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)

Minute’s silence held before weekend’s action

THE Lancashire and Cheshire AFL held a minute’s silence before the kick offs in their games for Kennie Carter, the tragic 16-year-old victim of violent knife crime, a member of whose family plays for Urmston Town Vale.

There were three big county cup games with our teams looking to boost the already very healthy success in cup competitions this season on a very windy day.

It was a great game at Whalley Range where Premier Division high-flyers Moston Brook saw their young team give a good account of themselves in the Lancashire Amateur Cup.

Range finished with great precision to lead 3-0 after 55 minutes but then had a man sent off and conceded a goal to give Brook hopes but Range resisted their pressure well and sealed the win with a fourth goal with Brook grabbing a deserved second consolation at the death.

Rochdalians have been on a great run of form recently in the Premier Division but were hit hard by injury and work commitments at Burnley Belvedere and this was not helped with a serious injury on 20 minutes with no back-up players from the bench.

Burnley did not have a shot on goal in the first half and took the lead when the wind blew in a speculative cross.

Burnley had still not had a shot on target after 70 minutes then added a second with a dubious penalty and Dalians conceded a second penalty on 80 minutes and Burnley made it 4-0 with their only goal from open play as Dalians finished with ten men due to sin binning leaving them with big regrets if they had been able to field a full-strength team.

In the Manchester Amateur Cup, Salford Storm were unable to join the other five L & C teams in the last eight as they went out 3-0 to Droylsden who were on fire in the first half to build their lead with the goals.

Premier Division action saw the top two involved in and Stretford Paddock stay three points clear with a close 2-1 win at a spirited Salford Vics.

De La Salle had few problems as they beat Manchester Polonia 5-0 and still have a game in hand over Paddock with a much better goal difference.

North Walkden were too hot to handle with a 9-3 win over Milton and Manchester Challenge Cup finalists Abacus Media defeated AFC Oldham 4-1.

With non-playing Chadderton Cott already assured of the Division One title it is now a battle for second spot and Signol Athletic showed their intent with a 3-1 win at Old Stretfordians.

Irlam Tigers are hot on their heels and an efficient 3-0 win at Didsbury sees them two points behind with two games in hand.

Trafford United lifted themselves off the foot of the table with a 2-0 win at Bury Ams.

Hattersley are in firm control of Division Two with a huge 10-point lead but Eccles United showed their intent as they shared eight goals with Hattersley.

Wythenshawe Wanderers moved into second place with a 4-1 win at South Manchester.

Adam Kay struck twice for Wanderers with Jordan Harper replying for South before the break.

But another double from Kay in the second half gave Wanderers a comfortable win.

Bedians stay at the foot of the table after losing 6-3 at a lively Baguley Athletic.

Newton gained a valuable point as they look to make mid-table, sharing two goals at Irlam Tiger Rangers and Mellor enjoyed an emphatic 5-1 win over Stretford Paddock reserves.

Chadderton Park extended their big lead in Division Three to eight points with a 5-0 derby win at Radclyffe as second-placed AFC Stockport were held to a draw in an eight-goal thriller at Elton Lib Hargreaves.

Hooley Bridge Celtic and Stoconians were celebrating much-needed wins as Bridge beat Aldermere 4-2 and Stoconians kept a rare clean sheet accounting for Woodhouses 2-0.

Village Manchester kept second place firmly in their sights with an efficient 5-0 win over Abacus Media reserves.

It’s all to play for at the top of Division A as a Ben Marshall hat-trick saw Santos topple top of the table North Walkden Reserves 3-1.

His first was the only goal of the first half and a quickfire double early in the second half completed his treble. The visitors pulled a goal back late on after missing a penalty.

Woodsend Athletic closed the gap to a point on the leaders and have two vital games in hand.

Kartel Sports also have games in hand on the top two and a 5-2 win at Stretford Paddock Development keeps them well in touch.

There were wins for Salford Vics reserves by 3-2 at AFC Oldham reserves and Moston Brook reserves by 2-0 at Trafford United reserves and the game between Milton reserves and Greater Manchester was deadlocked at 2-2.

Division B runaway leaders Aldermere reserves took another big step to the title but were given a tough game by Moston Brook thirds before emerging with a narrow 2-1 victory.

The local derby at Flixton JFC saw them share four goals with Old Strets reserves.

