Season 2020/21 Latest News

 

Late August

Matt Derbyshire sat out his side's opening Cyprus 1 st Division game and AEK Larnaca would have been disappointed to draw 1-1 at home to Doxa who had two players sent off.

Our ex-landlords Accrington Stanley defeated Doncaster Rovers 1-0 at the Crown and then made it four wins in a row with a similar scoreline at Crewe Alexandra.

They then earned another clean sheet at Oldham Athletic in the EFL Cup but the Latics went through on penalties after a 0-0 stalemate.

That reverse was followed by another, 2-0 at MK Dons in League One.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon have seen late goals both for and against in added time this season and they were on the wrong end of one as Gillingham secured a 1-1 draw at Plough Lane thanks to a 97 th minute own goal.

They were then beaten 1-0 at Sunderland in front of 29,000 fans.

Back to the late goals in the next game, a 95 th minute strike saw them win 1-0 at Northampton Town.

In the League, two quick second half goals saw Ipswich in the ascendancy at Portman Road but a quick-fire reply and a-would you believe it-95 th minute goal earned them a point!

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot lost 2-0 at home to Chesterfield in their opening league game in front of a cracking attendance of 2,393 and lost again, 1-0 at Boreham Wood.

Paul Salt's Altrincham opened their account with a fabulous 3-1 win at Torquay United in front of over 2,500 fans at Plainmoor.

In the North Division, Boston United, one of the title favourites, lost again, 1-0 at Fylde before finally getting points on the board at home to Curzon Ashton thanks to a 92 nd minute winner. Ex-Colne manager is doing a great job at Curzon, holding their own against some much bigger and better supported clubs. The Boston defeat followed a magnificent 3-0 success at Chester.

I made it to Bradford Park Avenue(eventually, M62 closed) for the following Pilgrims' game and as I approached the turnstile at about 3-10, an almighty cheer had me fearing the worst but it was the visitors, cheered on by at least half of the 700+ attendance, who had taken the lead. Avenue equalised just before the break thanks to a fantastic 35 yard (exocet missile) strike from the full back which flew into the 'postage stamp' and kissed the underside of the bar before nestling in the net.

The legend that is Nathan Pond, who played against us when we had a football club, was part of the team that smashed Chorley 3-0 at Telford.

Southport took the lead at Spennymoor Town before going down 3-2.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough recovered from their 5-0 home trouncing last week to hammer Billericay Town 5-2 away from home despite going 1-0 down a minute into the second half.

They then entertained Oxford City but let a two goal half time lead slip to draw 2-2.

In the NPL Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United defeated Morpeth Town 3-0 at home in front of over 1500 fans and around 300 more then saw them held to a 1-1 draw by Buxton.

They then lost 2-1 at Hyde United before defeating Radcliffe 3-0 at Broahurst Park.

Lancaster City were the big winners at the weekend, 7-2 victors after the long trip to Grantham Town.

In the West Division, Ramsbottom United were well beaten 3-0 at the Riverside by Marine, the early leaders in that Division. They got back to winning waysin some style, beating Market Drayton Town 7-1, also at home. That was followed by another fine win, 3-0 at Mossley.

Clitheroe found themselves two down after only 18 minutes at Prescott Cables but stormed back to win 3-2, the winner from Gonzalez coming in the final minute.

They then went to the top of the league with a 2-0 win at Glossop North End. They then hosted second-placed Workington who extended their 100% record with a 2-0 win in front of 675 fans.

Colne lost 1-0 at home to Mossley in front of an excellent turn-out of 299 and then drew 1-1 at Kidsgrove Athletic before a 2-0 success at Kendal Town.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard were beaten 3-1 at home by Skelmersdale United.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 3-1 at Congleton Town and then exited the FA Cup, losing 2-1 at home to Clitheroe. They then lost 3-1 at Congleton Town back in the League.

They then came from behind to defeat Padiham at home, 2-1.

Macclesfield hosted Prestwich Heys and another 2,000+ crowd saw the Silkmen triumph 3-1.

