 2-1 by Salford Storm, who go on to play Urmston Town Vale who edged out Greater Manchester FC in the all-Division D quarter final. It was a dramatic one too, as a Vale winner in the dying minutes guaranteed a 3-2 win.  

Radclyffe reserves ensured there would be no cup upset in their game by clinically defeating FC Bury Aces comfortably winning 3-0 to book their semi slot with AFC Stockport Warriors.

Radclyffe reserves enjoyed over FC Bury Aces

So now it’s on to neutral grounds this coming Saturday with plenty of thrills and spills as the teams look to book their final slots in the following week.

Dramatic finale to group competitions as quarter final line-up takes shape

DESPITE some torrential rain prior to the games the bulk of the remaining group fixtures in the four cup competition were able to take place.

They provided some dramatic games, some late twists and plenty of goals to set up some fascinating quarter-final ties this coming Saturday. 

There are still a few midweek fixtures to be completed but the bulk of the quarter-final ties have been decided.

For Group A of the Rhodes Cup for teams in the Premier and Division One, there were two emphatic wins for Dom Doyle by 8-1 over Bury Ams and Rochdalians by 3-0 at Irlam Tigers  to put them both well clear of the pack with Rochdalians enjoying an impressive 100 per cent record in their group.

Group B also saw two convincing winners in Moston Brook who completed a pleasing competition with a 2-0 win at Didsbury seeing them three points clear of De La Salle who had already completed their fixtures.

The other game played in the group was a real thriller with AFC Oldham winning by the odd goal in seven against Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton.

It was all to play for in Group C with three teams looking to qualify and Mellor showed their intent as they walloped South Manchester 8-0 to take top spot.

The other game was a real nerve jangler with Salford Vics sharing eight goals with Urmston Town to go through on goal difference. Providing the firepower for Vics were Luke Norris (three) and a superb free kick from Ben Green.

It was all to play for in Group D with four teams in the mix and a 5-2 win for North Walkden saw them overtake long-time leaders Manchester Polonia.

A 2-0 win with some great defending by Stretford Paddock at Abacus Media saw them come through to take top spot in the group and eliminate Polonia.

The dead rubber game in the group had Signol Old Boys win their local derby with High Lane after coming back from 2-1 down at the break to win 3-2.

In the Wray Cup for teams in Division Two and Three, the big game in Group A was at Bedians against Wythenshawe Wanderers. 

The Wanderers had lost their previous game against Hattersley but began in terrific style to quickly establish a big 5-1 lead.

It was much more even after that with Wanderers going through 7-3 with their goals provided by Mike Sherrington (three), W Thompson, C Sherrington and Jordan Fry who also set up an own goal.

Getting deserved consolations for Bedians were Joe Mensah, with two intelligent finishes, and Chris Heywood.

Hattersley booked their place with a crushing 12-4 win over Stoconians.

The top game in Group B was a fantastic advert for the league as Sale Ams lost out 3-2 to Signol Athletic who had a goal of the season from Chris Carroll with a 40-yard screamer to take his team into top spot from Sale who still progressed.

There was a terrific game between Village Manchester and Elton Lib Hargreaves who showed their intent to enjoy their football with Village emerging breathless with 5-4 win.

Village led 3-1 at the break but Elton kept chipping away to keep the game wide open until the end.

Netting for Village were Georgio Mourdoukoutas, Fernando Martins and Rafe Onley with Ryan Wilkes (two), Jack Galbraith and an own goal replying for Elton.

Group C saw Shaw Athletic into the last eight as they were on fire in a big 9-1 win over Woodhouses and also in Group C Santos picked up their first point in a 3-3 draw at Old Stretfordians.

In Group D Mellor seconds and Aldermere go through. 

Mellor had few problems in a 6-0 win over Stoconians reserves while Aldermere picked up the point they needed in a 1-1 deadlock at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

The Whitehead Cup for teams in Division A and B saw AFC Stockport and Flixton JFC progress in Group A as the top two shared two goals.

It was tight in Group B with Dukinfield Athletic reserves top of the pile after a 4-2 win at Mellor thirds but Mellor in the runners-up berth

The other two games in the group were close contests with AFC Oldham thirds beating Parrs Wood Celtic 2-1 and Chadderton Cott shared four goals with Spurley Hey.

No problems for the top two in Group C as Salford Albion made it five wins from five as they eased to a 4-2 win over Moston Brook Reserves.

A big 8-1 win for Irlam Tiger Rangers at Old Stretfordians seconds kept them clear of Aldermere reserves who drew 2-2 at Heaton Mersey.

Group D had the top two in opposition and Kartel retained top spot with 5-3 win over Hillgate who were three points clear of Moston Brook thirds who won 2-1 at Milton reserves.

Finally in the Hellawell Shield for teams in Division C and D, AFC Stockport Warrior beat Irlam Tigers A 6-2 to complete a perfect programme and it looks as if they will be joined by Shaw Athletic reserves who still have a game to play.

Group B has Moston Brook fourths going through as they won 2-0 against Bury Ams A in the only game played in the group.

Salford Storm reserves have the chance to overtake them with their game in hand.

The top three in Group C all had their games postponed and the top two Radclyffe reserves and Urmston Town Vale see Radclyffe playing their main rivals Spurley Heys seconds in a vital midweek decider.

An amazing game between the top two in Group D had Staly Lions roaring loud and long as they beat previous leaders Greater Manchester FC 10-5 to draw level on points with a better goal difference taking the Lions to the top of the shop.

The other game in the group had Stoconians fourths winning their first game of the campaign by 2-1 at Didsbury thirds.

L & C fixtures secretary Malc Kershaw, who along with other committee members and competing clubs to set up the cup competition said: “There are some very tasty fixtures coming up the quarter-finals on Saturday. It’s been great to get good feedback from players and managers about the cup format.”