Derby action also took place at Hillgate with the home team edging a 3-2 win over Spurley Hey and Parrs Wood Celtic enjoyed a 3-0 win over AFC Oldham thirds.

Runaway Division C leaders Dukinfield Athletic moved 15 points clear with a comfortable 4-1 win at Stoconians reserves as second-placed Mellor reserves and Altrincham Hale were without games.

The other games were good contests with AFC Stockport Warriors scoring the only goal of their game with Urmston Town Vale, a score-line matched by Eccles United reserves hosting Govan Development.

The other game saw Staly Lions win 2-0 over Village Manchester Reserves.

Division D is finely poised, with just a point separating the top three teams.

Moston Brook fourths moved to top on goal difference after beating title rivals Bury Ams thirds 5-0 and Whalley Range also moved above Bury and level on points with Brook with a comfortable 4-0 win over AFC Oldham fourths.

A mid-table contest saw Milltown reserves with 3-2 at Irlam Tigers A and Mellor Development won 3-1 at Hale Altrincham reserves.

The other game was a clash of the ages which produced a rare goalless draw between Didsbury reserves and Salford Vics Development.

League dominate Manchester Amateur Cup

ABACUS Media have set the benchmark for the L & C in Manchester FA Cup competitions by reaching the final of the Manchester Challenge Cup with a thrilling semi-final win over Denton Town.

The teams have followed suit in the Manchester Amateur Cup, with five L & C sides making it through to the quarter finals.

Irlam Tiger are the star turns with two of their teams going through led by their first team with a superb 2-0 win at Failsworth Dynamoes.

Progressing with them are their A team who belied their Division D status with an impressive 3-1 win over Division One team Shaw Athletic.

Division One leaders Chadderton Cott kept up their hopes of treble trophy success as they eased past Old Stretfordians reserves 3-1.

Eccles United had few problems as they beat Manchester Rovers 4-0 and Baguley Athletic completed the quintet winning 2-0 at Old Strets firsts.

Salford Storm will be looking to make it six teams through as they will play their postponed game with AFC Droylsden this weekend.

There was plenty of top action in the Premier Division and Stretford Paddock were back in the groove to move ahead of De La Salle at the top with a 3-1 win over a plucky AFC Oldham.

De La Salle were held 1-1 by Abacus Media who showed how they have reached the Manchester Challenge Cup final with a well organised defence.

After struggling for goals in recent games Moston Brook were in seventh heaven with rousing 7-0 win at Milton to keep on the heels of the top two.

Salford Vics enjoyed a 4-2 derby win over North Walkden and Rochdalians kept up their recent revival with 5-2 win at Manchester Polonia to boost their confidence for their big upcoming Lancashire Amateur Cup tie at Burnley Belvedere.

League action in Division One was limited by the outside cup competition and was confined to the bottom half of the division with Trafford United enjoying a 6-2 win at Didsbury with Nathan Bradley, Brendan Wordsworth and Danny Smith among the United scorers.

The other game saw Bury Ams beat visitors Hadfield United 4-2.

Plenty of action in the very competitive Division Two and runaway leaders Hattersley extended their lead to 11 points but had to work hard for a 3-2 win at Sale Ams.

Irlam Tiger Rangers completed a memorable day for their club with a 5-3 win over Wythenshawe Wanderers and Newton were celebrating long and loud after their best display of the season gave them a 7-0 win over Milltown to lift them off the foot of the table.

An excellent mid-table encounter at South Manchester saw Mellor win 4-2 with doubles for Sam Dobbins and Jordan Conway.

Another enthralling game saw Stretford Paddock reserves win by the odd goal in seven hosting Bedians.

Chadderton Park stay in control of Division Three with a 5-2 win at Aldermere moving them six points clear of non-playing AFC Stockport.

Village Manchester were on fire with a 6-1 win at Salford Albion to stay in third spot ahead of Radclyffe FC who grafted a 2-1 win at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

It was also close in the other two games with wins for Stoconians by 3-2 over Abacus Media reserves and Elton Lib Hargreaves by 2-1 at Woodhouses.

There were plenty of exciting games in Division A with North Walkden reserves remaining four points clear of the pack thanks to a 3-1 victory over AFC Oldham thirds.

Second-placed Woodsend Athletic were taken all the way at Santos after goals from Ben Marshall and David Clegg had looked like securing a draw for the home team before Athletic snatched a dramatic late winner.