Longridge Town were smashed 5-2 at home by Barnoldswick Town in front of 312 fans and then 2-1 at AFC Liverpool. They then got back to winning ways with a 1-0 home win against Burscough.

In the North Division, Bury attracted a magnificent 1,358 fans for the home game against new boys Campion which they won 2-1.

I then travelled to Victoria Park Nelson to see the Admirals take on the Shakers. A crowd of 530 (around 450 visiting supporters) saw the visitors ease to a 3-1 victory.

Leon Creech scored a hat-trick as Darwen won 3-1 at Garstang but in the following game at home to Pilkington, which I took in, they were well beaten 4-0 with the game over after 17 minutes with the visitors already 3-0 up.

Nice to see Bacup Borough attracting decent crowds and 135 saw a thriller at West View. Brent Peters' boys found themselves two down after 23 minutes but fought back to draw 3-3 thanks to a last minute equaliser. They then lost 2-1 at much-improved Holker Old Boys.

In the FA Cup, Barnoldswick Town and Ramsbottom United produced a thriller at the Silentnight Stadium. Town led 2-0 after only 19 minutes thanks to a Paul Turner double and just after half time he scored his third to make it 3-1. With 25 minutes remaining Barlick led 5-2 but with 5 minutes to go it was 5-4 and that's how the score ended.

Almost 700 fans then saw Macclesfield Town win 2-1 at the same venue.

Ex-Boston United star Adam Boyes hit five goals in Marske United's 7-0 demolition of Pickering Town.

Colne looked to be on their way into the next round until a 90 th minute Trafford goal secured a replay for the Mancunians.

The most convincing win of the round came at Yorkshire Amateur where visitors Hebburn Town led 7-0 just after the hour mark and that's how the game ended.

Back in the League, just 43 hardy souls turned up for the Ashton Athletic v Vauxhall Motors game but they were treated to a classic. With only 7 minutes played, Motors led 2-0 but by the break they were 4-3 to the bottom side. Two Riley goals in three minutes around the 70 minute mark secured the points for the visitors.

Padiham scored two goals in the final six minutes at Burscough to secure the three points and earned another point with a goalless draw at home to Barnoldswick Town.

Charnock Richard were surprisingly beaten 3-1 at home by Skelmersdale United but then progressed in the FA Cup, defeating Eccleshill United 5-1 in the Preliminary replay.

They then lost 3-2 at Avro with Grimshaw notching two goals in the final three minutes. He was on target again in the home gam against AFC Liverpool but a 2-0 half time lead wasn't enough as the Merseysiders hit back to level.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough defeated Blackpool 3-2 at West View but then went down 2-1 at leaders Golcar United.

Bury needed an 89 th minute goal to secure a 2-2 draw at Cleator Moor Celtic.

Darwen were hammered 6-0 at Ilkley Town, an embarrassing result after Town had lost five in a row, conceding 15 goals in the process.

Nelson earned a fine draw at South Liverpool and it would have been a win but for a last minute equaliser from the hosts. They then let a 3-1 lead slip at home to Garstang to draw 3-3. They came from a 1-0 half time deficit at Ilkley Town to win 2-1.

Back in the FA Cup, Squires Gate drew an attendance of 738 for the visit of Macclesfield and the majority left disappointed after a 6-4 home win.

Carl Grimshaw was on target for Charnock Richard as they ground out a replay after a 1-1 draw at Eccleshill United.

What a game at the Silentnight Stadium between Barnoldswick Town and Ramsbottom United.

Barlick led 5-2 with 20 minutes remaining but Rammy had made it 5-4 with around five minutes remaining but Town held out.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic drew 2-2 at home to Keynsham Town to remain in second place.

The next game for the Mighty Bucks was a remembrance game for the late Chairman Roy Holmes and the Bucks XI lost 2-1 to a Devon & Cornwall XI in front of around 400 supporters.

Back in the League, they then won 2-1 at home to Exmouth with all the goals coming from the penalty spot.

