Season 2018-19 Latest News

 

Late April 2019

Matt Derbyshire was back in the Omonia starting line-up for the game at Nea Salamis but he and his team-mates were on the end of a 5-2 hammering despite leading 2-1 after a quarter of the game.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon could have moved out of the relegation places with a win at home to Bristol Rovers but had to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw.

Accrington Stanley were well beaten 3-0 at home by champions elect Luton Town who managed 15 on-target shots to Stanley's none.

In the National League, Fylde won 1-0 at home to Barnet to secure their play-off spot but a 2-0 home defeat by Halifax Town, with a below full strength side,saw them finish 5 th and left them with a home play-off game against Harrogate Town.

Paul Clark travelled to Dover to watch his already relegated Aldershot side but they went down by the only goal. They then ended their hugely disappointing season with a 2-0 win at bottom side Maidstone United.

In the North Division, Boston United lost the third game in a row by a 2-0 margin, this time at Brackley before ending their home fixtures with a narrow 2-1 win against Ashton United, a result which relegated the Mancunians. The campaign ebded with a fine 2-0 win at Hereford despite being ravaged by injuries and suspensions to finish in the top half of the table.

Chorley won the massive home game against nearest rivals Stockport County 2-0, in front of 3,500 spectators, to leave themselves in pole position but then lost 1-0 at Spennymoor as Stockport defeated Curzon Ashton by the same score in front of 6,000 fans at Edgeley Park.

That left the Hatters in complete control and 3,500 of their fans saw them win the title with an easy 3-0 win at relegated Nuneaton Borough.

Chorley, meanwhile, won their final game 3-2 at home to Bradford Park Avenue to miss out on the title by just one point.

Paul Salt's Altrincham could only draw 1-1 at relegated Ashton United to finish 5 th.

Southport won 3-0 at Curzon Ashton before drawing 2-2 at home to Kidderminster Harriers and finishing with 2-1 defeat at Blyth Spartans. They then won the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy by beating Colne 3-1.

Phil O'Dell's FC United suffered their first ever relegation and ended the campaign with a 1-0 defeat at 3 rd placed Brackley Town. The Reds won just a single home game all season.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough drew 1-1 at Slough Town before what must have been their best result of the season, a 6-0 home thrashing of play-off chasing Dartford. The season ended with a 2-1 home defeat by Concord Rangers and that left them surviving relegation by just 3 points.

In the Evo-stik League, I went to Shawbridge to see Clitheroe lose their 14 th home league defeat of the season, 1-0 to Leek Town and things got no better at Colne in the next game which they lost 3-0 and finished the season with a 1-1 home draw with Mossley.

Colne led 2-0 at Widnes but still went down 3-2 putting a big dent in their play-off ambitions before the easy win against Clitheroe. A 2-1 win at relegated Skelmersdale United saw then overtake Ramsbottom to finish 4 th.

The Reds then lost the FA Challenge Trophy Final, 3-1 to Southport.

Ramsbottom United had an excellent 2-1 home win against Mossley and a creditable goalless draw at Radcliffe, finishing with a 2-2 draw against Kidsgrove Athletic enabling them to finish in the final play-off spot on goal difference.

Sadly, they then lost the semi-final 3-0 at Radcliffe.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 2-1 at home to Squires Gate and then drew 1-1 at Runcorn Town before a disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Irlam. They then let a two-goal lead slip at Silsden and had to settle for a point and another draw, 1-1 at Bootle. The home side had to equal City of Liverpool's result at Irlam but the 'Purps' overtook them after a 2-0 win to steal the crown.

Padiham lost 3-0 at City of Liverpool and then 2-0 at home to Ashton Athletic in front of a bumper holiday crowd of 238. They won their final game, 3-2 at home to Winsford United.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-0 at Ashton Athletic but then lost the West Yorkshire derby 2-0 against Silsden at the Silentnight Stadium. A 6-0 home win against bottom side Abbey Hey was a great way to end their fixtures.

Charnock Richard had to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw at 1874 Northwich, unsurprisingly with Carl Grimshaw on the scoresheet and he grabbed two more as his side brushed aside Squires Gate, who brought on a 59 year old substitute, 5-2 at home.

Two Carl Grimshaw goals saw the season end with a 2-1 home win against Whitchurch Alport and that made him the Division's leading scorer with 38 league goals, 9 more than his nearest rival and 40 goals in all competitions, the same as Barlick's Zack Dale who notched a last game hat-trick.

Title rivals Bootle and City of Liverpool drew an incredible 1,374 fans for the Easter Monday clash which the 'home side' won 1-0.

In the South, another magnificent turn-out for the Wyhthenshawe derby, 584 seeing hosts Town go down 1-0 to Amateurs.

In the 1 st Division North, Longridge Town had to come from 2-0 down at home to Nelson to win 3-2 but a last minute goal for Avro at home to Shelly kept them in pole position.

The Ridge then dropped two points at Garstang,1-1 the score in front of 326 fans but another massive crowd, 235, saw Avro also held 1-1 in their local derby at Chadderton.

Darwen went down 1-0 at Prestwich Heys before being hammered 5-1 at Avro despite taking the lead and that allowed the Oldham side to knock Longridge off the top spot for the first time this season.

The Salmoners then finished the campaign with a 2-2 draw at Steeton.

I travelled to Longridge to see Town deservedly win the title in a nail-biting finish to the season. The Ridge had to better Avro's result at AFC Liverpool and after a 4-1 win against Holker Old Boys, the news came through of a last minute winner for the Merseysiders to delight the players, staff and 177 supporters.

Despite the strong winds and pouring rain, Town played some lovely football and scored a couple of great goals.

I also went to the Anchor to watch the 1 st Division Champions Cup where South winners Rylands put on an impressive performance to win 3-0.

Nelson drew 1-1 at home to Steeton but finished on a high with a 4-0 home win against St. Helens Town.

Bacup Borough scored twice late on at Cleator Moor Celtic to win 2-1 and ended on a high winning 5-0 at bottom side Atherton L.R.

 

Early April 2019

Matt Derbyshire's lost 2-0 at home to AEK Larnaca with both goals coming after he was substituted 20 minutes from time. They then lost by the same score at home to Apollon with Matt coming on after the second goal on 59 minutes.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon continued their quest for a great escape with a 1-1 home draw against Accrington Stanley. Then, despite having no shots on target at Oxford United, they ground out a 0-0 draw which saw them just one point from exiting the drop zone.

Stanley's relegation worries continued after they were beaten 1-0 at the Crown by fellow strugglers Rochdale but they then won a massive 'six-pointer' 2-1 at home to Wallsall which lifted them into mid-table.

Fylde's quest for automatic promotion just about ended as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Mill Farm by lowly Dagenham & Redbridge. They then came from two down at home to play-off chasing Eastleigh to win 4-2 before a 1-0 win at Gateshead.

They were then beaten 2-1 at bottom and already relegated Braintree Town.

Paul Clark's Aldershot could only draw 2-2 at Bromley meaning that they could be relegated after the following game and that's exactly what happened as a 1-1 draw at home to Hartlepool confirmed the inevitable.

In the National League North, Paul Salt's Altrincham looked to be 'nailed on' for a play-off spot after a magnificent 7-0 win at Alfreton Town. They then drew 1-1 at Telford United before beating Chorley 5-3 at home. They then lost 2-1 at home to Brackley who still had an outside chance of the title. The Robins had led until 20 minutes from time in front of a very disappointing turn-out of just 787, no doubt due to televised games elsewhere.

Blyth Spartans (hopeless at home) entertained Boston United (very good away from home) with the almost inevitable outcome, a 3-0 home win, with the Pilgrims putting in one of their worst performances of the season and it didn't improve in the next game at home to lowly Darlington who ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

Chorley were denied victory at Victory Park after play-off chasing visitors Telford equalised with a late penalty but thankfully for the Magpies, Hereford came from two down to score a last minute equaliser at home to Stockport. They then lost at 5-3 at Altrincham.

Phil O'Dell's FC United had to win at Darlington to stand any chance of survival but they went down 2-0 and it left left them very little chance of avoiding their first-ever relegation. That drop was just about confirmed when losing 1-0 at home to Kidderminster Harriers.

Southport went down 1-0 at York City but then won by the same score at home to Hereford.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough couldn't stop the Torquay United party at Plainmoor where the Gulls won 2-0 in front of over 4,500 fans to secure promotion to the National League and leave the Sports just a point above the relegation places.

In the Evo-stik West, Ramsbottom United maintained their 3 rd spot with a comprehensive 4-0 home win against Droylsden.

Colne scored three times in five minutes soon after half-time helping them to a great 5-2 win at Colwyn Bay but then found bottom side Skelmersdale United a tougher nut to crack before eventually winning 1-0 at Holt House.

They then won two more games by the same score and at the same venue against Droylsden and Radcliffe.

Clitheroe's poor form continued with a 2-1 home defeat against Prescott Cables and a 4-0 thrashing at leaders Atherton Collieries.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria played their third game in six days but still managed a terrific 5-0 win at Litherland REMYCA.

They were then held to a 2-2 draw by Burscough after the visitors equalised in the 93nd minute.

The Mid Cheshire Senior Cup Semi-final saw them entertain rivals 1874 and they won through after a 2-0 win in front of 371 fans.

They were then held to a goalless draw at home by Ashton Athletic.

Padiham lost 2-0 at Silsden and then 3-1 at home to Congleton Town. They then came from behind twice to draw 2-2 at home to Squire Gate

Barnoldswick Town lost 2-0 at 1874 Northwich before being smashed 6-1 at home to Congleton Town and that despite taking a first minute lead.

Charnock Richard won 1-0 at Ashton Athletic but were then thrashed 5-0 at home by title-chasing Bootle.

In the NWCFL 1 st Division North Darwen were held to a 1-1 draw by Ashton Town and then 2-2 by Carlisle City, both at the Anchor.

Longridge Town were held to a 1-1 draw at AFC Liverpool after the hosts scored a late penalty. That left Avro in pole position but that changed after they lost 2-1 at Garstang. Another game and another favourite for the title as 'ridge' were hammered 3-0 at Lower Breck whilst Avro won 3-2 at home to Prestwich Heys

Bacup Borough drew 2-2 at home to Nelson before the Admirals were beaten 4-1 at home by AFC Blackpool. That was followed by a 1-1 draw at home to Shelly and a 2-0 win at Steeton.

Nelson won 2-1 at home to Holker Old Boys.

In the Western Premier League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic defeated visitors Brislington 4-2 to cement their 6 th place but then changed places with Clevedon Town after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat, leaving Nick and his chums pretty unimpressed!

Late March 2019

Matt Derbyshire scored his first goal in months as Omonia Nicosia defeated AEL Limassol 3-1 at home. With the result in the balance at 2-1, Matt came on as an 88 th minute substitute and two minutes later finished off the visitors who lost their 4 th game in a row.

A visit to leaders APOEL then yielded a 1-1 draw with Matt coming on from the bench ten minutes from time.

Accrington Stanley led 2-0 at Burton Albion before the Brewers stormed back to win 5-2. Another defeat, 1-0 at home to Fleetwood Town left the Reds looking over their shoulders.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon made it three wins and four clean sheets in a row as they continued their attempt at the great escape from relegation from League One with a solitary goal win at Southend United.

Unfortunately, they were then hammered 4-2 by Gillingham at Kingsmeadow but got back to winning ways at Scunthorpe United where they won 2-1.

In the FA Trophy, Fylde could only draw 0-0 at home to Stockport County in the semi-final 1 st leg where the Hatters supporters outnumbered the home ones.

The return leg was a thriller with an 85 th minute goal seeming to give the Whites a win before a home equaliser two minutes from time but the excitement didn't end there as a Reid goal came just a minute later sent Fylde to Wembley where they'll face Leyton Orient.

The two clubs then met in the League where two 1 st half goals secured the points for Orient and barring a collapse, they'll be returning to the Football League soon.

The Whites were then involved in a poor 0-0 draw at Aldershot.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot lost their 10 th home game of the season, 1-0 to Salford City who had the evergreen non-league legend Nathan Pond in their side. That left the Shots 11 points from safety with only 8 games remaining.

Paul then travelled to Boreham Wood and saw the Shots win 2-0 but a 2-0 defeat at Barnet saw them 'staring down the barrel'. They then held Fylde to a goalless draw at the Rec.

In the North Division, Boston United lost at home again, 2-0 to leaders Chorley. They then came from 2-0 down at York City to earn a point in front of a magnificent away following of 260, leaving there no doubt as to which team in the division has the best away support.

A massive 1,406 then turned out at York Street to witness the Pilgrims' best home performance of the season as they won 4-1 at home to Curzon Ashton.

Southport lost 1-0 at Leamington and looked to heading for another defeat, trailing Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 at the break, but they fought back to draw 2-2 and ensure that the majority of the Haig Avenue crowd went home happy. They then held third placed Brackley Town to a goalless draw, also at home.

Phil O'Dell's FC United look to be heading back into the Evo-stik League. They led 3-1 at home to York City, and against ten men, but they let the lead slip and had to be satisfied with a point after a 3-3 draw. If that was bad then nothing could have prepared them for the next home game against just-about relegated Nuneaton Borough. Before a 1600+ crowd, the Reds were smashed 4-0.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough lost 2-0 at 2 nd bottom Hungerford Town in front of less than 200 fans and then drew 0-0 at home to 3 rd placed Bath City although they really should have won. A trip to mid-table Hemel Hempstead saw then lead 2-1 after an hour but they still lost 3-2 to leave them in a precarious position.

In the NPL West Division, Ramsbottom United looked to be on their way to a vital three points at Chasetown but an 88 th minute leveller saw the game end 2-2. They then moved up into 3 rd place with a 2-0 home success against Prescot Cables.

They then had the opportunity to go top with a home win against lowly Newcastle Town but they lost 2-1 and with leaders Atherton L.R. Winning 2-1 at Market Drayton Town, it looks like the play-offs for the Rams. Their squad was boosted by the signing of Boston United player Spencer Harris.

I took in the game at Clitheroe where the Blues entertained fellow strugglers Glossop North End and after a dull start, they took control and won 2-0. Although Hazeldine scored both goals, the star of the show was debutant Bevan Burey who was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch.

Another victory was within their grasp at Trafford but a 90 th minute goal saved a point for the home side. A 3-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Market Drayton Town followed in front of a pityful turn-out of less than 80.

Colne lost 1-0 at home to Prescot Cables but kept their play-off aspirations alive with a 3-1 home win against Chasetown and that despite trailing at the break.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham drew 1-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton before another great turn-out of 539. They then defeated Abbey Hey 4-0 at the Arbories.

The Storks then lost 2-1 at home to Barnoldswick Town.

Barnoldswick Town lost 1-0 at home to 2 nd placed Bootle in front of a 200+ crowd and then lost 2-0 at leaders City of Liverpool before the win at Padiham.

Charnock Richard won 1-0 at Abbey Hey thanks to another Carl Grimshaw strike but they were then well beaten, 3-1 at home by Irlam. Manager Andy Westwell has announced his retirement from the end of the season after 18 years of unrivalled success, winning 'a mountain' of trophies on the way.

In the 1 st Division, leaders Longridge Town were held to a 4-4 draw at St Helens Town giving hope to chasing AVRO. Richie Allen scored yet another hat-trick as the 'Ridge' twice had to come from behind to lead 4-3 until an 84 th minute equaliser dashed their hopes. Those three goals put Allen top of the list for League goals with team-mate Jason Hart second.

Allen then notched another treble as Town defeated Steeton 5-2 at home.

Darwen had a comfortable 3-0 win at Holker Old Boys before losing by the same score at Garstang. I then took in the home game against Shelley where the Salmoners won 2-0 . The abuse that the officials had to endure, as in all the NWCFL games that I've attended this season, was ridiculous and until they start dishing out cards like it's going out of fashion, nothing will change.

Nelson could only draw 1-1 at lowly Atherton LR.

Bacup Borough lost the 1 st Division Cup semi-final 1 st leg at home to Avro 2-0 and the 2 nd leg 3-1, and that despite taking a 13 th minute lead. The losing streak continued as they lost 2-0 at home to Prestwich Heys.

Still no joy for Stone Dominoes in the South Division as they lost 6-0 at home to Cheadle Heath Nomads in front of just 15 spectators leaving their goal difference at -109.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew their 1 st leg FA Vase semi-final 1-1 at home to Chertsey Town in front of just under 1300 fans but then lost 2-1 at Congleton Town in the League. The second leg of the Vase ended goalless with Chertsey winning the penalty shoot-out 5-4.

Just two days later they were back in league action at Barnoldswick Town. They took the lead three times only to be pegged back before a 95 th minute winner from Ennis gave them the three points.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock made the trip to Bradford Town and saw a late equaliser give Buckland Athletic a share of the spoils after a 2-2 draw.

A home game against Cadbury Heath gave them a great chance of reaching the Les Phillips Cup semi-finals, especially given that the Bucks had smashed their opponents for seven recently but a shocking performance saw them hammered 4-1.

Amazing game in the Bostik North Division where leaders Bowers & Pitsea smashed mid-table Barking 9-0 but in the Southern League Premier South, mid-table Merthyr Town raced into a 4-0 lead at home to bottom side Staines Town after only 12 minutes with Traylor notching all four. It was 7-0 after half an hour and 8-0 by the break. 50 minutes gone and it was 9-0 but incredibly, that's how it ended.

Good news that North Ferriby are to re-form and will probably start life at step 5 in the Northern Counties League. The Villagers were wound up over a debt of less than £8,000.

Early March 2019

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia lost again, this time 3-1 at 2 nd placed Apollon. The ex-Harwood star came on from the bench with his side already 2-0 down but within a minute it was 3-0 and there was no way back.

It was then onto the 'Championship Group and Matt once again came on from the bench, with half an hour left of the goalless draw with Nea Salamis.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon earned a decent point with a goalless draw at Shrewsbury Town but the result still left them 9 points from safety. Having just one shot throughout the game (off target) isn't going to help them survive!

They then defeated play-off chasing Doncaster Rovers 2-0 at Kingsmeadow, their cause helped by the sending off of Rovers' star Marquis.

Those three points took them within seven points off safety although just ten points would see them in the top half of the table.

The good form continued against another play-off chasing team, Peterborough United, also at home, and a late penalty sealed the points to leave them still bottom but four points behind 5 th bottom Shrewsbury Town.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley lost 1-0 in front of just over 3,000 fans (1,000 visiting supporters) at home to crisis club Coventry City to leave them just four points clear of the drop zone. They then lost 2-0 at promotion-chasing Barnsley to make the gap two points. They eased their worries with a fine 3-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot remained in deep trouble after a 2-0 home defeat against play-off chasing Gateshead at the 'Rec'. Paul then made the long journey up to Barrow to see the Shots go down to a 2-1 defeat thanks to a 96 th minute penalty and with just ten games to go, they need a couple of wins very quickly. A daunting home game against leaders Leyton Orient followed and another 2-1 defeat was suffered although they did hit the post late on.

Fylde had to come from behind to defeat lowly Maidenhead United 2-1 at Mill Farm to maintain their fourth spot. They slipped down a place after being held to a 1-1 draw at Boreham Wood while Salford defeated second placed Solihull Moors 2-0.

The Coasters then defeated Hartlepool United 4-2 at Mill Farm to go 4 th.

Leaders Wrexham drew a fantastic crowd of over 7,000 for their 1-0 home win against Chesterfield. Another huge attendance of almost 7,000 then saw them go down 1-0 at Leyton Orient.

In the North Division, Boston United overcame an early setback at home to Telford United to lead until the 95 th minute when an equaliser for the Bucks saw their play-off ambitions all but extinguished. They were just about confirmed when they lost 3-1 at home to Stockport County despite another improved performance.

I then kicked the Rovers into touch to see the mighty Pilgrims take on Southport at Haig Avenue and things looked bleak after an opening half which the 74 of us visiting supporters were grateful to see end 1-0. The second period was a different affair with the gale-force wind behind them Boston won 3-2 to ensure that this fixture would take place again next season.

Southport won 1-0 at Guiseley to just about confirm their status at this level despite the following defeat from Boston.

The Sandgrounders then reached the final of the Liverpool Senior Cup, coming from behind at Rylands to win 3-1.

Phil O'Dell's FC United really needed a win at home to fellow strugglers Hereford but had to settle for a point in a 2-2 draw and that was courtesy of a 90 th minute Willoughby equaliser.

Their hopes were further boosted by a terrific 3-1 win at 6 th placed Telford United.

Paul Salt's Altrincham brushed away Chester 4-0 at Moss Lane to move up into 5 th place and just about confirmed their play-off place with a 1-0 win at York City.

Chorley needed a 93 rd minute equaliser to salvage a point at Darlington but that was enough to maintain their top spot.

Stockport County drew a league record attendance of 6,311 for the home game against 3 rd placed Spennymoor United and the majority went home happy after a 1-0 home win.

The Magpies then defeated 8 th places Kidderminster Harriers 3-0 at Victory Park whilst Stockport lost 1-0 at Brackley

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough remained towards the bottom of the table after they could only draw 0-0 at lowly Hampton & R.B.

Possibly the result of the season in this division was bottom side Weston-super-Mare's 2-1 success at leaders Torquay United.

Mike's boys then held 3 rd placed Chelmsford to a 1-1 draw.

In the NPL West Division, Ramsbottom United's 'glory hunter' fans were missing for the home game with Widnes, just 147 turned up to see the mid-table visitors win 1-0.

The Rams then moved up to 4 th spot with a 1-0 win at Clitheroe.

Colne, who won in midweek against the Rams, then came from behind to win 2-1 at leaders Atherton Collieries in front of over 400 spectators. When the mighty Great Harwood Town used to play at Colls, they were lucky to attract more than 50 fans.

Clitheroe were well beaten at home again, 3-0 by lowly Chasetown and with their two main rivals Glossop North End and Kendal Town both winning, it now looks like one from three to face the drop. The Blues then lst 2-1 at home to Ramsbottom United.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard were beaten 3-0 at home by leaders City of Liverpool in front of a healthy turn-out of 238.

Thy then came from behind to win 6-2 at home to Winsford \United.

A last minute Hancock goal secured a 1-0 win for Padiham at Hanley Town.

Barnoldswick Town were surprisingly thrashed 5-0 at mid-table Burscough before Whitchurch Alport scored three goals in six minutes at the Silentnight Stadium to record a 3-1 win.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen were beaten 3-2 at Bacup Borough and Brent Peters boys repeated the scoreline at AFC Blackpool.

Leaders Longridge Town followed up their comfortable win against only rivals Avro with an 8-1 mauling of visiting Atherton LR. For the second time in four days, Richie Allen was on fire and followed up his mid-week hat-trick with another one but this time he took just six minutes midway through the second period to score them and had a fourth in added on time. That meant an incredible 126 goals scored in league games this season but the attendance of just 123 must have been a huge disappointment to players and officials alike.

In the South Division, poor old Stone Dominoes were also on the end of an eight goal salvo at Cammell Laird although they did take a 2 nd minute lead at Birkenhead.

Nelson were comprehensively beaten 5-1 by Prestwich Heys at Victoria Park but then thrashed Daisy Hill 8-1 at the same venue.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 3-1 at Chipping Sodbury and followed that up with a 4-1 home win against Bradford Town and a top seven finish now looks assured.

I've visited Colwyn Bay many times whilst watching Boston United but it looks like I've made my last visit there as they have voted to leave the English Pyramid to join the Welsh League due to financial reasons.

Sad to see another club 'biting the dust'. Leicestershire outfit Oadby Town have resigned from the United Counties League with immediate effect due to lack of finances.

In the Non League Paper's Fantasy League, Great Harwood Town are struggling in mid-table, lying 872 nd with the Boston Danglers not faring much better in 697 th spot.

Late February 2019

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia drew 0-0 at Anorthosis with the Harwood legend being substituted 8 minutes from time. After his great success in Cyprus for the last few years, he's amazingly scored just a single goal this season!

Next time out he remained on the bench as his side produced probably their best result of the season, a 2-0 home win against an AEL Limassol side who could have gone top with a win.

Wimbledon put up a great fight in their home FA Cup game against Millwall but fell just short, losing 1-0.

The improved form continued in midweek at Rochdale where a 95 th minute penalty earned another vital 3 points and put them within 5 points of their opponents, who wre just above the relegation spots.

Accrington Stanley looked set to inflict only the 3 rd defeat of the season on promotion-chasing Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, leading 2-0 early in the second half but had to settle for a point in front of almost 30,000 fans with a magnificent 661 travelling form East Lancs.

They then won their first game since Boxing Day, 4-2 at home to Oxford United which moved them 7 points clear of the drop zone before having to settle for a point in a home draw with Southend United.

In the National League, Fylde missed the chance to gain ground on their promotion rivals by losing 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Chesterfield. Luckily for the Whites, three more of the top seven sides also dropped points.

They then made it through to the FA Trophy semi-finals after defeating Barnet 4-1 on penalties after a goalless draw at Mill Farm.

Paul Clark travelled up to relegation rivals Halifax Town but had to settle for a point in a boring goalless draw and that's 18 games without a win.

That run was finally ended at bottom side Braintree Town who they defeated 1-0.

In the North, I travelled to the Deva to see if Boston United could continue their fine away form but shocking defending gifted the home side a 4-1 win. That was only the Pilgrims second away defeat since early November and I've seen them both! They were backed by a great travelling support of about 150.

Chorley suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat at Alfreton Town and even more surprising defeat at home to relegation-threatened Ashton United, 1-0 the score. They remained top on goal difference but the title race is now a three horse race between themselves, Stockport County and Spennymoor Town.

Phil O'Dell's FC United really needed a win at home to Guiseley in a real six-pointer but they could only share the points after an exciting 3-3 draw, the Reds coming back from 3-1 down with just 15 minutes left. A goalless draw at Southport followed which left them seven points from safety.