Kartel Sports are firmly in the frame with a 4-0 win over Greater Manchester which puts them nine points behind North Walkden but with a massive five games in hand.

Milnrow Firgrovia shared six goals with Stretford Paddock Development and the other games produced wins for Salford Vics reserves by 2-0 at Trafford United reserves and Moston Brook reserves by 4-2 over Milton reserves.

Division B leaders, free scoring Aldermere reserves, were held to a rare goalless draw at a hard-working AFC Oldham thirds and Greater Manchester reserves reduced the gap at the top to 12 points with a gritty 3-2 victory over Spurley Hey.

Dukinfield Athletic moved 12 points clear of Division C with a huge win over Bury Ams reserves as second-placed Mellor reserves had no game and now have four games in hand over the leaders.

Altrincham Hale beat Eccles United reserves 4-1 and are level on points with Govan Athletic Development who beat basement team Stoconians reserves 2-0.

Urmston Town Vale beat Salford Storm 3-1 and AFC Stockport Warriors won 2-1 at Village Manchester in mid-table matches.

Heaton Mersey had their best win of the season by 6-2 hosting Oldham Saints with their six-hit set off by a stunning header from Simon Caughey on 15 minutes.

The other games in the division were tight contests with Flixton JFC scoring the only goal of their game at Moston Brook thirds and Hillgate drew 1-1 with Parrs Wood Celtic.

Bury Ams thirds took over the top of Division D from non-playing Whalley Range with a 5-1 win at Didsbury reserves who again showed great spirit and ageless skills on a difficult surface.

Moston Brook fourths kept in touch with the top two with a comfortable 6-3 win at Mellor Development and in the other game AFC Oldham fourths edged a close 3-2 win over Salford Vics Development.

Moston Brook stake their title claims

IT was virtually back to a full programme of fixtures for the first time in a number of weeks much to the relief of fixtures secretary Malc Kershaw.

Premier Division leaders Stretford Paddock weren’t in action and De La Salle took full advantage, hammering basement boys AFC Oldham 9-1 to move within a point of the leaders with a game in hand.

Moston Brook are also firmly in the title hunt but they were taken all the way by Rochdalians who showed their recent upsurge in form as they restricted Brook to the only goal of an excellent game which leaves them four points behind Paddock with a game in hand.

The other two games were entertaining contests with North Walkden winning by the odd goal in five at Milton and Manchester Challenge Cup finalists Abacus Media shared eight goals in an end-to-end thriller at Salford Vics.

Just one game in Division One with Trafford United hosting Bury in an enthralling game.

Trafford took an early lead and with Bury reduced to ten men after 30 minutes they added a second before the break.

But Bury raised their game and dominated the second half and, despite falling 3-1 behind, roared back to complete a remarkable 5-4 comeback victory in a breathless encounter.

There was a full programme in the highly competitive Division Two.

Leaders Hattersley extended their healthy lead to eight points after coming from 2-1 down to defeat Mellor 4-2.

Second-placed Eccles United were held 2-2 at Sale Ams and Wythenshawe Wanderers had to work hard for victory against basement club Newton.

Newton took the lead with a stunning strike from Danny Ball but Wanderers showed their fighting spirit to quickly get on level terms before grabbing the winner for three vital points to keep the pressure on the top two.

Baguley Athletic kept up their steady start in the league with a 2-0 win over Stretford Paddock reserves.

Irlam Tiger Rangers could yet get up into the title chase as they have plenty of games in hand over the top teams and a resounding 7-0 win over South Manchester boosts their title hopes.

The other game saw Milltown lift themselves out of the bottom two with a 3-1 win over Bedians.

Village Manchester pulled off the result of the day in Division Three with a 4-0 win at second-placed AFC Stockport allowing leaders Chadderton Park to open up a three-point gap after an emphatic 6-3 win at Stoconians.

Salford Albion also hit six at Aldermere with Curtis Slater (three), Alex Law, Matthew McDonagh and Edward Burke netting while Aldermere grabbed consolation goals through Peter Walker and Kris Dickinson (two).

Plenty of goals in the other two games with Elton Lib Hargreaves winning 5-3 at Abacus Media reserves and Woodhouses moved from the foot of the table with a breathless 5-4 win at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

North Walkden reserves stay in control of Division A with a 5-1 win over lowly Santos who deserved a late consolation from Owen Greenwood-Dawson. The win puts North four points clear of non-playing Woodsend Athletic who have two games in hand.

