Crunch time arrives in cup competitions

THERE was  a glut of goals and plenty of drama on the penultimate day of the cup competition divisional rounds to set up a terrific final day of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

No doubt there will plenty of squeaky body parts in action on Saturday!

The top game in the Rhodes Cup for Premier and Division One clubs was in Group C at Salford Vics, the Cup holders against Mellor, with a 100 per cent record in their games played this season.

It certainly lived up to its pre-match billing with a real goalfest seeing Vics come out on top by 7-4 in a terrific game that handed Mellor their first defeat of the season.

Josh Lawman led the way for Vics with a hat-trick backed by Joe Axon (two) and Matty Bailey and Pete Potts to set up a great last day with four teams battling for the top two slots.

The other game saw Urmston Town beat South Manchester 2-0 to stay in the race along with South.

The top game in Group A was a much closer affair as Rochdalians beat Dom Doyle 3-2 to go three points clear of Dom Doyle who are level on points with Irlam Tigers who cruised to a 7-1 win at Trafford United. 

In Group B Moston Brook booked their last eight slot with a comfortable 6-0 win over Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton and they will be joined by De la Salle Reds after their 9-2 hammering of Didsbury.

Callum McCarthy and Declan McLoughlin both netted hat-tricks with Jack Davies, Charlie Hilton and Harry Fisher also on target for De la Salle with Aaron Rodger replying for Didsbury.

It’s all to play for in Group D with just two points separating the top four clubs.

A close 3-2 win for Manchester Polonia over Signol Athletic sees them on top by a point.

Abacus Media pulled off a superb 5-3 win at North Walkden to move to within a point of them and Stretford Paddock who eased to a 4-0 win at High Lane.

The Wray Cup for teams in Divisions Two and Three saw Group A turned on its head as Wythenshawe Wanderers lost their 100 per cent record, going down 5-0 to Hattersley.

After converting a penalty in two minutes Hattersley quickly added to more goals and never lost control after that.

Bedians won 2-1 at Abacus Media reserves to close the Wanderers’ lead to a point and the two will meet in a final crunch game with Hattersley poised for a slip by either team.

The other game saw South Manchester reserves beat Stoconians 5-1 but it is too late for them to make the next stage.

Sale Ams booked their quarter final berth with a big 7-1 win at Salford Vics reserves who had James Grantham providing their consolation goal.

Signol Athletic will be joining Sale as they routed Village Manchester 7-2 and the other games were much closer with Elton Lib Hargreaves winning by the odd goal in five hosting Didsbury reserves.

Shaw Athletic showed their intent in Group C with a crushing 11-1 derby win over Santos and it’s all down to final games for Aldermere and Woodhouses JFC to see who joins them in the next stage.

Aldermere beat Woodhouses 5-1 to draw level with them on points and the other game in the group had Old Stretfordians scoring the only goal of their game with Hooley Bridge Celtic to enjoy their first win of the campaign.

Group D will go down to the final day as just a point separates the top three teams with Mellor reserves beating Chadderton Cott 2-1 while Stoconians reserves shared six goals with Stretford Paddock reserves to stay in the mix.

The Whitehead Cup for Division A and B teams sees AFC Stockport through in Group A after a thrilling 4-3 win at Bury Ams reserves and Flixton JFC look set to join them after a big 9-0 trouncing of Trafford United reserves.

It’s down to the wire in Group B with a 5-0 derby win for Mellor thirds putting them in the driving seat. 

Two points off their pace are Dukinfield Athletic reserves after a 2-0 win at Parrs Wood Celtic and Chadderton Cott reserves despite losing 2-1 in their local derby with AFC Oldham thirds.

Salford Albion are home and dry in Group C with a hard-earned 2-1 derby win at Irlam Tiger Rangers.

A 3-1 win by Aldermere reserves over Old Strets seconds moves them to a point of the Rangers.

In Group D both Hillgate against Salford Storm and Kartel Sports against Moston Brook thirds had 3-2 wins to stay level on points at the top of the group and a 5-2 victory for AFC Oldham thirds over Milton reserves gives them a slim chance of catching the top two.

