Premier Division still in De La Salle hands

THERE was a full mix of cup and league games with teams again able to enjoy fine weather and dry pitches with plenty to play for across the eight divisions.

In the Premier Division there was just one game affecting the title race with Stretford Paddock completing their league programme with a big 8-0 win at Manchester Polonia to move into second place behind Moston Brook, who have also finished their league programme.

The race now depends on the final two games of De La Salle Reds who if they win them can overhaul Moston Brook and take the title.

The other two games in the division saw Abacus Media win 5-1 hosting Salford Vics and North Walkden eased to a 4-2 win at Rochdalians.

There was the first game in the new Harry Jack Cup for teams in the Division One with group games followed by semi-finals and final.

Signol Athletic showed their intent with a 4-1 win over Trafford United.

League action produced the same score for Shaw Athletic at Didsbury with Jordan Bates bagging the Didsbury consolation.

In the Wray Cup, there were two close encounters which both ended in 2-0 wins for Division Two leaders Hattersley against Sale Ams and Eccles United against Stoconians.

Plenty of goals in the Division Two league fixtures with Newton enjoying their biggest win of the season by 8-2 over South Manchester and Baguley Athletic who were in seventh heaven after accounting for Stretford Paddock reserves by 7-0.

Just one game in Division Three and a crushing 10-0 win for AFC Stockport at Aldermere saw them move into second place on goal difference over non-playing Village Manchester.

The top two in Division A were not in action and Salford Vics reserves missed a chance to overtake second placed Salford Storm as they were beaten 4-2 at Milton reserves.

The other games had Stretford Paddock Development enjoying a 6-0 romp over Trafford United reserves while Moston Brook reserves had to graft hard for a 2-1 at Milnrow Firgrovia.

No games for the leading teams in Division B but there were three tight and entertaining tussles with a thrilling local derby seeing Old Stretfordians reserves sharing four goals with Flixton JFC.

Greater Manchester reserves edged a 3-2 win over AFC Oldham thirds and the same scoreline was repeated by Parrs Wood Celtic hosting Spurley Hey.

The Hellawell Shield match between Bury Ams thirds and Salford Storm produced an excellent game with Bury providing a sharp cutting edge in a 5-1 win.

In Division C, Dukinfield Athletic still have a big lead but Mellor reserves, with four games in hand, closed the gap to 11 points after an efficient 3-0 win over Staly Lions.

A foot-of-the table game saw Stoconians reserves move out of the basement slot with a close 3-2 win at Chadderton Park reserves.

It was close at Village Manchester reserves with visiting Eccles United reserves winning 2-0 in an excellent game with plenty of free-flowing football.

The other game was a great advert for the league with Govan Athletic Development and Altrincham Hale playing their game with great sporting attitude, total respect and some neat football with doubles from Sam Drinkwater and Sam Caine giving Altrincham Hale a 4-0 win.

Finally in Division D, Moston Brook fourths kept their hopes of a league and cup double burning with a 6-0 win over Bury Ams reserves in the Hellawell Shield and plenty of goals also from Milltown as they won their league game against Didsbury reserves by 7-2.

Eccles United suffer cup heartache

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

League heading for exciting conclusion

It was a comprehensive weekend of league and cup action which saw Hattersley cruise into the next round of the Wray Cup, as the Division Two leaders overwhelmed Mellor 6-2.

Elsewhere in the competition that pits Division Two and Three sides against each other, Stoconians pulled off an upset by defeating Stretford Paddock reserves 3-2.

There were three games in the Whitehead Cup for teams in Divisions A and B and they were all close affairs.

Old Strets reserves took a 1-0 lead at the break, through Adam Simms and Lewis O’Connor doubled the advantage. But Hillgate battled back to take the game to a penalty shoot-out which they won 3-0.

Joining them in the next round are in-form Heaton Mersey who were taken all the way at AFC Oldham thirds before scoring the only goal of a hard-fought encounter.

The other game saw Milton reserves win by 3-1 at Milnrow Firgrovia.

The final cup action was in Division C and D sides in the Hellawell Shield and the tie of the day saw Mellor reserves and Govan Athletic share four derby goals with Govan winning the penalty shoot out by 5-4.