Early August

Accrington Stanley were well beaten at Wycombe Wanderers despite having almost two thirds possession. A late Butcher goal gave the score a misleadingly close look in a game watched by a healthy 4,500.

They then defeated newly-promoted Cambridge United 2-1 at the Crown with a decent home turn-out of 1,754 Reds fans.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon began the season in fine fashion, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Doncaster Rovers.

That never-say-die spirit was evident again in the next game at home to Bolton Wanderers, the first league game in Wimbledon for around 30 years. A capacity crowd saw the Dons trail 3-1 just after the break but they stormed back to draw and were desperately close to securing all three points.

Boston United lost their final warm-up game 1-0 at home to Grimsby Town before the real action started seven days later at home to Spennymoor Town. A bumper attendance of 1,852 saw the visitors take the game to their hosts and should have been out of sight before the break. They eventually took the lead from the spot before a late equaliser, also from a penalty, appeared to save the day for Boston but an 87 th winner put a real dampener on the day for the Pilgrims.

Chorley attracted a healthy 1,257 for the game at Victory Park against Brackley Town and an 85 th minute goal saw almost all of the supporters leave disappointed as the away side won 1-0.

Fylde had little difficulty in brushing aside Guiseley 4-2 at Nethermoor.

Southport twice came from behind at home to last year's top side Gloucester City to secure a 2-2 draw.

In the National League South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough couldn't have started the season more badly, being smashed 5-0 at home by Hampton & Richmond Borough with all the goals coming in the opening hour.

The NPL also kicked off on the 14 th, Phil O'Dell's FC United beginning with a 2-0 defeat at Warrington Town in the Premier Division in front of a magnificent turn-out of 1,105.

In the West Division, Ramsbottom United earned a decent point with a goalless draw at City of Liverpool.

Clitheroe came desperately close to gaining an opening day win before 1874 Northwich grabbed a last minute equaliser to earn a point in a 2-2 draw.

Colne earned a fine point with a 1-1 draw at Trafford.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria began the campaign with a resounding 4-0 win at Prestwich Heys and followed that up with a 2-2 home draw against Avro, and that despite leading 2-0 after only 12 minutes.

They then progressed in the FA Cup, winning 2-1 at Longridge Town.

Back in league action, they won 3-1 at home to Wythenshawe Town before hosting 'ridge' in the league and the visitors gained revenge with a 2-0 win.

Padiham lost 1-0 at Wythenshawe Town but looked on course to make through to the next round of the FA Cup, leading 2-0 against AFC Liverpool at the break in front of an excellent turn-out of 192 but the Merseysiders scored three unanswered goals with the winner coming in the last minute.

A similar tale in the following game saw the Storks lead 1-0 until the 99 th minute at home to Squires Gate before a late, late, late equaliser.

New side Macclesfield had to make do with a point at Winsford United despite striker Tom Clare scoring all of their goals in a 4-4 draw in front of a magnificent turn-out of 918. A 2,000+ crowd then saw them come from behind to defeat Irlam 2-1 at home.

Longridge Town came from behind to win 2-1 at Skelmersdale United before their cup exit at home to Northwich and the subsequent win against the same opponents.

Charnock Richard progressed in the FA Cup thanks to a 2-0 win at Winsford United and they then won in the league, 5-3 at Prestwich Heys. They then produced the 'fireworks' in their opening home game against Ashton Athletic. Two up in 8 minutes, five up at half time, they went on to win 9-1 with the evergreen Carl Grimshaw netting a late 11 minute hat-trick. That cemented their place at the top of the table.

In the NWCFL 1 st Division North, Nelson won 3-1 at home to Steeton. They then travelled to Golcar United and took an early lead but soon after the half hour mark they found themselves 4-1 down! They reduced that to 4-3 with over 20 minutes remaining but couldn't find the equaliser.

They then drew 2-2 at Blackpool, the first dropped points for the seasiders.