Finally in the Hellawell Shield for teams in Division C and D sees AFC Stockport Warriors cruising into the last eight with a close 3-2 win over nearest rivals Shaw Athletic reserves.

Deans sauntered to a 7-1 victory at Stoconians thirds but will need another huge win to make up the goal difference on Shaw Athletic.

Group B is still wide open with Salford Storm reserves staying a point clear of Moston Brook fourths after being held 1-1 by Govan Athletic who are still in the frame.

Moston Brook won 2-0 at Oldham Vics reserves.

Radclyffe reserves are through and stay top of Group C despite being held to a 1-1 draw with Urmston Town Vale who remain two points behind them.

Waiting for Vale to slip up in the final game are Spurley Hey reserves after a 3-2 win at Village Manchester reserves.

The other game saw Altrincham Hale enjoy a comfortable 4-1 win at Whalley Range.

There are three teams in the hunt in Group D with non playing Greater Manchester FC on top with a two point lead over FC Bury Aces who drew 2-2 at Didsbury thirds who had Phil Woodbridge and Matty Kulik – with a stunning set piece – to thank as they twice came from behind to earn a point.

Staly Lions were roaring as they walloped Stoconians fourths 9-0 to keep their hopes alive.

The heat is on in all groups

AFTER the third round of fixtures in L & C’s revamped cup competitions, some teams are within touching distance of the quarter finals, while others are set to battle until the last kick as the competition reaches an exciting climax. 

In the Rhodes Cup for teams in the Premier and Division One Dom Doyle look to be well on the way with a big 7-3 win over Trafford United taking them three points clear of three other teams in Group A.

Rochdalians staked their claims in the group with their first game seeing them demolish Bury Ams 8-0 who stay level with them and non-playing Irlam Tigers.

Division One high-flyers Moston Brook top Group B with a maximum nine points after winning a superb game with De La Salle Reds by scoring the only goal.

Next up are Didsbury, two points adrift after another close 2-1 win over AFC Oldham.

Group C provides a real battle to the finish as Mellor, who led the Premier Division with a 100 per cent record prior to the lockdown, enjoyed their first game in the competition as they cruised to a 5-0 win at group leaders Urmston Town.

South Manchester stay in second spot despite losing out 4-2 hosting Radclyffe.

Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics are also back in the mix after a convincing 4-0 win over Dukinfield Athletic.

Vics took control with two first-half strikes from Aaron Brown and doubled the margin in the second half with a Callum Jones goal topped by a 45-yard spectacular from Mikey Lawler as Vics hit the woodwork seven times to show their intent on progress in to the next stage

Group D is also wide open with North Walkden going two points clear after a big 8-2 win over High Lane.

Their nearest challengers are Manchester Polonia who won a nerve-jangler by 4-3 against Abacus Media.

Stretford Paddock will also be battling to the end after an emphatic 4-0 win over Signol OB keeps them in the mix.

The Wray Cup is for teams in Division Two and Three and after the third round of games in Group A, Wythenshawe Wanderers are within touching distance of the last eight after a  2-0 win over South Manchester reserves kept up their 100 per cent record and gives them a very healthy four-point lead.

Next up are draw specialists Bedians who drew 2-2 with Hattersley to keep both teams in the mix.

The other game was also deadlocked at 1-1 between Stoconians and Abacus Media reserves.

Sale Amateurs kept up their relentless path in Group B with a 3-0 win over Elton Lib Hargreaves.

The margin of victory was kept to three by some splendid goalkeeping by the Elton keeper including a penalty save and also then from the follow-up from Sale scoring legend Danny Harwood.

A great finish from Stjon Clement and a spectacular strike from Luke May put Ams in firm control and Harwood atoned for his spot-kick miss with a late tap-in to seal victory.

Non-playing Signol Athletic stay in second spot, three points behind with a game in hand and Village Manchester stay in touch after an emphatic 5-1 cruise over Didsbury reserves.