Plenty of goals at Milltown who lost out 6-4 to Salford Storm reserves in an entertaining game. Moston Brook fourths beat Village Manchester reserves 3-0 and the last team through are Bury Ams thirds who won 4-2 at Altrincham Hale.

In the Premier Division, Moston Brook kept up their title challenge with a big win over AFC Oldham and with one game to play are five points clear of De La Salle who have two games in hand.

The other game was a mid-table encounter with North Walkden beating Abacus Media 4-1

Division One leaders Chadderton Cott needed a point from their game at Didsbury to clinch the title but missed their chance as they lost out 2-1 as a battling Didsbury bagged a late winner.

Irlam Tiger are hot on their tail after a 4-0 win over Trafford United and if they win their last two games they will overtake Cott with a superior goal difference.

There were goals galore for the pack hunting down Division Two leaders Hattersley led by Manchester Amateur Cup finalists Eccles United with a 7-0 cruise over Bedians.

Irlam Tiger Rangers have four games in hand on Hattersley and a 3-1 win at Wythenshawe Wanderers keeps them well in the hunt.

Baguley Athletic kept in the mix with a 5-0 win over Newton as did Sale Amateurs with a 5-2 victory at South Manchester.

Not much action in Division Three where Chadderton Park are in need of a win in their last match to be champions. Elton Lib Hargreaves enjoyed a 3-1 win at Radclyffe but lose the points because their opponents have since folded. Abacus Media won their derby with Hooley Bridge Celtic by 6-0.

It’s all to play for in Division A, With leaders North Walkden reserves without a game, the key game saw Kartel SC dent second-place Woodsend Athletic’s hope of closing the gap on the leaders with comprehensive 5-0 win.

Salford Storm had to work hard for a 2-1 win over Stretford Paddock reserves to stay in third spot.

Santos kept up their recent hot run, edging a goal-fest against Salford Vics reserves by 5-4. An early Vics goal was quickly snuffed out with three from Santos’s Ben Marshall including a penalty and Matt Barr on the scoresheet. A second Vics goal on the stroke of half time and two early second half strikes brought the score level. A late Barr strike settled the match much to the relief of Santos at the final whistle. There was also a 4-2 win for Greater Manchester at Trafford United reserves.

In Division B Aldermere Reserves lost out 1-4 to a revitalised GMFC Reserves, and still need three points to secure the title. Parrswood Celtic and Moston Brook third team earned a point each in a 1-1 draw.

Division C leaders Dukinfield Athletic kept up their strong title hopes with a 3-1 win at Bury Amateur reserves to move 19 points clear of Mellor reserves who have plenty of games in hand.

Urmston Town Vale led Staly Lions at the break but the Lions bit back in the second half to earn a point.

The 1-1 score was matched at AFC Stockport Warriors hosting Chadderton Park reserves.

In Division D Whalley Range took a big step to the title with a 9-2 win over Salford Vics Development taking them three points clear of Moston Brook fourths.

The other games brought wins for Mellor Development at AFC Oldham fourths and Altrincham Hale reserves by 2-1 over Irlam Tiger A.

De La Salle edge heavyweight Rhodes Cup clash

IT was a day of domestic cup catch-up as the weather was finally pleasant to allow a virtually full fixture list to take place on dry grass pitches.

The top game was in the blue riband Rhodes Cup, for teams in the Premier Division and Division One, and it saw two of the top flight title hunters enjoy a quality game in the semi-final.

De La Salle have a slight edge in three three-horse title race and they took on Stretford Paddock in what was always going to be a tight contest.

De La Salle netted twice in their first half through Connor Lamb and Jonathan Dunne and although Paddock did all they could to get back on terms De La Salle showed great defensive qualities to book their final date as they kept a great clean sheet.

There were two other matches in the Rhodes Cup and Premier Division leaders Moston Brook kept up their impressive run of form with a 3-0 win at Rochdalians.

This booked them a semi-final date with giant-killers Irlam Tigers who pulled off a sensational 6-1 win over Manchester Challenge Cup finalists Abacus Media.

There were two games in the Wray Cup for teams in divisions two and three and Baguley Athletic shook off their Manchester Amateur Cup semi-final heartache with a 4-2 win over Elton Lib Hargreaves.