Southport drew 0-0 at Darlington before the FC United stalemate.

Paul Salt's Altrincham smashed local rivals Curzon Ashton 6-0 away from home.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough fell to an expected defeat at Billericay and that cost the manager Jamie Howell his job. He was replaced by a 'big name', Mark McGee. He failed to have an instant impact as the Sports were beaten 3-0 at home by Wealdstone.

In the NPL West Division, Clitheroe were hammered 5-0 at Shawbridge by second-placed Runcorn Linnets in front of a big crowd of 380 and then lost 1-0 at Droylsden to leave them in dnager of relegation.

Colne earned an excellent point in a goalless draw at 4 th placed Leek Town before beating Kendal Town 3-1 at Holt House.

Ramsbottom United's cracking recent form continued as they defeated Colwyn Bay 1-0 at the Riverside thanks to an 87 th minute goal in front of a much-improved attendance of 276, around double their normal league crowd. A Nic Evangelinos hat-trick then helped them to a great 6-0 win at mid-table Newcastle Town. Another mid-table side, Trafford were also swept away, 4-0 on their own pitch, moving the Rams into the play-off positions and on recent form, genuine title challengers.

Spare a thought for bottom side Skelmersdale United, one win all season and on the end of a 9-0 thrashing at mid-table Colwyn Bay. Relegation would appear to be a formality.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham attracted a crowd of 294 for the game with Irlam but they left disappointed after a 0-0 stalemate. They were even more disappointed after the next home game, a 6-1 hammering by Bootle.

Carl Grimshaw was on target again as Charnock Richard won 2-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton in front of a massive attendance of 407, and that's despite the Mancunians lying 2 nd bottom.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough won 3-1 at home to Holker Old Boys before being well beaten 3-0 at home by title chasing Avro.

Longridge Town drew almost 200 fans for the home game with Carlisle City which they won 7-0.

I was then part of a record attendance of 451 who saw them virtually clinch the title with a well-deserved 3-0 win against their only serious rivals Avro.

The Mancunians really were a disgrace, abusing the officials from start to finish and chopping down their opponents at every given opportunity. How they completed the game with only one player and the manager sent off was a mystery.

Hero of the evening was Richie Allen who scored all three goals but Issac Sinclair was again outstanding and he was targetted by the ruthless visitors throughout the game who had the attitude of if the first defender didn't 'take him out' then the second or third would.

The referee would have been quite justified in sending off several of the Avro players resulting in an abandonment.

In the South Division, just when you think things can't get any worse for Stone Dominoes, they're thrashed 13-0 at home by mid-table Cheadle Town!!! Pity only 28 people saw it. Better news in the following game as they won 2-1 at home to Barnton but they then lost 3-0 at home to Stockport Town with only 18 people present this time.

In the Macron Cup quarter-finals, Barnoldswick Town lost 3-2 at 1874 Northwich and a few days later they exited the West Riding County Cup at the semi-final stage, in a thriller at National North side Guiseley. The home side raced into a 3-0 lead within quarter of an hour but Barlick stormed back in the final stages to score three times in 11 minutes only for 91 st minute strike to win it for the Lions. They were then well beaten 5-2 at Squires Gate.

Nelson also went out of the Macron Cup after a 3-1 defeat at Avro. I then saw them lose 2-1 at the Anchor against Darwen in the league.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 2-1 at City of Liverpool but then progressed to the FA vase semi-finals with a 3-1 extra-time home win against fancied Sholing in front of over 700 fans. The visitors had led before having a man sent off just before the break and they were instantly made to pay as Vics soon equalised.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock travelled up the M5 to Bitton and saw his Buckland Athletic favourites well beaten 3-0 by the title-chasers. Westbury United then arrived at Homers Heath knowing that a win would put them joint top but Nick's boys produced their best result of the season to win 1-0.

Early February 2019

Matt Derbyshire was missing form the Omonia Nicosia team that defeated bottom side Ermis 2-0 away from home although they still remain in the bottom half of the table.

The next game, at home to fellow mid-table side Doxa, had them 2-0 down when Matt entered the fray after 55 minutes and he inspired them to fight back and force a draw.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon narrowly lost out at the Stadium of Light in front of over 30,000 fans ( almost 1,000 Dons supporters) 1-0, and the future looks bleak for the Wombles. A fourth defeat in a row followed, 2-0 at home to Burton Albion which left them a massive 10 points from safety.

They then won 1-0 at Walsall but many more good performances will be needed to avoid the drop.

The National League was badly hit by the weather, but in the North Division, Boston United gained a rare three home points against Phil O'Dell's FC United. Trailing to an 8 th minute opener, the Pilgrims secured the points with goals from Allott and Walker. The good form continued at bottom side Nuneaton who were put to the sword to the tune of 5-1.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough showed no signs of improvement, losing 2-0 at Truro City before drawing 2-2 at home to Oxford City despite playing against ten men for quite a while. Ex-Boston striker Tschimanga gave City an early lead before the Sports hit back to lead but they couldn't hold on.

When the weather subsided towards the middle of the month, the National League saw some action with Fylde missing the chance to go 3 rd after they could only draw 1-1 at 2 nd bottom Maidstone United.

Paul Clark saw his Aldershot side continue to struggle, losing 3-1 at home to Eastleigh, a result that left them just 3 points above bottom spot. Like most of the sides towards the foot of the League, it's easy to see where the problem lies, goalscoring, with the Shots scoring only 15 goals in 16 home games and that's similar to several other sides.

Another home game saw them slip further into trouble with a 3-0 defeat against promotion-chasing Solihull Moors who went top after the result.

Back in the North Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United hosted Paul Salt's Alrincham and the game went to form with the Robins notching a late winner to take the points courtesy of a 2-1 success in front of over 2,000 fans at Broadhurst Park.

The local derby between Southport and Chorley produced a great game with the Sandgrounders running out comfortable winners. They led 4-1 at the break and ended up winning 5-3 before a bumper crowd of 1,542 although the Magpies remained in pole position. They then strengthened that position with a fine 2-0 home win against 6 th placed Brackley Town.

What a game in the FA Trophy, Ramsbottom United and Fylde drew 5-5 at the Riverside. Before a crowd of over 700, Rammy stormed back twice from being two goals behind to lead 5-4 with only five minutes remaining but a late Bond goal ensured that the sides must replay.

I travelled over to the Fylde for that game along with over 230 Rammy fans, more than their usual home gate, to see a tremendous performance despite going down 4-1, a scoreline which flattered the hosts.

In the FA Vase, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria trailed 1-0 at fallen giants Histon but fought back to win 3-1 after extra-time. The other NWCFL side left in the competition, Irlam Town, went down 2-0 at home to Chertsey.

Steve's boys then won 1-0 at Abbey Hey in the Premier Division to move up to 4 th.

In the NPL West Division, Colne took an early lead at play-off rivals Prescott Cables but the home side hit back to win 3-1 and move above the Reds.

Clitheroe won 4-1 at lowly Skelmersdale United.

In the NWCFL 1 st Division North, Longridge Town won 2-1 at Prestwich Heys to move 9 points clear at the top.

Brent Peters' Bacup Borough got through to the semi-finals of the 1 st Division Cup with a penalty shoot-out victory at AFC Liverpool after a 1-1 draw. That came as a much-needed boost after Borough's ground was badly damaged by a recent storm, causing thousands of pounds of damage.

In the 1 st Division South, lowly Maine Road trailed 3-0 at 3 rd placed Abbey Hulton United after 52 minutes but hit back in style to win 5-3.

Poor old Stone Dominoes were smashed 9-1 at St Martins, with unfortunately, only 34 spectators present to see the goal-fest.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic faced the long midweek trip up to Bristol to take on Brislington in the Les Phillips Cup and despite the horrendous weather forecast being given the go-ahead in the afternoon, the game was abandoned half way through the second half with the score at 2-2.

Nick's favourites then hosted Exeter City in the Devon Bowl but unfortunately went down 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in front of a good turn-out of 164.

Not too often that a side hits double figures but Bostik League Premier South side strugglers Basingstoke Town managed it against bottom side Staines Town who could be the first side to be relegated at that level, 20 points from safety. There was no sign of what was to come with the score at 3-2 at the interval and 4-3 after an hour.

 

 

Late January 2019

Matt Derbyshire was missing from Omonia Nicosia's line-up as they travelled to bottom side Paphos and a 4 th minute penalty was enough to see Matt's boys lose 1-0, their 9 th league defeat in 18 games.

Don Fitzgerald, who sadly passed away recently, would have been over-the-moon to see his bottom of the table side Wimbledon, march through to the 5 th round of the FA Cup with a fantastic 4-2 home win against West Ham United.

Our ex-landlords Accrington Stanley put up a great show at home to Championship high-flyers Derby County only to lose 1-0 in front of a record attendance of almost 5,500.

The horrendous weather at the end of the month saw plenty of non league games postponed.

Non-league legend Nathan Pond was in the Salford City side that drew 0-0 at Halifax Town in the National League, keeping them in 2 nd position.

Fylde enjoyed a great 2-1 win at promotion rivals Solihull Moors.

In the North Division, Boston United travelled to bogey side Guiseley but for once they came out on top, winning 5-4 to stay in touch with the play-off positions. I then travelled up to the North East with around 40 other Pilgrims fans to endure over two hours in the freezing cold only to see our team go down 1-0. A fifteen minute delay in the first half, thanks to an injury to the referee, was followed in the second with a ten minute delay after an injury to Boston's Gibbens, saw the game continue to around 10 o'clock. Unfortunately for the travelling contingent, the replacement linesman from the crowd, flagged for an infringement every time the home players appealed and despite Boston having twice as many shots, corners, and three times as many shots on target as their hosts, plus no bookings against three for Town, they couldn't turn the stats into points.

Paul Salt's Altrincham were surprisingly beaten 3-0 at mid-table Leamington.

Chorley had a great 4-1 win at York City to maintain their top spot.

Phil O'Dell's FC United took the lead at home to Stockport County but the Hatters hit back and won it two minutes from time in front of almost 3,000 fans at Broadhurst Park.

Improving Southport suffered a surprise 4-0 home defeat against Telford United.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough continue to frustrate, losing 2-0 at home to 2 nd bottom East Thurrock.

In the NPL West Division, Clitheroe fought back from 2-0 down to level at home to Widnes only to be beaten by a last minute goal.

Ramsbottom United fantastic form continued with a comprehensive 6-0 defeat of visitors Skelmersdale United.

Colne remained handily placed after a goalless draw at Trafford.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Carl Grimshaw scored another two goals in the 3-3 draw at Congleton Town.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 2-0 at home to Whitchurch Alport in front of an improved attendance of 211.

Barnoldswick Town twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Runcorn Town.

In the 1 st Division North, leaders Longridge Town were held to a 1-1 draw at AFC Blackpool whilst second-placed Avro closed the gap after a 7-1 home triumph against Carlisle City.

An Elliot Pond hat-trick helped Darwen to a terrific 7-1 win against St Helens at the Anchor.

Bacup Borough trailed 2-0 at Ashton Town after 25 minutes but looked set for a point after two goals in three minutes, half way through the second period, but a four-goal blast in the final 10 minutes saw them well beaten.

Nelson won 2-1 at home to Garstang.

In the South West, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic heaped more misery on Cadbury Heath, thrashing them 7-0 at Homers Heath, and that followed Cadbury's 9-0 defeat at Willand Rovers 3 days earlier!

Nick was then amongst three away supporters who travelled up to Bath to see the Mighty Bucks defeat Odd Down 2-0.

 

Early January 2019

Matt Derbyshire captained Omonia Nicosia in the home game against fellow mid-table side AEK Larnaca and it had the desired effect as they won 1-0. A daunting trip to 2 nd placed Alollon followed and although they led 1-0 at the break, the home side rallied to win 2-1.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon dropped to the bottom of League One after a 2-1 defeat at leaders Portsmouth.

An FA Cup game at Fleetwood Town promised little but after letting a two-goal lead slip, a 90 th minute Appiah goal put them through. They then earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Coventry City.

Our ex-landlords Accrington Stanley began the New Year with comprehensive 3-0 defeat at improving Bradford City leaving their hopes of making the play-offs a pie-in-the-sky dream.

The FA Cup 3 rd round saw them host Championship bottom side Ipswich Town and it was no surprise that they went through after a 1-0 win. They looked to be on their way to the last eight of the EFL Trophy at home to Bury as they led 2-0 but the Shakers stormed back to win 4-2. The Reds were then held to a goalless draw by Bristol Rovers.

Fylde could only draw 0-0 at home to Barrow in the National League and that was followed by a 3-2 defeat at Bromley. They then made it through to the 3 rd round of the FA Trophy thanks to a narrow 1-0 home win against minnows Biggleswade.

Paul Clark's Aldershot remain in deep trouble after they failed to beat lowly Maidenhead United at the 'rec' in front of a 2,000+ crowd.

In the North Division, Boston United were thwarted again at the death as they had to settle for just a point at Alfreton after the hosts notched a last minute equaliser. They then lost their 8 th home game of the season, 2-1 against Altrincham with less then 900 home fans present.

Back on the road, they then won 2-1 at Kidderminster Harriers.

Paul Salt's Altrincham lost 1-0 at home to Stockport County before the predictable win at York Street but the next outing, at Chorley was anything but predictable. Winning 1-0 at the break, they were then blown away by four unanswered goals in the second half.

Southport started the New Year as they finished the old one, in good form as they fought out a goalless draw at Chester. A 1-1 draw at home to Nuneaton Borough and a 1-0 win against Guiseley, also at Haig Avenue, saw them fly six places up the table to 11 th. Another home game followed and despite trailing at the break, they won 5-1.

Chorley thrashed Phil O'Dell's FCUM 4-0 at Victory Park with all the goals coming after the break and those three points returned them to the top of the table after Bradford's defeat at home to Guiseley.

The Magpies then drew 1-1 at Hereford while United lost 2-0 at home to Chester, their 9 th home league defeat of the campaign-an even worse than Boston's!

Chorley then battered Altrincham 4-1 while United had a great 3-2 win at Bradford P A.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough stopped the rot by defeating Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 at home and followed that up with another three points thanks to a 3-2 win at Chippenham Town. The good form didn't continue as they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom side Weston-super-Mare.

In the Evo-stik West Division, Colne lost 1-0 at home to Glossop North End but then won by the same score at Kidsgrove Athletic.

Clitheroe looked on course for three points at Kendal Town until an 89 th minute equaliser and they then drew 1-1 again, at Colwyn Bay.

Ramsbottom United lost 3-0 at home to promotion-chasing Atherton Collieries in front of over 400 fans at the Riverside before drawing 1-1 with Leek Town, also at home.

Another big crowd turned out for the FA Trophy 2 nd Round game against Weymouth where a 96 th minute equaliser gave them a 2-2 draw.

Considering the replay meant a 550 round trip to Dorset on a Tuesday evening, just one player couldn't make it as the Rams won 3-1 and even missed a late penalty in front of 657 fans. They now take their place in the last 16, the lowest ranked side left in it, and a mouth-watering home tie against Fylde to come.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town were surprisingly beaten 4-1 at home to Hanley Town but then won by the same score at home to Litherland REMYCA. Charnock Richard then gave them another thrashing at the Silentnight Stadium, winning 5-0 with Grimshaw notching another hat-trick. A hectic first couple of weeks of the new year ended with a goalless draw at Congleton Town.

Charnock Richard won 2-1 at home to Abbey Hey and by the same score at Padiham. The Storks, meanwhile, lost 4-0 at home to Northwich Victoria.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it through to the 5 th round of the FA Vase with a 3-2 win at Newcastle Benfield but they were made to sweat as they led 3-0 at the break and held on for the final ten minutes with just a goal advantage.

They then lost 2-1 at City of Liverpool despite taking an early lead before losing 2-0 at Ashton Athletic. They came back with a bang at the afore mentioned win at the Arbories.

In the 1 st Division North, Nelson lost 1-0 at AFC Liverpool and then 3-0 at home to Avro before drawing 2-2 at St. Helens Town.

Darwen were hammered 4-0 at Chadderton. I then made the short trip to see Darwen take on leaders Longridge Town and predictably, the visitors won 6-2 although that scoreline flattered Town who were wasting time with the score at 3-1 and then 3-2 in the second half. Hart scored a hat-trick to go with his four-goal midweek haul.

Longridge Town won 2-1 at Shelly, 8-1 against Daisy Hill and then 6-2 at Darwen.

Bacup Borough thrashed Atherton L.R. 4-0 at West View.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic made the long trip north to take on lowly Brislington while I made the long trip south to meet up with him. Things didn't look too good after the home side went in front against the Mighty Bucks despite the visitors leading at the break but two goals in a minute made it happy journey home for both of us. The ground was very tidy with cover on all four sides but the club find it difficult to attract spectators to their out-of-the-way stadium, just 34 present and at least six of us supporting the visitors.

A 2-0 home win against Wellington carried on the good results.

 

Late December

Matt Derbyshire was back in the Omonia Nicosia starting line-up for the visit of 2 nd placed APOEL but despite leading 1-0 at the break, courtesy of yet another Gomez goal, they lost 2-1.

A trip to 2 nd bottom side Paralimni gave them great opportunity to get back on the winning trail but they had to settle for point in a 1-1 draw.

Just 88 Accrington Stanley fans made the long trip to Southend United and after a 3-0 defeat, the journey home must have seemed even longer.

Another monumental journey followed, to bottom side Plymouth Argyle but this time a great display gave them a 3-0 win in front of a fantastic attendance of 10,193 which included 102 Reds' fans. They then earned another three points with a 2-1 win at home to Shrewsbury Town in front of an improved crowd of just over 3,000 although the Shrews had a tremendous following of 770. No one could have foreseen the outcome of their next home game against Peterborough United which ended with a 4-0 defeat.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 2-0 at Charlton Athletic despite playing against ten men after less than a minutes play at the Valley. That result saw them stay bottom of League One. Wins at Wycombe Wanderers, 2-1 and then by the same score at home to Plymouth Argyle, lifted them two places and two points from safety. The year ended with a goalless draw at home to Blackpool.

In the FA Cup, Southport hosted Tranmere Rovers in a 2 nd round replay with Tottenham Hotspur as the bait for the winners but the visitors were victorious, winning 2-0 before a massive 5,000+ crowd.

In the FA Trophy, Boston United were swept away by National League high-flyers Wrexham at the Racecourse. Three goals in the opening half hour put paid to any hopes of an upset.

The following game saw more woeful home form resulting in a 1-0 loss to Alfreton Town and despite that dreadful record at York Street, the biggest crowd of the season turned up, just short of 1,400 with only a paltry 56 travelling fans. An improved home performance a few days later earned them a point in a 2-2 draw against leaders Bradford Park Avenue who needed a 94 th minute deflected effort to keep that top spot.

Fylde breezed past Stratford Town in the FA Trophy at Mill Farm, winning 5-1. Back in League action, they then defeated Ebbsfleet United 2-0 at home before drawing 1-1 at Barrow. They moved up to 3 rd place after a last minute Rowe penalty gave them a 2-1 win at promotion rivals Harrogate Town.

Paul Clark's Aldershot continue to struggle and in the FA Trophy they could only draw 3-3 at home to minnows Bedford Town before sending a youth team for the replay which resulted in a 7-0 annihilation. A home game against leaders Wrexham saw an improved performance and a fine 0-0 draw but they then lost 4-3 at Maidenhead United and 2-1 at Sutton United.

The Boxing Day clash between Wrexham and Salford City attracted an amazing turn-out of 8,283 and most of them went home happy after a 5-1 home win.

Paul Salt's Altrincham exited the Trophy after a 1-0 home defeat against Stockport County before losing to the same opponents, this time at Edgely Park, 2-0 in front of 4,549 fans. In between, they drew 3-3 at home to Darlington. A late goal then gave them a 2-2 draw at Guiseley.

After their FA Cup exploits, Southport continued with their excellent form, beating Ashton United 2-1 away from home, and then Chester, 3-0, and Alfreton Town, 2-1, both at Haig Avenue.

Chorley were beaten 4-2 at home to Blyth Spartans but then thrashed Phil O'dell's FC United 4-1 at Broadhurst Park. United had previously drawn 2-2 at Leamington. A 1-0 win at Curzon Ashton cemented the Magpies 2 nd place in the table.

United, meanwhile, lost 3-1 at home to Spennymoor United to end the year in the relegation zone.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were surprisingly smashed 4-0 at home by lower ranked Dorchester Town in the FA Trophy and then 2-1 at home to St Albans City. A massive crowd of 3,000, for the hosts return to Champion Hill, then saw them lose 2-1 at Dulwich Hamlet. A 2-0 defeat at 2 nd placed Woking was an unsurprising end to the year.

Ramsbottom United drew 0-0 at Workington before winning the Trophy replay 2-0. The good form continued in the NPL at Market Drayton Town where they won 3-1 and a Boxing Day clash with local rivals Radcliffe Borough drew over 500 fans to the Riverside where the Rams came from behind to win 2-1.

Colne came from two down to draw 2-2 at home to Newcastle Town and then won 3-1 at Shawbridge against Clitheroe.

Clitheroe's performance at home to Radcliffe Borough was as bad as the weather and they ended up on the wrong side of a 7-0 thrashing. That was followed by a 3-0 defeat at Kidsgrove Athletic and the afore-mentioned home defeat to Colne.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, a Grimshaw hat-trick inspired Charnock Richard to a 4-0 home win against Litherland REMYCA but then went down 2-0 t Northwich Victoria. Yet another Grimshaw hat-trick gave them a 3-0 win at Squires Gate.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria were 3-0 down at home to Bootle after only 15 minutes and despite a 2 nd half fight-back, lost 3-2. They then proved too strong for Charnock Richard as just mentioned. They then brushed aside Irlam, 4-0 away from home.

Padiham were beaten 4-1 at Winsford United but things got much worse at Ashton Athletic where they lost 8-0. A bumper crowd of 332 saw a better performance at the Arbories against 1874 Northwich but the ressult was the same, a 2-1 defeat.

Barnoldswick Town won 1-0 at Silsden.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen came from 2-0 down after an hour's play at Daisy Hill to win 3-2. They then looked to have secured a point at home to Prestwich Heys after they made it 2-2 in the 97 th minute but the visitors scored the winner a minute later! A derby game against Bacup Borough saw them win 2-1 at the Anchor.

Nelson trailed 2-0 at home to Cleator Moor Celtic at the break but stormed back to win 4-2 and followed that up with a 1-0 success at Steeton and a 1-1 draw at Avro.

Bacup Borough won 6-2 at St Helens Town with all of their goals coming in the first 50 minutes and they scored three more at home to Carlisle City which proved to be just enough. Their hot run of form continued at Shelley where they won 4-1 despite going behind.

I travelled to Longridge Town to see the leaders take on Cleator Moor Celtic and the home side brushed aside a very youthful visiting side containing several teenagers and no substitutes. The 4-0 half time lead could and should have been doubled but for some wayward finishing which continued in the second period. Shocking finishing, good goalkeeping and determined defending meant that Town didn't add to the scoreline.

In the 1 st Division South, a fantastic attendance( a ground record) saw Wythenshawe Amateurs defeat rivals Town 1-0 on Boxing Day.

Poor old Stone Dominoes failed to take on Stone Old Alleynians because they couldn't raise a team.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock and his pals made the trip to mid-table Shepton Mallet in atrocious conditions and must have wished they'd stayed at home watching the telly as the Bucks were hammered 7-2. They did rather better at leaders Westbury United(14 wins and 2 draws so far), drawing 0-0 but they then lost 2-1 at home to Devon rivals Plymouth Parkway surrendering a half-time lead to lose 2-1 in front of an excellent Boxing Day crowd of 242. They could then only draw 1-1 at home to lowly Roman Glass St George..

 

Early December

In the Cyprus Cup, Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia defeated 2 nd Division Onisilos Sotira 3-0 at home but then went down 2-1 in the league at leaders AEL Limassol in a very feisty game. The first half saw ex-Rover Jordy Gomez open the scoring before five booking, two for the same player, left them with 10 men for the final 50 minutes. The home side also had two players booked just before the break but they turned it round in the second half winning 2-1 with Matt coming on straight after the equaliser.

The following game saw Matt again on the bench, coming on after 38 minutes and once again two Gomez goals gave them a win, 2-0 at bottom side Alki Oroklini.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon made it through to the 3 rd round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 at Halifax Town but exited the FLT, losing 2-1 to Chelsea's under-21's.

A 1-1 draw at home to Rochdale followed.

Accrington Stanley won 3-1 at home to Cheltenham in the FA Cup and then defeated Lincoln City 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at the Crown Ground in the FLT.

The Reds then entertained Sunderland and despite the horrendous weather leading up to the game, it went ahead before a record attendance of 5,257 (half from Sunderland). Less surprising was the abandonment 20 minutes from time.

In the National League, Fylde would have gone 3 rd with a home win against Sutton United but the visitors made it 2-2 in the 88 th minute.

They then looked on course for three points at 2 nd bottom Dover until two goals for the home side in the final few minutes left them pointless.

Paul Clark made the long trip north to watch Aldershot take on Harrogate Town but returned to Hampshire disappointed after a 4-1 defeat, despite taking an early lead.

In the North Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham continue to impress, winning 2-1 at Brackley to move within 6 points of the leaders. In-form Telford were next and they were brushed aside 3-1 at Moss Lane to go 3 rd.

Boston earned a good point with a 1-1 draw at Chorley before despatching York City 2-0 at the Jakeman's Stadium.

Chorley then needed a last minute goal to salvage a point at Leamington.

Southport's excellent recent form continued as they drew 1-1 in the FA Cup at Tranmere Rovers and then 2-2 at leaders Bradford Park Avenue in the league.

Phil O'Dell's FC United lost 2-0 at York City but got back to winning ways at home to Curzon Ashton, 2-0 the score. That was United's first home win of the season and took them out of the drop zone.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough had a fine 3-0 win at Wealdstone but then lost 2-0 at home to Billericay Town.