It’s tight at the top of Group C with Shaw Athletic and Woodhouses Juniors level on eight points with the decisive game between them to come.

Shaw accounted for Aldermere 4-1 while Woohouses had to work hard for a 3-2 win over Old Stretfordians.

There was great delight for Hooley Bridge Celtic who recovered from a pointless start to their campaign with an exciting 6-3 derby win over Santos.

Just two games in Group D with Chadderton Cott keeping their slender lead at the top as they shared six goals with Mellor reserves and Stoconians reserves moved into second spot with another big 6-2 win at Stretford Paddock reserves.

In the Whitehead Cup for teams in Division A and B, Group A leaders Flixton JFC stay a point clear of non-playing AFC Stockport as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Deans.

A 2-1 win for Trafford United reserves over Bury Ams reserves keeps them in touch with the top two.

It’s tight in Group B with just a point between the top three teams.

Chadderton Cott reserves stay just a point clear after going down 2-1 at Parrs Wood Celtic.

Hot on their heels are Spurley Hey after a 6-3 win at Dukinfield Athletic reserves and Mellor thirds after a comfortable 5-1 win over AFC Oldham thirds. 

Group C sees Salford Albion in firm control after a 3-0 win at Heaton Mersey.

It keeps them two points ahead of Irlam Tiger Rangers who beat Aldermere reserves 2-0.

The other game saw Old Strets reserves delighted to post their first win in the competition by 3-1 over Moston Brook reserves.

It’s all to play for in Group D as the top two were both held to 2-2 draws, Hillgate by Moston Brook thirds and Kartel at AFC Oldham reserves.

No problems for Salford Storm as they enjoyed their first win of the competition by 7-2 at Milton reserves.

In the Hellawell Shield for teams in Division C and D, Shaw Athletic reserves are nearly there as they walloped Rochdale Galaxy 8-0 to stay three points clear of AFC Stockport Warriors, who have a game in hand, and Irlam Tiger A.

Warriors won 3-1 at Deans reserves and Irlam eased to a 6-3 win at Stoconians thirds.

It’s very tight in Group B as Salford Storm reserves are three points clear of the other four teams with a 3-1 win at Bury Ams thirds.

The other games saw Govan Athletic join Oldham Vics reserves, Moston Brook fourths and Bury Ams on three points with a 3-2 win over Oldham Vics reserves.

Radclyffe reserves top Group C after a decisive 5-1 win at Altrincham Hale, two points clear of Urmston Town Vale who won a tense game at Spurley Hey reserves by 2-1.

Whalley Range stay in third spot after securing a points in a 2-2 draw with Village Manchester reserves.

Greater Manchester FC kept on top of Group A with a comfortable 5-1 win over Didsbury thirds and Bury Aces also went nap in a 5-1 victory over Stoconians fourths to stay in second spot three points adrift of Storm.

Cup competitions heading for a dramatic finish

MOST teams have now completed two games in their respective cup groups and on a day of great weather and good playing surfaces there were goals galore and many exciting and close games.

All teams are aiming to reach the next stage of the competition by finishing in the top two in their group and it promises to be a thrilling and dramatic finale to the group games in a couple of weeks’ time.

The Rhodes Cup, competed for by teams in the Premier and Division One, has seen some great determination by teams in the latter division against those in the former. 

Group B division leaders Moston Brook are flying high after a convincing 5-2 win at Hadfield to lead the group ahead on goal difference from another Division One side De la Salle who won by the odd goal in five at AFC Oldham.

Didsbury were also delighted with a point in a 2-2 draw at Lancashire Cup finalists Milton, with the predatory Aaron Rodger bagging a brace for Didsbury to keep them well into the mix.

In Group C, Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics were leading 2-0 against high-flying Mellor with strikes from Matty Bailey and Mickey Lawler when a freak injury to a Mellor player caused the game to be abandoned and will now be replayed.

Leading the group are Division One side Urmston Town who were too hot for Radclyffe to handle in an 8-3 demolition.