Baguley were given a flying start with a second-minute rocket from Ash Leather and although Elton put in a great effort at both ends of the pitch they could not prevent Baguley posting a 4-2 win.

The other game was a very even contest at Division Two Sale Amateurs who beat Division Three leaders Chadderton Park 2-1.

Just one game in the Whitehead Cup, contested by Division A and B teams, and there was a comfortable win for North Walkden reserves who sauntered to a 5-0 win over Stretford Paddock Development.  

Division One action saw Didsbury pull off one of their best wins of the season as they walloped fellow strugglers Old Stretfordians 7-2

There was just one goal in the other game and it came from Signol Athletic at Bury Ams to keep in touch with leaders Chadderton Cott.

There were four games in the hotly contested Division Two and leaders Hattersley maintained their 10-point lead with a 4-1 win at Manchester Amateur Cup finalists Eccles United with the goals shared by Andrew Mottershead, Jordan McCann, Rob Sadler and Declan Ince.

Irlam Tiger Rangers have five games in hand over the leaders and they showed their intent to keep in the title race with a 3-1 win at Stretford Paddock reserves.

Wythenshawe Wanderers are also in the frame but they dropped points as they were held to a 3-3 draw by improving Bedians in an excellent local derby.

After Bedians had taken the lead a penalty from Matty German drew Wanderers level with the teams then sharing four goals in an end-to-end contest.

Newton shrugged off some recent indifferent form and rose from the foot of the table with a thrilling 5-3 win over Mellor.

The two games in Division Three were between the bottom four teams and they produced wins for Abacus Media reserves by 3-0 over Stoconians and Woodhouses JFC by 4-2 at Aldermere.

The top two teams in Division A were out of action but there were some close games led by a 0-0 draw between Kartel and Salford Storm and Salford Vics reserves shared two goals with AFC Oldham reserves.

Milton reserves edged a 3-2 win at Greater Manchester who were made to regret many missed chances during a game they often dominated.

Santos kept up their recent hot streak with a 4-2 win at Moston Brook reserves and Trafford United reserves had few problems in a 4-0 victory over Milnrow Firgrovia.

Division B champions Aldermere were without a fixture and Heaton Mersey kept up their run of form with a 3-1 win at Old Strets reserves to keep well clear of the pack in second place.

Spurley Hey belied their lowly position as they held high-flying Greater Manchester reserves to a 2-2 draw and in the other two games AFC Oldham thirds beat Hillgate 3-2 and Moston Brook thirds won their local derby at Oldham Saints by 6-3.

Division C is always the busiest in the league and staged a full programme of games with leaders Dukinfield Athletic putting on an efficient performance to win 2-0 at Village Manchester reserves to extend their lead over Mellor reserves to 16 points.

Athletic’s derby rivals Staly Lions suffered an upset in their chase of the top two as they went down 2-0 hosting Govan Athletic Development.

AFC Stockport Warriors were top scorers with a 6-0 win at Chadderton Park reserves and the six-hit was replicated by Urmston Town Vale against Stoconians reserves.

Bury Ams reserves also kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Eccles United reserves and Altrincham Hale grafted hard for a 2-1 win at Salford Storm reserves.

Just two games played in Division D and Whalley Range moved level on points with leaders Moston Brook fourths with a clinical 3-0 win over Irlam Tiger thirds and Range also have a vital game in hand.

The other match saw the spoils shared as Salford Vics Development drew 1-1 with AFC Oldham fourths.

Agony for Baguley in the Manchester Amateur Cup

Baguley Athletic bowed out of the Manchester Amateur Cup after agonisingly losing their semi-final with Middleton on penalties.

The L & C outfit, enjoying their first season in the league, fell two goals behind early on as Middleton flew out of the traps.

But Baguley upped their game with a neat finish from Lee Hendley reducing the arrears before the break.

Their predatory Argentinian striker Paulo Ortiz had a typically clinical finish to take the game into a penalty shoot-out.

But it was not to be as Middleton held their nerve to win the shoot-out by 9-8 to deny Baguley a final against fellow L & C team Eccles United.