Kartel stay in the hunt with a 3-1 win over Milton Reserves and are poised behind the top two with plenty of games in hand.

The other games produced wins for Moston Brook reserves by 5-2 at AFC Oldham reserves and Greater Manchester by 3-1 over Trafford United reserves, while a 2-2 deadlock between Stretford Paddock Development and Salford Vics reserves rounded off the action in the division.

Aldermere reserves kept up their great form to maintain a 14-point lead in Division B with a 6-0 cruise at Spurley Hey.

There was little between the teams in the other games in the division with wins for Parrs Wood Celtic by 1-0 at AFC Oldham thirds, Flixton JFC by 2-1 over draw specialists Heaton Mersey and Greater Manchester reserves by the same score at Oldham Saints with the other game seeing Moston Brook thirds and Old Stretfordians reserves sharing six goals.

Dukinfield Athletic enjoyed a 4-1 win at Urmston Town Vale to retain their lead of nine points at the top of Division C over Mellor reserves who were firing on all cylinders in a 1-0 derby win over Stoconians reserves.

Altrincham Hale stay in the mix with a comfortable 6-2 win at Bury Ams reserves and Salford Storm were in seventh heaven with 7-1 win at Chadderton Park reserves.

AFC Stockport Warriors were held 1-1 by Eccles United reserves and Govan Athletic Development kept an immaculate clean sheet in a 3-0 win at Village Manchester reserves.

It’s close at the top of Division D and leaders Whalley Range hung on to top spot by the skin of their teeth in a superb local derby with lowly Didsbury reserves.

Many old memories were revived in a great game enjoyed by players, spectators and referee Graham Ellis as Range just dug in to win 3-2 with goals from Craig Haynes (two) and Danny Miller with Range centre back Mike Franklin giving Didsbury hope with a spectacular own goal.

Bury Ams thirds stay a point behind Range with a game in hand after a 6-0 win over Mellor Development and Moston Brook fourths lost ground as they went down 4-2 to visiting Irlam Tigers A.

The other game in the division saw Altrincham Hale reserves share four goals with AFC Oldham fourths.

There were two delayed Manchester Amateur Cup matches played and they proved to be the end of the road for two L & C teams with Radclyffe losing 3-1 to Manchester Rovers and Didsbury found a well-organised Brownley Albion too hot to handle as they were trounced 9-0.

Abacus Media through to Manchester Challenge Cup final

THE Lancashire and Cheshire League resumed eagerly-awaited action after a three-week break but the busy programme was hit by a combination of snow, frost heavy rain and covid infections causing great frustration and many postponements.

Artificial pitches provided a great lifeline as the players and officials showed their love of the game with some tremendous games played in great spirit to launch 2022.

The highlight for the league was provided by Abacus Media who hosted Cheshire League outfit Denton Town in their twice-postponed Manchester Challenge Cup semi-final.

There were near misses at both ends and Abacus showed terrific spirit and defensive organisation as the game went goalless through normal time and added time to set up the dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Abacus kept their nerve to win 4-3 and can now look forward to the final.

The other outside cup matches played saw Old Stretfordians bow out of the Altrincham and District Cup as they went down 5-1 to Wythenshawe Amateurs Development.

Newton played AFC Droylsden in the Manchester Amateur Cup, a game that went to the wire, with Newton agonisingly edged out 5-4 on penalties after the encounter ended 3-3.

The Premier Division’s top match was another thriller as Moston Brook hosted De La Salle with both teams looking to close the gap on leaders Stretford Paddock.

Both teams did their clubs proud with their efforts and talent as the game ebbed and flowed for 90 minutes with neither team able to find a vital finish.

But the game, expertly controlled by referee Peter Darby and his assistants, was a great advert for the league with both teams giving everything they could.

Paddock had their lead reduced to four points over De La Salle, who have two games in hand and Moston Brook are also firmly in the mix also with two games in hand.

Rochdalians kept up their recent revival with a close 3-2 win at North Walkden and they were superbly led by club legend Davey Luker.

Salford Vics began 2022 in style with a comfortable 6-0 win at Manchester Polonia and Milton won 4-1 at AFC Oldham with again both teams putting on a great game.

Just one game played in Division One and Chadderton Cott clinched the title with a hard-earned 3-2 win over Hadfield Athletic.