South Manchester are in second spot with a hard-earned point in a 2-2 draw at Dukinfield Athletic.

It’s tight at the top of Group D with North Walkden, again from Division One, sharing top spot with High Lane after a convincing 3-0 win at Stretford Paddock.

Abacus Media hit top form in a 5-2 win at Signol OB and High Lane shared four goals with Manchester Polonia.

Group A has seen the fewest number of games played and the only game of the weekend saw Irlam Tigers win 5-2 over Bury Ams to stay level on points with three other teams.

In the Wray Cup for teams in Division Two and Three, Wythenshawe Wanderers kept up their bright start in Group A with comfortable 6-1 win over Abacus Media reserves taking them clear at the top. 

Bedians kept in touch with a thrilling 6-4 win at Stoconians and in another close encounter Hattersley won 2-1 at South Manchester reserves.

Group B sees Sale Ams and Signol JFC locked on six points with Sale enjoying their first half at Village Manchester with strikes from Luke May, Dean Bellamy, Stjohn Clement (two in two minutes) – taking them to an unassailable lead and a 6-1 win.

Signol JFC also had an easy passage with a 5-1 win at Didsbury reserves with George Bell (two), Leon Cheslett and Chris Carroll and Jayvon Morgan netting the Didsbhury consolation.

Elton Lib Hargreaves and Salford Vics reserves shared four goals as Hargreaves bagged a late equaliser.

It’s all to play for in Group C with three teams tied on six points as wins for Shaw Athletic by 2-1 at Old Stretfordians, Woodhouses with the only goal of their game at gutsy Hooley Bridge Celtic and Aldermere by 5-4 in a goalfest at Santos see them level on points with exciting games in prospect against each other to come.

Limited action in Group D with just one game played, and it was a 2-1 win for Chadderton Cott at Stoconians reserves.

Teams in Division A and B are in a very competitive battle for the Whitehead Cup quarter finals in all groups and in Group A Flixton JFC and AFC Stockport share the lead after successive wins with Flixton looking good in a 5-1 win at Bury Ams reserves while AFC Stockport ground out a 1-0 win over Deans.

Chadderton Cott reserves lead Group B by three points after a tight 2-1 win over Dukinfield Athletic reserves.

Tied on three points are Spurley Hey after a resounding 6-1 win at AFC Oldham thirds, and Mellor thirds, who enjoyed a 4-2 win at Parrs Wood Celtic.

It looks like another nerve-jangling finish in Group C as just three points separate the top four teams and Salford Albion lead the way after a big 9-1 win over Old Strets reserves.

Next up on four points are Heaton Mersey and Irlam Tiger Rangers who shared the points in an excellent 1-1 draw.

Aldermere reserves stay in the mix after posting their first win by 5-3 at Moston Brook reserves.

Group D has Hillgate and Kartel both in good form as they share top spot with comfortable victories, Hillgate by 4-0 over AFC Oldham reserves and Kartel with an impressive 3-1 win over Milton reserves.

Moston Brook thirds are in third place as they cruised to a 6-0 win over Salford Storm.

Finally the Hellawell Shield for teams in Division C and D sees Shaw Athletic reserves top of Group A with a 5-2 win over Irlam Tiger A.

They are three points ahead of AFC Stockport Warriors who won their local derby with Stoconians fourths by 5-0 and Deans reserves who edged a breathless 5-4 win over Rochdale Galaxy.

It’s all to play for in Group B with four teams level on three points each.

They are Oldham Vics reserves who beat Bury Ams A 2-0,  and Moston Brook fourths by 2-1 at Govan Athletic. Non-playing Salford Storm stay in the mix.

Radclyffe seconds are flying high in Group C after an emphatic 6-0 win over Whalley Range.

Urmston Town Vale stay two points behind them after a 3-0 win over Village Manchester reserves and Spurley Hey reserves are in the hunt after winning their first game in the group by 3-2 over Altrincham Hale.

In Group D Greater Manchester FC lead the way with a 3-1 win over Bury Aces and Staly Lions moved level on three points with the Aces in a gritty 2-0 win over Didsbury thirds.