There was plenty of domestic cup action with three of the top teams making their way into the next round of the Rhodes Cup, featuring teams from the L & C’s top two divisions.

Manchester Challenge Cup finalists Abacus Media were in a tight contest with Division One champions Chadderton Cott and led with an early strike from Luke Perkin.

Cott showed intent to level before the break but Abacus dominated the second half to ease into the next round by 3-1.

Shaw Athletic also did Division One proud as they held Premier title contenders De La Salle to 1-1 at half-time but it was not enough to prevent a 3-2 win for De La Salle.

Rochdalians also took on another top team in Division One Signol Athletic but showed their enduring class with a comfortable 3-0 win.

The Wray Cup for teams in divisions two and three had plenty of goals, led by high-flying Hattersley who beat South Manchester 10-2 and not far behind were Stretford Paddock reserves with a 6-1 cruise over Woohouses.

Irlam Tiger Rangers were also on song as they won 5-2 at Newton.

There was plenty of action in the Whitehead Cup, contested by Division A and B teams, which featured a thriller at Milton Reserves as they ended normal time level at 5-5 against Moston Brook reserves who led 4-2 at half-time.

The penalty shoot out was equally dramatic as Milton won 8-7.

It was also close in a local derby at Aldermere reserves as they took on Old Stretfordians reserves.

This also ended deadlocked at 2-2 with Strets edging the shoo-out 4-3 to deny Aldermere a league and cup double.
The other three ties were also very tight and Flixton JFC saw visitors Kartel SC win 2-1, AFC Oldham reserves scored the only goal of their game at Greater Manchester reserves and Hillgate won their local derby against Spurley Hey by 2-1.

There were four games in the Hellawell Shield for teams in divisions C and D which saw straightforward wins for Bury Ams reserves by 5-0 at AFC Oldham fourths, Eccles United reserves by 3-0 at Didsbury reserves and Village Manchester reserves who registered a 2-0 win over Urmston Town Vale.

But it needed another penalty shootout at AFC Stockport Warriors after a 2-2 stalemate with Mellor Development who prevailed 5-4 on penalties.

Limited league action meant no games in the Premier division and just two in Division One which featured a relegation battle between Trafford United and Didsbury.

In a game played in excellent spirit Didsbury looked home and dry as a hat-trick from Jonny Todd took them into a comfortable 3-1 lead with 15 minutes to go but in the end they had to hang on to win 4-3 as United came back with a strong finish.

The other game saw Bury Ams pick up some useful points in a 2-0 win at Old Stretfordians.

In Division Two, Wythenshawe Wanderers closed the big lead on Hattersley to eight points with an emphatic 5-1 victory at Mellor.

Just two games in Division Three which did not affect the title race. There were comfortable wins for Elton Lib Hargreaves by 7-0 over Aldermere and Radclyffe by 3-0 over Stoconians.

Busier in Division A with four games played and Santos continued their recent good run of form with their best win of the season by 9-1 over Greater Manchester FC.

On target with doubles for Santos were Liam Churchill, David Clegg and Ben Marshall backed by singles from Tom Barnes, Danny Brierley and Tristan Campbell.

Also in comfort zone were Salford Storm who sauntered to a 4-0 win at AFC Oldham reserves, Trafford United reserves who hammered Milnrow Firgrovia 7-1 and Salford Vics reserves who strolled to a 6-0 triumph over Woodsend Athletic.

In Division B Heaton Mersey tightened their grip on second spot with a 3-1 win at Parrs Wood Celtic and Moston Brook thirds beat Oldham Saints 4-1.

Dukinfield Athletic stay firmly in charge of Division C after a 5-1 win at Chadderton Park reserves and near neighbours Staly Lions won 3-1 at Altrincham Hale.

The solitary Division D game saw Mellor Development edge a five-goal thriller against Salford Vics Development.

Eccles United edge pulsating Manchester Amateur Cup semi-final

Eccles United have the Manchester Amateur Cup final to look forward to after a breathless win over L & C rivals Irlam Tigers.

Tigers were given an early gift with a misunderstanding between Sean Eckersley and keeper Jordan Hamilton presented a soft own goal.

Eckersley netted for United to redeem that error, but Tigers were leading 2-1 going into the final minute of the contest, before they were dramatically pegged back through a Martin Booth strike to set up a penalty shootout.