In the NPL West Division, a late goal from visitors Market Drayton condemned Clitheroe to 3-2 defeat and they then lost 2-0 at Mossley.

Colne drew 1-1 at Chasetown in the league and then made it through to the semi-finals of the Lancs Challenge Trophy after defeating Charnock Richard 1-0 at Holt House. Their home game against bottom side Skelmersdale United was then abandoned because of a waterlogged pitch.

Ramsbottom United lost 3-2 at home to leaders Runcorn Linnets but then won 2-0 at Kidsgrove Athletic.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it safely through to the 4 th round of the FA Vase, winning 3-0 at home to Silsden.

In the Macron Cup 3 rd round, Barnoldswick Town went goal-crazy at home to Eccleshall, winning 9-4 despite it only being 1-1 after 40 minutes.

In the NWCFL 1 st Division North, an Elliot Pond hat-trick helped Darwen to a 4-3 win at Ashton Town. He was on target in the next game, at home to Lower Breck, where the Salmoners twice came from behind and then got a 97 th minute winner.

Nelson drew 2-2 at Carlisle City before winning 2-0 at Ashton Town and 2-1 at home to Prestwich Heys.

Bacup Borough won 2-1 at Daisy Hill but then went down by the same score at Holker Old Boys.

 

Late November

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia drew 1-1 at home to Arnothosis with the ex-Harwood star coming on as a 1 st half substitute.

Accrington Stanley lost 2-0 at home to Barnsley,1-0 at Rochdale and then 2-1 at home to Wycombe Wanderers to go hurtling down the League One table.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon went down 2-1 at Doncaster Rovers and 1-0 at Peterborough United but in between those defeats won 2-1 at home to Southend |United.

Nevertheless, that left them second bottom and amazingly, with Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Bradford City occupying the other relegation places.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot were hammered 4-0 at Salford City in front of a tremendous attendance of just under 3,000 and they lost again, 2-0 at home to Barrow before earning a decent point in a goalless draw at Leyton Orient.

Fylde opened the scoring at Dagenham & Redbridge after only a minute but lost 2-1. The next game at home to Boreham Wood saw then score twice in the final five minutes to win 2-1. They followed that up with a 2-1 success at Hartlepool United.

In the National League North, Paul Salt's Altrincham continued their excellent recent form with a 3-0 home win against York City and then made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with a great 4-0 home win against league leaders Bradford Park Avenue.

Boston United's dismal home form continued as they lost 2-1 at home to Southport thanks to an added time winner from Astles. The away form remained good though and they hammered Ashton United 5-0 in the FA Trophy at Hurst Cross.

Phil O'Dell's FC United lost 2-0 at home to Telford and exited the FA Trophy after a 3-1 defeat at Hereford.

Southport drew 0-0 at home to Chester in the FA Trophy but progressed thanks to a 2-0 replay win.

Chorley enjoyed great 4-0 win at high-flying Kidderminster Harriers

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne United lost 1-0 at Bath City before drawing 1-1 at home to Dartford in the FA Trophy, eventually making it through with a 3-2 win in the replay.

Ramsbottom United won 1-0 at Colwyn Bay and then defeated Yaxley 5-1 in their FA Trophy replay at the Riverside. They then drew 0-0 at Pickering Town in the next round, before making it through with another replay victory, 2-1 courtesy of an 89 th minute Jacobs winner.

Colne won 3-2 at home to Leek Town and by the same score, also at Holt House, against Colwyn Bay.

Clitheroe lost 2-1 at Runcorn Linnets and 4-1 at Prescott Cables.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town won 2-1 at home to Burscough and then 7-1 at Abbey Hey.

Charnock Richard lost 2-0 at home to 1874 Northwich and the slump continued at Runcorn Town who won 4-0. After a 2-1 home defeat against Northwich Victoria they finally got back to winning ways with a 1-0 home win against West Didsbury & Chorlton.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 5-1 at home to Runcorn Town and then 2-1, also at home, to Litherland REMYCA. A 2-1 win at faltering Charnock Richard followed.

A crowd of 336 saw home side Padiham go down 1-0 to City of Liverpool but the Storks then picked up a point in a 3-3 draw at Burscough.

In 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough needed a last minute winner to defeat Ashton Town at West View and then made it through to the next round of the 1 st Division Cup, winning 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 home draw. Also in that competition, Eccleshall made the huge journey to take on Carlisle City but just after the half hour mark they found themselves 6-0 down! The 49 spectators certainly got their moneys worth as City eventually won 11-2.

Darwen had a fine 2-1 win at Garstang in front of an attendance of over 200 but then went down 4-2 at home to Steeton despite twice taking the lead. A comfortable 3-0 home win against Cleator Moor Celtic.

Nelson won 1-0 at home to Atherton LR but then lost 4-1 to Ashton Town, also at Victoria Park.

Down in the South West, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 4-0 at Hengrove Athletic.

 

Early November

Matt Derbyshire was relegated to the bench for Omonia Nicosia's home game against bottom side Ermis which was a great pity as his side won 2-1, very unconvincingly thanks to two penalties, which Matt would no doubt have taken. Jordi Gomez, who lists the Rovers, Sunderland, Swansea and Wigan amongst his former clubs, converted both spot-kicks.

The ex-Harwood legend was then missing from the squad as Omonia came from behind to defeat Doxa 2-1 away from home.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon were beaten 2-1 at home by Shrewsbury Town despite leading at the break.

The Dons then hammered Stevenage 4-0 in the EFL Trophy, also at Kingsmeadow.

A televised FA Cup game at Haringey Borough followed and a last minute winner saw the Dons through to the 2 nd Round.

Accrington Stanley were denied victory at Coventry City after the Sky Blues scored a late equaliser but the Reds then defeated WBA under 21's 2-1 in the EFL Trophy before making it through to the FA Cup 2 nd Round with a 1-0 home win against Colchester United. They then lost 3-2 at Blackpool in the Football League Trophy although they'd already qualified for the next stage.

In the National League, Fylde suffered a rare defeat and even more rare, conceded three goals-3-1 the score against Leyton Orient at Mill Farm. The Coasters recently made a great signing in Nick Haughton from Salford City.

Paul Clark's Aldershot Town managed only one shot on target in their home game against second bottom Braintree Town but it proved to be enough to secure the three points. They were then held to a 1-1 draw at home to Bradford City in the FA Cup in a terrific game which was played on a waterlogged pitch.

In the North Division, I travelled to Ashton United to watch Boston United and it looked like Ryan Qualter's amazing 40-yard blockbuster would be enough to give them another away win until the stupid sending off of substitute Abbott who swore at the referee over the awarding of a throw-in on 85 minutes. Two minutes later the Robins equalised to earn a deserved share of the spoils in front of a shocking turn-out of only 227, around 60 of whom were Pilgrims supporters. That poor form continued in the next game, at Telford United, where they lost 1-0.

Paul Salt's Altrincham scored a last minute equaliser to secure a point at Hereford but they then went out of the Cheshire Senior Cup at he 1 st Round stage after a 2-0 home defeat against Congleton Town, watched by just 226 spectators. The Robins then earned three points with a fine 2-1 win at much-improved Chester.

2 nd placed Kidderminster would have topped the table with a home win against rock-bottom Southport but the Sandgrounders produced an incredible performance and led 4-0 with just over half an hours play before eventually winning 4-1 to move above Nuneaton Borough.

That great form continued in the next game as they hammered Clitheroe 6-0 at Haig Avenue in the Lancs FA Challenge Trophy. Next up was a trip to Hereford where they won 3-0

Phil O'Dell's FC United moved out of the bottom three with a cracking 3-0 win at Blyth Spartans and then moved towards the middle of the table with a 3-1 win at Hereford.

Chorley lost their third game in a row, 2-1 at home to Spennymoor Town and then again, 1-0 against Bamber Bridge in the Lancs Challenge Trophy, also at Victory Park. A third home game then saw them draw 2-2 against Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup 1 st Round, twice taking the lead before a sending off for Challoner had them hanging on for the replay.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough found themselves 3-0 down at Chelmsford City before half time and despite a fight back, went down 3-2. They then won 3-1 at home to Hungerford Town before losing 3-0 at Concord Rangers.

In the FA Vase, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it through to the 3 rd round after a 1-0 replay win at home to Prestwich Heys. They then won 3-1 at home to Runcorn Town in the 2 nd Round of the Macron Cup but went out of the Cheshire Senior Cup at the first hurdle, losing 2-1 at home to Tranmere Rovers.

In the NPL West Division, Clitheroe won 2-1 at Widnes and then by the same score at home to bottom side Skelmersdale United.

Colne lost 1-0 at home to play-off rivals Trafford before making it through to the 3 rd round of the Lancs Challenge Trophy, coming from behind to win 3-1 at Longridge Town.

Padiham exited the Lancs Challenge Trophy after a 2-0 defeat at Radcliffe. The next game saw them leading 2-0 at Litherland REMYCA with only 10 minutes left but they were pegged back to 2-2. A 1-0 defeat at Irlam followed.

Ramsbottom United won 3-0 at bottom side Skelmersdale United before winning 4-0 at Prescot Cables and drawing 2-2 at Yaxley in the FA Trophy.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, another Carl Grimshaw goal looked to be enough to give Charnock Richard the points at Burscough but the home side equalised in the last minute.

A last minute Walker penalty then saw them progress to the 3 rd round of the Lancs Challenge Trophy.

Back in League action, despite two more Grimshaw goals, they were well beaten 5-3 at top of the table City of Liverpool. The Charnock hotshot appears to be running away at the top of the league's goalscoring charts, already six ahead of his nearest rival.

Barnoldswick Town won 2-1 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton before progressing to the next round of the Macron Cup with a 3-0 home win against Wythenshawe Amateurs. They then made it through to the 3 rd Round of the West Riding County Cup after a 5-2 home win against Streeton.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough won 4-2 at home to Daisy Hill and then drew 3-3 at Chadderton thanks to a last minute Hall penalty. They were then knocked out of the Lancs Challenge Trophy after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Prestwich Heys.

Darwen were smashed 5-0 at Lower Breck and then beaten 3-2 at AFC Liverpool

Nelson lost 3-1 at home to leaders Longridge Town for whom Turner hit a hat-trick but they made it through to the 3 rd round of the Macron Cup with a comprehensive 5-0 win at Maine Road.

Our old foes Stone Dominoes, who also folded before coming back, must be wondering why as they were well beaten again, 7-1 at home to Wythenshawe Town in front of a turn-out of 28.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic lost 5-4 at home to Bitton. Bucks led 2-1 at the break but the visitors hit back to lead 4-3 going into stoppage time when a 91 st minute equaliser looked to have salvaged a point only for Bitton to hit the winner 30 seconds later. .

 

Late October

Matt Derbyshire was back in action for Omonia Nicosia and they led 2-0 after 51 minutes of their home game with bottom side Pafos but the visitors then hit four goals in 9 minutes around the hour mark to record their first win. They'd also managed just 2 goals in their opening 5 games.

Our old friends at Accrington Stanley are enjoying another great season, winning 1-0 at highly rated Peterborough United. Hard to imagine that not too long ago, we were higher up the Pyramid than them. They were then surprisingly, if not the result then certainly the scoreline, 4-1 at Luton Town but still remained in 4 th position.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 2-0 at Blackpool despite having almost three times as many shots as the hosts and that defeat saw them drop into the relegation places. Three days later they lost by the same score at Bristol Rovers and again at home to Luton Town four days on.

In the National League North, Boston United fell to a disappointing defeat, 1-0 at Darlington, and weren't helped by having two players sent off.

They then moved up to 4 th after a 3-1 home win against Hereford but their indifferent home form soon returned, being well beaten 3-1 by Brackley Town who were backed by just 11 supporters.

Phil O'Dell's FC United had a great 2-1 win at 2 nd placed Kidderminster Harriers, a win that took them off the bottom to be replaced by Southport. The win preceded Neil Reynolds arrival as manager after he left Bamber Bridge. The good form continued in their next home game where they earned a point with a 1-1 draw against high-flying Brackley Town although they remained win-less at home after 7 games.

They looked to have ended that record but visiting Alfreton Town equalised just two minutes from time.

Paul Clark enjoyed watching his Aldershot Town side defeat Kettering Town in the FA Cup at the 'Rec', 2-0 the score but back in league action, they lost 3-0 at play-off chasing Gateshead. They were then held to a 1-1 draw by Boreham Wood.

Paul Salt's Altricham must wait another season before managing any giant-killing after they lost 2-0 at Stockport County in the 4 th qualifying round. Alty then moved into the top half of the table after a 3-0 home win against local rivals Ashton United and followed that up with a 4-0 home win against crisis club Nuneaton Borough.

Fylde took the lead at home to Chesterfield in the FA Cup but the Spirites hit back to score three times and secure their first win in 13 games.

In the National League, they made it 9 unbeaten away games with a fantastic 6-0 win at Maidenhead United followed up by a 1-0 home win against promotion rivals Gateshead courtesy of a 93 rd minute winner.

Maidenhead, meanwhile, lost 7-0 at Havant & Waterlooville to make it a week to forget.

Southport made it into the FA Cup 1 st Round after a 2-1 home win against Ashton United but remained at the foot of the table after a 1-0 home reverse against Blyth, who would have gone bottom had the Sandgrounders won. They then drew 2-2 at home to Curzon Ashton in front of only 580 supporters.

Chorley pulled off a great result, beating National League Barrow 3-2 at Victory Park, coming from 2-0 down at the break in front of over 1700 supporters. They then lost their first league game of the season, 1-0 at Bradford Park Avenue and then lost again, 3-0 at Stockport County, Warburton notching a hat-trick in the final 20 minutes.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough fell to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat against Slough Town, who's opener was scored by Harris from his own half. No such problems against Hemel Hempstead Town where a Rutherford hat-trick gave them a 3-0 win. The Sports then let a two goal lead slip at home to Hampton & Richmond Borough, drawing 2-2.

In the Northern Premier League Premier Division, Neil Reynold's final game in charge of Bamber Bridge ended in disappointment, a 4-0 thrashing against Basford at Ironbridge.

In the West Division, Clitheroe were pegged back by visitors Newcastle Town who equalised three minutes from the end to force a 1-1 draw.

The next home game saw the Blues trail to an early Droylsden penalty but roared back to win 5-1.

They then let a half time lead slip at Ossett United who went on to win 2-1 in the FA Trophy.

They also went out of the Integro League Cup, losing 5-4 on penalties at Trafford after a goalless draw.

Colne hit four without reply at mid-table Market Drayton but then lost 3-1 at home to Kidsgrove Athletic. They then hosted Atherton Collieries with the visitors needing just a point to go top but Colne triumphed 2-1 to go 3 rd. The Reds then exited the Integro League Cup after losing 3-1 at Bamber Bridge.

Ramsbottom United defeated bottom side Glossop North End 2-0 at the Riverside before moving into the next round of the FA Trophy with an excellent 3-0 win at Frickley Athletic.

In the East Division, Frickley Athletic built up a 4-1 lead at Pickering Town just after half-time and they held that lead until four minutes from time before a grandstand finish saw Town level.

In the NWCFL Macron Cup, Bacup Borough fought back from 3-0 down at home to Avro but couldn't quite get the equaliser. More success in the league though, winning 4-0 at Nelson.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it through to the Macron Cup 2 nd Round after a comprehensive 5-1 home win against Alsager Town and also to the semi-finals of the Mid Cheshire Senior Cup by beating Barnton away from home, 4-3 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. Not so clever in the league though, losing 3-1 at home to Congleton Town who went 2 nd with the 3 points.

Darwen lost 3-2 at Eccleshall with all the goals coming in the first half but then won 2-1 at home to Holker Old Boys. Next up was a home game against Daisy Hill but despite taking a 12 th minute lead, they lost 3-1.

Holker Old Boys must have been glad to be involved in a break from League action but they were still hammered again, 9-0 at home by Lower Breck.

A few days later, they must have fielded a completely different line-up as it took hosts Garstang 76 minutes to score, and that was just the equaliser. A 92 nd minute penalty looked to have sealed the points for the home side but the Old Boys earned a draw with a 97 th minute leveller. They then lost 2-1 at Darwen despite once again taking the lead.

Barnoldswick Town lost 4-0 at Bootle.

Longridge Town hammered visiting Ashton Town 7-2 with Hart and Allen both on the scoresheet again. were surprisingly knocked out by visitors Squires Gate who completed a fine 3-1 win and were then held to a 1-1 draw by AFC Blackpool. Back to winning ways in the next game, 5-1 at home to St Helens Town and after 15 games they top the 1 st Division North. They remained there after a 2-0 win at Carlisle City.

Nelson won 2-1 at home to Hanley Town while Padiham smashed Shelley 5-1 at the Arbories. The Admirals then won 4-1 at Daisy Hill in the 1 st Division North, scoring all their goals before the break before the thrashing by Bacup. Also during the latter part of the month, they lost 5-0 at home to Ashington in the FA Vase.

The Storks, meanwhile, lost 4-0 at Bootle before coming from behind to beat Hanley Town 4-1 at the Arbories.

In the Premier League, Charnock Richard lost 3-2 at Litherland REMYCA before defeating Ashton Athletic 2-1 at Mossie Park. Back on the road, they again lost 3-2, this time at Whitchurch Alport despite leading 2-1 with only 12 minutes remaining.

They then held Runcorn Town to a goalless draw at Mossie Park in the Macron Cup but the visitors went through 3-1 on penalties. A Grimshaw hat-trick then saw them come from behind to beat Burscough 4-1, also at home.

No less than four clubs have been expelled from the Macron Cup for fielding ineligible players-Ashton Town, Oswestry Town, Padiham and Shelley.

In the South Division, Lower Breck defeated Atherton LR 8-2.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Atheltic moved into the top half of the table after a 3-0 home success against Odd Down but could then only draw 1-1 at Cadbury Heath.

They then made it through to the next round of the Les Phillips Cup, of which they're holders, with a 3-0 home win against Longwell Green with new signing Ethan Phillips scoring a hat-trick just hours after signing.

 

Early October

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia lost again, this time 2-0 at home to Apollon who boast a 100% record this season.

In League One, Accrington Stanley moved into the play-off positions with another 1-0 win, this time at home to Doncaster Rovers but then lost by the same score at Shrewsbury Town who were helped enormously by the 16 th minute sending off of Reds' keeper Ripley.

Just under 3,500 then saw Stanley brush side Bradford City 3-1 at he Crown.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 1-0 at home to Bradford City and then by the same score at bottom of the table Plymouth Argyle. They stayed just outside of the relegation spots after a 2-1 home defeat against leaders Portsmouth.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot moved towards the middle of the table with a fine 3-0 home win against Halifax Town and despite their poor start to the campaign, the attendances have held up well, over 1,600 at the game. The good form continued with a 2-1 win at Eastleigh.

Fylde drew 0-0 at struggling Chesterfield and have now conceded just three goals in the opening eight away games and only seven in fifteen games overall. Lowly Maidstone United were the next team to find the defence too strong to crack, losing 2-0.

In the North Division, a big blow for Boston United as Nathan Arnold has left the club by mutual consent.

Nevertheless, the Pilgrims strengthened their squad with the signings of ex-Chorley star Josh Hines and ex-Rovers player Jordan Slew.

Both players made appearances from the bench to help United to a 4-0 home win against Blyth Spartans and move them up to 4 th place.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough made it through to the next round of the FA Cup with a 4-3 home win against Dulwich Hamlet. The Sports ended the first half 4-0 up and against ten men and that's how it stayed until the 79 th minute. Eastbourne were left hanging on by the end and Dulwich even had chances to equalise.

A South Coast battle against Torquay United followed and despite leading 1-0 at the break, Mike's boys went down 4-2 in front of a crowd of just under 1,000.

Paul Salt's Altrincham breezed through to the next round of the FA Cup with a fine 4-2 home win against Bradford PA before a 3-1 home win against Alfreton Town in the League, their first of the season.

Phil O'Dell's FC United must have been hoping for better luck away from the League but they exited the FA Cup after a 2-1 home defeat against Witton Albion. They also had three players sent off!

Back in League action, they took an early lead at home to Darlington but eventually went down 2-1 and also had another two players sent off.

Southport continue to struggle, losing 2-1 at home to York City despite taking an early lead.

Chorley made it through to the 4 th qualifying round with a 3-0 win at Boston's conquerors Peterborough Sports in front of the TV cameras.

They then dropped two points at play-off rivals Telford United after the home side equalised in the 93 rd minute.

Billericay were the biggest winners, smashing visitors Whitehawk 9-1.

In the Evostik League West Division, Colne led visitors Mossley as the break but lost 2-1, and then drew 1-1 at 2 nd placed Radcliffe. They remained in 8 th position despite a 6-1 home thrashing by leaders Runcorn Linnets.

Clitheroe won 2-0 at Glossop North End to shoot up to 15 th place but then lost 2-1 at home to TraffordPontefract Collieries.. They made through to next round of the FA Trophy after a 3-2 home win against

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Carl Grimshaw put Charnock Richard 3-2 up at home to Padiham but the Storks hit back to win 5-3. They then got back into the groove with a 4-0 win at Winsford United.

Padiham's next game, however, ended in controversy with the game being abandoned on 65 minutes because someone in the crowd abused the Storks' goalkeeper-the hosts led 3-0 at that stage. Even worse was to come as the players then found out that someone had been rifling through some of their wallets in the changing room. They then lost 2-1 at Abbey Hey.

Charnock, meanwhile, exited the FA Vase after a 3-1 defeat at Hallam in front of a great turn-out of 403, and that despite leading at the break.

A fantastic attendance in the North East of 1,302 saw Hebburn Town defeat City of Liverpool 4-0

Ramsbottom United made it though to the next round of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 success at Trafford.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 3-0 at Squires Gate before making it through to the next round of the FA Vase with a 5-0 home win against Cammell Laird.

Barnoldswick Town trailed 2-1 at half time at West Didsbury & Chorlton but stormed back to win 3-2. A 2-0 win at home to Silsden was then followed by a 2-0 defeat at Whitchurch Alport.

Leaders Runcorn Town looked to on course for their 11 th win in 13 games, leading 2-0 after 16 minutes at mid-table Bootle but the hosts hit back to lead at the break before adding one more in the second half.

In the 1 st Division North, Longridge Town continue to impress and that's not surprising with a strike-force of Richie Allen and Jason Hart and they both scored a brace at Atherton LR with the visitors running out 6-0 winners.

Bacup Borough led 3-0 at Avro with just 15 minutes remaining but were pegged back to 3-3 and were left hanging on for the final 10 minutes. They then won 2-1 at Steeton in the 1 st Division Cup.

They then came from behind twice at home to AFC Blackpool to win 4-3 with a last minute Bellamy goal.

A tough-looking home game followed, against Longridge Town, and the visitors eased to a 3-0 win thanks to Allen's hat-trick.

Nelson went down 2-1 at Eccleshall in the 1 st Division Cup thanks to a 93 rd minute winner.

Darwen's home game against Daisy Hill was abandoned due to a serious injury to the visitor's keeper.

Down in the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic drew 0-0 at Wellington and then won 3-1 at 4 th placed Clevedon. A home game against pointless Shortwood United gave them a chance to build on those wins but the Bucks found themselves 2-0 down before hitting back to win 4-2.

The FA Youth Cup produced one of the most incredible scorelines when Nuneaton Borough hosted midland rivals Halesowen Town. The home side scored the opening goal by Luis Corcoron within minute only to be pegged back four minutes later. Jones scored Boro's second goal on 7 minutes and Wanjohi and Corcoran made it 4-1 just before the break but it was after the re-start that the fireworks began. Jones made it 5-1 on 49 before Love hit back for the visitors two minutes later but Corcoran soon made it 7-2 with his 3 rd and 4 th goals before the hour mark. Within a couple of minutes, it was 7-3 and two goals in the 70 th minute brought it back to 7-5. Corcoran's 5 th goal of the evening looked to have settled the tie but goals in the 86 th, 92 nd and 96 th minutes for Town saw them record a fantastic 9-8 victory in front of 83 'gob-smacked' spectators.

Another 'classic' occurred in the NWCFL 1 st Division South where hosts Maine Road came from behind four times to defeat Abbey Hulton United 6-5.

 

Late September

Great Harwood Town legend Matt Derbyshire scored the only goal of the game as AC Omonia won at home to Paralimni but they then lost for the fist time, 1-0 at AEK Larnaca.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 3-2 at home to Scunthorpe United and then 1-0 at home to Swansea City's under 21 side in the EFL Trophy.

They got back to winning ways with a 2-1 home success over struggling Oxford United.

Accrington Stanley dominated much of the clash at Highbury against Fleetwood Town but had to settle for just a single point after a 1-1 draw. The Reds then gained their first home win of the season, 2-1 against Fitz's Wimbledon before an excellent 1-0 win at much-fancied Walsall thanks Billy Kee's 7 th minute spot kick. Those three points took them up to 8 th place.

In the National League, Paul Clark and his Aldershot buddies made the long trip north to Fylde hoping for an improvement on last season's seven goal thrashing but after an hour the result was settled with the Shots already 3-0 down and that's how it ended. Their sixth away defeat from six games.

They then won 2-0 at home to bottom side Dover thanks to two goals from Portsmouth loanee May and then gained their first away point in a 1-1 draw at Hartlepool.

Fylde slipped out of the play-off positions after a 1-1 draw at Barnet, their fifth away draw in six games but a 3-0 home win against bottom side Braintree Town took them back in them.

In the North Division, Boston United's inconsistent form continued as they failed to build on the previous week's great win at Stockport and despite dominating the first half against Chester at York Street, the visitors deservedly won 2-0.

A fourth 2-0 home defeat in a row followed, against minnows Peterborough Sports in the FA Cup. It's now an annual event in the competition where the Pilgrims lose to lower league opposition and this embarrassing failure saw them make the front page of the NLP.