New competition off to a thrilling start

THE L & C AFL resumed competitive action in the revised cup competitions on a day marked by tribute to Prince Philip and enduring four seasons of weather on a memorable day.

The snow showers caused the postponement of some games, while others enjoyed wall-to-wall sunshine and superb playing surfaces.

Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics began their defence of the trophy with a tough group game at South Manchester and the pre-match tribute to Prince Philip saw the Rhodes Cup paraded by league chairman Mike Yates.

The game was a real thriller between two excellent teams and South went ahead through Nathan O’Hara and it was a terrific end-to-end game after that with South edging it 3-2 with strikes from Cassius Clay and club legend Tufail Baloch to put them in the driving seat in their group.

The other game played in the group saw Urmston Town JFC beat Dukinfield Athletic 3-1.

In Group B there were three decisive victories for Rochdalians by 5-2 over Newton, Dom Doyle by 4-2 over Irlam Tigers and Bury Ams by 3-0 over Trafford United to set up some vital games in the week to come.

In Group A Abacus Media took the lead with a thundering 20-yarder from Jack Aubrey but recent cup winners High Lane came back strongly to win 3-1.

The other two games ended at 2-2 between Stretford Paddock and Manchester Polonia and North Walkden and Signol OB.

In the final group Moston Brook showed why they are top of Division One with a clinical 3-0 win over Premier side AFC Oldham, De la Salle repeated this by toppling Lancashire Cup finalists Milton 2-1 and Didsbury won a thriller with Hadfield by the same score.

The Wray Cup features teams from Divisions Two and Three.

In Group C Aldermere from division three pulled off a 2-1 local derby win over Division Two high-flyers Old Stretfordians. Shaw Athletic had few problems in a 7-0 win over Hooley Bridge Celtic and Woodhouses had early strikes from Michael Shepherd (two) and Dom Abrahams to thank for sending them on the way to a comfortable 3-1 win over Santos.

Bedians and South Manchester reserves battled out a 3-3 thriller with Reece Horan and Chris Lynch supplying the South strikes backed by some fine goalkeeping from Jerome Tait.

Joe Mensah and a penalty from Kayy Jayy kept Bedians in touch and they grabbed a deserved point with a last-minute rocket from Chris Heywood.

Wythenshawe Wanderers were always in control against Stoconians with a first-half brace from Michael Sherrington setting them off to a 4-2 victory.

Action in Group B saw Signol Athletic JFC score the only goal of their game with Elton Lib Hargreaves and Salford Vics reserves and Village Manchester shared four goals.

Sale Ams showed their intent with a dominant 4-1 win over Didsbury reserves

Just one result in Group D with Mellor reserves and Stretford Paddock reserves locked at 3-3.

The Whitehead Cup sees teams from Divisions A and B in action and there were plenty of goals led by Flixton JFC in Group A with a 7-0 cruise over Chadderton Park.

Deans eased to a 5-1 win over Bury Ams reserves and AFC Stockport also went nap beating Trafford United reserves 5-2.

Just two games in Group B with Mellor thirds losing 2-1 to Chadderton Cott, a scoreline matched by Parrs Wood Celtic at Spurley Hey. 

In Group C Heaton Mersey also had their shooting boots on as they won 5-3 at Old Strets reserves and Irlam Tiger Rangers won 3-1 hosting Moston Brook thirds. The group was completed by Salford Albion winning 2-1 at Aldermere reserves.

In Group D Hillgate led the way with a 4-1 victory over Milton reserves and Kartel were also hot in a 5-3 win at Salford Storm and AFC Oldham reserves kept an immaculate clean sheet beating Moston Brook thirds 2-0.

Finally in Divisions C and D, the battle commenced for the Hellawell Shield and the top score of 7-0 was posted by Greater Manchester FC against Stoconians fourths in Group D, with the other new boys FC Bury Aces also winning 3-1 over Staly Lions.