Then United keeper Hamilton proved to be the hero with three super saves to see his team through 7-6.

They will face the winners of Baguley Athletic of AFC Middleton who play the other semi this coming Saturday.

Abacus Media were also in cup action as they faced high-flying Cheshire League team Egerton FC (Knutsford) in the Manchester Challenge Trophy final at Hyde United.

Abacus did the club and league proud with a great effort as Egerton were made to work very hard for a 2-0 win.

Back in league action there was a top game at Flixton FC between two Premier Division title hunters in Stretford Paddock and Moston Brook, watched by a good crowd of spectators.

Brook showed their intent to go 2-0 up inside six minutes and maintained their momentum in an excellent match to win 3-1.

The win takes them two points clear at the top from Paddock and the ever-dangerous De La Salle who beat Milton 3-1 and have a game in hand over Brook.

Rochdalians had a big win over struggling AFC Oldham and another good close game saw Salford Vics beat Manchester Polonia 2-1.

Just two games played in Division One and they were both tight contests with Shaw Athletic winning by the odd goal in nine hosting Bury Ams.

Old Stretfordians showed great battling spirit as they hosted champions Chadderton Cott with injury reducing them to play with ten men for the last hour of the game.

It was goalless at the break then on a rare attack Strets took the lead with a neat finish from Ryan Stewart and although Cott came back to level, Strets hung on for a deserved point inspired by skipper Dean Malone.

Division Two’s top team Hattersley still lead by ten points but dropped two as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Stretford Paddock reserves.

Non-playing Irlam Tiger Rangers can still overhaul Hattersley as they have a massive five games in hand.

There were thrills galore at Sale Amateurs as they hosted their jinx rivals Bedians who are looking to pull away from the relegation zone.

It looked to be plain sailing for Sale as they romped in to a 2-0 lead with stunning strikes from Aaron Bentley with a thunderbolt and Kazim Waite-Jackson with a cute back heel.

But Bedians turned the game on its head in the last two minutes of the first half with goals from Matt Greenhalgh and super sub Julian Patterson with his first touch making it 2-2 at the break.

Sale upped the ante after the break but were denied by some great defending, near misses and fantastic goalkeeping from Ben Feridooni.

At the other end Bedians showed their clinical side as they netted twice from limited chances through Chris Lambourne and Julian Patterson to win 4-2 and move two places up from the foot of the table.

In Division Three, leaders Chadderton Park stay well clear at the top after a gritty 2-1 derby win over Radcylffe FC.

Village Manchester stay 11 points behind with three games in hand after an efficient 3-1 victory over Hooley Bridge.

The other mid-table tussle at Elton Lib Hargreaves saw them share two goals with Salford Albion.

North Walkden reserves showed their Division A title intent with a big 7-0 win over chasing Kartel Sports to move three points clear of non-playing Woodsend Athletic, who have two games in hand over the leaders and Kartel have five games in hand.

Santos are on a roll and they kept a second clean sheet with a comfortable 4-0 win over Trafford United reserves.

Mike Leslie had Santos 1-0 to the good at the break and second-half strikes from Ben Winterbottom, Ciaran Finegan and Tim Gallagher kept up the good run of form.

The other games saw Salford Storm win their local derby with Salford Vics reserves 3-1 a score matched by Milton reserves over Stretford Paddock Development and Moston Brook reserves shared six goals in an entertaining match with Greater Manchester FC.

Aldermere Reserves moved to within a point of clinching the Division B title after beating Oldham Saints 5-0.

Their nearest rivals are Heaton Mersey who kept up their good run with a comfortable 4-2 victory over Old Strets seconds and the other game in the division had Moston Brook thirds in good defensive form in a 2-0 win against Parrs Wood Celtic.

Dukinfield Athletic are still comfortably leading Division C despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Altrincham Hale.

Mellor reserves closed the gap by two points with an efficient local derby 2-0 win over Govan Athletic Development and Staly Lions jumped into third place over non-playing Urmston Town Vale beating Stoconians reserves 3-1.

Just one game beat the weather in Division D with Mellor Development climbing out of the bottom two with a 5-2 win over a gutsy Didsbury reserves.