37 year-old David Norris has returned to York Street after many years away. The Pilgrims put him on the road to stardom before a move to Premier League Bolton Wanderers for a record £50,000+. Things didn't work out too well at the Reebok where he played just one FA Cup and four League Cup games. but he then enjoyed a long Football League career with the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town and Leeds United. In all he played for fourteen different clubs.

He helped them come from behind at Curzon Ashton to win 3-1, a win which incredibly took them into the final play-off position.

Paul Salt's Altrincham came from behind to win 3-2 at promotion-chasing Bradford Park Avenue and then breezed into the next round of the FA Cup with a 5-0 demolition of Whitley Bay at Moss Lane.

The Robins then lost 3-2 at promotion-chasing Kidderminster Harriers.

No stopping Chorley at the moment and they won yet again, 3-1 at home to Alfreton Town before making it to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup with a comfortable 3-0 home win against Leek Town. They then dropped their first home point of the season in a 0-0 draw against Chester.

Phil O'Dell's FC United lost again, 3-0 at Guiseley but fared better in the FA Cup, defeating Colne 2-0 at Broadhurst Park.

Back in League action, a trip to Nuneaton Borough saw them lose 1-0 and replace the hosts at the foot of the table.

Southport drew 0-0 at home to Darlington and then despatched Farsley Celtic in the FA Cup, 3-0 away from home before a 2-0 defeat at Brackley Town saw them sink to second bottom. A trip to NWCFL 'whipping boys' Holker Old Boys was just what the doctor ordered to get then back on track and it looked as though the home side were going to suffer another humiliating defeat, trailing 5-1 just after the half hour mark but they got through the next hour without conceding further.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were up against ten men at home to Slough Town after only ten minutes but they suffered a dreadful 4-2 defeat and despite the numerical advantage, found themselves 3-0 down after half an hour.

An FA Cup tie at Eastern Counties League Brantham Athletic should have been comfortable but the Sports just made it through with a 1-0 success.

A last minute equaliser for Gloucester City denied them victory at Evesham United's ground where the attendance was only 227.

In the Evo-stik League West Division, Clitheroe lost 2-0 at home to Colwyn Bay before a 1-1 draw at Chasetown saw both sides drop into the bottom two places.

Some relief in the Lancs. Challenge Trophy where they defeated Atherton LR 3-0 at Shawbridge.

Ramsbottom United were well beaten 4-0 at Leek Town but then hosted Clitheroe in a game which produced an exciting 3-3 draw. They then let a 2-0 half time lead slip at Kendal Town to draw 2-2.

Colne lost 2-0 at Runcorn Linnets and then exited the FA Trophy after a 2-1 defeat at Trafford but they made it through to the 2 nd round of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy after an exciting 5-3 home win against Darwen.

In the NWCFL, most sides were involved in the FA Vase and Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it through to the next round after a 2-0 home win against Maltby Main.

Vics were then beaten 1-0 at Whitchurch Alport and 3-2 at Winsford United in the league. A 2-0 home win against Silsden got them back to winning ways.

Darwen exited the Vase after losing 2-1 at home to Garstang and were then smashed 7-1 at Cleator Moor Celtic before the 5-3 Trophy defeat at Colne. That was followed by a 4-4 draw at Atherton LR despite leading 3-0 after 41 minutes.

Brent Peters' Bacup Borough lost 4-1 at home to Litherland REMCA and then 3-1 at Lower Breck but came from behind to defeat Cleator Moor Celtic 4-2.

Barnoldswick Town's interest was ended within 23 minutes at Guisborough Town when they were already 3-0 down before losing 4-2.

The next game, in the Premier Division at home to City of Liverpool, also saw then trail by three goals before two late Barlick goals gave the scoreline some respectability. They then produced a great display to thrash visiting Runcorn Town 5-1 following that up with a 2-1 home win against Ashton Athletic

Nelson came storming out of the blocks at home to Tow Law Town with a hat-trick from Hill and two goals from Wolfenden sending to them into the break with a 5-0 lead before eventually winning 5-2. A last minute goal then gave them a point after a 2-2 draw at home to Chadderton but they went out of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy after a 5-1 home defeat by Atherton Collieries despite taking a 2 nd minute lead. They ended the month with a 2-1 defeat at AFC Blackpool.

Ex-Harwood star James Dean has arrived back on the radar, playing and scoring for Padiham in the 2-2 home draw against Prestwich Heys. The Storks were then thrashed 6-2 in the replay but soon got back to winning ways at home to Litherland REMYCA. They then made it though to the next round of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy with a 2-0 win at Squires Gate but then lost 3-2 at home to Burscough.

Charnock Richard eased past Penrith in the Vase, winning 4-1 away from home but they then lost 2-1 at home to Congleton Town. They made it through to the next round of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy with a superb 2-1 win at Lancaster City before a comfortable 4-2 win at Irlam in the league.

In the 1 st Division North, just 29 spectators turned up to witness the 'goal-fest' at Holker Old Boys. Visitors Longridge Town led 10-0 after 74 minutes and won the game 11-2.

That followed the Old Boys previous home defeat, three days earlier, 5-0 against another of the new boys, Garstang. A trip to St Helens then saw them ship another nine in without reply with the Saints unable to hit double figures in the final ten minutes.

In the South Division, there were also gaols galore, not least at Eccleshall where the hosts went down 11-3 to new boys Wythenshaw Town despite only losing 4-3 just after half time.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic followed up their poor league form and early FA Cup exit with another defeat in the FA Vase, 1-0 at home to Newquay thanks to a 95 th minute penalty. That proved to be the end for player-manager Craig Duff who was relieved of his duties shortly after the game.

A Devon Cup game at Ivybridge saw them get back on the winning trail with a 5-0 success and a last minute winner then gave them a 3-2 league success at Cribbs but a home game against pointless Chipping Sodbury Town saw them lose 1-0.

The Fantasy Football League looks like being another disaster for GT Harwood Town who lie in 1,133 rd place with Boston Danglers faring a little better in 952 nd place.

Early September

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon went ten games unbeaten last month, their best ever since joining the Football League, but after losing that record, they lost for the third time in a row, a 3-0 trouncing at Burton Albion. They then knocked Charlton Athletic out of the League Cup, 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Kingsmeadow, and then got back to winning ways in the league with a 1-0 victory at Gillingham.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot are really struggling and they dropped into the relegation places after defeats at Wrexham, 2-0, and struggling Havant & Waterlooville, 2-1. Things also looked bleak in the next game, at home to Bromley, but after trailing 2-1at the break, they fought back to win 3-2.

AFC Fylde won 3-1at highly-placed Ebbsfleet United to move into 3 rd place but another win, at home to Salford City, which would have seen them top the division, wasn't forthcoming as they lost 2-0 in front of a huge crowd of 3,000.

Getting booked in that game was the legend that is Nathan Pond. The previous game, a goalless draw at Dagenham& Redbridge, saw him almost score, his header being deflected in by Rooney who was offside.

The Ammies did well to get a point after Lloyd was dismissed for a second yellow card, for a dive, on 42 minutes.

Fylde, meanwhile, then drew 0-0 at Eastleigh.

In the North Division, Boston United lost their third game in a row, failing to score in any of them, losing 2-0 at home to Kidderminster Harriers.

I then travelled over to Edgeley Park, in hope more than expectation, but the mighty Pilgrims put in a superb performance against their full-time opponents to thoroughly deserve their 2-0 victory and delight the excellent three-figure following.

Phil O'Dell's FC United attracted just short of 2,000 fans for their home game with Southport which finished 1-1.

Paul Salt.'s Altrincham lost 2-1 at lowly Blyth Spartans and 2-0 at home to neighbours Curzon Ashton.

Southport were within one minute from moving out of the relegation places before visiting Spennymoor Town equalised in the game that preceded the FCUM game.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 1-0 at bottom side Weston-super-Mare to move up to 3 rd place but dropped down a spot after a 2-2 draw at Dartford where the host equalised in the final minute.

In the Northern Premier League Premier Division, Bamber Bridge remained the only unbeaten side after the opening month, maintaining that record with a 2-0 home win against Witton Albion.

In the West Division, Colne won their 4 th game in row with a 1-0 home success against Widnes to move into 2 nd place. Another fine performance saw them defeat visiting Hyde United 2-0 to move into the next round of the FA Cup.

Clitheroe came from behind to win 2-1 at Leek Town and then made it through to the next round of the FA Cup after twice coming from behind at Sunderland RCA to win 3-2 but they exited the competition after a 5-2 home reverse against Mossley. They then conceded another five goals at home, this time in a 5-3 defeat to Atherton Collieries.

Ramsbottom United drew 1-1 at Mossley, ending the home side's 100% record. The Rams then drew 0-0 at home to Kidsgrove Athletic in their FA Cup replay but went down 3-2 on penalties.

In the FA Vase, there were goals galore, Racing Club Warwick were top scorers, winning 10-0 at home to Pegasus Juniors.

Leverstock also won by the same score against Unite MK.

Shrivenham won 9-0 at home to Tytheringham

Hucknall won 7-0 at Borrowash Vics and Sherwood Colliery won by the same score at Oadby Town.

Deeping Rangers also scored seven, winning 7-1 at home to Blackstones.

New entrants May & Baker hammered visiting Burnham Rangers 8-1 while Chess & Hook sent visiting Oakwood home after a 7-0 defeat.

One of our previous opponents, Guisborough Town, won 9-0 at Stokesley SC.

Other recent opponents, Thornaby, lost 3-2 at Thackley while Seaham Red Star won 5-0 at Durham City.

Barnoldswick Town won 2-1 at Goole.

Charnock Richard won 2-1 at Alnwick Town thanks to a last minute Carl Grimshaw winner.

In the FA Cup, they drew 2-2 at home to Leek Town in front of a fantastic turn-out of 232 but the replay saw them end their interest after a late goal condemned them to a 3-2 defeat.

Two new NWCFL sides, Wythenshaw Town and Rylands, due to meet in the FA Vase, have been expelled from the competition as neither had met the minimum ground grading regulations regarding floodlights.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic continued their poor start to the campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Devon rivals Willand Rovers and things got no better in the FA Cup as they went out after a 3-0 defeat at Binfield.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew 2-2 at home to Padiham despite leading 2-0 before the half-hour mark but they then won 3-1 at home to Abbey Hey and by the same score at home to Hanley Town.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-0 at Hanley Town and 2-1 at home to Squires Gate.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough had a great 5-1 home win against Steeton.

Darwen won 4-1 at Carlisle City, 5-1 at home to Chadderton and 1-0 at home to Atherton LR.

Nelson lost 2-0 at Garstang before drawing 1-1 at Prestwich Heys.

Late August

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia began the season rather better than they finished the last one, winning 1-0 at home to Alki Oraklini.

Great Harwood Town appear to have disappeared from the Blackburn Combination and it looks like their place has been taken by Great Harwood Rovers.

Accrington Stanley were hammered 6-1 at Mansfield Town in the League Cup despite taking a 6 th minute lead. The Reds then gained a creditable 1-1 draw at home to Charlton Athletic before another fine point at Blackpool thanks to Hughes' 93 rd minute equaliser which kept the Reds in 8 th place.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon came from behind to win 2-1 at Portsmouth in the League Cup before earning a fine point in a goalless draw at Barnsley. The Dons then lost 3-1 at home to Walsall and 2-1 at to Sunderland also at home, despite leading at the break.

Fleetwood Town continued their fine start to the season with a fantastic 5-0 win at Scunthorpe United and followed that up with a fine goalless draw at Charlton Athletic and after five games they lay in 6 th place.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot Town gained a much-needed three points with a 2-1 home win against out-of-form Dagenham & Redbridge but then fell to another defeat, 2-0 at home to Harrogate Town. Things got no better in the following game at Ebbsfleet United when they lost 3-1, despite taking an early lead, leaving them 3 rd bottom. Thankfully, they got back to winning ways with a 2-1 home success against Sutton United

Fylde continued their unbeaten start to the campaign with an excellent 3-1 win at home to Solihull Moors who'd won their opening three games and then thrashed Dover Athletic 4-0, also at home. A trip to unbeaten Sutton United United yielded another point after a 0-0 draw to leave them in 2 nd place. Another draw followed, 0-0 at home to Harrogate Town.

Boston United moved up to 3 rd in the National League North after a 2-1 home win against Nuneaton Town. I then travelled over to Altrincham to see them turn in what manager Craig Elliot described as their best performance of the season in the 2-0 win which took them up to 2 nd with both goals coming in the second half. The Pilgrims then, surprisingly, lost 2-0 at home to Spennymoor Town who had failed to win in their opening five fixtures.

I then travelled over to West Yorkshire along with a terrific following of around 150 Boston fans, but once again they lost. The only goal of the game came from the penalty spot but despite having the lions share of possession, they failed to trouble the home 'keeper.

Phil O'Dell's FC United came from behind to win 2-1 at Paul Salt's Altrincham and in doing so, moved off the bottom of the table but then 2-0 at home to Leamington leaving them 2 nd bottom. Another 2-0 defeat followed, this time at Spennymoor Town.

Chorley kept top spot after their 4 th win in a row, 4-0 at home to Southport and didn't concede a goal during that run. Southport, meanwhile, lost their opening four games scoring just a single goal in that disastrous start. The Magpies then made it five with a 1-0 home win against 2 nd placed Hereford and six with a 2-1 success at Blyth Spartans. The incredible start to the season continued with a 2-0 home win against Curzon Ashton.

Paul Salt's Altrincham drew 1-1 at home to Guiseley.

The Sandgrounders then broke their duck with a comprehensive 4-1 win at Nuneaton Town who replaced them at the foot of the table. The next game saw them trail 2-0 at the break at home to Ashton United before a great 2 nd half comeback gave them a point in a 2-2 draw but they then lost 3-1 at Alfreton Town.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 1-0 at East Thurrock United taking them to the dizzy heights of 5 th place! They followed that up with a 2-1 home success at home to Chippenham Town and a 1-1 draw at St Albans City. The good run couldn't continue and they lost thenext game 2-1 at home toWoking.

In the FA Cup, Barnoldswick Town produced a superb performance in their replay at Billingham Synthonia, winning 4-0 but that's as good as it got, losing 6-1 in the following round at Whitley Bay.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 1-0 after extra-time in their home replay against Widnes before starting their League campaign with a 4-1 home win against Winsford United. Vics then lost 2-0 at Burscough in the FA Cup and 5-3 at Burscough in the league. They then drew 1-1 at neighbours1874.

In the Northern Premier League Premier West Division, Clitheroe opened the season with a disastrous 4-0 home defeat against Kidsgrove Athletic and followed that up with another heavy defeat, 4-1 at Radcliffe Borough. The FA Vase saw Sunderland RCA travel to Shawbridge and a crazy game ended with the Blues down to nine men for the final few minutes but an injury time goal from Recizac which made it 6-4 appeared to have settled the game but two very, very late strikes for the Wearsiders made it 6-6.

Colne won 2-1 at Newcastle Town and then progressed in the FA Cup with a great 4-0 at Pickering Town.

Ramsbottom United began with a 2-1 home win against Markey Drayton and then drew 1-1 at Kidsgrove Athletic in the FA Cup.

Padiham won 3-2 at home to Whitchurch Alport thanks to a late Knight strike. A 4-1 home defeat against Silsden followed but they then won 3-1 at 1874 Northwich. That was followed by a 1-0 defeat at Squires Gate.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard won 4-1 at home to Hanley Town and completed a quick fire 'double' with a 5-1 win against the same opponents after leading 2-0 after only 3 minutes. Despite taking a 19 th minute lead at Bootle in their next outing, they lost 3-1 at Bootle before a 2-0 home defeat against Silsden.

Barnoldswick Town drew 3-3 at Litherland REMYCA before winning 3-2 at Irlam and 4-1 at home to Winsfrod United.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen took a 1 st minute lead at home to new boys Avro but the visitors from Oldham soon equalised and took the points with three goals in the final 15 minutes. They then drew 2-2 at St. Helens Town and ended their interest in the FA Cup after a comprehensive 4-1 home defeat against Trafford.

A 1-1 draw at Nelson and a 2-1 home win against Garstang followed.

Highest scorers in the FA Cup Preliminary Round were Frickley who won 10-1 at home to Liversedge.

Bacup Borough lost 2-1 at Carlisle City but then came back from a half-time deficit to win 3-1 at home to Garstang before a 3-2 defeat at City of Liverpool.

Nelson won 4-0 at Holker Old Boys in front of a paltry opening day attendance of just 29. That turn-out increased to 70 for the game with AFC Liverpool but the majority went home disappointed after a 3-0 defeat. Another defeat followed, 1-0 at Lower Beck.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic have endured a poor start to the season and their 4-1 defeat at Royal Glass St. George left them next to bottom with three defeats from three.

The Fa Cup gave them some relief as they defeated higher-placed Mangotsfield 2-0 at Homers Heath in front of a crowd of 138.

Recent cup opponents Seaham Red Star lost lost 5-2 at Consett while Guisborough Town drew 2-2 at Albion Sports

Early August

Accrington Stanley got off to a poor start in League One, being well beaten at home to Gillingham but then won 2-1 at Bristol Rovers.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon opened with a 1-0 win at Fleetwood Town in League One thanks to a fine away performance and then earned a point in a goalless draw at home to Coventry City.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot began with a goalless draw at home to Barnet in front of almost 2,500 at the 'Rec' though they did enough to have claimed all three points. Not so in the next game when they were well beaten 3-0 at Chesterfield in front of a tad less than 5,000. Another away defeat followed, 1-0 at Solihull Moors.

AFC Fylde won 2-1 at home to Bromley before earning a point in a goalless draw at Wrexham in front of a fantastic 5,777 attendance. A Danny Rowe penalty then earned them a point at Havant & Waterlooville.

In the North Division, Southport got off to a poor start, losing 1-0 at Telford United, 3-1 at home to Altrincham and 1-0 at home to early pacesetters Stockport County.

Phil O'Dell's FC United began with a disastrous 5-1 defeat at Stockport County and things got no better in the next game, another local derby, at home to Ashton United where they lost 4-3 despite losing 3-1 at the break. They were then lucky to onl;y lose 3-0 at home to a dominant Boston United.

Chorley enjoyed a great start to the season, winning 1-0 at home to York City, 2-0 at Guiseley and 1-0 at Nuneaton.

Boston United enjoyed a fine 1-0 home win against fancied Guiseley but then sunk to a 2-0 defeat at Leamington before comprehensively beating FC United.

Paul Salt's Altrincham twice came from behind at home to Leamington to force a draw before the afore mentioned 3-1 win at Southport. They then drew 4-4 at Spennymoor Town.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough gained a fine point with a 0-0 draw at Oxford City. Another draw followed, 2-2 at home to Truro City.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic suffered a very poor start to the season, losing 1-0 at home to Willand Rovers and 2-0 at Bridgwater.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard won 2-0 at home to Barnoldswick Town before earning another point with a 1-1 draw at Silsden with all three goals scored by last season's leading goal-getter Carl Grimshaw.

Padiham were hammered 5-2 at home to Runcorn Town and that represented a comeback after trailing 5-0 after an hour. They then inflicted Barnoldswick's second successive defeat, winning 3-1 at the Silentnight Stadium.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 5-3 at West Didsbury & Chorlton in front of a great turn-out of 328 but then lost 2-1 at home to City of Liverpool before a 1-1 draw at Widnes.

In the 1 st Division North, Nelson won 1-0 at Chadderton but then lost 2-0 at home to Shelley and 5-1 at Cleator Moor Celtic.

Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at Prestwich Heys before a goalless draw at home to Lower Breck but looked like taking all three points at home to St. Helens Town before a 91 st minute goal saw the game end 2-2.

Darwen could only get better after last season and they enjoyed a fine 3-1 win at new boys Shelley before losing 3-2 at home to AFC Blackpool.

New to the league Longridge Town had a great start, coming back from two down at home to AFC Liverpool to run out 5-3 winners in front of a healthy crowd of 153. They followed that up with a 3-3 draw at Daisy Hill, this time letting a two goal lead slip and relying on a 95 th minute equaliser to gain the point. The boot was on the other foot in the next game as a 94 th minute goal for Avro gave the home side a 3-2 win.

In the 1 st Division South, good to see Stone Dominoes back but they went down 2-1 at home to Abbey Hulton United.

In the FA Cup extra preliminary round, Darwen won 3-1 at home to Barnton while Barnoldswick Town drew 1-1 at home to Billingham Synthonia.

Despite the BBC stating that Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic had lost 3-0 at home to Pewsey Vale, they actually won by that score.

Charnock Richard exited at the first hurdle, losing 4-2 at Litherland REMYCA and Padiham also went out, 5-2 at Liversedge.

July 2018

Great news for non-league with the F.A increasing the cash for winning teams. Extra-preliminary round winners will now receive a whopping £2,250. As far as I can remember, that would be the equivalent for a whole season's gate receipts.

Boston United, as usual, after a successful season, lost many of their star players and manager Craig Elliot has recruited ten new players for the coming campaign. After a mixed bag of pre-season results, they recorded their best result, a 2-1 win at Halifax Town.

Paul Clark's Aldershot Town have also been busy, signing five new players as they bid to go one better and secure their place back in the Football League. They won 4-0 at Leatherhead with all the goals coming before the break.

Accrington Stanley defeated Huddersfield Town 3-0 at the Crown Ground before beating NWCFL newcomers Shelley 3-2. They then drew 1-1 at Southport.

The first team then defeated the Rovers 1-0 at the Crown whilst the reserves drew 1-1 at Clitheroe.

Fleetwood Town won both games during their tour of Hungary.

Their longest serving player and record appearance holder Nathan Pond has moved from Highbury after 15 seasons to Salford City. He played in seven different divisions for the Cod Army, a world record for a player, and enjoyed six promotions along the way.

AFC Fylde began pre-season with a 6-1 home defeat against neighbours Preston North End before another one, 1-0 at home to Carlisle United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon have signed seven new players and they helped their side to a 3-2 win against a Swanseas City academy side. The Dons then lost 3-0 at neighbours Carshalton Athletic and 4-1 at Havant & Waterlooville. They then drew 0-0 at Boreham Wood.

Paul Salt's Altrincham defeated Rhyl, 3-0 away from home, Kidsgrove Athletic, 4-2, also away, before beating an Isle of Man XI 6-0 in Douglas. Back at Moss Lane, they won 1-0 against a Macclesfield Town XI but then lost 3-0 at home to a Crewe Alexandra XI. They were back to winning ways with a 2-1 success at Trafford.

The Robins then put in a fine performance at home to neighbours Salford City before going down 2-1.

Matt Derbyshire will remain with Omonia Nicosia for at least another season. His goals from last term can be viewed on YouTube.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough have signed four new players with the emphasis on experience after a poor season which saw them finish just four points above the drop-zone. They opened pre-season with a 5-2 win against Langney Wanderers, lost 1-0 to a young Charlton Athletic side and 2-1 at Ebbsfleet United.

Chorley began life after Matt Jansen with a 5-0 win at neighbours Euxton Villa and followed that with a 1-0 home defeat against a young Rovers' side. They then lost 2-1 at Trafford, 5-0 at home to Morecambe and 1-0 at home to Tranmere Rovers. They then drew 1-1 at Marine.

Phil O'Dell's FC United opened their pre-season campaign with wins at Irlam, 3-0, SV Austria, 3-1 in Saltzburg and Shelley, 4-0 in Huddersfield before drawing 1-1 with Swiss side FC Winterthur at Broadhurst Park. A 3-2 win at Scarborough Athletic followed. They then won 2-1 at Hyde United and 4-3 at home to Airbus UK.

Southport's pre-season is going well with three wins in a week, the third, a fine 3-0 success against National League Barrow. Another success followed, 3-1 at home to Bury.

Welsh side The New Saints almost produced an incredible result in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round. Trailing 5-0 from the first leg at KF Shkendija, they won the second leg 4-0.

Charnock Richard drew 1-1 with Colne before losing 3-1 to Bamber Bridge, both at home.

Padiham lost 2-1 at Bamber Bridge and 2-0 at home to Lancaster City.

Colne defeated Barnoldswick Town Town 3-1 at Holt House. The Reds are hoping that the town council will hand over ownership of the ground enabling them to apply for grants from various football organisations.

Clitheroe drew 1-1 at Hyde United.

Ramsbottom United lost 3-0 at home to the Rovers under 23's but then won 3-1 at Nelson.

June 2018

Boston United have been boosted by the signing of ex-Lincoln City and Grimsby Town star Nathan Arnold. The much sought-after striker decided to join the Pilgrims to further his coaching and managing career under the excellent tutorship of Craig Elliot.

Jordon Gough has also signed, from Chester as has John McCombe, from Harrogate Town.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon have signed Dover's talented winger Mitch Pinnock.

Fleetwood Town legend Nathan Pond has left the club after 15 memorable years to sign for big-spending Salford City.

Chorley have been rocked by the resignation of manager Matt Jansen after he'd been let down by the club's officials.

Fylde have broken their transfer record by signing Kiddermister Harriers' captain Ryan Croasdale for £50,000.

Shaw Lane have resigned from the Evo-stik League which has had repercussions for several clubs who've planned for next season in specific divisions but who now have to be moved.

The Barnsley based club's owner has withdrawn his backing, which has already cost around £1m., since their formation in 2012 and with no new backers coming forward, the club has folded.

Jarrow Roofing have also folded after relegation from the Northern League's top tier.

Also up in the North East, ambitious South Shields have signed a fourth Darlington player which would indicate the 'pecking order' is changing there.

In the Fantasy Non-League table, Great Harwood Town sank to a pathetic 1205 th place, a shambolic performance! Boston Danglers, meanwhile, fared a little better to finish in 940 th place, still pretty rubbish from just over 1500 entrants.