In Group A Shaw Athletic reserves beat Stoconians thirds 4-2 and Irlam Tigers thirds beat Deans reserves 3-1

There were close encounters in group B with Bury Ams third winning 2-1 over Govan Athletic and Salford Storm reserves emerged with a breathless 4-3 victory at Moston Brook fourths. There was a rare goalless draw in Group C between Altrincham Hale and Urmston Town Vale, Whalley Range enjoyed a 2-1 win over Spurley Hey reserves and Radclyffe reserves completed a busy day with a 4-1 victory at Village Manchester reserves.

Exciting return to action

IT proved to be a great return to action in the eight divisions of the L & C as great work by the management committee and clubs saw a full day of action in a rescheduled league programme.

With the season seeing an end to divisional competitions the revised programme saw most of the league’s team enjoying getting back into action with no points at stake but just a good friendly preparation for the planned exciting end to the season with the four revised cup competitions scheduled to start next weekend with plenty of frantic action on the pitch.

It also gave clubs the chance to hone their administrative skills in preparation for the games to come.

The day was blessed with sunny weather, and pitches in excellent condition and the players responded with a real goal fest throughout the divisions.

L & C chairman Mike Yates, who along with other committee members, was able to visit several grounds during a busy day said: “It was great to see the joy come back with so many people delighted to be back in action with big smiles on their faces.

“It certainly augers well for terrific cup action over the next few weeks and my congratulations go the clubs and their players for putting on a superb show in their approach to the game we all love.”

In the Premier Division South Manchester were the hotshots with a big 8-4 win at High Lane and Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics enjoyed an efficient 3-1 win over Irlam Tigers, a score matched by Milton at Radclyffe.

The other games saw Abacus Media and Dom Doyle both win 4-3 against Manchester Polonia and AFC Oldham.

There were some close contests in Division One with the top game seeing Didsbury and Stretford Paddock battle out a great contest with a late strike from Paddock easing them home 2-1.

Dukinfield Athletic scored the only goal of their game at Urmston Town and Hadfield Athletic kept an immaculate clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Bury Ams.

Signol OB and Newton shared four goals and it was also close as Trafford United beat table-topping Moston Brook 3-2 with North Walkden winning by the same margin in their local derby at De La Salle Reds.

In Division Two Stoconians cruised to a 5-1 win over Salford Vics reserves and Chadderton Cott won 3-1 at Chadderton Park. League leaders Old Stretfordians lost a close contest by 2-2 to Signol JFC and a super team goal sealed a 3-2 win for Parrs Wood Celtic at Bedians and South Manchester reserves made it a good day for the club beating Shaw Athletic 2-1.

There was fine game at Village Manchester as they entertained Hattersley in Division Three

Dionyoion Klaoudatos and Matthew Hodgson (two) netted for Village before the break with Declann Ince replying for Hattersley who made it 3-2 early in the second half.

Then Village upped their game with a penalty and a clinical finish but were indebted to their keeper for a string of good saves to preserve their lead.

Aldermere were on fire at Didsbury reserves with James Greyson, Jono Greyson, Joe Murphy and Callum Blades on target in a 6-0 cruise.

Abacus Media reserves were too hot to handle as they won 7-2 at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

Plenty of drama at Wythenshawe Wanderers as they beat Woodhouses JFC 6-5, Sale Amateurs shared six goals with Stoconians reserves and Stretford Paddock reserves and Elton Lib Hargreaves were deadlocked at 1-1.

In Division A Irlam Tigers Rangers led the way with a comfortable 6-0  win over AFC Oldham reserves.

Salford Albion beat Moston Brook reserves 3-2, Dukinfield Ams reserves triumphed 3-1 over Bury Ams reserves, Hillgate won 2-0 at Chadderton Cott reserves and Flixton Juniors enjoyed a close 3-2 win over Spurley Hey. The only goalless game of the day was between Aldermere reserves and Heaton Mersey.

Goals galore in Division C led by Radclyffe reserves with a double-figure haul against Stoconians thirds and Altrincham Hale with a nap-hand against Bury Ams thirds.