Storms wreak havoc on busy programme

THE effects of Storms Dudley and Eunice saw games on grass totally postponed and even one on 3G for the top Rhodes Cup tie between Abacus Media v Chadderton Cott called off due to snow.

There were plenty of goals in the games played on artificial surfaces with De La Salle Reds keeping up their scintillating league form in the Rhodes Cup as they demolished Manchester Polonia 11-0.

Premier Division leaders Stretford Paddock were not far behind winning 9-1 in their local derby with Old Stretfordians.

There was little between the team in the first 30 minutes with both keepers pulling off some excellent saves.

Paddock broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a neat finish from Steve Watkins and opened the floodgates in the second half to cruise into the next round.

In the Wray Cup, the competition for teams in divisions two and three, there was plenty of drama and goals as Baguley Athletic switched their home tie to the superb surface at Trinity High School – the home ground of opponents Village Manchester.

A close first half saw Baguley enjoy a slender 2-1 lead thanks to a double from Paulo Ortiz.

Then after the break Ortiz, an experienced Argentinian striker, was unstoppable as his clinical skill saw him add four more to set what may be a record for an L & C player, scoring six times in a row in any cup or league match since the league began over 110 years ago.

Baguley substitute Ramone Williams came off the bench to break the Ortiz hot streak as he made it 7-1 and Village completed the scoring with a well deserved second consolation in the dying minutes.

Joining Baguley in the next round are Mellor who had a comfortable 5-1 win over Salford Albion and Elton Lib Hargreaves who won by the odd goal in five against Bedians.

In the Whitehead Cup, comprising of teams in divisions A and B, Kartel showed their intent with a fine 8-0 win at Moston Brook thirds.

Also going through are Stretford Paddock Development who won 4-0 at Woodsend Athletic.

There was just one game completed in the Hellawell Shield, contested by teams in divisions C and D, and it brought a hard-earned 5-3 win for Bury Ams thirds at Mellor Development.

Fixtures secretary Malc Kershaw now has plenty of cup games to fit into the busy league programme in the coming weeks.

There were two games played in the Premier Division, including a big win for Moston Brook at AFC Oldham which saw them move to within a point of leaders Stretford Paddock with both teams on level games played.

Salford Vics moved into the comfort of mid-table with an efficient 4-1 win hosting Milton.

Just one game played in Division One and it saw Trafford United continue their improved form as they gained a vital point in a 3-3 draw at Hadfield United to lift themselves from the foot of the table.

There was no league action in divisions two, three and A but in Division B, Heaton Mersey were on fire with an 8-1 win at Oldham Saints which featured hat-tricks from Graham Phillips and Dominic Ali plus a single strike from Tshepo Reynolds and a Saints own goal.

The league action was concluded in Division C where a 5-2 win for Staly Lions hosting second-placed Mellor reserves saw them move up into third spot.

Teams and clubs in the L & C and other local leagues can support a very worthy cause by entering a Six-A-Side Tournament to be held in Manchester on June 25.

The tournament is supporting the MS Therapy Centre North West and involved in the organisation is former Chorltonians top official Tony McNicholls.

Early entry of a squad of up to ten players is advised to secure a place in the tournament and to get further detail the contacts are either 0161 872 9444 or fundraising@mstherapynw.org.

League teams progress to County Cup semi-final

L & C teams continued to enjoy success in the cup competitions after three sides made it through to the Manchester Amateur Cup semi-finals, meaning at least one team is assured a place in the final. It follows on from Abacus Media’s success in the Manchester Challenge Cup, who play Egerton FC in the final on February 25.

Baguley Athletic, who have impressed in Division Two in their debut L & C season, are one of the final quartet in the Manchester Amateur Cup after battling through tough conditions against a tricky AFC Droylsden outfit.

But they imposed their fighting spirit and passing game on the contest to eventually run out 5-3 winners.

Droylsden have a 100% record in their league and a GD of +51 and also beat a team from the L & C on pens in the last round, so Baguley were under no illusions about the test that faced them.

There was a hat trick for Guy Eastwood – the third goal, a sumptuous chip, was the pick of the bunch.

Argentine forward Paolo Ortiz also took advantage of the keeper being off his line with a chip from distance.