Late May

Matt Derbyshire ended the season in 2 nd place in the list of top goalscorers despite Nicosia Omonia's poor campaign. He scored 18 time just three behind the top goal-getter in the Cypriot 1 st Division.

Salford City's ex-managers wasted no time in getting fixed up after their shock exit from Moor Lane. Instead of managing in the National League, they'll be staying in the North Division after taking over newly-relegated Chester.

Salford, meanwhile, have appointed ex-Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander as their new manager. He did a great job at Highbury and his sacking was ridiculous, as was his dismissal from Scunthorpe United earlier in the season. Both those previous clubs have limited fan bases and were both holding their own against much bigger opposition. I saw an Alexander led Scunthorpe give the Rovers a real runaround at Glanford Park last season playing superb football and were very unlucky to lose.

Scunny's loss will no doubt benefit the Ammies.

A big blow for Boston United as they lost two of their best players, captain and centre-back Jordon Keane, who has left for Stockport County, and leading scorer Ashley Hemmimgs who has signed for Salford City after impressing against them in the final game of the season.

More bad news is that Reece Thompson who put in some memorable performances up front last season, has been retained by parent club Guiseley.

Paul Clark's Aldershot have also lost big players, captain Callum Reynolds and player of the year Manny Oyeleke.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough have been boosted by the re-signing of Torres, Odubade and Dawes.

The legend that is Brent Peters, has recently celebrated 20 years in charge at Bacup Borough.

New managers galore in the NWCFL. Barnoldswick Town have appointed Matt Barnes with Litherland REMYCA, Cammell Laird and Oswestry Town also having new men in charge for next season.

Next season will see a new format for the NWCFL, a Premier Division and Division One North and Division One South.

Great to see former clubs back in the fold with Stone Dominoes and Vauxhall Motors joining the South Division.

Early May

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia lost yet again, at 3 rd placed Anorthosis. Two goals in four minutes soon after the break put the home side in command and despite Matt's 82 nd minute strike, his 18 th of the season, his boys lost 2-1.

In the Blackburn & District Combination, Great Harwood Town finished the season with one their best results, a 0-0 draw against Champions Bee Hive who've averaged five and a half goals a game and had won 18 and drawn two of their league games this season.

In League One, Accrington Stanley suffered a rare defeat, 3-0 at Swindon Town, but having already secured the title, the result meant little.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon secured there survival with a goalless draw at Doncaster Rovers and finished the campaign with another draw, 2-2 at home to Bury with the Shakers coming back from a 2-0 half-time deficit.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot hosted Ebbsfleet in the play-off eliminator a, one hitting the post, to send the tie into sudden death and after extra-time, the game went to penalties. Leading 3-1 in the shoot out, they then failed with their next two while the visitors scored their final two. The Shots 'keeper then saw his kick strike the post allowing Ebbsfleet to hit the winner.

Fylde also went out in the play-offs with two early goals for hosts Boreham Wood doing the damage in a 2-1 defeat.

In the North division, Chorley did brilliantly to qualify for the play-offs but after beating Stockport County 1-0 at Edgely Park, in front of a massive 6,230 crowd, they went down 2-1 at Harrogate Town in the semi-final. The Magpies were less than happy with proceedings having led before being reduced to ten men before the break. A controversial equaliser and a 93 rd minute winner, allegedly offside, saw the end of their hopes.

A big surprise after the end of the season was the resignation of Salford City's joint managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson. The board were reluctant to re-negotiate new contracts and the duo, part-timers, needed improved full-time contracts if they were to give up their other employment.

In the Evo-stik North, Bamber Bridge defeated Tadcaster Albion 2-1 at Ironbridge before celebrating promotion with a 1-0 home win against Prescot Cables.

In the same league, Julio Arca has retired from the game after leading South Shields to three successive titles.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic had to play Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. Utterly ridiculous and the league's management committee need to get a grip and extend the season in cases such as these.

On the 1 st of May, the Bucks won 3-2 at Bridport and the next day smashed Bitton 4-1 at Homers Heath. 24 hours later proved to be one game too many as visitors Hengrove Athletic won 3-2 but on the Saturday, Cribbs were defeated 1-0, also at home. The following Monday saw Buckland take on Cadbury Heath in the Les Philips Cup Final at Longwell Green. The Bucks led 1-0 at the break but their keeper was injured and had to be replaced by an outfield player. A late equaliser for for Heath saw the game go to extra-time. In the intense heat, the Bucks fell behind and were surely on their way to runners-up medals but they equalised to take the game to penalties. The substitute keeper Barker then saved two spot kicks to help the Mighty Bucks to a fantastic 4-2 shoot-out win in front of a crowd of 421. Barker also scored a goal before going in between the 'sticks'.

The next day saw another game, at Cadbury Heath, and before a crowd of just 45, the Bucks won 2-0 to set up an important last game at home to Willand Rovers, 24 hours later, knowing that a point would secure third place.

Not surprisingly, they lost 4-2 to finish in 5 th spot, level on points with 3 rd placed Willand, but nevertheless the season was a big success despite having to play seven games in nine days. The Western League, like many others, need to get a grip and relax the rules dictating the end of the season.

Always sad to see clubs folding and and two United Counties League sides have gone. Olney Town and Buckingham Town, who finished 6 th and 7 th respectively, have both given their notice to quit the league.

Also going are Northern League Jarrow Roofing Boldon Community Association who were FA Vase semi-finalists in 2005.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town lost 3-2 at Ashton Athletic thanks to a late goal for the hosts but then came back from two down at Hanley Town to draw 2-2. They were then beaten 1-0 at Congleton Town before enjoying one of their best results of the season, a 4-0 home win against 1874 Northwich in front of 229 fans.

Their season ended with Ashton Athletic completing a quick-fire 'double', winning 3-1 at the Silentnight Stadium.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 3-1 at home to Runcorn Town and 2-1 at City of Liverpool. A Mathews hat-trick then helped them to a 5-2 home win against 'whipping boys' Barnton. Only 268 turned out for the derby at 1874 and despite taking the lead, they lost 2-1.

Darwen lost 1-0 at home to Padiham with Jason Hart hitting the winner in font of just 63 fans at the Anchor.

The Storks then lost 4-0 at Runcorn Town but Darwen hit rock bottom by losing 2-0 at Barnton.

I then went to the Anchor to see Darwen well beaten 6-0 by an excellent City of Liverpool side who followed up their recent 8-0 home win against the Salmoners to complete an extraordinary 'double'. Once again, the gate of 164 was made up of mostly visiting supporters.

The Salmoners then completed the season with a 4-0 home defeat against Irlam, making it an amazing 160 goals conceded in their 44 games.

Padiham then lost 3-1 at Abbey Hey, 5-1 at Barnoldswick Town and 2-0 at home to Bootle.

Barnton took the lead at home to Bootle but it went down from there, losing 9-1 and luckily for the hosts, Bootle failed to score in the final 20 minutes.

Charnock Richard won 2-0 at Irlam, 3-0 at home to Hanley Town and 2-1 at AFC Liverpool thanks to two Grimshaw goals. He was then on target again, with the opening goal at West Didsbury & Chorlton but the host triumphed 5-3.

West Didsbury & Chorlton have been attracting some surprisingly huge attendances and a reported 865 saw the 4-3 victory against Maine Road.

A less surprising 890 witnessed the Runcorn derby where the Champions Linnets lost 1-0 to Town thanks to a last minute Turner winner.

In the 1 st Division, Nelson enjoyed a rare victory, 1-0 at Abbey Hulton United but it was back to normal in the following game at home to Whitchurch Alport as they lost 3-2. That was followed by another home defeat, 3-1 by Atherton L.R. and the Admirals only stayed off the bottom of the table on goal difference.

Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at Cammell Laird but then defeated Prestwich Heys 2-0 at West View in front of another poor turn-out of 33. A Bryan hat-trick then secured another home win, 4-1 against Carlisle City. The final game, also at home, ended with them beating Abbey Hulton United 2-0.

Great Harwood Town are sinking like a stone in the NLP Fantasy League, dropping 96 places to 1,159 th place. Boston Danglers, meanwhile, are in 1,031 st place.

One of the most surprising decisions at the end of the season came at Moor Lane where joint managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson were allowed to leave after failing to come to an agreement about new contracts. After three promotions in four years, they took the Ammies to their highest ever league position and were expecting to be managing full-time next season but for reasons unknown, the right deal was not forthcoming.

Late April

Great Harwood Town are languishing in 1,063 rd position in the NLP Fantasy League.

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia were well on course to end their disastrous losing streak, leading AEL Limassol 1-0, thanks to Matt's 18 minute goal, with 88 minutes on the clock but an 87 th minute equaliser and a 96 th minute winner gave the visitors the most unlikely of wins. It was then nine games without a win as they went down 2-0 at AEK Larnaca.

John Sheridan has transformed our old adversaries Fleetwood Town from relegation candidates to a comfortable halfway finish but despite that, Chairman Andy Pilley has made the extraordinary decision to dispense with his services at the end of the season and replace him with Joey Barton. There is no way on earth that this will end happily. Get your money on Barton to be the first managerial casualty of next season. After that revelation, the Cod Army lost 4-0 at home to Champions Elect Wigan Athletic and 2-0 at Peterborough United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon fought out a 2-2 draw at Oldham Athletic which failed to ease either side's relegation worries but a fantastic 1-1 at Wigan Athletic left them needing just a single point from their remaining two games to survive.

Former landlords Accrington Stanley confirmed their promotion from League Two with a 2-0 home win against Yeovil Town and followed that up with a fantastic 4-0 success at 3 rd placed Wycombe Wanderers.

They then travelled to Newport County needing a point to clinch the title but lost 2-1.

The Reds attracted a record crowd of 4,753 for their final game, a 1-0 win against Lincoln City which secured that top spot.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot defeated Gateshead 1-0 at the 'Rec' to further cement their play-off position but despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Barrow, it was enough to secure their place. Their final game saw them lose 2-1 at Sutton United who finished third.

Fylde were held to 1-1 draws by Solihull Moors at home, and Wrexham away. Those two points were enough for them to make the play-offs on goal difference from Dover and the massive wins against Champions Macclesfield Town and Aldershot proved to be decisive.

Macclesfield Town won promotion with a 2-0 win at Eastleigh while Torquay United were relegated after they could only manage 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United.

In the North Division, Boston United produced what was probably their best result of the season in beating 2 nd placed Harrogate Town 3-0 at York Street and in doing so handing the title to Salford City. I then travelled the short distance to Moor Lane to watch the Pilgrims take on a side that needed just a point to clinch promotion.

From the kick-off, Boston dominated with some superb football and cheered on by an amazing following of around 250, stormed into a 2-0 lead by the break. Not surprisingly, the Ammies came back in the second period and a goal 20 minutes from time led to a bombardment of the visitors goal. Somehow, Boston held on to record an incredible six-point haul from the two title challengers. A 1-1 draw at Alfreton, against Nuneaton Town, all but ended their slim play-off chances but they finished the season with a fine 1-0 home success against Telford United to finish only 3 points behind the final play-off spot.

On the same evening that Boston were thrashing Harrogate, Salford were winning 1-0 at Southport to set up the celebration weekend.

48 hours later, the Sandgrounders lost 2-0 at Blyth Spartans and another 48 hours later lost 1-0 at home to Brackley Town. Despite that defeat, losses for Tamworth and Gainsborough Trinity, confirmed Southport's survival.

They finished the campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Spennymoor Town.

Phil O'Dell's FC United defeated York City 1-0 at Broadhurst Park but then lost 1-0 at Alfreton Town. They then won the Manchester Premier Cup with a 3-2 penalty shoot-out win against Trafford after a 2-2 draw.

Chorley were held to a 1-1 draw by Stockport County at Victory Park and just two days later they were beaten 2-0 at Leamington. A 4-3 win at Tamworth then saw them back into the driver's seat and they then won the Lancs. Trophy with a 3-2 win against Clitheroe. A great 2-1 win at Brackley Town ensured their play-off sopt and they finished with a 1-0 home win against Alfreton Town.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough lost 3-0 at Hemel Hempstead Town and only survived the drop thanks to other team's shortcomings. A disappointing season ended in disappointing style with a 3-0 home loss against Chelmsford.

Havant & Waterlooville clinched the title on goal difference thanks to a goal a minute from time against Concord Rangers.

In the Evo-stik Premier, Paul Salt's Altincham clinched the title with a 2-0 win at 3 rd placed Grantham Town. They were then held to 1-1 draw by Marine before ended the season with 3-0 home win against Hednesford Town in front of almost 2,000 fans.

In the North Division, Clitheroe's small chance of making the play-offs was ended in convincing style at 7 th placed Colwyn Bay who ran out 5-1 winners. The Blues then lost 3-2 in the final of the Lancs. Trophy to Chorley at the Macron Stadium in front of a small attendance of 828. They ended a disappointing season by drawing 2-2 at home to 2 nd bottom Skelmersdale United.

Colne's hope were also just about ended as they lost 3-1 at home to 2 nd placed Scarborough Athletic 3-1 in front of just short of 700 fans at Holt House. That was followed by a 1-0 home success against Ossett Albion and the final game saw them earn a fine point with a 2-2 draw at Champions South Shields. The game attracted a massive 2,000+ crowd as did Scarborough's game against Ossett Albion.

The other Ossett club, Town, also attracted a great crowd of 426 for their final game before the two clubs merge next season. The game was one to remember as bottom side Goole were hammered 7-2.

Ramsbottom United won 3-1 at home to Droylsden to cement their place in the division for next season but a last minute goal saw them go down 3-2 at Brighouse Town before a final 3-1 win at Glossop North End.

Radcliffe Borough are changing their name next season to Radcliffe FC.

What a finish to the Bostik Division One South. Lewes finished with a goalless draw at home to lowly Chipstead which saw their campaign end with them amassing 99 points but they needed leaders Carshalton Athletic to slip up against VCD Athletic, but they won 7-0.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham were blown away by visitors 1874 Northwich who stormed into a 3-0 lead after only 20 minutes at the Arbories. The visitors then travelled to Winsford United the next day but were beaten 3-2 in the Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final. 24 hours later 1874 lost 2-1 at high-flying Runcorn Town thanks to two late goals. After a day without a game, they then lost 2-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton in front of a surprisingly huge attendance of 455.

Another big crowd of just short of 200, saw Jason Hart hit a last minute equaliser to salvage a point at home to Maine Road.

Darwen were despatched 5-0 at Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria before losing 3-1 at home to Abbey Hey in front of just 39 fans. Northwich, meanwhile, were then beaten 4-0 at Widnes. Darwen then lost 8-0 at City of Liverpool and 4-0 at Squires Gate. Could things get any worse for the Salmoners? You bet your life! Runcorn Town took just over half an hour to hit six goals before going on to win 10-3 with Cairns notching five to make it 38 league goals for the season.

They showed a bit of fight in the next game to draw 3-3 at home to Congleton Town but it was back to normal two days later, losing 5-0 at 1874 Northwich.

Charnock Richard were smashed 5-0 at Ashton Athletic with all the goals coming after the break but they the won 2-0 at home to Congleton Town and then drew 1-1 at home to Runcorn Town. Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria were then beaten 3-2. Vics then drew 1-1 at home to Squires Gate before ending the month with probably their best result of the season, a 3-0 home success against promoted Runcorn Linnets. Meanwhile, the league's leading scorer, Carl Grimshaw, hit the target at 1874 but couldn't prevent them going down 2-1.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-1 at home to Abbey Hey, 3-2 at Bootle and 2-0 at Abbey Hey. They made four wins in a row with a 2-1 success at Padiham, five with a 3-2 home success against Winsford United and six with a 5-0 home win against whipping boys Barnton who sank to the foot of the table on goal difference thanks to Darwen's draw. Darwen, minus 100, Barnton, minus 101!!!!!!

Padiham followed up their defeat to Barlick with another, 2-0 at Congleton Town.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough were hammered 5-2 at home to Holker Old Boys in front of just 32 spectators and two less saw the next game as they were thrashed 5-1 by Cheadle Town, also at West View. A third home game of the week brought another heavy defeat, 3-0 against Sandbach United but they then defeated Whitchurch Alport 2-1 in their fourth home game in a row. Another home game followed three days later and visitors Litherland REMYCA cemented their 2 nd place with an easy 3-0 victory in front of another poor attendance of 33. Yet another home game two days later and another heavy defeat, 6-1 against Silsden who clinched promotion with the three points. They also passed both the hundred goals and hundred points mark, a fantastic achievement. Meanwhile, Bacup are heading towards the hundred goals conceded mark.

A fine 3-0 win at New Mills followed.

Nelson won 4-2 at Stockport Town but sank to the bottom of he table after a 4-0 home defeat against Prestwich Heys. They then drew 0-0 at home to Oswestry Town and 1-1 at Eccleshall.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic fought back from 3-0 down to level at 2 nd placed Bradford Town before succumbing to a late winner. A trip to 4 th placed Willand Rovers brought a 1-0 win and a move to within 8 points of their opponents.

Champions Street lost their 25 game winning streak when they drew and then lost that unbeaten run as they were beaten 2-0 at the Homers Heath by the Mighty Bucks.

A comprehensive 4-1 win against Longwell Green Sports, also at home, meant that they could still finish in 2 nd place although with lots of games still to play, and with plenty of injuries and suspensions, 3 rd or 4 th spot would seem more realistic.

A tough trip to Street for a Les Philips Cup Semi-final was next on the agenda and once again Buckland came out on top after a 1-0 win after extra-time.

Great Harwood Town lost 2-1 to 2 nd placed Blackburn Elite before defeating St Mary's College Old Boys 2-0 but then lost 3-2 at bottom side Rishton Rovers to end their promotion hopes to the Premier Division.

Early April

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia lost their fifth game in a row, 2-1 to Anorthosis. Matt scored a 17 th minute equaliser but the visitors sealed the victory in the second half. That losing run went to six after a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at leaders Apollon.

Could things get worse? Yes! Two goals down after only 22 minutes at APOEL, they pulled it back to 2-1 before the break but the visitors then had three players booked within 10 minutes of the re-start, including Matt. Two late goals saw the home side win 4-1.

In League One Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon led for 80 minutes at home to play-off chasing Scunthorpe United but had to settle for a point after a late equaliser from the visitors. Another of the play-off chasers, Charlton Athletic, were next to visit Kingsmeadow and the Dons won 1-0 to move four points clear of the bottom four. Hey followed that up with a fantastic 3-2 win at Walsall. Trailing 2-0 at the break, they fought back to equalise 20 minutes after the re-start before hitting the winner six minutes into added time thanks to a Parrett penalty.

Our old foes Fleetwood Town saw their seven match unbeaten run ended with a 3-2 defeat at 4 th placed Rotherham United. Nathan Pond, who played against us 12 years ago, opened the scoring after 12 minutes but unfortunately, it was an own goal to give the Millers the lead.

The Cod Army then defeated Oxford United 1-0 at the Kassam Stadium thanks to a 93 rd minute McAleny goal and the points all but sealed their place in the Division and also moved them into the top half of the table. They then led 1-0 with 88 minutes on the clock in the local derby at Blackpool but the Seasiders then equalised before getting a 94 th minute winner.

In League Two, a 1-0 home win against promotion rivals Notts. County put Accrington Stanley within a whisker of promotion. Nevertheless, the locals seem non too impressed with just over 3,000 attending the game, around 500 of whom came from Nottingham. That paltry attendance was the third biggest league crowd at a Stanley home game in the last eight years and about twice the Crown Ground average!

Another 1-0 win followed, at Colchester United, courtesy of a lucky Billy Kee goal.

The Reds then had the chance to clinch promotion with a win at home to Exeter City but the inevitable was delayed after a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot Town suffered a surprise 2-0 home defeat by Eastleigh in front of almost 3,000 fans at the Rec but then won 1-0 at home to Maidenhead United to move into 3 rd place. Two second half goals at Tranmere led to a 2-0 defeat and the Shots looking nervously overt heir shoulders.

Fylde kept alive their play-off hopes with a 3-1 win at Barrow and a 2-1 home success against 2 nd placed Sutton United. They then made the horrendous mid-week trip to Torquay United and came back from an early deficit to win 3-1 and move up into 4 th place and at the same time more or less sent Torquay down. A surprise 1-0 defeat at Maidstone United followed to leave the Coasters four points clear of 8 th place.

In the North Division, Chorley got back on the winning track, defeating Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 at Victory Park thanks to goals from Carver and Walker. They then won 2-1 at relegation-threatened Telford United to move within two points of the play-off positions and followed that up with an excellent 2-0 home success over Blyth Spartans.

Boston United won their second game of the week, 2-1 at Darlington with all the goals coming before the break. They then travelled to Harrogate to take on high-flying Spennymoor United( the home side's ground being unfit), and drew 0-0 although they should have won the game quite comfortably. Two goals from former Pilgrim Adam Boyes then consigned them to a 2-1 home defeat against Bradford Park Avenue although the result was enough to confirm both sides' participation in the Division next season.

Two very late goals saw Phil O'Dell's FC United win 2-0 at lowly Tamworth to move six points clear of the drop zone but they then went down 2-1 at home to Darlington.

Southport's slim chance of sneaking in to the play-offs was ended with another defeat, 1-0 at home to Nuneaton Town before a 2-0 loss at 2 nd placed Harrogate Town.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 3-0 at home to Bognor Regis Town but then sank to 5 th bottom with a 2-1 defeat at Oxford City. They then hosted leaders Dartford and not surprisingly, lost 1-0, their 11 th home defeat of the season. The Sports did though, give one of their best performances and were unlucky not to win.

In the Evo-stik Premier League, the local derby between improving Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton United attracted just 360 to Bower Fold who witnessed a 2-2 draw.

Paul Salt's Altrincham moved another step towards a quick return to the National League North after a 2-1 win at Lancaster City whilst nearest rivals Warrington Town lost by the same score at Nantwich Town.

The Robins then drew 1-1 at Stourbridge whilst Warrington were held to a goalless draw at home to Nantwich Town and draws will be good enough from now.

Play-off chasing Barwell were then brushed aside 4-0 at Moss Lane with all the goals coming in the opening hour.

In the North Division, Colne drew 0-0 at home to Tadcaster Albion, a result that did little for the sides lying 8 th and 9 th , they then won 2-1 at Droylsden thanks to a last minute winner before picking up a fine point in a 1-1 draw at 4 th placed Bamber Bridge.

Ramsbottom United all but ended Clitheroe's play-off aspirations with a 1-0 win at the Riverside but then lost 2-1 at home to 2 nd placed Hyde United and by the same score at 6 th placed Trafford.

Clitheroe led 1-0 at the break at Bamber Bridge but lost 2-1 and then suffered what was probably their worst result of the season, a 2-1 home defeat against bottom side Goole.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham lost 1-0 at home to Irlam, 3-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton and 4-3 at home to Congleton Town.

I went to the Anchor to watch Darwen take on promotion-chasing 1874 Northwich and the result was never in doubt after the visitors took the lead and they ran out easy 3-0 winners. The attendance of 83 was made up almost entirely of Northwich fans. Darwen should also have played the following night but the game was postponed as the pitch was waterlogged.

They did take the field two days later, at home to 2 nd placed Widnes and gave a good account of themselves before losing 3-2.

Charnock Richard had a tremendous 4-2 win at home to 1874 Northwich but then lost

2-0 at home to leaders Runcorn Linnets before over 250 spectators.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 3-2 at Winsford United but were then hammered 5-0 at Squires Gate and beaten 2-1 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton

Barnoldswick Town came from a half-time deficit to beat Congleton Town 4-2 at the Silentnight Stadium but were then beaten 3-1 at the same venue by City of Liverpool.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough eventually managed to get a game in, defeating Stockport Town 5-2 at West View before losing 3-2 at Eccleshall.

Nelson defeated Alsager Town 3-1 at Victoria Park in front of just 30 spectators before a much healthier turn-out f 115 witnessed a 2-1 defeat against Silsden.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic have suffered more than most with almost two months and six postponements but they made up for the unwanted break with a 5-0 home win against Hallen. Leaders Street clinched promotion with a 3-2 win against Cribbs.

Late March

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia fell to their 11 th defeat of the season, 3-1 at home to AEK Larnaca.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon took an early lead in their 'six-pointer' at Rochdale but were then under the cosh for much of the game which finished 1-1.

Another crucial game followed, at home to fellow strugglers Fleetwood Town but a 1-0 defeat left them just two points above the drop zone.

I went to the Crown Ground to watch Accrington Stanley take on strugglers Forest Green Rovers and missed the Reds' 3 rd minute opener whilst trying to find a parking space. Believing that the score was 1-1 approaching full time, I couldn't understand why the Stanley 'keeper was wasting time-until I found the correct score in the car on the way home, 3-1!! The 'broccoli-munchers' played some fine football and had Stanley chasing shadows for much of the game and must have been disappointed to have left empty handed.

The attendance was a much-improved 2,313 although it looked more and I couldn't get in the home end as it was deemed to be full. Nevertheless, they're the second worst supported side in the division and that's almost certain where they'll finish whether they're promoted or not.

The Reds then won 1-0 at Mansfield Town to leave them two points clear at the top with two games in hand and a massive ten points clear of the play-off positions.

In the National League, Fylde had victory snatched from their grasp as two goals in the final few minutes gave visitors Hartlepool a 3-3 draw.

The Coasters then lost 2-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge to leave their play-off hopes hanging by a thread.

They then got back on the right track with a 2-0 home win against Halifax Town.

Paul Clark travelled up t 2 nd bottom Chester to support his Aldershot favourites but would have been very disappointed to be returning with just a point from a goalless draw. The Shots would have gone 3 rd with a win. A goalless draw followed at Solihull Moors and despite tremendous support from 500 away supporters, they couldn't get the breakthrough.

In the North Division, Boston United stormed into a 3-0 lead at home to Phil O'Dell's FC United and led 4-2 with only two minutes remaining but still managed to avoid victory as goals in the 88 th and 92 nd minutes gave United a most unlikely of points.