Salford Storm had a comfortable 4-1 win over Staly Lions , a score matched by AFC Stockport Warriors at Govan Athletic and Village Manchester reserves were 3-1 victors at Oldham Vics reserves.

Closer in Division D with Irlam Tigers winning 3-1 against Whalley Range while Urmston Town had to work hard for a 1-0 win at Spurley Hey reserves and Rochdale Galaxy shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Shaw Athletic reserves.

L & C Diversity Inclusion Group

The L & C Diversity and Inclusion Committee member Rob Brown would like clubs to nominate representatives to take part in an open discussion about inclusivity and diversity. It is felt the key people are the football managers and assistants who have the most influence on the playing squads and changing room environment, however all nominees are welcome.

The diversity group’s brief would be to :

1.            Set up the introductory meeting in April – date to be confirmed

2.            The membership should include 5 member clubs and 3 L & C committee members

3.            We would meet 3 times a year or on an adhoc basis

4.            The group will consider the most high profile issues in accordance with diversity and inclusion for grass roots football

5.            Explore issues that would help our league to be as inclusive as possible and make suggestions to the L & C committee as to how it can develop or make           changes to be as inclusive as possible.

6.            The group would also be a sounding board for the league and be prepared to consider issues as they arise and advise accordingly.

7.            The group would be prepared to accept and take part in development  and be as knowledgeable on current issues as possible.

If you have already expressed an interest, please confirm to Rob, as several months have passed since we first started communicating about this matter.

First match day cup fixtures now available

This week’s L & C update provides details on where to find the first match day of cup fixtures for when the restructured fixture list resumes next month.

  1. Reminder – tomorrow 29th March 7PM there will be a General Meeting via Zoom (invites sent yesterday), which clubs must attend to hear all the arrangements.
  2. Moston Brook 4th Team are looking for an away friendly, next Saturday 3rd April. Contact Mike Melia- 07837 251346
  3. Fixtures arranged for every team on the 3rd April are to be used as a warm up so teams don’t go into the cups on 10th April without having played. All normal procedures such as confirmation, referee payment by BACs, completion of result texts, match sheets, team stats and refs marks are to be followed.
  4. The Cup fixtures, Match day one on the 10th April through to the end if the group stage on 8th May are now visible on Full Time.
  5. The Cup squads from multi-team clubs can be sent in as soon as you are ready, and are required at the latest by next Sunday 4th April. Please send to me,  Keith Marsden, John Howard and Gill Bowden please.
  6. Rob O’Connor of Bedians has kindly offered a set of football nets in good condition if any club needs them. If anyone wants them all they have to do is collect them, contact Rob O’Connor 07738 195124.

Let the action begin

AFTER months for frustration and lack of playing action there was plenty of hard work done by the L & C management committee, given great support by clubs, to prepare for an exciting new programme once the lockdown on grassroots soccer was lifted.

The league designed a divisional cup competition to finish the season giving all of the 90-plus teams the chance to play at least five games followed by quarter-finals for the top two teams in each group followed by semi-finals and finals for the Rhodes Cup, Wray Cup, Whitehead Cup and Hellawell Shield.

The competition will begin on April 10 and will be looking to avoid midweek matches.

All clubs were also given the chance to take part in a full programme of friendly matches by the league on April 3 to get them back into action and be aware of Covid restrictions and administrative requirements for the upcoming cup competitions.

Some clubs have had to seek out new grounds to play on due to Covid problems with their existing facilities and the league are delighted with some of the temporary venues they have been able to secure.

L & C Referees Secretary Stephen Howard has been busy also and he is pleased to announce that he has a surplus of officials for all of the upcoming games.

The draw for the cups sees teams from the Premier and Division One in four groups of six teams each aiming to reach the final of the Rhodes Cup at Hyde United at the end of May.

The draw gives some of the ambitious teams in division one the chance to show their talent against Premier division teams.

One group sees Rhodes Cup holders Salford Vics and 100 per cent Premier division leaders Mellor lined up with South Manchester and Urmston Town.