Bacup Borough defeated Ilkley Town 3-0 at West View in front of a much-improved crowd of 135 and looked on course for a brilliant win at Bury before a 96 th minute leveller ruined the day in front of 1,219.

A late penalty then denied them a point at Pilkington who won 2-1.

Atherton LR attracted a cracking attendance of 679 against Bury AFC and much to the delight of the majority of that crowd, the Shakers won 3-1.

South Liverpool recovered from their opening day defeat at Darwen to win 4-2 at home to Ashton Town in front of a superb attendance of 304 but that was reduced to just 105 for the next home game against Chadderton who won 3-2.

I returned to the Anchor to watch Darwen v Chadderton and in front of another excellent attendance of 158, the Salmoners pressed the self-destruct button.

The first minute saw a player go off injured, followed by a stupid sending off for a wild kick on a grounded 'Chaddy' player, a ridiculous trip which resulted in a penalty for the visitors which was dragged wide, a cross which was calmly slotted into his own goal meant for the home side, it was damage limitation time!

Two more goals before the break put the game beyond Darwen but they came out after half-time full of energy and soon reduced the deficit but the three goal lead was soon restored and a last minute fifth sealed a 5-1 win. In truth, the game was very even overall and but for the sending off, Darwen could well have picked up at least a point. Discipline is definitely a problem but if they concentrate on playing 'football' they will be a match for most teams in this league.

Sadly, that defeat was soon followed by another, 1-0 at Holker Old Boys.

I then attended the following game at the Anchor where visiting Daisy Hill gained a deserved 2-1 win thanks to an 87 th minute winner.

Biggest winners of the day were Holker Old Boys who battered visiting St Helens Town 10-0!

In the South Division, Abbey Hey destroyed Brocton to the tune of 8-0.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic carried on from their opening day win with a resounding 6-1 thrashing of Wellington at Homers Heath.

They then lost 1-0 at home to Exmouth in the FA Cup.

Back in the league, they travelled to Shepton Mallet who would have gone top with a win. The hosts had won their opening two games 7-0 and 5-0 but the mighty Bucks held firm to secure a tremendous 0-0 draw.

Biggest winners in the FA Cup extra preliminary round were Jersey Bulls who hit 10 without reply at home to Horsham YMCA.

July

The big news this month is the transfer of Matt Derbyshire from Australian side Macarthur to AEK Larnaca of Cyprus for an undisclosed fee.

He ended last season in second place in the goalscoring charts, netting 14 times in 25 games and also chipping it with 5 assists, the 12 th best in the A League.

Accrington Stanley opened up their pre-season with a 3-0 win at Clitheroe and followed that up with a 1-0 home win against Hibernian.

They then drew 1-1 at home to PNE before losing 2-0 to Bradford City, also at the Crown.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon were narrowly beaten 1-0 at home by Premier League new boys Brentford in front of a 'capacity' 2,500 home fans. That was followed by a 2-0 loss at former tenants Kingstonian, a 1-1 draw at Hampton & Richmond Borough and a 1-0 defeat at Dartford.

They then lost 2-1 at home to Scunthorpe United.

Paul Salt's Altrincham have lost midfielder Alistair Smith to new Football League side Sutton United.

The Robins have though, signed defender Kennedy Digie from Hereford.

In their opening pre-season friendly, they won 2-0 at Ashton United.

They then scored twice in the final 6 minutes to win 2-1 at Bradford Park Avenue.

Paul Clark's Aldershot opened up pre-season with a 2-1 win at Badshot Lea and were then involved in a goal-fest at near neighbours Farnborough. The Shots opened up a 4-1 lead before the home side hit back to make it 4-3. Once more Aldershot looked to have secured the win making it 6-3 with only ten minutes remaining but two quick-fire home goals made it 6-5 before an 89 th minute penalty sealed the win.

Another win followed, 2-1 at League new boys Sutton United.

They then travelled to take on West Ham United's under-23's and drew 2-2.

Boston United have made some excellent signings as well as retaining 14 of last season's successful squad. The latest being Danny Elliot who won promotion to the Football League with Hartlepool last term.