Next up for the Pilgrims was a midweek game at Stockport County. I set off an hour before kick-off, and by 7-45, I'd travelled just a couple of miles due to an accident on the M65 so it was back home to follow the game on twitter. A late goal, for the second away game in a row, condemned them to a 1-0 defeat and moved them within just three points of the drop zone.

I then took in my local 'derby' at Chorley, not expecting too much as the Pilgrims recent record there has been non-too-good but an early goal and a drab match yielded three vital points.

An expected defeat, 4-1, at 3 rd placed Brackley Town followed although the game was goalless with 20 minutes remaining.

Another tough game was next, at home to 4 th placed Kidderminster Harriers, and I travelled down there hoping for a point but a superb performance, probably the Pilgrims best of the season, yielded three precious points after a 3-2 victory. In truth, the margin should have been much greater and the late winner was just reward for a dominant display.

FCUM, meanwhile, won 1-0 at home to Gainsborough Trinity and followed that up with a 4-0 home demolition of Bradford Park Avenue with the visitors having two men sent off in the first half. They then lost 1-0 at Leamington.

Chorley kept alive their play-off hopes with a cracking 3-1 home win against Spennymoor Town before a disappointing performance in the defeat against Boston.

A 1-1 draw at rivals York City left them five points adrift of 7 th place.

North Ferriby United were one of, if not the first team in the country to be relegated, barring a mathematical miracle, after a 6-0 defeat at Darlington. The demotion was confirmed a few days later despite a tremendous 1-1 home draw against leaders Salford City. They then hosted play-off chasers Blyth Spartans and gained their first home win of the season.

The most amazing comeback of the season occurred at Aggborough where leaders Salford City were on the end of a real hammering, trailing 4-0 just 10 minutes after the re-start. An 80 th minute goal gave the visiting supporters at least something to cheer but with only a minute of normal time remaining, some of them would have been looking to make an early exit. Another goal, in the last minute, looked to have given the scoreline a bit of respectability but when they made it 4-3 in the 92 nd minute it was panic stations for Kiddy. In the 96 th minute, City were awarded a penalty giving them a chance to gain the most unlikely of points but despite Walker's spot-kick being saved, he tucked away the re-bound and the game ended 4-4, even more astonishing than the previous week's 4-4 draw between Boston and FCUM.

Southport had gone from relegation-bound to play-off chasers within a couple of weeks but in front of a huge 1614 crowd at Haig Avenue, they lost 3-1 to strugglers Alfreton Town. They then came from behind to level at York City thanks to goals in the 78 th and 86 th minutes but York notched the winner a minute into stoppage time.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough took the lead at home to Truro City but ended up being well beaten 3-1 but then won 3-2 at Wealdstone thanks to an 87 th minute winner.

They then slipped to 16 th after an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Chippenham Town who leap-frogged the Sports.

In the Evo-stik Premier, Paul Salt's Altrincham are showing signs of nervousness with their second home defeat in a week. After their home defeat by 2 nd placed Warrington Town, in front of a paltry crowd of less than 600, they then lost at home to relegation-threatened Stalybridge Celtic, 2-1. A third home game followed and they had to come from behind just to earn a point against mid-table Mickleover Sports in front of only 532 fans. Meanwhile Warrington won again to move within a point of the leaders.

Just 24 hours later, Alty exited the Cheshire Senior Cup at the quarter final stage after a 1-0 home defeat against Winsford United.

A trip to relegation-bound Halesowen Town was just what they needed to get back on track and they did so with a 2-0 win.

They followed that up with a 5-1 demolition of Shaw Lane, four of the goals coming in the second period.

The Robins then went down 2-0 at mid-table Rushall Olympic although they ended the month 6 points clear at the top.

Warrington, meanwhile, lost 2-0 at form side Stalybridge while the only other side who could realistically challenge the top two, Shaw Lane, have gone into meltdown since their their loss of manager and several players, lost again, 2-0 at home to mid-table Nantwich Town before the Altrincham thrashing.

In the Evo-stik North, Colne were beaten 2-0 at 4 th bottom Skelmersdale United while Clitheroe were hammered 3-0 at 2 nd bottom Ossett Albion. The Blues were then held to a 1-1 draw by Trafford at Shawbridge while Colne breezed past visiting Colwyn Bay, 4-0.

Clitheroe's chances of a play-off spot were all but ended with a 2-0 home defeat to lowly Radcliffe Borough.

Colne kept alive their slim chances with a 3-1 home success against Brighouse Town but were then held to a 1-1 draw by Mossley at Holt House before a 2-1 home defeat against Ossett Town.

Ramsbottom United would have gone 4 th bottom with a defeat at home to bottom side Goole but they had little difficulty in winning 3-0 and followed that up with a 1-0 home success against Atherton Collieries.

A trip to title contenders South Shields proved to be a different kettle of fish and they were well beaten 4-0 and lost again, 2-1 at home to Colwyn Bay, despite taking an early lead. A 2-0 defeat at Atherton Collieries then saw their interest in the Integro League Cup ended.

The poor results continued on Easter Saturday with a 4-2 home defeat against Mossley.

In the NWCFL, Charnock Richard won 3-1 at Bootle in the Macron Cup 3 rd round and two days later, the same teams ground out a goalless draw in the Premier Division. They then let a two goal lead slip at Winsford United to draw 3-3 with Carl Grimshaw notching a hat-trick. Things didn't get any better in the next game at Squires Gate where they lost 3-1.

A place in the Macron Cup semi-finals was up for grabs as they travelled to Winsford United but after a 1-1 draw, they went out 4-2 on penalties.

Despite another Carl Grimshaw goal, they then lost 2-1 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton.

Darwen were hammered 4-0 at 2 nd placed Widnes and look certain to end up in the middle division of three next season. The Salmoners were then easily beaten 3-1 at home to bottom side Barnton, only the visitor's second win of the season and that made it 102 goals conceded already.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 1-0 at home to Maine Road before hammering Darwen 5-0 at the Anchor. A home game against Irlam proved rather more difficult and they lost 4-1. That was followed by a 2-1 defeat at Burscough in the Macron Cup.

Padiham enjoyed a 6-1 home win against West Didsbury & Chorlton but then lost 4-3 at City of Liverpool thanks to a last minute penalty. A huge crowd of 271 turned up for their next game, at home to Winsford United, but they lost 2-1. They then earned a creditable 1-1 draw at home to probable champions Runcorn Linnets.

Another great game followed at the Arbories where a crowd of over 200 saw them defeat AFC Liverpool 5-4

Barnoldswick Town lost 3-0 at 1874 Northwich and then 4-2 at home to Maine Road before a fantastic 6-1 home win against 2 nd placed Widnes which all but ended their automatic promotion hopes.

In the 1 st Division, Nelson lost 2-1 at home to New Mills thanks to a last minute goal before drawing 1-1 with Holker Old Boys, also at Victoria Park, in front of just 38 spectators.

The Blues then drew 2-2 at Daisy Hill but were then thrashed 5-1 at Whitchurch Alport and 4-2 at home by Sandbach United.

Bacup Borough drew 1-1 at Daisy Hill before losing 3-1 at Litherland REMYCA and then lost 3-2 at home to St. Helens before a 1-1 draw at Stockport Town.

The last remaining NWCFL side in the FA Vase, 1874 Northwich, lost their semi-final 1 st leg 1-0 at Thatcham Town and also lost the second leg, 3-1, in front of a magnificent turn-out of 1,693.

Early March

Omonia Nicosia were beaten 2-0 at home by APOEL with 6 bookings just in the first half and they then lost their fourth game in a row, 2-1 at AEL Limassol, Matt Derbyshire getting a consolation goal four minutes from time, his 18 th of the season.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon gained a vital three points with a 2-1 home win against Oxford United

Accrington Stanley won 1-0 at home to Morecambe and followed that up with wgat was probably their best result of the season, a 2-1 win at Luton Town who they replaced at the summit of League Two.

In the Vanarama National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot Town won 2-1 at home to Hartlepool United before a horror show at Fylde. Paul was part of a huge following who swelled the gate to over 2,000 but no doubt many were regretting the long journey by the 20 minute mark with the Shots already 4-1 down and they eventually fell to a 7-1 defeat.

In the North, Boston United's 'honeymoon' period under Craig Elliot is over as they made it just one point from the last three games after a 1-0 defeat at York City and to compound matters, they had two players sent off.

Southport moved into the top half of the table with a 3-0 home win against Tamworth.

Phil O'Dell's FC United dropped to 4 th bottom after a 6-0 mauling at Harrogate Town who moved to top spot.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Lancaster City produced an amazing injury time finale to their game at Stafford Rangers. They trailed 2-0 in the 92 nd minute before a Bailey goal gave them hope and a 94 th minute Gregory strike gave them the most unlikely of draws.

Paul Salt's Altrincham hosted 2 nd placed Warrington Town but found themselves 2-0 down within half an hour. The Robins fought back to level thanks to level thanks to two Peers goals

In the North Division, Clitheroe kept alive their play-off hopes alive with a 3-2 home win against Brighouse Town and a 3-1 success at Mossley.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Hanley Town are the team to watch for entertainment, winning 8-2 at Maine Road before drawing 3-3 at West Didsbury & Chorlton with all the goals in the latter game coming in the first 28 minutes.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew 1-1 at Cheadle Town in front of just 48 spectators.

Great week for City of Liverpool, they won 5-0 at AFC Liverpool and three days later hit eight without replay at bottom side Barnton who have now conceded 134 league goals this season.

In the Macron Cup, Darwen looked to be on course for a surprise win at Widnes, leading 1-0 at the break but the hosts hit back to win 2-1.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough trailed 2-0 at Chadderton after only 17 minutes but after 10 minutes of the second half, they led 3-2. Chaddy equalised ten minutes from time but Jarrett's second goal on 84 minutes looked to have given Brent Peters' boys the points only for two goals in the final four minutes to send them home pointless.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 2-1 at home to 6 th placed Bridgwater Town and then by the same score at bottom side Wells City.

Great Harwood Town defeated Worth Avenue 8-0 in the Blackburn Combination 2 nd Division to move within three points of leaders Beehive although they have won all 13 league games this season.

In the NLP fantasy league, GT Harwood Town are struggling in 1,082 nd place while Boston Danglers are faring slightly better in 928 th place.

Late February

Matt Derbyshire Omonia Nicosia lost 2-1 at leaders APOEL. Two goals in the opening 14 minutes looked to be the prelude to a heavy defeat but our hero pulled a goal back on 39 minutes before earning a yellow card in the 3 rd minute of first half added on time. Quite a feisty game this one with ten bookings, six for the visitors.

The following game, at home to Doxa, produced three yellow cards apiece and a red card for the visitors but despite Matt's boys playing against ten men for 40 minutes, they went down 3-1.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon gained a valuable three points by beating Bristol Rovers 1-0 at Kingsmeadow thanks to a 93 rd minute Piggott goal. They followed that up with another good result, a 1-1 draw at Peterborough United.

Our old friends at Fleetwood are deep in trouble after their seventh defeat in a row in the vital relegation clash at Doncaster Rovers. That 3-0 defeat cost manager Ewe Rosler his job and it has to be said that he was unlucky, having to constantly sell his best players. The eighth consecutive loss soon followed, 2-1 at home to Portsmouth. The losing sequence was finally ended with a 1-1 home draw against relegation rivals MK Dons.

In League Two, Accrington Stanley slipped to third place after a non-too convincing performance at bottom side Barnet where they drew 1-1 but a 1-0 home win against Cambridge United saw them back into 2 nd place.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot would have gone top with a home win against leaders Macclesfield Town but they lost 2-1 in front of a huge crowd of 4,358. They were replaced in 2 nd spot by Tranmere Rovers who themselves were soon thrashed 4-1 by Macc at Prenton Park. Paul and his chums then made another long journey north, this time to Wrexham, where they drew 2-2 although the point wasn't enough to stop them dropping to fourth.

Fylde had two games against struggling sides which looked like six points but they ended up with none after 1-0 defeats at home to Leyton Orient and away to bottom side Guiseley. They went back into the final play-off position after a 3-1 home success against Dover Athletic.

In the National North, Boston United lost their first game in ten, 1-0 at home to lowly Leamington.

Phil O'Dell's FC United lost 1-0 at home to Stockport County and then by the same score at 2 nd bottom Telford United.

Chorley were unconvincing against against third bottom Gainsborough Trinity but did gain the three points with a single goal victory. A 1-1 draw at much-improved Nuneaton Town saw them remain just outside of the top 7.

Southport were the latest club to record an easy victory at North Ferriby United, 3-0 the score and the Villagers will soon be put out their misery. A 3-1 home win against Curzon Ashton saw the Sandgrounders move into the top half. Meanwhile, North Ferriby gained just their second victory of the campaign, 1-0 at play-off chasing Bradford Park Avenue.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough recorded their biggest win of the season, 4-0 at third bottom Poole Town but unsurprisingly, they then lost, 2-1 at home to Weston-super-Mare.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham maintained their lead at the top with a surprisingly difficult 2-1 home win against bottom side Sutton Coldfield Town. They then travelled the short distance to Ashton United and looked well on course for another three points, leading 3-1 just after an hour but the home 'Robins' fought back against the away 'Robins' and earned a point with an 89 th minute equaliser.

In the North Division, I went to Shawbridge to see Clitheroe take on leaders South Shields and after an early goal, it looked like it could be a comprehensive away win but the Blues stuck to their task and the result was in doubt until the final minute despite no further goals. The game was played in front of a tremendous attendance of 521. The leaders then took on 2 nd placed Hyde United and drew 1-1 in front of a great turn-out of 739.

Clitheroe, meanwhile, made it through to the final of the Lancs Challenge Trophy with a penalty shoot-out victory over Charnock Richard after a goalless draw at Leyland.

Colne's Alex Curran scored a hat-trick to help the Reds to a 5-0 home win against Glossop North End and he scored another in a 2-1 win at Kendal Town. They then lost 1-0 at Trafford.

Ramsbottom United lost 2-1 at Prescot Cables, 3-1 at home to Scarborough Athletic although with the Rams 2-0 down after only five minutes, things could have been a lot worse and 2-0 at home to Ossett Town.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard won 4-1 at home to Maine Road before losing to Clitheroe in the Lancs Trophy and 2-1 at Padiham in the League.

Padiham let a 2-1 lead slip at Hanley Town, going down 3-2 before the home success against Charnock Richard.

Darwen recorded a rare victory, 5-3 at Irlam, leading 3-0 after only quarter of an hour.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria were hammered 5-0 at Bootle but then won 3-1 at home to AFC Liverpool before a disappointing 2-0 home loss against Ashton Athletic.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-0 at Maine Road but then, despite taking an 8 th minute lead, lost 4-1 at home to leaders Runcorn Linnets.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough lost 2-1 at home to Atherton LR.

Nelson lost 2-1 at home to Cammell Laird with both the visitors goals coming in the opening 9 minutes and then lost by the same score at Sandbach United thanks to two home goals in the final five minutes.

In the Western Premier League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic progressed to the next round of the Les Phillips Cup with a 1-0 win at 1 st Division Warminster Town, a score that flattered the home side.

Back in League action, the Bucks then thrashed Hallen 4-0 away from home much to the delight of Nick and the dozen or so visiting supporters.

Another football club looks set to fold at the end of the season, Bostik Premier side Thurrock.

The last remaining NWCFL side still in the FA Vase, 1874 Northwich, made it through to the semi-finals thanks to a 1-0 win at Leighton Town.

Early February

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia defeated Aris Limassol 3-0 and surprisingly, he wasn't on the score-sheet.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon are in a relegation battle, not helped by a 3-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Northampton Town. The Dons then lost 4-2 at play-off chasing Plymouth Argyle.

In League Two, a Clark double gave Accrington Stanley a fine win at Coventry City in front of a mammoth 28,343 crowd which contained a tremendous 513 following from Lancashire. The win took them up into 2 nd place and they cemented that place with a 1-0 home win against Crewe Alexandra.

In the National League, Fylde could have moved into the play-off positions with a home win against Eastleigh but despite coming from behind twice, they had to settle for a point. They then moved up to 7 th with a comprehensive 2-1 win at Gateshead, despite the close score-line. Two first half goals settled the game and the Coaster were in complete control throughout, only conceding in the final minute.

Paul Clark's Aldershot moved up to 2 nd after a fine 2-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge.

In the North Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United continue to struggle on their travels despite the overall improvement in performances and results. With only one away win this season, they must have travelled to 4 th bottom Nuneaton Town hoping for their second but they lost 1-0. They then drew another blank in a goalless draw at home to Chorley.

Boston United found themselves three down after an hour at home to relegation-threatened Curzon Ashton, despite dominating that period, with the visitors scoring with their only three attempts. The Pilgrims roared back to level with plenty of time remaining but an onslaught on the Curzon defence failed to find the deserved winner.

Southport moved 4points above the drop-zone with a 3-0 win at Gainsborough Trinity.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough halted their bad run with a 4-1 home win against Hungerford Town and followed it up with a goalless draw at East Thurrock United,

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham saw their home game with Mickleover Sports postponed but still enjoyed a good weekend with their two closest rivals, Grantham Town and Shaw Lane both drawing.

In the 1 st Division North, Clitheroe were hammered 4-0 at title-chasing Hyde United and Colne also suffered at Ewan Fields, although they only conceded the one goal as the Tigers moved up to 2 nd.

Ramsbottom United needed a 92 nd minute Heathcote equaliser to salvage a point at Ossett Town.

Local rivals Ossett Albion and Ossett Town are to merge which seems quite sensible considering the size of the town.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham were beaten 3-1 at Widnes while a few days later, Charnock Richard were surprisingly beaten 4-3 at home by Barnoldswick Town despite yet another Carl Grimshaw brace.

In the 1 st Division, Nelson drew 2-2 at Oswestry Town thanks to a 90 th minute equaliser from Holt. They followed that up with a goalless draw at home to Chadderton.

The League's last remaining side in the FA Vase, 1874 Northwich, made it through to the quarter-finals with a 1-0 home win against Chichester City. Mitchell was the hero, scoring the only goal a minute from time to delight the majority of the 580 attendance.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic defeated Odd Down 3-0.

Late January

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia lost 1-0 at 2 nd placed Apollon but then won 3-2 at AEL Limassol with Matt opening the scoring on 18 minutes. The home side hit back to lead at the break before goals in the 60 th and 86 th minutes gave them the three points. That win took them to within a point of 5 th placed AEL and Matt into 2 nd place in the goalscoring charts.

The following day saw the two sides meet again in the 'first division championship group' where the home side won 3-2 with Matt an unused sub.

A home game against Nea Salamis saw him open the scoring after only 3 minutes and he doubled the lead a quarter of an hour later. By half time Omonia led 3-1 and as the hour mark approached, Matt completed his hat-trick, his 15 th goal of the season which took him within 4 of the League's leading goal-getter. They eventually won 5-1.

In the FA Cup, Fleetwood Town gave a good account of themselves in a 2-0 defeat at Leicester City and club legend Nathan Pond went into the record books after being in the first 'VAR' incident. A City goal was ruled out for offside but the replay showed that Nathan's foot played the forward onside so the goal was given.

Just to prove how far the club has come since crossing swords with Great Harwood Town, their next fixture was a League One home game against the mighty Rovers where over 4,300 watched the Blues win 2-1. A far cry from my first visit when a 'crowd' of less than 100 was made up of mainly Robins' supporters.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon moved out of the relegation places with a vital 2-0 home win against struggling Blackpool and followed that up with their biggest Football League win since their promotion from non-league, 4-0 at Bradford City.

In League Two, Stanley kept up the pressure at the top, coming from two down at the break to win 3-2 against Port Vale but they then lost 2-1 at Crawley.

In the Vanarama National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot missed the chance to move within two points of leaders Macclesfield Town after they were held to a goalless draw by Ebbsfleet United at the 'Rec' in front of a terrific crowd of almost 2,500. Backed by a huge following at Leyton Orient, the Shots then won 3-2 to move within a point of the leaders who were amazingly held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-bound Torquay United.

Macclesfield were smashed 6-0 at Fylde with just under 2,000 present at Mill Farm and followed that up with another home win, 3-0 against Maidstone United. A win at mid-table Woking would have taken them into the play-off positions but they lost 1-0.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough failed to build on a 2 nd minute lead and were held 1-1 by St Albans City.

In the North Division, Boston United, incredibly, moved within five points of the play-offs after a comprehensive 5-1 win at bottom side North Ferriby United. Highlights of the game are available on u-tube and how Boston failed to register double-figures is a minor miracle!

A home game against 6 th placed Blyth Spartans brought yet another three points with a 2-1 win.

Phil O'Dell's FC United continued their good form with a 1-1 draw at play-off chasing Blyth Spartan but then went down 4-0 at Kidderminster Harriers with all the goals coming after the break. Over 2,000 fans then saw them defeat local rivals Curzon Ashton 2-0.

Southport came from one down at the break to beat Stockport County 3-1 at Haig Avenue to move five points clear of the drop zone but they then lost 3-0 at Kidderminster Harriers.

Chorley would have been disappointed to have dropped points at lowly Darlington in a 2-2 draw but that paled into insignificance in the following game where the Magpies were held to a 2-2 draw by almost relegated North Ferriby United who gained their first point for months and only their 8 th point of the season. Things didn't get any better in the next game at Gainsborough Trinity where a goal just after half-time was enough to see them off.

In the Evo-stik Premier League, Paul Salt's Altrincham rescued a point at home to Warrington Town thanks to a 93 rd minute equaliser.

In the Evo-stik League North Division, an 88 th minute equaliser denied Clitheroe a win at Ossett Town, 2-2 the score. The Blues then recorded a tremendous 3-0 win at Droylsden with all the goals coming in the opening 23 minutes. A big crowd at Shawbridge were then disappointed to see the home side go down 1-0 to mid-table Tadcaster Albion.

Colne won 3-1 at home to Droylsden.

Ramsbottom United won 2-0 at lowly Ossett Albion before making it through to the next round of the Integro Cup thanks to a 3-0 success at Mossley.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town recorded a fine 4-3 victory at AFC Liverpool.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew 1-1 at Congleton Town thanks to an 88 th minute equaliser before a 2-0 home defeat against Charnock Richard. That result was duplicated in the next home game against neighbours 1874.

Charnock Richard found themselves 3-0 down by half time at leaders Runcorn Linnets and five down just after the hour mark. Carl Grimshaw hit two consolation goals in a 6-2 defeat which saw Linnets move ten points clear of 2 nd placed Runcorn Town and 16 clear of Charnock. Grimshaw's brace took him clear at the top of the Premier league goalscoring table and he hit another double in the next game at Northwich Victoria where they won 2-0.

He then hit another in a 4-1 home win against bottom side Barnton, the visitors having conceded 104 league goals already. The win took Charnock into 3 rd place.

Darwen looked to be heading for another huge defeat, losing 3-0 at West Didsbury & Chorlton with only 20 minutes gone, all scored by Bailey, but steadied the ship before going down 4-1. Another away defeat followed, 5-1 at leaders Runcorn Linnets.

Padiham won 4-2 at home to Squires Gate.

A crowd of just under 700 saw Bootle win 2-0 at City of Liverpool.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough went down 2-1 at Holker Old Boys and by the same score at Silsden. Three goals in the opening half hour at Whitchurch Alport meant yet another defeat leaving them 4 th bottom. They finally got back to winning ways at Atherton L.R., 3-1 the score.

Early January

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia began the year with a fine 3-0 win at Alki Orakini with Matt opening the scoring after 16 minutes. They'd doubled the lead by half time but had to play the final 32 minutes with ten men after a sending off.

A derby at Olympiakos Nicosia followed and what a thriller it turned out to be. Omonia shot out of the traps to lead 2-0 after only 20 minutes, Matt setting up the first and being involved in the build-up for the second, which they held until 8 minutes from time and two minutes into added time the home side equalised with the visitors defence standing still after the linesman flagged for a foul for Olympiakos. Not surprisingly the home side played to the whistle and duly scored a simple goal. The game looked sure to heading for a draw until up stepped Matt in the 96 th minute to head in the winner.

A home game against Ermis followed and after Christofi had given Omonia the lead after five minutes, Matt scored the second just two minutes later and his side went on to win 3-0.

In the 2 nd Division of the Blackburn & District League, Great Harwood Town won 2-0 against Blackburn United Reserves before inflicting Blackburn Elite's first defeat of the season, 2-0, to move above their opponents into 2 nd place.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon began the New Year with an excellent 2-0 home win against Southend United before exiting the FA Cup after a 3-0 defeat at Wembley against Spurs although they put up a brave show, holding the home side for 55 minutes.

They then drew 0-0 at 'arch enemies' MK Dons.

Accrington Stanley led Morecambe 1-0 at the Crown before the game was abandoned at half time due to a waterlogged pitch. The Reds then moved back into the play-off positions after a 4-0 home win against Chesterfield and cemented that place with a 2-0 win at Cheltenham.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot Town had a great 2-1 win at Woking to start the year in a positive mood. The game was watched by another cracking attendance, 3,790.

Paul's boys then cemented their second place with another 2-1 away victory, this time at 4 th placed DoverAthletic.

Fylde started the year with wins against two play-off chasers, 5-2 at home to Tranmere Rovers and then 1-0 at Bromley. They then moved within three points of the play-off positions with a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to second bottom Guiseley courtesy of a Rowe goal two minutes from time.

In the North Division, Craig Elliot has begun his reign at Boston United in devastating fashion, guiding the Pilgrims to the middle of the table with five wins in six games. The only dropped points came at neighbours Gainsborough Trinity on New Years Day where Boston dominated.

Phil O'Dell's FC United gained a fine point in a 2-2 draw at Salford City.

