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.

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.

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

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.”

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.