Division Two was also restricted to one game which saw Bedians pick up a vital point in their relegation battle as they drew 1-1 in their local derby with Baguley Athletic.

In Division Three there were two games and Chadderton Park moved to the top of the table on goal difference from AFC Stockport with an emphatic 6-2 victory at Woodhouses.

It was much closer in the other game as a 2-1 win for Village Manchester over Elton Lib Hargreaves moved them up into fourth spot.

Plenty of action in Division A with four games played. Woodsend Athletic missed the chance to overtake leaders North Walkden reserves as they shared eight goals in a thriller at Milton reserves.

There were plenty of thrills and spills at Santos in their local derby with AFC Oldham reserves

AFC Oldham took the spoils in the local derby. Santos led twice in first half through David Clegg and Ben Marshall. Tim Gallagher added a third early in second half, however three quick goals around the hour mark settled it for the visitors.

Great Manchester FC reserves also scored four in a 4-2 win at Milnrow Firgrovia and the other game saw Salford Vics reserves and Moston Brook reserves share four goals in another exciting game.

Just two games played in Division B and AFC Oldham thirds reduced the big lead of non-playing Aldermere reserves to 14 points with a 4-2 win at Hillgate. Old Strets reserves had few problems in a 4-1 cruise over Oldham Saints to move up to fourth place.

Dukinfield Athletic also have a big lead in Division C and Mellor reserves reduced it to nine points with three games in hand with a big 10-1 win over Deans Youth. The other game was much closer with Village Manchester reserves winning 2-1 at Altrincham Hale.

The solitary game in Division D was significant in the title race as Whalley Range moved to the summit, overtaking Bury Ams thirds after edging Moston Brook fourths 1-0. The defeated side are third but still in the title picture that promises many twists and turns in the coming weeks.  

L & C review of 2021 and plans for 2022

AMATEUR grassroots sport has suffered greatly for the best part of two years with the effects of the Covid pandemic.

The L & C, the largest Saturday afternoon amateur football league in the region, has endured numerous problems during this time, putting a great strain on league and club officials who have put in fantastic efforts to keep the game they love in action.

The 2020-21 season saw the league fixtures wiped out but some lively and well supported cup competitions towards the end of the season brought the league and clubs back into vibrant life and allowed us to enjoy some much-needed entertainment at a time of real uncertainty, when many were unsure when or indeed if action would resume.

Despite this uncertainty, the league’s popularity has continued and during pre-season, we had a number of applications for membership to the league. Remarkably, it means that our members have swelled to more than 90 – even more teams than we had just prior to the start of the pandemic.

Covid has caused games to be postponed – as is being keenly felt at professional level – due to players having to isolate, and the poor weather conditions have also posed acute challenges for the league committee and club officials.

In the last league General Meeting, Mike Yates, Chairman of the L & C, reviewed the season to date. It included a heartfelt tribute to former League Secretary John Howard, who passed away earlier this year, whilst also explaining the issues of participation that the L & C have had to contend with.

He said: “We start with sad news as our long serving committee member John Howard has recently passed away.

“We send our condolences to his son and our referees secretary Steven Howard and all the Howard family and friends at this sad time

“The league committee are shocked at the number of teams that have folded since the last GM in August, from 101 we are now down to 91.

“The committee have put this down to a lot of factors; delayed wedding and stag parties, delayed family visits, ongoing covid cases, holidays, changing work patterns, preferring to watch professional football and then just getting out of the habit of playing Saturday afternoon football.

“Our fixture secretary Malcolm Kershaw has been working extra hard to accommodate changes to planned fixtures and we appreciate it isn’t the secretaries and managers who are causing the postponements, it is the players, due to a combination of the above reasons, who are not available.”

Despite the challenges, Mike confirmed the league will continue to be flexible to ensure fixtures are fulfilled during what we expect will be a challenging second half of the season.

He added: “Fining and punishing the clubs is not the answer as they are not the cause. We are determined to finish the season so will continue our flexible approach to the issues you are all facing, so do flag up any potential issues you may have as soon as possible.”

There well over 2.500 players registered in the league and at the midpoint of the season it is pleasing to see that most of the clubs have played at least half of the league fixtures and the main aim will be to finish the league season.

There will be a window to play the league’s cup competitions in the New Year and also see our clubs still involved in county cup competitions get through their busy schedules.