Chorley suffered a surprise 3-0 defeat at Southport and then a not-so-surprising 1-0 home loss to title-chasers Harrogate Town. They got back to winning ways with a 2-0 success at Curzon Ashton.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough hosted a Whitehawk side who were win-less this season after 23 games, and had picked up just four points. The Sports took a 19 th minute lead before falling to an embarrassing 4-1 defeat and that was followed by a 3-0 loss at Welling United The bad run continued as they were beaten 2-1 at home by 2 nd placed Hampton & Richmond, their 13 th defeat of the season.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham suffered a rare defeat, 4-3 at home to Witton Albion, despite leading with less than 10 minutes to go.

The Robins quickly got back to winning ways, 1-0 at play-off chasing Farsley Celtic. A 2-0 win at 1874 Northwich took them through to the 2 nd round of the Cheshire Senior Cup and they then moved 10 points clear at the top with a 2-0 win at Stafford Rangers.

In Division One North, Clitheroe defeated Kendal Town 3-0 at Shawbridge before thrashing Atherton Collieries 5-2 away from home with Newby netted a brace in both game. Promotion-chasing Prescot Cables proved far too strong for for the Blues in the next game at Clitheroe, winning 3-1.

In the South Division, leaders Basford United looked certain to lose their unbeaten record, trailing 2-0 at home to Leek Town with less than 10 minutes remaining but they stormed back to equalise in the 89 th minute before finding an unlikely winner 3 minutes into stoppage time.

Their next game, at 2 nd placed Bedworth United, again looked certain to end their unbeaten run, losing 1-0 in the 95 th minute before a last-gasp equaliser.

Colne won 3-2 at bottom side Goole and then produced their best result of the season, winning 2-0 at leaders Prescot Cables in front of just under 500 supporters. Another excellent attendance, 291, witnessed a 1-0 win against neighbours Ramsbottom United.

Lots of close games in the FA Trophy, non more so than the Gateshead v Boreham Wood game. The visitors were on course for a comfortable win, 2-0 up with only 13 minutes left but the Geordies hit back to level and then took the lead in the 92 nd

minute only for the Boreham Wood to force a replay with a 95 th minute penalty.

Ramsbottom lost the derby at 2 nd bottom Radcliffe Borough 3-1 and were then denied a win after visiting Skelmersdale United equalised in the 92 nd minute before the defeat at Colne.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town were leading 2-1 at Runcorn Town by the break but eventually lost 3-2. They then hosted Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria and earned a creditable point in a 1-1 draw.

Padiham lost 2-0 at Ashton Athletic but then won 2-1 at home to Darwen before a Freeland hat-trick then helped them to a 4-0 home win against fast-fading Runcorn Town.

Charnock Richard won 2-1 at Abbey Hey thanks to an 85 th minute winner from top scorer Grimshaw, his 17 th League goal of the season, hit two more in a 4-0 success at Barnoldswick Town and he then hit the only goal of the game at home to Ashton Athletic.

Darwen lost 2-1 at Padiham and then suffered another humiliating defeat, 10-0 at Bootle.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough lost 2-0 at Cammell Laird, 6-1 at Ashton Athletic and 5-2 at home to Alsager Town.

Nelson came from behind to beat AFC Blackpool 2-1 at Victoria Park.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic were well beaten 3-0 at Melksham Town, a result which saw them drop to 6 th position.

Late December

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia finally got back to winning ways after a 3-0 home success against mid-table Paphos, Matt setting them on the way with a 19 th minute penalty and then doubling his side's lead 13 minutes later.

Don Fitzgerald's recovered from their home mauling by Wigan, to beat promotion-chasing Bradford City 2-1 at Kingsmeadow. They then lost 2-1 at Portsmouth but earned a point at Gillingham, twice coming from behind to draw 2-2.

Accrington Stanley found themselves 3-0 down at home to Crawley in next to no time. The Reds had got it back to 3-2 with plenty of time left but couldn't find the equaliser. A fifth defeat in a row came on Boxing Day, 3-1 at Carlisle United before the sequence was finally broken with a comprehensive 3-0 win at Grimsby Town.

In the National League, Fylde could only draw 1-1 at home to Ebbsfleet United before being well beaten, 4-1 at Tranmere Rovers but they then came back from a half-time deficit to win 2-1 at Maidenhead United.

Paul Clark's Aldershot needed a 94 th minute leveller to earn a point at Guiseley, much to the relief of Paul and his fellow Shots who made the long journey North. A massive 4,000+ crowd then turned up at the 'Rec' to see the Boxing Day derby against Woking and the majority went away happy after a 3-1 home victory.

The Shots then needed another 90 th minute leveller to salvage a point at home to Maidstone United and that was enough to take them up to 2 nd place.

In the North Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United great recent form continued with a 4-4 draw at high-flying Spennymoor Town despite finding themselves 4-1 down just into the second half.

They then entertained leaders Salford City and twice came from behind to win 3-2 in front of over 3,000 fans at Broadhurst Park. Their cause was helped by City's Scott Burton who was sent off.

Southport are still struggling despite having a new manager, Kevin Davies, in situ. They were trounced 4-0 at home to Bradford Park Avenue before a goalless draw at Chorley.

Chorley recorded their best result of the season, a 3-0 win at runaway leaders Salford City with Salford's Scott Burton being sent off for the second time in a few days but could then only draw 0-0 at home to Southport.

Boston United made it three wins in a row at Alfreton Town, 3-1 the score, then four in a row with a 2-0 home Boxing Day success against neighbours Gainsborough Trinity.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were hammered 4-1 at home by Havant & Waterlooville but then won 1-0 at Whitehawk thanks to a 20 th minute penalty.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham continue to lead the way and also looked to be heading into the 2 nd round of the FA Trophy before visiting Warrington Town scored twice in the last four minutes in the 1 st round replay at Moss Lane. Back in League action, the Robins made short work of Matlock Town, winning 3-0 at home, and by the same score at Marine and Coalville Town to leave them 7 points clear at the top and also having two games in hand on 2 nd placed Workington.

In the 1 st Division North, Ramsbottom United drew 1-1 at Tadcaster Albion.

Clitheroe came from behind to defeat Glossop North End 4-1 at Shawbridge before smashing Colne for six without reply at Holt House, five of those goals coming after the break. A trip to title-chasing Scarborough Athletic proved to be rather more difficult with the Blues going down 4-1.

Two 2 nd half goals gave Colne victory at Atherton Collieries before the home thrashing from Clitheroe.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, I went to the Anchor to see Charnock Richard win 4-1 against Darwen, but they made hard work of it despite the Salmoners going down to ten men before the break.

A crowd of well over 200 then saw Charnock's second heavy home defeat in a row, 4-1 to City of Liverpool.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 3-2 at home to Hanley Town thanks to a last minute winner before gaining an even better victory, 4-0 at Barnton.

Padiham led 1-0 at Bootle at the break but ended up being well beaten 4-1.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-0 at home to Irlam.

The Runcorn 'derby' drew it's usual huge attendance, 704 witnessed a 5-0 away victory for Linnets

In the 1 st Division, Nelson won their Boxing Day 'derby' 3-0 at Bacup Borough who, despite leading at the break, lost 3-1 at Pretwich Heys.

Early December

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia are having a poor season and they began the month with a 5-0 thrashing at leaders AEK Larnaca although Matt was missing. He was back for the next game, at home to unbeaten Apollon, and a 91 st minute goal saw them lose again. A trip to bottom side Achnas gave them the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways but they had to come back from behind twice jusst to earn a point with Matt being booked after 54 minutes.

In the Sports Council Cup, Great Harwood Town were well beaten, 4-1 by Anchor.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon enjoyed a fine home win in the FA Cup, 3-1 against Charlton Athletic. They then went out of the EFL Trophy after a 2-0 defeat at Yeovil before a 4-0 home hammering by Wigan Athletic.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley lost 2-0 at Lincoln City and manager John Coleman was less than impressed with the referee.

In the Conference, Fylde went down 1-0 at Boreham Wood.

Paul Clark's Aldershot drew 0-0 at Torquay United before a disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Halifax Town.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 2-1 at Gloucester City but then lost 3-2 at Braintree Town.

In the North Division, Boston United eased themselves out of the relegation positions with two home wins, against York City, 2-1, and Southport, 3-2, both times coming from half-time deficits.

That defeat for the Sandgrounders followed a 3-3 draw at Tamworth with Gilchrist scoring all five of those goals. They were then hammered 5-1 at Widnes in the Liverpool Senior Cup.

Phil O'Dell's FC United continued with their good form, winning 3-2 at home to high-flying Harrogate Town and drawing 1-1 at home to another of the fancied teams, Brackley Town.

Chorley won 2-0 at home to Leamington before a disappointing 3-1 home defeat by Marine saw their interest in the FA Trophy ended, despite taking a 2 nd minute lead.

The Magpies then made it through to the semi-finals of the LancashireFA Challenge Trophy, a last minute goal giving them a 2-1 win at local rivals Bamber Bridge.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham won 2-1 at Mickleover Sports and drew 0-0 at Warrington Town.

In the 1 st Division, Colne lost 2-1 at Brighouse Town.

Clitheroe won 2-1 at Radcliffe Borough in the league then thrashed the same opponents 4-0 at home in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy quarter-final.

Ramsbottom United put up a good fight at home to South Shields before going down 3-2 and then lost again, 1-0 at Droylsden.

In the NWCFL, Barnoldswick Town won 4-1 at home to West Didsbury & Chorlton but found in-form Widnes a different proposition, losing 2-0 away from home.

Charnock Richard were far from convincing at lowly Burscough, only drawing 1-1 before being well beaten 4-1 at home to Widnes.

Darwen went out of the Lancashire FA Trophy with a last minute goal giving Lancaster City a 3-2 win at the Anchor. They then lost by the same score at Maine Road.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 2-1 at home to his former club Padiham despite leading at the break and then went out of the Cheshire Senior Cup after a 3-2 defeat at Cammell Laird.

In the 1 st Division, Nelson led St Helens 1-0 at Victory Park but still went down 2-1

but they went through to the next round of the Macron Cup after a 3-0 penalty shoot-out win at Prestwich Heys after A 1-1 draw. They then won 1-0 at Litherland REMYCA back in the league.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 1-0 at Shepton Mallet but then went down 2-1 at Wellington before a 2-1 home success against Chipping Sodbury Town.

 

November

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia came from behind to win 2-1 at Doxa, although Matt was missing, but were then thrashed 5-0 at leaders AEK and slipped to 8 th place after a 1-0 home reverse against unbeaten Apollon thanks to a 91 st minute winner.Matt was back in the side for the last of those games.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon had a mixed month, winning 3-1 at Bristol Rovers, drawing 0-0 at home to Oldham Athletic before a 2-1 home defeat against Walsall.

Accrington Stanley also had a mixed month, drawing 1-1 at home to Newport County, winning 1-0 at home to Wycombe Wanderers before going down 2-0 at Exeter City.They also exited the EFL Trophy after a 3-2 defeat at Lincoln City.

Fylde had some good results, winning 2-0 at home to Torquay United, and 1-0 at Dover who would have gone top with a win. They also drew 1-1 at home to Wigan Athletic in the televised game.

Paul Clark's Aldershot won 2-0 at Hartlepool, 2-0 at home to Wrexham, who would have gone top with a win, and 2-0 at Bromley.

In the Conference North, Boston United lost 3-1 at Harrogate Town leaving them in deep trouble 2 nd from bottom.

Phil O'Dell's FC United appointed long-serving Tom Greaves as their new manager but lost 2-1 in the 'six-pointer' at Gainsborough Trinity and then exited the FA Trophy after a 1-0 defeat at Marine. The only goal coming from the penalty spot after 19 minutes.

Southport's poor season continued with a 3-0 home defeat against Blyth Spartans.

Chorley drew 1-1 at Stockport County in the league before making it into the next round of the FA Trophy with a hard fought win at Grantham Town.

The Magpies trailed 3-1 at the break but stormed back with three unanswered goals, the last of which was an 89 th minute Blackman decider.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough lost 3-2 at home to Bath City.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt's Altrincham continue to lead the way, having sewn up the game at Sutton Coldfield Town after only 11 minutes. By that stage the Robins were 3-0 up and eventually won 4-0. Another early salvo saw them lead 2-0 at Alfreton Town after 17 minutes in the FA Trophy and that's the way it ended. A local derby followed at Mossley in the Integro League Cup and after a 3-3 draw, thanks to a Hancock hat-trick, Alty won 5-4 on penalties.

In the Evo-stik North, Clitheroe defeated Hyde 2-0 at Shawbridge while Colne came back from 2-0 and then 3-1 down at home to Radcliffe Borough to earn a point.

The following game saw the Blues come from behind again to beat Ossett Albion4-1, also at Shawbridge.

Ramsbottom United won 3-2 at leaders Bamber Bridge with the home side only scoring their goals in the final six minutes. The Rams then lost 1-0 at bottom side Goole but went through to the next round of the Integro Cup after a penalty shoot-out success at home to Hyde United after a goalless draw.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham went behind at Daisy Hill after only 2 minutes but stormed back to win 8-2 and the goalscoring continued a few days later at Irlam where they triumphed 4-0. Another win followed, 3-2 at home to Burscough despite going behind twice.

Darwen lost 4-2 at AFC Liverpool and then 1-0 at Burscough leaving them 2 nd bottom.

Barnoldswick Town smashed Squires Gate 5-0 at the Silentnight Stadium

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 4-2 at Runcorn Linnets but then won 5-3 at 2 nd placed HanleyTown. They then came from behind to win 2-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton.

Shame for the supporters who turned up for the Abbey Hey v New Mills game which was abandoned after ONE MINUTE due to floodlight failure.

Charnock Richard won 3-0 at Widnes with Grimshaw and Hession on target again and they continued with the great form, hammering neighbours Darwen 9-1.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough lost 2-1 at home to Blackpool but then won by the same score at St Helens thanks to a last minute winner.

Nelson lost 2-1 at home to Cheadle Town and then 1-0 at Silsden to leave them bottom of the table.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic went through to the next round of the Les Phillips Cup thanks to a 2-0 home win against Corsham Town but their poor league form continued with a 2-1 defeat at lowly Hengrove Athletic, despite taking the lead.

October

Matt Derbyshire’s Omonia Nicosia lost 2-1 at Ermis but then won 1-0 at home to AEL and 3-1 away to Nea Salamis where Matt scored an 84 th minute penalty. They ended the month with a 1-1 draw at home to Anorthosis with the equaliser only coming in the 96 th minute.

Great Harwood Town won 5-2 at in the Eddleston Cup against St Mary’s College Old Boys and in the 2 nd Division, won 4-1 against Worth Avenue.

Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon began the month with a fine 4-3 home win against Tottenham Hotspurs under 21’s, coming from behind three times before Parrot’s 92 nd minute winner.

Back in League action, they were then well beaten 3-0 at Oxford United but got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at Northampton and a 3-1 home victory over Rotherham United. Then followed two 1-0 defeats, at home to bottom side Plymouth Argyle and at Charlton Athletic.

Accrington Stanley twice led at Stevenage but two goals in the final 6 minutes condemned them to a 3-2 defeat but wins at Crewe Alexandra, 2-0, and 4-1 at home to Barnet, took them up to 2 nd in League Two.

In the National League, Paul Clark’s Aldershot looked to be heading for three points at home to Dagenham & Redbridge before an 86 th minute goal gave the visitors a point. The next game saw the Shots salvage a point when a 90 th minute leveller gave them a 3-3 draw at Maidenhead United. They then came from behind to defeat Tranmere Rovers 2-1 at the Rec with the winner coming in the 96 th minute in front of a fantastic crowd of 2,714. Another big attendance then saw them draw 2-2 at home to Sutton United. Paul then made the mammoth trip to Barrow where a Yussuf hat-trick helped the Bluebirds to a 3-1 win.

In the Conference North, a last minute goal saw Southport go down 2-1 at home to Spennymoor Town and another 90 th minute strike saw visitors Gainsborough Trinity take a point, also at Haig Avenue. The Sandgrounders earned a point at Telford United after a last minute penalty gave them a 1-1 draw.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United drew 3-3 at bottom side North Ferriby United and then lost 1-0 at Chorley before a crowd of less then 1,500. That was followed by a 2-1 home win against Nuneaten Town.

Chorley won 2-0 at Alfreton Town before the FC United win but then lost 1-0 at Spennymoor Town and could only draw 1-1 at home to Tamworth.

Boston United lost 2-1 at Telford United and by the same score at Curzon Ashton and then exited the FA Cup after a 4-3 extra-time defeat against Chorley. Another defeat, 3-2 at home to Brackley Town proved to be the final straw for manager Adam Murray who resigned afterwards. That improved Pilgrims performance was followed by another at home to Salfrod City but the result was the same, a 1-0 defeat.

In the Conference South, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough were leading 2-0 at half time at Chelmsford City before collapsing to a 5-2 defeat. Another loss followed, 2-0 at home to Hemel Hempstead Town. The Sports then trailed 2-0 at home to East Thurrock United at the break but fought back to earn a point. They finally got back to winning ways with a 1-0 success at Hungerford Town.

In the Evo-stik League Premier Division, Paul Salt’s Altrincham thrashed Nantwich Town 5-1 at Moss lane, before a crowd of almost 1,000 saw then hammer Rushall Olympic 4-0.

The Robins then had to settle for a point with a 1-1 draw at Whitby Town but another comfrotable home win followed, 3-0 against Halesowen Town. They progressed in the Integro Cup, winning 4-3 on penalties after a 3-3 at home to Ashton United. The goals contiued to flow with a 4-0 home win against Lancaster City and a 3-0 home win against Clitheroe in the FA Trophy

Clitheroe lost 3-1 at Trafford but three first half goals at home to Colne saw them progress in the FA Trophy before a last minute Willoughby goal saw them beat Atherton Collieries at Shawbridge. The Blues then lost 3-2 at Prescot Cables

Ramsbottom United defeated Brighouse Town 2-1 at the Riverside and then went through to the next round of the FA Trophy after beating Colwyn Bay 3-0. The Rams then went down to a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Skelmersdale United despite leading twice. They were then surprisingly beaten 4-0 at home to Colne before knocking Shaw Lane out of the FA Trophy, 4-1 after a 2-2 away draw.

A last minute goal condemned Colne to a 2-1 defeat at Ossett Albion before their FA Trophy exit and then three 2 nd half goals saw them go down to Bamber Bridge at Holt House. They then won 2-1 at home to Prescot Cables before a 2-1 home defeat against Workington ended their Integro Cup hopes. Another League defeat followed, 2-0 at Scarborough Athletic.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham let a two-goal half time lead slip at Squires Gate who forced a draw but the Storks then produced a fine performance to defeat City of Liverpool 2-0 at the Arbories in front of almost 450 fans. Another good result followed, a 3-1 win at Maine Road but they then lost 2-1 at home to Hanley Town whose goals came in the 85 th and 90 th minutes. They were soon back to winning ways with a 3-1 success at AFC Liverpool.

With a minute left of their home game against Widnes, they trailed 3-1 but strikes from Craig and Jordon gave them an unlikely point.

I took in the Darwen v Charnock Richard game, surprised that the game went ahead after heavy rain, and at half time, with the Salmoners 1-0 up, the game was abandoned! They then drew 1-1 at Abbey Hey before being involved in a thriller at the Anchor where they came from 2-0 and 4-1 down to draw 4-4 thanks to two goals in the final five minutes. A second minute Allen goal proved enough to beat City of Liverpool, also at home. They then twice took the lead against Marske United in the FA Vase at the Anchor but ended up losing 3-2. yet another home game followed and the Salmoners were blitzed by Hanley Town who led 5-0 with barely half an hour played! They did manage to stem the tide and scored the only two goals of the second half. Another disastrous first half saw them 4-0 down at Ashton Athletic who scored two more unanswered second half goals.

Charnock, meanwhile, won 3-1 at Maine Road but then lost 1-0 at Bedlington Terriers in the FA Vase before collecting three more points in a 1-0 home win over Irlam.

Steve Pickup’s Northwich Victoria won 3-2 at home to Congleton Town but were then smashed 7-4 at Barnton. Two early goals at Abbey Hey proved enough to take the three points, 2-1 the final score.

Barnoldswick Town lost 3-1 at home to Hanley Town but then defeated AFC Liverpool 3-2 at the Silentnight thanks to a 90 th minute Lloyd winner. They then came from behind to win 3-2 at Barnton and followed that up with a 2-0 win at West Didsbury & Chorlton and a tremendous 1-1 draw at Runcorn Linnets. They ended the month with a 4-1 defeat at lowly Burscough.

In the First Division, Nelson were hammered 5-0 at Carlisle City but then won 2-0 at Cheadle Town before exiting the Lancs. Challenge Trophy, losing 2-1 at West Didsbury & Chorlton. They progressed in the Macron Cup by winning 3-2 on penalties after a goalless draw at Blackpool but despite taking the lead at Chadderton, lost 4-2. They also took the lead at Preswich Heys but lost 4-1. An LWC Cup exit followed, losing 1-0 at home to Atherton L.R.

Bacup Borough lost 4-1 at Abbey Hulton United but then defeated New Mills 2-1 at West View before losing 3-0 at Alsager Town. They then took the lead in their LWC tie at Prestwich Heys but ended up on the wrong side of a 3-1 defeat.


Late Septmeber

Matt Derbyshire’s Omonia Nicosia began their Cyprus Division One campaign with a 2-1 home win against Achnas with the ex-Harwood hero taking just 24 minutes to get off the mark. After the visitors had equalised in the second half, Matt struck the winner 8 minutes from time.

They then lost 2-1 at Paphos who took the lead on the hour mark before Matt levelled 11 minutes later. A penalty 6 minutes later saw the home side victorious.

Omonia then had a convincing 5-2 home win against AEK Larnaca. Matt took just 11 minutes to get off the mark and by that stage his side were already one up. That was followed by a disappointing 2-2 home draw with Alki Orokini and it could have been worse but for a late equalising penalty.

A third home game in a row saw them drop two more points after a 94 th minute equaliser gave visiting local rivals Ol. Nicosia a 1-1 draw.

By the end of the month Matt was joint top scorer in the division with four.

Great Harwood Town after their promotion last term, began the Blackburn and District Football Combination 2 nd Division campaign with a 6-3 win against St. Marys C.O.B.

Another big win followed, 5-2, against another famous name from the past, Blackburn Olympic. Blackburn United Reserves were then despatched 8-0 but the team were brought back down to earth with a 7-0 defeat against Beehive.

Town then completed a quick double over Blackburn Olympic with a narrow 4-3 victory. A second defeat of the season came against Blackburn Elite who won 3-0.

Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon couldn’t follow up their great result at the Rovers and it couldn’t have been a bigger let-down as they lost 2-0 at home to bitter enemies MK Dons.

They were beaten again next time out, 1-0 at Southend United and then made it three games without a goal after being held to a goalless draw at home to Rochdale.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley followed up their fine win at Chesterfield by defeating Middlesbrough Under 23’s 3-2 at the Crown before being held to a 1-1 draw by Cheltenham Town at the same venue.

That was followed by two more away success’s, 2-1 at Port Vale and 1-0 at Forest Green Rovers, leaving them in third plave at the end of the month.

Fylde have found wins difficult after their promotion to the National League with just two wins in the opening 12 games but two Rowe goals gave them a tremendous 2-1 win at Leyton Orient.

Paul Clark’s Aldershot had the chance to lead the table but a draw with Leyton Orient and a defeat at Macclesfield saw them drop out of the play-off positions.

In the North Division, a late equaliser at home to Darlington earned Boston United a point but after drawing at home to Haughmond, they won 5-0 in the replay.

The Pilgrims then made it through to the next round after a 2-0 win at AFC Mansfield in front of a record attendance of 613.

Boston Town put up a great show in the 3 rd qualifying round, twice leading visiyors Hyde United before going down to a last minute penalty, the Tigers’ Beadle scoring, his second spot-kick of the game which completed his hat-trick

Southport’s poor form continued with an embarrassing 7-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge in the Lancs. FA Challenge Trophy, a competition which they’ve excelled in in recent years. That was followed by a 3-0 defeat at Nuneaton.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United shocked play-off chasing Tamworth, winning 3-1 at Broadhurst Park and then came back from the dead in the FA Cup at Stockport County. The Hatters led 3-0 after only 41 minutes but United roared back and equalised with an 83 rd minute penalty.

Chorley won 3-2 at home to Telford United despite having a man sent off before making it through to the final qualifying round of the FA Cup with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Ashton Athletic.

In the Vanarama South, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough won 2-0 at home to lowly Oxford City but were then dumped out of the FA Cup by equally lowly Bognor Regis Town.

In the Evo-stik Premier Division, Paul Salt’s Altrincham are getting to grips with the level, smashing Farsley Celtic 6-0 at Moss Lane before edging past Grantham Town 1-0, also at home. A third win followed, an excellent 3-0 result at Hednesford Town.

In the Evo-stik North, Clitheroe lost three games in a row, 3-1 at home to Colwyn Bay, 3-0 at home to Bamber Bridge and 4-1 at leaders South Shields.

The Blues got back on track with a 4-3 home victory against neighbours Ramsbottom United before being held to a 1-1 draw by Mossley, also at Shawbridge.

Ramsbottom United lost 2-1 at Kendal Town but defeated Prescot Cables 1-0 at the Riverside. They then lost by the only goal at home to Bamber Bridge

Colne lost 3-1 at Glossop North End before drawing 1-1 at home to Mossley.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham were held to a goalless draw by Ashton Athletic at Holt House but then won 3-2 at Barnton

Charnock Richard won 4-0 at BarnoldswickTown and then 3-0 at home to Bacup Borough in the FA Vase. Back in league action, two Grimshaw goals helped them to a 3-1 home win against Bootle, his 6 th goal in 7 league games.

Bacup exited their second competition of the week, losing 3-1 at Holker Old Boys in the Lancs. Challenge Trophy in front of only 17 spectators.