Athletic missed a pen when they were 2-1 up and Ben Boyne scored the final goal after a cross from Ramone Williams.

Elsewhere, Irlam Tigers had two of their teams in the other quarter-finals and their first team pulled off a great win scoring the only goal of the game at Division One champions Chadderton Cott.

But their A team found division two high-flyers Eccles United too hot to handle as United cruised to a comfortable 4-1 win.

The only team standing in the way of the L & C teams are AFC Middleton in the semi-finals on February 26.

More poor weather caused a number of league games to be postponed but the Premier Division had plenty of action.

The three-horse race for the title continued as there were wins for leaders Stretford Paddock, who defeated Manchester Polonia 2-0.

Chasing hard, each with a game in hand over Paddock, are Moston Brook and De La Salle.

They both showed their title intent with big wins for De La Salle by 7-3 in their local derby with North Walkden and Moston Brook were in seventh heaven with a 7-1 win at Salford Vics.

The other game saw Milton returning to form with a 3-1 derby win at Abacus Media.

Cup action and waterlogged pitches saw Division One reduced to just one game and Hadfield had few problems in a 6-3 win over Didsbury.

Division Two leaders Hattersley maintained their ten-point lead at the top with a 3-1 win at lowly Bedians.

Wythenshawe Wanderers stay second after accounting for South Manchester 5-2.

Sale Amateurs continued their improved form with a comfortable 9-1 over Milltown and the other two games were close affairs with Irlam Tiger Rangers scoring the only goal of their game at Mellor and Stretford Paddock reserves won by the odd goal in five at Newton.

The big game in Division Three saw the top two teams playing each other in a fine end-to-end contest which saw leaders Chadderton Park share six goals with AFC Stockport to stay eight points clear.

Plenty of goals in the other two games with Elton Lib Hargreaves beating Woodhouses 5-2 and Stoconians had one of their best results of the season with a 6-0 win over Aldermere.

Division A leaders North Walkden reserves were without a game, giving Woodsend Athletic the opportunity to overtake them as they took on basement team Trafford United reserves.

But they were frustrated by a spirited Trafford, who secured a 1-1 draw. It leaves Athletic in the driving seat, level with the leaders on points with a vital game in hand. But they will see it as a missed opportunity.

Santos kept a rare clean sheet as they won 1-0 at AFC Oldham reserves.

Milton reserves were the top scorers in the division with a 7-3 victory over Milnrow Firgrovia.

Salford Storm enjoyed an excellent grass surface at Hough End as two late goals secured a close 2-1 win at Greater Manchester FC.

It was the same score in the other game in favour of Moston Brook reserves at Stretford Paddock Development.

In Division B, Aldermere reserves are within touching distance of the title as they kept up their remorseless progress with a clinical 4-0 win over Hillgate.

Old Stretfordians reserves overtook Greater Manchester reserves in second place on goal difference after a big 8-2 win at Oldham Saints as Greater Manchester shared the spoils in a tight 1-1 draw at Flixton JFC.

A thriller at Moston Brook thirds saw visiting AFC Oldham reserves win by the odd goal in nine and a tight contest at Heaton Mersey saw the home team score the only goal of their derby clash with Parrs Wood Celtic.

Plenty of hot shots in Division C with Mellor reserves closing the gap on non-playing leaders Dukinfield Athletic to 12 points as they dispatched Salford Storm reserves 6-0.

Bury Ams reserves went one better as they beat Urmston Town Vale 7-0.

The six-goal theme continued as Staly Lions beat Altrincham Hale 6-3 and Eccles United reserves made it a good day for the club with a 6-0 victory at Stoconians reserves.

Village Manchester reserves enjoyed an efficient 3-0 win at Chadderton Park reserves.

The other game was much tighter with AFC Stockport Warriors edging a 3-2 win over a lively Govan Athletic Development.

A rain-soaked Division D was reduced to just one game but it was important as Moston Brook fourths beat Mellor Development 5-1 to lead Whalley Range by three points but Range have two games in hand over Brook.

Shaw up for the Cup

DESPITE some awful weather prior to and during the games the league were delighted to see the bulk of the first round of domestic Cup fixtures being completed.