He wasted no time in acclimatising, scoring a late winner in the 3-2 Lincolnshire Cup game at Lincoln United.

The next pre-season game saw fans attend for the first time at the new Jakeman's Community Stadium against Lincoln City. Just over 1,000 supporters saw Preston give the Pilgrims a 12 th minute lead and Elliot was on target again two minutes later.

He then hit the post before making it 3-0 just before half time. Burrow and Wright added further goals in the second period.

The following game saw them build up another three goal lead by the break at home to Norwich City under-23's but the Canaries stormed back to draw 3-3.

The next two games saw a 1-1 draw at Belper Town and a 3-1 home defeat by a strong Notts County side.

Fylde won 5-1 at Cefn Druids whilst Chorley began with a 1-1 draw at Bamber Bridge and a 1-0 win at newly promoted Morecambe.

They then lost by a single goal at home to Rochdale before drawing 1-1 at Warrington Rylands.

Phil O'Dell's FC United opened up with a 1-1 home draw against AFC Bury and were then unlucky to only replicate that score when they entertained Bolton Wanderers. That was followed by a 10-0 win at Darwen, the club's biggest-ever away win, a record that could stand for decades to come.

They then won the Brian Lomax Trophy with a 3-1 home win against Enfield Town.

Almost a thousand fans then saw them lose 5-2 at fellow supporter-owned club Banbury United

Clitheroe won 3-2 at Hurst Green before a 1-0 home defeat against a Chester XI. They then defeated Fleetwood Town's Academy 2-0 at Shawbridge and Ashton Athletic 1-0, also at home. Just a day later, manager David Lynch and his backroom staff left the club with senior players Billy Priestley and Gary Stopforth taking charge.

Their first game saw a 4-3 home defeat against much-fancied Radcliffe Borough.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew 1-1 at AFC Blackpool before losing 5-1 at home to Chester. They then won 4-0 at Prestwich Heys in their opening league game.

Longridge Town drew 0-0 at home to Lancaster City before being soundly thrashed 7-1 by Bamber Bridge, also at home.

Their opening NWCFL fixture ended with a 1-0 home defeat by Congleton Town.

Colne signed Anthony Williams on loan from Stalybridge Celtic last season and now the midfielder has signed on a permanent deal.

The Reds defeated Barnoldswick Town 5-0 at Holt House.

Padiham defeated Ramsbottom United 4-2 in their opening friendly at the Arbories but then went down by the same score at Wyre Villa.

In their opening league game, they lost 3-0 at Avro.

Charnock Richard got off to a great start with a 5-1 home win against Winsford United.

New side Macclesfield drew a crowd of over 2,000 for their 1-0 home win against Burscough.

Darwen's pre-season didn't get off to the best of starts with a 10-0 home defeat against FC United but they did pick up some early silverware with a 5-2 win over Turton in the Martin Vizzard Memorial Trophy at the Anchor.

I then went to see their first league game at home to newly moved South Liverpool and the Salmoners won 2-0 thanks to two Creech goals. An excellent crowd of 172 included a good following from Merseyside.

Bacup Borough were disappointed to let a two goal lead slip at home to Cleator Moor Celtic but they would have been delighted about the turn-out of 147.

Another great attendance saw the clash of two new clubs to the league, Ilkley Town and Bury AFC. 499 witnessed a 4-2 win for the Shakers.

Nelson lost 3-2 at home to Pilkington thanks to an 88 th minute winner from the visitors.

FC Isle of Man finally played their first NWCFL game after waiting for over a year. They attracted a bumper 320 to Maine Road where the score ended 1-1.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic opened pre-season with a trip to Southern League side Willand and although trailing 2-0 at the break, the Bucks hit back to win 3-2.

A local derby at Brixham was next up where they lost 4-2. A 5-0 victory followed at Cullumpton Rangers before a 1-1 home draw against Bodmin.

The Bucks then travelled to Dorchester for the next friendly and although they were holding the hosts 1-1 at the break, the team two divisions higher up the pyramid ran out 4-1 winners.