Darwen lost 1-0 at home to Squires Gate but made it through to the next round of the FA Vase with an excellent 4-2 win at one of our ex-opponents Glasshoughton Welfare, 4-2 the score. They then lost 1-0 at home to Runcorn Linnets in the league before a superb 5-4 victory at West Didsbury & Chorlton with Massamba notchign four.

Nelson lost 3-2 at Garforth Town in the Vase after having led 2-0 at the break, and were then held to a 2-2 draw by Eccleshall in Division One.

Barnoldswick Town followed up their home defeat against Charnock Richard with another one, 2-1 to Bootle, despite leading at the break. They then looked to about to receive a good hiding at City of Liverpool, trailing 2-0 after only 8 minutes but they hit back to claim a point in a 4-4 draw thanks to Threllfall’s 88 th minute leveller.

Ex-Harwood stalwart Steve Pickup has moved to Northwich Victoria along with Steve Wilkes and Andy Payton.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock’s Buckland Athletic surprisingly lost 2-1 at home to Bradford Town although the visitors are unbeaten this term, but then won by the same score at Cribbs with Nick amongst the dozen or so Bucks’ fans present.

The three points ensured that stayed top of the table.

Early September

Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon were well beaten by Blackpool at Bloomfield Road despite the 1-0 scoreline. A 2-0 home reverse against Portsmouth was then followed by a 1-1 home draw against Gillingham.

I was hoping to meet up with Fitz as his favourites made the trip to Ewood Park to take on the Rovers but he was too ill to make the journey.

A shoddy home display helped the Dons to a fairly comfortable 1-0 win.

Accrington Stanley produced a dominent display to win 2-1 at Morecambe and followed that with another, hammering Carlisle United 3-0 in atrocious conditions at the Crown Ground.

They were then surprisingly beaten 2-1 at home to Grimsby Town who appeared to be more ‘up for it’ than the Reds.

They got back on track in the next game at Chesterfield, winning 2-1.

In the National League, Paul Clark’s Aldershot defeated Solihull Moors 1-0 at the ‘Rec’ to stay in the play-off positions but then lost 2-0 at home to Dover who moved to the top of the table with the win.

The Shots then won 2-0 at Ebbsfleet United while Dover lost at home to Boreham Wood which saw the teams change positions and four days later Aldershot remained in top spot after ending Gateshead’s unbeaten home record with a 2-0 win with Dover keeping up the pressure with a 4-0 home success against Chester.

Paul was amongst the superb following of 127 in a crowd of 654.

Fylde lost 2-1 at Halifax Town with two Denton goals doing the damage. The 6 foot 7 inch striker who, in my opinion, is lucky to ever complete a game, continues to fool the officials with his highly debatable style of tactics.

The Coasters then drew 2-2 at home to Bromley, coming back from two down with less than half an hour to play.

The League attracted no less than four attendances of over 4,000 on the first Saturday of the month.

Fylde were then defeated 2-1 at Macclesfield Town thanks to a 91 st minute winner from the Silkmen and then drew their 6 th game in 11 after a 1-1 scoreline at Eastleigh.

In the National League North, Boston United gained their first away point of the season, along with their first away game finishing with eleven men, at Kidderminster Harriers, and it could have been even better had Chapman’s first half penalty not been saved.

It then took a last minute goal to secure the points against bottom of the table North Ferriby United at York Street, 2-1 the score, but United once again had a player sent off.

The longest trip of the season followed, to Blyth Spartans, and the game was over within 15 minutes of the kick off with the home side already 3-0 up and running out 5-2 winners.

A trip to Bradford Park Avenue followed, a ground where I haven’t seen the Pilgrims beaten in many trips, but despite taking the lead, they lost again, 2-1.

An FA Cup tie against minnows Haughmond gave them the perfect opportunity to get a big win and restore the confidence but incredibly they could only draw 1-1 and also had keeper Willis to thank for a late save to keep them in the competition.

Chorley defeated York City 2-0 at Victory Park and three days later Darlington 4-1 at the same venue. They then lost 2-0 at Blyth Spartans before winning 3-1 at Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Cup.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United failed to build on their first victory against Boston, losing 2-1 at home to bottom side Leamington, 3-1 at home to Blyth Spartans and 1-0 at Curzon Ashton in front of a turn out of only 726.

The home attendances continue to fall with only 1,491 watching the game against Blyth.

A 3-0 defeat at Darlington left them second bottom and they then survived in the FA Cup after a 1-1 draw at Handsworth Parramore with the home side equalising in the last minute.

Southport moved into 3 rd place after a 2-0 home win against Darlington but were then smashed 6-0 at Stockport County, 3-0 at home to Kidderminster Harriers and 4-1 at home to Harrogate Town.

The FA Cup brought more woe as they lost 3-0 at home to Bradford Park Avenue.

In the South Division, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough twice came from behind to defeat Chippenham 4-2 and followed that with another home win, 3-1 against Concord Rangers. They then gained a fine point in a 2-2 draw at St Albans. Two goals a minute before the break looked to have given Saints the points but the Sports hit back to equalise in the 92 nd minute.

That was followed by a 4-2 defeat at leaders Dartford.

The Sports then made it through to the next round of the FA Cup with a 4-3 home win against Carshalton Athletic.

In the Evo-stik League North Division, Ramsbottom United came from behind to beat visitors Glossop North End 4-2 at the Riverside in front of over 300 fans. The Rams then attracted 369 for the Friday night game against Trafford which they won 3-1 to move into 2 nd place.

Clitheroe won 4-1 at Skelmersdale United but then lost 3-1 at home to Colwyn Bay.

In the FA Cup 1 st qualifying round, Paul Salt’s Altrincham were cruising into the next round, leading 3-0 at Abbey Hey with less than 25 minutes gone, but the hosts fought back with two goals before the break and an 85 th minute leveller to force a replay. Alty edged the replay 2-1 and back in League action, won 3-1 at Barwell.

They were then hammered 5-2 at Workington and exited the FA Cup , losing 1-0 at Shilden.

Barnoldswick Town lost 3-2 at Albion Sports. Danny Boyle’s 89 th minute leveller looke to have sent the game into extra time but Facey struck the winner for the home side in added time.

Barlick then lost 1-0 at home to Darwen in the league and by the same score in the FA Vase to Dunston UTS in front of over 200 fans at the Silentnight Stadium before being denied three points at Irlam after a last minute equaliser.

Colne lost 1-0 at home to Lancaster City but then defeated Clitheroe 2-0 at home in the Integro Cup. They then lost 2-1 at home to leaders South Shields and 3-2 at Tadcaster Albion, despite leading 2-0 after an hour.

One of the biggest results was Boston Town’s 2-0 home defeat of Hednesford Town and they made it through the next round with a 2-1 win at Dereham Town.

City of Liverpool attracted a fantastic four-figure attendance for their home tie agaiant Nantwich Town where a last minute Cooke goal saw the visitors progress.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham had lost the game at Runcorn Linnets within half an hour, already 4-0 down before eventually going down 6-1 but then won 5-1 at Burscough. Long-serving manager Steve Wilkes left the club along with ex-Harwood star Steve Pickup. They then made it through to the next round of the FA Vase after a 5-0 home win against Thackley with Hart and Turner both scoring twice.

Charnock Richard won 3-1 at Hanley Town and then 7-1 in the FA Vase at Selby Town with another brace coming from Grimshaw.

Darwen lost 3-1 at home to Maine Road and then 2-0 at Winsford United.

In the 1 st division, Nelson lost 1-0 at home to Abbey Hulton United and then 2-0 at Holker Old Boys and 4-0 at home to Stockport Town.

Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at home to Cammell Laird and then 7-1 at Sandbach United with all the home side’s goals coming in the first 70 minutes.

How times change-not too long ago Northwich Victoria had a new ground and were thrashing Football League clubs live on TV but they exited the FA Vase, losing 4-3 at home to Stockport Town.

Also in that competition, two almost identical thrillers took place at Vauxhall Motors and Whitchurch Alport.

In the first game, visitors 1874 Northwich quickly went into a two-goal lead before Motors hit back to lead 4-2. back came the visitors with two goals in the final 15 minutes to force extra-time before scoring the decider.

In the second game, Pershore Town led 2-0 after only 12 minutes but just six minutes after the break, Alport led 4-2. Back came Town to make it 4-4 and take the tie 4-3 on penalties.

Previous opponents Guisborough Town lost 7-1 at Sunderland Ryhope CW, Seaham Red Star defeated Albion Sports, Crook Town lost 3-2 at Tow Law Town, Glasshoughton Welfare lost 3-2 at Widnes, Hall Road Rangers won 2-0 at home to Gedling MW and Bilston Town won 3-2 at home to Bolehall Swifts.

No team managed double figures but AFC St Austell beat Bishops Lydeard 9-1.

In the South West, Nick Hancock’s Buckland Athletic drew 2-2 at home to ‘bogey’ team Melksham Town in front of 161 fans. A trip to bottom side Longwell Green Sports followed with a predictable outcome of 4-1 to the Bucks, despite the home side fielding six new players. Sports did though, score their first goal of the season after 7 games.

The three points left Buckland four clear at the top.

A tough home game was next against a Cleveden side who were unbeaten and ha conceded just four goals in six games but Nick’s boys triumphed 2-0.

Late August

In League One, Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon lost 2-0 at Fleetwood Town but then defeated Doncaster Rovers by the same score at home before a 4-3 Checkatrade Trophy victory at Barnet.

In League Two, Accrington Stanley won 2-1 at home to Mansfield Town thanks to Billy Kee stoppage time winner but exited the League Cup after a 3-1 home defeat against a strong West Bromwich Albion side watched by 2,700 fans.

They then drew 2-2 at Notts County thanks to a 95 th minute equaliser from Wilks.

In the National League, Paul Clark’s Aldershot Town lost their unbeaten start to the season, going down 2-1 at Boreham Wood. A shocking 1 st half left them with a mountain to climb but cheered on by the majority of the crowd, they pulled a goal back soon after the re-start but in truth, the narrow defeat was mainly down to Shots keeper Jake Cole.

In the North Division, I travelled down to York Street with the Chorley supporters to watch Boston United and I was the only ‘happy bunny’ on the return journey after fairly comfortable 2-0 home win. That defeat was the second of the week for the Magpies after a 4-1 defeat at Harrogate Town on the previous Tuesday.

The Pilgrims were then soundly beaten, 3-0 at home to Spennymoor Town.

Another local game, at FC United, gave me the opportunity see them again but a poor display saw them go down 2-1. In truth, the result was never in doubt after a very soft penalty gave the Reds the lead, which they doubled before the break. Smith’s second sending off of the season, a minute after half time and a second harsh dismissal ten minutes later, added to the hot, sunny weather, gave Boston little chance of a comeback.

The attendance of 1600, was by my reckoning, United’s lowest-ever league crowd despite another superb three-figure following from Lincolnshire.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United gained their first point of the season with a 3-3 draw at high-flying Southport, but leading 3-1 with four minutes to play, it must have felt like a defeat. They then lost 3-0 at Bradford Park Avenue, a result which saw them sink to the bottom of the table before their success against Boston.

In the South, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough gained their first clean sheet of the season with a goalless draw at home to Welling United and quickly followed that up with another, helping them to their first win of the campaign, 1-0 at Truro City.

A 1-1 home draw against Wealdstone was followed by a 1-0 success at Bognor Regis Town.

In the Evo-stik Premier, Paul Salt’s Altricham gained a point at Nantwich Town but it took an 86 th minute Johnston penalty to save them but they then lost 1-0 at Matlock Town, leaving them 2 nd bottom after the opening three games.

They then ground out an important 1-0 home win against Whitby Town. The Bank Holiday weekend saw the Robins collect six points courtesy of wins against Coalville Town, 4-2 at home, and 2-0 at Witton Albion to move them into the top half of the table.

In the North Division, Ramsbottom United drew 2-2 at Colwyn Bay.

Clitheroe lost 2-0 at Glossop North End but progressed in the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at Pickering Town before a comprehensive 4-0 home defeat against Scarborough Athletic in front of an excellent turn-out of 365. That was followed by a 1-1 draw at Kendal Town.

Colne drew 1-1 at Mossley and won 4-0 at home to Goole.

In the FA Cup Preliminary Round, Prescot Cables drew 2-2 at home to City of Liverpool in front of a fantastic attendance of 973.

The replay at Bootle attracted another 956 who saw an amazing game where the ‘Purps’ smashed their higher-league opponents 8-2.

Colne made it through thanks to a fine 1-0 win at Tadcaster Albion and followed that up with a goalless draw at Colwyn Bay.

Ramsbottom United went out, losing 3-2 at home to Liversedge despite leading twice, including 2-1 with about a minute to go before Roy Faggarty struck twice at the death.

The Rams then drew 1-1 at Hyde United but won 3-0 at home to Radcliffe Borough in the Bank Holiday derby game in front af a crowd of over 300.

Barnoldswick Town won 2-1 at home to Dunston UTS but then lost 1-0 in the League at home to Runcorn Town before winning 3-1 at Squires Gate.

Elsewhere, evergreen Ciaran Kilheeney shows no signs of slowing up and he scored twice in Droylsden’s 4-3 win at Ossett Albion.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard continued their electric start to the season with a 5-2 home win against Squires Gate with Grimshaw scoring a brace for the the third game running. They had led 5-0 just after the hour mark before easing off.

They then travelled to City of Liverpool where two 1 st half goals saw them go down 2-0 in front of almost 600 fans.

Darwen won their first game, 2-0 at home to AFC Liverpool but were then held to a goalless draw by Burscough, also at the Anchor.

Padiham lost 2-0 at 1874 Northwich but then smashed Darwen 5-1 at the Arbories.

In the 1 st Division, Bacup Borough drew 1-1 at home to Daisy Hill before winning 2-1 at AFC Blackpool and drawing 1-1 at Carlisle City.

Nelson twice lost the lead a New Mills to draw 2-2 and were then beaten 1-0 at home by Bacup.

Nick Hancock’s Buckland Athletic kept up their 100% winning start to the season, edging out Wells City 2-1 at Homer’s Heath in front of a healthy 145 and then Brislington 4-1, also at home. They then dropped their first points of the season after a 3-3 draw at Street but remained top of the pile.

Early August 2017

The new football season kicked off with Accrington Stanley getting off to a great start with a 3-1 home win against Cheltenham Town.

In the League Cup, they hosted P.N.E. and looked to have won it after taking a 2-1 lead in the 86 th minute but with many Preston fans already making their way home, a 91 st minute equaliser appeared to dash the Reds’ hopes but Billy Kee was the hero as he secured the win with a 94 th minute decider.

Typical of Stanley, they then lost 3-2 at Yeovil Town who were smarting from their 8-2 thrashing at Luton Town.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbedon began the campaign with a good point in a 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe United.

The Dons then exited the League Cup at home to Brentford. Leading 1-0 at the break, the home side conceded an equaliser to take the game into extra-time where the Bees scored twice more.

Another home defeat followed, 1-0 against Shrewsbury Town.

Fleetwood Town also started well with a fine 2-0 home win against newly relegated Rotherham United. They then exited the League Cup after a 2-1 home defeat against Carlisle United but bounced back in the next League game, winning 1-0 at Northampton Town.

In the Vanarama National League, Fylde came from behind to earn a point in a 2-2 home draw with Boreham Wood and earned another with a 1-1 draw at Chester before making it three with a 3-3 draw at Ebbsfleet United.

Paul Clark’s Aldershot led the table after one game thanks to an opening day 2-0 victory at Halifax Town and they maintained that position with a 3-2 home success against Torquay United. A 6-0 home thrashing of Guiseley left them as the only National League side with a 100% record.

I travelled to Haig Avenue along with 140 other Boston supporters to see the new-look Pilgrims take on newly-relegated Southport but the optimism of watching an almost entirely new team was blown away as the Pilgrims lost 4-0 and finished the game with nine men.

They then won 3-1 at home to Alfreton Town before going down 2-1 at Tamworth and having another player sent off.

Southport, meanwhile, won 2-1 at Bradford Park Avenue, thanks to a last minute winner and then 1-0 at Leamington.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United lost 2-1 at Brackley Town with the Red’s away following dwindling-just 654 watching the game. Another two defeats quickly followed, 3-2 at home to fancied Spennymoor Town, and 2-1 at the same venue against Kidderminster Harriers.

Chorley continued where they left off last term, defying the odds against ‘bigger’ clubs by winning 1-0 at Kidderminster Harriers but they were then beaten 1-0 at home by big-spending Salford City. They then came from behind to earn a point at home to Curzon Ashton.

In the South Division, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough got off to a disappointing start, losing 3-2 at home to Braintree Town, despite leading 2-0 after only 20 minutes. A similar defeat followed at Havant & Waterlooville although the result was never in doubt-both the Sports goals coming in the last minute.

In the FA Cup extra preliminary round, Nick Hancock’s Buckland Athletic went down to a 3-2 home defeat against Bodmin Town, despite the Non-League Paper’s results column showing a 3-2 win!

The Bucks were three down before a fightback but their cause wasn’t helped by a sending off with the score at 3-1. They then won their opening League game, 3-2 at home to newly promoted Wellington in front of another three-figure crowd. A second league victory followed, 4-3 at Chipping Sodbury.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup, previous opponents, Seaham Red Star drew 1-1 at home to Whitley Bay but lost the replay 4-1 while Guisborough Town won 4-2 at home to Stockton Town and Hall Road Rangers lost 2-1 at AFC Mansfield thanks to a goal with the last kick of the game.

Local clubs had mixed results, Darwen losing 3-2 at Runcorn Town thanks to a last minute penalty, Barnoldswick Town coming from behind to defeat Jarrow Roofing 3-1 at the Silentnight Stadium, Nelson losing 2-0 at Albion Sports and Charnock Richard losing 4-3 at home to Pennistone despite leading 2-0 in front of a huge 254 crowd.

The Northwich derby drew 510 who saw Victoria draw 2-2 at home to 1874, the home side coming back from two down after an hour. 1874 then won the replay thanks to two first half goals in front of 429 spectators.

Padiham also drew a fine attendance of 357 with the majority going home happy after visitors City of Liverpool won 2-1 in their first ever FA Cup game.

The ‘Purps’ bandwagon shows no signs of slowing down with the cup success following on from the previous week’s Reusch Champions Cup win against Atherton Collieries.

Biggest win of the round was Berkhamstead’s 12-1 away massacre of Stotfold.

Ilkeston, after a Summer of uncertainty, where they folded, dispanded and re-appeared on the Midland League fixture list did actually begin the campaign, drawing 1-1 at Uttoxeter Town.

In the North West Counties League Premier Division, Charnock Richrad are carrying on from where they left last season, winning 5-3 at Barnton and 4-1 at home to Padiham with leading scorer Carl Grimshaw netting a brace in both matches.

That was the Storks second defeat after a 4-2 home loss against Northwich Victoria.

Barnoldswick Town lost 1-0 at Winsfrod United but then hammered Burscough 5-2 at the Silentnight Stadium.

In the 1 st Division, a Wayne Morrison hat-trick gave Bacup Borough a 3-0 opening day success against Eccleshall at West View.

Nelson opened up with a 2-1 defeat at Alsager Townbefore being soundly beaten 4-0 at home by Carlisle City.

Darwen could be in for another struggle this term, opening up with a 6-2 defeat at Congleton Town and a 4-0 home loss to Ashton Athletic.

July 2017

Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon defeated Watford 3-2 at Kingsmeadow and Ebbsfleet 2-1 away from home.

Paul Clark’s Aldershot lost 5-1 at home to Brentford then 2-1 at Hampton & Richmond. They then beat Chelsea under 23’s 2-1 at the ‘Rec’ but were hammered 5-1 at Staines next time out.

They then held Wycombe Wanderers to a 2-2 draw at home.

Down in Sussex, Mike Barry’s Eastbourne Borough began their pre-season games with two draws, 0-0 at Burgess Hill and 2-2 at Metropolitan Police.

New Boss Jamie Howell has signed experienced League and Non-League player, Sergio Torres from Whitehawk.

Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at home to Hyde United before a 2-0 win at Mersey Valley and a 2-1 home success against Academy 92.

Boston United won 3-0 at town rivals Boston Town before winning 1-0 at Lincoln United in the Lincs. Senior Cup, and then held Barrow to a 1-1 draw at York Street. Another 1-1 draw followed, at Stamford.

They then made it through to the final of the Lincs. Cup with a 3-0 home victory against Grimsby Town but lost 3-0 at Hednesford Town in their final warm-up game.

Nick Hancock’s Buckland Athletic attracted over 700 fans for the game against a strong Plymouth Argyle side who ran out 5-1 winners.

The Bucks then drew 1-1 at Teignmouth before beating Plymouth Parkway 2-1 before another three-figure crowd at Homer’s Heath.

Paul Salt’s Altrincham won 4-1 at Kidsgrove Athletic and then defeated Chester 3-2 at Moss Lane. They then won 4-2 at Bradford Park Avenue 4-0 at Winsford United..

Clitheroe lost 3-2 at Squires Gate but then defeated a Morecambe XI 2-0, and drew 2-2 with Chorley, both at Shawbridge. The Blues were then held to a 1-1 draw at Ashton Athletic before winning 1-0 at Silsden.

Colne held a Fleetwood Town XI to a 2-2 draw at Holt House and won 4-1 at Squires Gate.

An Accrington Stanley XI won 1-0 at Nelson then drew 3-3 at home to a young Everton side before losing 3-2 at home to P.N.E. The goals continued to flow in the next game at home to Oldham Athletic where a crowd of almost 1,000 witnessed a 2-2 draw. They then won 5-0 at Southport with all the goals coming before the break.

‘Port then defeated Burscough 1-0 at home in their final run-out.

Nelson, meanwhile, had lost their first game 3-2 at Burscough but won their final friendly 4-2 at Conwy Borough.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-1 at Rolls (Royce) and 1-0 at home to Skelmersdale United and then won 4-0 at Nelson. They won 8-2 at home to Burnley United beofre losing that unbeaten run with a 3-2 home defeat against Bamber Bridge.

Charnock Richard won 4-0 in North Wales against Buckley Town but were then held to a 2-2 draw at Daisy Hill. They then won 4-1 at Lostock St Gerards and 5-1 at home to Stockport Town.

Padiham smashed Mill Hill St. Peters 13-1 at Queen Victoria Street and then won 3-2 at Garstang but then lost 3-0 at Poulton. They then beat a P.N.E XI 2-1 at the Arbories before losing 2-1 at AFC Blackpool. Their final friendly saw them win 2-0 at home to Accrington Stanley.

Darwen lost 5-0 at home to a Rovers XI before holding an Accrington Stanley XI to a 2-2 draw, also at the Anchor.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United won 3-0 at Congleton Town but then lost 2-1 at Salford City in front of a fantastic turn-out of 900. In between those two games, a reserve side lost 3-2 at Daisy Hill and the first team won 3-1 at Abbey Hey.

Three second half goals then consigned them to a 3-0 defeat at South Shields.

Chorley went down 3-2 at home to Bolton Wanderers despite leading 2-0 but Andy Teague’s sending off changed the game in the visitor’s favour. The Magpies have been boosted by manager Matt Jansen signing a long-term deal at Victory Park.

They then won 4-0 at neighbours Bamber Bridge before defeating a Fleetwood Town XI 2-1 at home thanks to a brace of headers from substitute Jason Walker.

A second XI drew 0-0 at Daisy Hill on the same afternoon.

Nuneaton Town have reverted to their former title of Nuneaton Borough.

Good to see Scarborough back playing in their own town after 10 years playing ‘away’. A crowd of over 2,000 saw them take on Sheffield United in a pre-season friendly.

Tranmere Rovers went goal-crazy at Cammell Laird, leading 9-0 at the break with Alabi scoring five on his debut with the visitors eventually running out 11-0 winners.

Southport went down 3-1 at Bootle and by the same score at home to Blackpool. With behind the scenes shenanigans, it looks like it’s going to be another season of turmoil for the Sandgrounders.

Fylde lost 6-2 at Winsford United and 1-0 at home to Rochdale before drawing 1-1 at Curzon Ashton.

Bacup Borough defeated Academy 92 2-1 at West View.

Ramsbottom United went into the new season in fine fettle, winning 9-0 at Daisy Hill.

Ilkeston, who looked to have folded last month, have been named as one of the Midland League’s clubs for the coming season.

June 2017

Matt Derbyshire finished as top goalscorer in the Cyprus League with 20 goals, four ahead of his nearest rival.

Ilkeston have been wound up in the High Court, the second time in two years that the club has folded although, they’re hoping that they can survive this latest crisis.

A £200,000 sell-on fee for former player Che Adams appears to have gone ‘AWOL’, and that amount of money would have seen the club safe for several years.

The debt which closed the club was just under £14,500.

A new club, Ilkeston United Community FC has alreay been formed but won’t be playing at the New Manor Ground.

Boston United’s matchday programme has been voted best in the Conference North for the 6 th year in a row.

By the end of the month the Pigrims had made nofewer than nine new signings.

Nelson are looking for a first team coach and a kit man.

NWCFL Vice-Chairman Geoff Wilkinson has been presented with an F.A. Long Service Award after 50 years service to the game and well deserved it is too! Whenever I met him, he always had time for a chat and was always very diplomatic.

Phil O’Dell’s FC United have arranged attractive pre-season friendlies against Fleetwood Town and Bolton Wanderers. Amongst the new signings is Richie Baker from Fylde.

Salford City have made their intentions known by signing no fewer than 12 signings before the middle of June! Amongst them is Carl Piergianni which is a blow to us Boston United supporters who hoped that he’d return to York Street after his break in Australia.

The Reds have also gone full-time, hoping to emulate Fylde.

Don Fitzgerald’s Wimbledon have lost player of the year Tom Elliot who has signed for newly promoted Millwall.

Paul Salt’s Altrincham won their oppening pre-season friendly game, 3-2 against 1874 Northwich.

 

   
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