Division One leaders Moston Brook will enjoy a local derby with high-flying Premier side AFC Oldham as well as tough games with Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton, Hadfield Athletic and De la Salle.

Rochdalians are another L & C powerhouse and among their opponents are Dom Doyle, Newton, Bury Ams and Irlam Tiger.

The fourth group has recent Rhodes Cup winners High Lane in a tough group containing ambitious new boys Stretford Paddock, Signol OB, North Walkden, Abacus Media and Manchester Polonia.

Teams from Division Two and Three are competing for the Wray Cup and in one of the groups there will be an exciting local derby as division two leaders Old Stretfordians take on Aldermere.

The Whitehead Cup has teams from Divisions A and B in action with new team Kartel taking on Salford Storm and Hillgate in their fixtures.

Finally the Hellawell Shield has teams from Divisions C and D in action with one of the groups just having five clubs, including new boys Greater Manchester FC who will take on Stoconians fourths, FC Bury, Stlay Lions and Didsbury thirds.

The group includes Division C leaders AFC Stockport Warriors and Division D top team Irlam Tigers A.
So plenty of thrills and spills to look forward to in a very exciting end to the truncated season.

General Meeting, Cup and friendly fixtures, and info ahead of restart

This week’s update includes confirmation that fixtures have been arranged. For this and more information, please see below.

  1. Fixtures for every team on the 3rd April are released, some clubs did not want a match that day, so those have been moved. If you still want a game after your opponent declined, contact Malcolm Kershaw They are to be used as a warm up so teams don’t go into the cups on 10th April without having played. Referees will be appointed as normal by the referee’s secretary. All normal procedures such as confirmation, referee payment by BACs, completion of result texts, match sheets, team stats and refs marks are to be followed.
  2. The cup draw was made at the committee meeting, issued on the 17th March and Match day one on the 10th April has been released.
  3. The cup rules and competition format were issued on the 6th March. Note the deadline for registration has been brought forward to the end of February (rule 4) and squad eligibility is in rule 5. Squads are required from multi-team clubs and can be sent in as soon as you are ready. Any queries on registrations to Keith Marsden please.
  4. The preparation for the return continues – Important date for your diaries – 29th March 7PM there will be a General Meeting via Zoom, which clubs must attend to hear all the arrangements.

New plan in place to finish the season

NOW that the Government has laid down its road map grass roots football has been able to plan the conclusion to another very disrupted season caused by Covid 19.

The Lancashire & Cheshire League management committee has been doing plenty of work in looking at various options and decided to void the current league season in their eight divisions mainly due to the differences in fixtures completed by the teams.

The plan now is to run the four league cup competitions, originally in a divisional format, to give all of the teams the chance to play at least five fixtures followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and cup finals.

The Rhodes Cup, currently held by Salford Victoria, will be competed for by teams in the Premier and Division One in four groups of six teams, playing each other once with the top two teams in each group progressing to quarter finals.

The Wray Cup, currently held by Radclyffe FC, will feature teams in Division Two and Three in the same format and the Whitehead Cup, held by Chadderton Cott is for teams in Division A and B.

Finally the Hellawell Shield, held by Irlam Tigers Rangers, will see teams from Division C and D in competition.

The draw will soon be made and fixtures secretary Malc Kershaw will then plan the schedule which will begin on April 10 with quarter-finals planned for May 15.

The league will provide linesmen for the quarter finals and as usual the semi-finals and finals will be on neutral grounds with officials provided by the league.

Malc Kershaw said: “We will look for the group matches to be played on Saturdays, avoiding midweek games where possible and there will be some adjustments where teams share pitches.

“Referees secretary Stephen Howard is confident that he has enough officials to cover the busy programme and hopefully we will not be affected by bad weather and more Covid restrictions as we look to provide an exciting and competitive end to another very difficult and frustrating season.”

The clubs will all be given detailed information of the draw, rules etc for the planned programme as soon as possible giving them the opportunity to play some friendly games in preparation for the cup competitions.