At the end of the season, the League’s Presentation Dinner at Stockport County in May will take place to give out all of the trophies for league and cup competitions.

Defending their cup trophies will be Rhodes Cup holders Mellor, Wray Cup champions Signol Athletic, Whitehead Cup holders Irlam Tigers, and Radclyffe, who triumphed in the Hellawell Shield.

Steven Howard has been working hard to recruit new referees and hopefully will be able to see the majority of games covered until the end of the season and he is also deserving of congratulation for the time and effort he has given to his role from all involved in the league along with other hard-working committee members dedicated to helping proper grassroots football.

De La Salle defeat Stretford Paddock to close gap at the top

The Premier Division’s top two collided in the standout L & C fixture this weekend, and De La Salle prevailed by defeating leaders Stretford Paddock in a statement performance that strengthened their title credentials.

Paddock went into the weekend with a healthy eight-point cushion, and had the chance to pile the pressure on their rivals, who need to convert their games in hand into points to overhaul their opponents.

But, in the clash at Salford Sports, De La Salle underlined their intentions by outclassing the visitors by registering a comfortable 3-1 victory – the exact result of the last game between the two.

De La Salle scored two in the space of seven first-half minutes to go 2-0 up in the 26th minute and a sublime through-ball set up a third in the 73rd minute. Paddock netted a late consolation penalty but were deservedly beaten and De La Salle are now five points from the summit, but with three games in hand.

The other game played in the division saw Rochdalians continue their uplift in form as they cruised to a 7-1 win at AFC Oldham to head for the comfort of mid-table.

Division One was reduced to one game and it was another top-of-the-table clash as second-placed Signol Athletic took on leaders Chadderton Cott.

This time though, the leaders had no such problems, as Cott eventually ground down a spirited Signol, clinically dispatching them in a 5-1 victory to leave them within touching distance of the title already after stretching their lead to 11 points at the summit.

Division Two teams had plenty of action in what has been an exciting season.

Leaders Hattersley turned on the style in the first half as they entertained Baguley Athletic and ruthlessly raced into a 3-0 lead.

A more even second half saw the teams share four goals but the 5-2 win keeps Hattersley a healthy six points clear of the chasing pack.

The other top game featured the second and third placed teams in a superb encounter that was a great advert for their clubs and the league as Eccles United switched their game to Wythenshawe Wanderers.

It was a thriller from start to finish enjoyed by both teams, their supporters and referee John Melia which was decided with a thundering header from a corner by United’s outstanding Callum Collins on 70 minutes.

Wanderers did their best to get back on terms and were made to regret missing a last-minute chance from close range and they are now three points behind United.

Sale Amateurs have had a restricted programme so far this season with a variety of problems and they were delighted to secure an emphatic 6-2 win at Mellor to go into the New Year on a high.

The quality of the division was also on display at South Manchester who hosted Stretford Paddock reserves in another end-to-end thriller that ended in a breathless 3-3 result.

Division Three is also very competitive with the top score being posted by Abacus Media reserves who cruised to a 6-1 win over Aldermere.

The other games were all close contests with the chasing pack trying to hunt down non-playing leaders AFC Stockport.

Second-placed Chadderton Park missed their chance to close the gap as they were held 1-1 at Village Manchester.

Park are three points behind the leaders but still have a game in hand.

The other two games ended at 3-2 in favour of Hooley Bridge Celtic at Elton Lib Hargreaves and Woodhouses who were delighted to secure their second win of the season hosting Salford Albion.

There was an upset in Division A as leaders North Walkden reserves lost out 4-2 to local rivals Salford Vics reserves.

It leaves them two points ahead of non-playing Woodsend Athletic who have two games in hand.

Santos and Moston Brook Reserves shared the spoils in an eight-goal thriller.

The Santos goals were scored by Liam Churchill, Tim Gallagher, Ben Marshall and Ryan McConkie (penalty) in another exciting game.

There were 3-0 victories for Milton reserves at Salford Storm and Greater Manchester at home to Milnrow Firgrovia to complete another lively day of action in the division.

There was just one game in Division B and in a local derby, AFC Oldham thirds emerged with a 3-1 win over Oldham Saints in a mid-table contest.

Plenty of action and a flood of goals in Division C with runaway leaders Dukinfield Athletic on fire with a crushing 9-1 win over Chadderton Park reserves.