The opening Western League game saw them travel to 'money-bags' Bridgwater United and the Bucks triumphed 4-3 in front of 324 fans before following that up with another three points with a 6-1 home win against Wellington.

June

Matt Derbyshire was missing from the Macarthur line-up, as was another leading scorer, Markel Susaeta, and how the Bulls missed them, losing 3-0 at home to Wellington Phoenix. Their cause wasn't helped by a sending off early in the second half and it could have been worse as keeper Federici saved an 84 th minute penalty. Nevertheless they made it through to the Finals play-offs, finishing in 6 th spot. That meant a date with Central Coast Mariners with the winners going through to the semi-finals.

With the Bulls win-less against the Mariners this season, they knew it would be a tough game and that's how it panned out. With just four minutes gone, a ball into the box saw Matt chest it down and flicked a fantastic volley over the marking defender and the goalkeeper only to be ruled marginally offside. That effort, had it stood, would have been a strong contender for goal of the season.

The hosts were finding it difficult to keep Matt quiet and Hall was booked for a challenge on him in the 21 st minute.

Soon after the second half began, Matt was about to let fly from the edge of the penalty area but a brave block thwarted him. Three minutes later the Mariners had a 'goal' chalked off for offside.

With just over an hour gone, the best chance of the second half fell for Matt but he got just too much on it and it remained goalless.

With 15 minutes remaining, and for second game in a row, the Bulls were reduced to ten men when a controversial red card was shown to Meredith. Keeper Federici was relieved to see a 'bullet' shot fly just past his post.

Matt looked to be feeling his hamstring and made way for fresh legs, in the shape of 18 year-old sub.Rhus, with two minutes left and that proved to be a wise move as it transpired.

Into extra-time and at this stage, the Bulls no doubt would have taken a penalty shoot-out but three minutes in Susaeta's volley rebounded off the post and M'Mombwa knocked in the rebound.

Ten minutes into the second period, Federici produced a fantastic save with his legs to preserve the lead and four minutes later a scramble in the box landed at the feet of Mariners' Rowles who thankfully blazed over.

Ito the final minute and with the home side piling forward, substitute Rhus broke from half was and coolly settled the game.

Their reward was a semi-final trip to A-League winners Melbourne City FC.

Surprisingly the game was watched by just over 2,000 supporters who saw the 'home' side triumph 2-0. The reason for that low attendance was that the Victoria State Government banned crowds from metropolitan Melbourne and the game was switched to Sydney's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.The first half was mainly dominated by the Bulls who saw an amazing goal-line clearance deny them the lead before a brilliant shot cannoned off the crossbar.

Ten minutes into the second half saw the game more or less settled after City scored twice in two minutes.

Melbourne then defeated Sydney FC 3-1 in the Grand Final.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon said farewell to club secretary David Charles who's 14 years with the Dons saw them rise from the Ryman League to League One and just as important, a return to Plough Lane and a brand new stadium. What a great pity that Don didn't live long enough to see the momentous moment.

Accrington Stanley defender Mark Hughes has left the club after five years. The Reds have secured a 100 year lease for the King George V playing fields and will spend £500,000 on upgrading the site. This will be the club's first 'proper' training facility since they re-formed in 1968.

The Reds have signed keeper James Trafford on a season-long loan from Manchester City, striker Joel Mumbongo, on a similar deal form Burnley and Archie Procter, legend Andy's nephew, from Wimbledon on a two-year contract.

Congratulations to our old adversaries Morecambe who, despite being favourites for relegation and having, apparently, the lowest budget in League Two, won promotion at Wembley and look forward to taking on the likes of Sunderland next season.

Phil O'Dell's FC United have signed 19 year-old Keaton Mulvey from Rochdale.

Paul Salt's Altrincham have lost midfielder Alistair Smith to newly-promoted Sutton United.

In the NWCFL, Congleton Town were moved 'sideways' into the Midland League but after an appeal, they were granted permission to remain in their preferred league.