Innovative and forward-thinking moves by clubs in changing venues helped on the day.

In the Rhodes Cup for Premier and Division one sides the big upset of the day was provided by Division one mid-table team Shaw Athletic who pulled off a great 6-3 win over Premier division side North Walkden.

Irlam Tiger, from Division one, also beat Premier division side AFC Oldham in a 6-4 thriller.

Premier division leaders Stretford Paddock were taken all the way by lowly Division one side Trafford United before getting a late winner for a 3-2 victory.

There were few problems for the other top Premier teams with De La Salle winning 6-0 at Bury Amateur and Moston Brook won another exciting encounter at Salford Vics by 5-3.

Also going through were Division one champions Chadderton Cott, who were taken all the way before emerging with a 2-1 win over Didsbury and Rochdalians and Old Stretfordians with walkovers.

There were some thrilling contests in the Wray Cup for teams in Divisions 2 and 3 led by a 5-3 win for Eccles United over Wythenshawe Wanderers, who are both flying high in Division two.

It was end-to- end throughout the game with Eccles taking an early lead but Wanderers hit back with Joe Shaw equalising then forcing an own goal to take the lead which they extended before the break.

But Eccles upped the ante in the second half to storm though to win 5-3.

Baguley Athletic also came from behind hosting Radclyffe in another fine game.

Radclyffe led 1-0 at the break, through Adam Grogrow but Baguley levelled with a deflected goal on 50 minutes and went on to win 3-2.

Sale Amateurs had a relatively comfortable passage at Abacus Media reserves winning 6-2, a score matched by Salford Albion at Milltown.

Newton kept up their recent run of form as they despatched AFC Stockport 5-3 and Elton Lib Hargreaves won a tense match at Hooley Bridge Celtic with the only goal of the game.

Division two leaders Hattersley are through with a walkover.

The Whitehead Cup for teams in Divisions A and B produced plenty of goals led by Division B leaders Aldermere reserves who won 10-0 at Greater Manchester FC and North Walkden reserves were not far behind beating Oldham Saints 9-0.

There were plenty of goals at Flixton JFC as they shared ten with Salford Vics reserves and won the penalty shoot out by 4-1.

A penalty shoot-out was also needed at Milnrow Firgrovia as they drew 2-2 with Trafford United reserves and won a nerve-jangling shootout 7-6.

The game at Spurley Hey against Salford Storm ended goalless with Hey winning the shoot out by 5-4.

Close too at AFC Oldham reserves who lost out 2-1 to Milton reserves.

Moston Brook reserves kept an immaculate clean sheet in a 3-0 win at Santos.

The final Cup competition for the Hellawell Shield featured teams in Divisions C and D.

Eccles United reserves made it a good day for the club as they cruised to a 6-3 win at Chadderton Park reserves.

Mellor reserves provided one of the day’s big shocks as the runaway Division C leaders Dukinfield Athletic were held 1-1 in normal time and went out 3-1 on penalties.

Salford Storm reserves were the big hitters by 10-3 in their local derby with Salford Vics Development.

Whalley Range went down by 5-3 hosting AFC Stockport Warriors and Altrincham Hale reserves pulled off a great 3-2 win over Staly Lions.

Close games at Govan Athletic Development who scored the only goal of their game with Irlam Tiger A. Didsbury reserves have only won one league game this season as they lie at the bottom of Division D but have shown plenty of substance with excellent efforts in recent fixtures. A typically gutsy performance saw them pull off a much celebrated win by 3-2 against Stoconians  reserves from Division C to leap into round two with great anticipation.

There were also league games played and in the Premier division Manchester Challenge Cup finalists Abacus Media shared the points in a 1-1 deadlock at Manchester Polonia. Abacus will play their cup final at Hyde United on February 25 against Cheshire League high-fliers Egerton.

In Division two Mellor shared six goals with South Manchester and the game between Irlam Tiger Rangers and Bedians was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.

No joy for Moston Brook thirds as they were well beaten 7-1 by a resurgent Heaton Mersey in division B and Hillgate went down 5-2 hosting Old Stretfordians reserves.

Pic – action from Wythenshawe Wanderers v Eccles United (Eccles in yellow and black)