Second-placed Mellor reserves were not far behind Athletic as they won 8-3 at Govan Athletic Development to leave them 12 points behind with four games in hand.

Plenty of goals at AFC Stockport Warriors who lost out 5-3 to Staly Lions which was in contrast to Deans Youth who scored the only goal of their game with Village Manchester reserves.

Division D has new leaders in Bury Ams thirds who cruised to a 4-0 win against AFC Oldham fourths to overtake non-playing leaders Moston Brook fourths.

Lowly Didsbury reserves pulled off one of their best results of the season as they held high-flying Whalley Range to a 1-1 draw and Milltown reserves moved into the top half of the table with a 4-2 win over Irlam TigerA.

The other game typified an exciting day in the league as Salford Vics Development and Altrincham Hale Reserves battled out a stunning 5-5 draw.

In the Manchester Amateur Cup, Irlam Tiger Rangers lost out 4-3 to West Didsbury FC.

The weekend brought a welcome return to decent weather that allowed more games than have taken place in the preceding two weekends. Covid, however, continues to disrupt and resulted in a number of postponements. Our Fixtures Secretary, Malc Kershaw, is working diligently to rearrange these games in the New Year.

Finally, we’d like to wish all our clubs and representatives a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The league is set to resume on January 8, but any changes at national level will be communicated in good time to all clubs and committees.

North Walkden Reserves move top of Division A

THE atrocious weather conditions experienced over the past week decimated the full programme of games, but artificial pitches enabled some of the games to take place as the leagues continued to take shape.

Premier Division leaders Stretford Paddock extended their lead at the top to eight points with a comfortable 6-1 win at Milton.

Second-placed De La Salle Reds lost ground as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Rochdalians who did well to get their grass pitch fit for play in an absorbing game.

Moston Brook drew level on points with De La Salle with a fine 4-1 win at North Walkden.

Both De La Salle and Brook have games in had on Paddock and if De La Salle win all of theirs they can overtake the leaders while Brook will be just two points adrift if they also manage this.

The other game produced a convincing 7-0 win for Salford Vics over a young and developing AFC Oldham who gave a good account of themselves but were unable to control the vibrant Vics attack.

Referee John Melia showed great powers of recovery as he was felled in an accidental bruising first-half collision with a Vics player, for which he needed extended treatment. But he then carried on to give an excellent display appreciated by both teams and the spectators.

Division One saw just one game survive but it was a vital local derby as Shaw Athletic hosted runaway leaders Chadderton Cott.

Cott eased to a 2-0 win which leaves them eight points clear of Signol Athletic with both teams having played 12 games.

The hotly contested Division Two was a total washout but there were two important games played in Division Three involving the top teams.

Leaders AFC Stockport faced a tricky fixture at Salford Albion who battled hard for a point in a 3-3 deadlock.

Second-placed Chadderton Park took advantage of Stockport’s slip as won a tight contest with Elton Lib Hargreaves by 2-1.

They are now four points behind the leaders but have two games in hand.

North Walkden reserves took full advantage of Division A leaders Woodsend Athletic having their game called off with a convincing 4-0 win at Moston Brook reserves taking them above Woodsend by two points.

Brook had the better of the early exchanges but were unable to convert their chances allowing North Walkden to take full advantage as they upped their game.

The bells were ringing in the other game in the division as Santos’ Big Bens both bagged braces at Milnrow Firgrovia in a mid-table 3-1 win.

Netting for Santos were Ben Chamberlain (two) and Ben Winterbottom, who bagged his second of the game with an own goal.

There were no games possible for the top teams in Division B but Moston Brook thirds lifted themselves out of the bottom two with an emphatic 3-0 win over Spurley Hey.

It was much closer in the other game which saw Oldham Saints act swiftly to move their game with Hillgate to the 3G at FC United.

They were rewarded for their enterprise with a thrilling 3-2 win with early strikes from Dave Cross and Sheldon Young giving them the momentum for victory.

The top two teams were in action in Division C with long-time leaders Dukinfield Athletic held to a 2-2 draw by a spirited Mellor reserves

Urmston Vale closed the gap on the leaders to 11 points with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over AFC Stockport Warriors.

They have four games in hand over Athletic and winning hem all could see them take over at the top of the table.

The other game saw Village Manchester reserves move into the top half of the table with an immaculate defence seeing them home by 2-0 over Stoconians reserves.

Just one game survived in Division D which did not affect the leading group but it was an enjoyable local derby as AFC Oldham fourths and Milltown reserves shared six goals.

There were many tributes paid by Whalley Range FC and their supporters and friends to their long-serving President Terry Curley at his funeral and at his beloved club last week– well deserved by a real sportsman in every way – a great ambassador for his club and grassroots sport.

Paddock extend Premier Division lead as weather hits hard

A FEW Covid 19 cases and horrible windy, cold and wet weather hit the L & C’s busy programme hard late in the day causing numerous games to be postponed and causing more headaches for Fixture Secretary Malc Kershaw.

In the Premier Division Stretford Paddock had a comfortable 4-1 win over Salford Vics to extend their lead over De La Salle Reds to six points, though they have three games in hand while non-playing Moston Brook can draw level at the top if they win their two games in hand.

Manchester Polonia lifted themselves into mid-table with a hard-earned 2-1 win at Milton and the other game in the division saw North Walkden win 3-0 at AFC Oldham.

Division One was a total washout but in Division Two, three games beat the weather and treated us to a raft of goals.

Leading the hotshots were Baguley Athletic who found their shooting boots in a big 8-4 win over South Manchester whose games always provide plenty of goalmouth action.

With the top two teams out of action, Wythenshawe Wanderers moved level on points with Eccles United with a clinical 6-0 derby win at Bedians.

They had to thank Elvis Olanipekum for getting them rocking and rolling as his scoring example was followed by Mike Sherrington (three) and Warren Thompson (two).

Plenty of goals also at Milltown as visiting Mellor won a thriller by 5-3.

There were some close encounters in Division Three, with leaders AFC Stockport increasing their lead at the top to six points with a 4-2 win over Aldermere.

Second-placed Chadderton Park lost ground as they were held to a 3-3 draw at Salford Albion but can still catch the leaders with two games in hand.

The other game saw two teams enjoy a great playing pitch at Village Manchester with plenty of good football from both teams in an exciting game, with visiting Stoconians earning a deserved point in a 2-2 stalemate.

Division A saw four games played and leaders Woodsend Athletic had to show their powers of recovery after trailing 1-0 at the break to a determined Moston Brook Reserves.

Then Athletic showed their title intent as they upped their game in the second half to win by the odd goal in five.

North Walkden reserves also have the league title in their sights as a decisive 5-0 win over Salford Storm kept them a point behind Woodsend with both teams having played the same number of games.

Greater Manchester FC were able to celebrate their first win of the season in style as they edged a 2-1 win at Stretford Paddock Development.

It moved them three points clear of Trafford United reserves who picked up their first point of the season in a gritty 2-2 deadlock with Milton reserves.

In Division B, leaders Aldermere reserves recovered from their first defeat of the season last week against second-placed Greater Manchester reserves with a comfortable 5-1 cruise against Parrs Wood Celtic to increase their lead at the top to 14 points.

Draw specialists Heaton Mersey did it again as they shared four goals with Moston Brook thirds and Old Strets seconds kept up their run of improved form to move into the top four with a 4-1 win over Hillgate.

Division C leaders Dukinfield Athletic were held to a 3-3 draw in an exciting contest with Eccles United reserves but still have a commanding 10-point lead over non-playing Altrincham Hale and Govan Athletic Development.

The other two games had plenty of goals with Village Manchester reserves enjoying a 6-0 win over Stoconians reserves and AFC Stockport Warriors had an emphatic 5-1 victory hosting Deans Youth.

In the Manchester Amateur Cup, Old Stretfordians moved into the latter stages of the competition with a tight 3-2 win at Oldham Saints.

With Division D being washed out that was the end of the play on the field but there was plenty of action off the pitch at Bedians as the club hosted a fantastic gathering of their soccer legends enjoying a great reunion organised by club hero Tony Evans.

Most of the players were at their peak in the 1990ss when Bedians had four very successful teams who won honours galore as they also enjoyed the fantastic new clubhouse built in 1993 under the direction of Keith Marsden and other willing workers.

One of the top legends in attendance was Ged Lee who scored a club record of over 400 goals in his stellar career at his beloved club.

There were plenty of smiles, banter and good tales as they all enjoyed the meet-up with loads of pictures on the clubhouse wall showing their outstanding contribution to the club and amateur football over many years

Giving great support to the day were Bedians manager Rob O’Connor and the excellent hospitality staff at this fine sporting venue.