Meanwhile, Wem Town have withdrawn from the NWCFL and will ply their trade in the Shropshire Premier League.

Late May

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur had to settle for a point at mid-table Perth Glory. The hosts took the lead in the pouring rain early on before Matt equalised around the half hour mark, converting a left wing cross from just a couple of yards.

They then won 2-1 at Western United with Matt setting up both first half goals to move the Bulls up to 4 th place. Only a fantastic save stopped the Harwood legend making it 3-0 Early in the second period.

Paul Clark's Aldershot lost 3-1 at home to play-off hopefuls Eastleigh at the 'Rec'

before hosting another of the chasing pack Bromley. The Shots twice came from behind before a 95 th minute winner for the visitors sealed the points. In truth, Aldershot should have won the game after creating numerous second half chances.

The final game of the season saw them travel toKings Lynn Town and they looked well on their way to three points after leading 2-0 in the first half but they were pegged back and had to settle for a point after a last minute goal earned the Linnets a point in a 4-4 draw.

Paul Salt's Altrincham welcomed fans back the Moss lane and 600 lucky supporters saw a great game against Yeovil Town. The Robins lead 2-0 at the break but the Glovers hit back to lead 3-2 with only 5 minutes left. Peers pulled one back before Hancock clinched the victory in the 92 nd minute.

They then damaged Eastleigh's hopes of a lay-off spot after they held the visitors to a 1-1 draw, also at home.

The third home game in a week saw them entertain a Torquay United side who'd already secured second place and the match finished goalless to end the campaign on a high.

Sutton United have been promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history and they did it in style with a game to spare, defeating Hartlepool United 3-0 and Gander Green Lane.

In the FA Vase final at Wembley, Warrington Rylands brought the trophy back to the North West after a 3-2 win against Binfield with striker Elliot Nevitt scoring a hat-trick.

The NWCFL has lost Bootle, 1874 Northwich and Warrington Rylands with all three gaining promotion thanks to the re-structuring of the 'Pyramid'.

Congleton Town, Hanley Town, Stone Old Alleynians and Whitchurch Alport have all moved to the Midlands League Premier Division.

Surprisingly, new club Macclesfield FC have been allocated a place in the NWCFL Premier Division and they're joined by AFC Liverpool, Lower Breck and Prestwich Heys who've all moved up from Division One North. Vauxhall Motors and Wythenshawe Town have also moved up, this time from the NWCFL Division One South.

Moving sideways to Division One North are FC Isle of Man.

Also moving to that Division are Bradford side Campion AFC, from the NCEL Division One, Ilkley Town from the West Yorkshire League and South Liverpool who have dominated the West Cheshire League for many years

Early May

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur were disappointed to draw 0-0 at second bottom Perth Glory although the home side looked the more likely to win the game with the Bulls keeper, ex-Reading star Adam Federici, the man of the match.

They then came from behind at lowly Melbourne Victory to win 2-1 and move up several places to equal second place after their first victory in six games. The hosts had ex-Rovers star Rudy Gestede in their side but he was not firing on all cylinders. Melbourne are currently managed by one of the most hated men in this part of the North West, Steve Kean, so they can look forward to a miserable future while he's in charge! After doing his very best to destroy a great football club, one has to wonder why anyone would employ this total loser.

The return game saw the Bulls amass another three points with a 3-1 home victory with Matt exacting some revenge, as he's a life-long Rovers supporter, with the first and last goals.

That left Matt in second place in the leading goalscoring charts with 13.

Kean's Melbourne, meanwhile, remain second bottom and 13 points behind the club in front!

Accrington Stanley seem to be involved in late, late drama in almost every game and the home clash with Charlton Athletic was no different. Pritchard put the Reds in front with on 10 minutes left but the Addicks equalised in the 95 th minute.

The final game of the campaign saw them travel to a Portsmouth side who knew that a win would take them into the play-offs but it was the Reds who scored the only goal of the game through Phillips after 23 minutes which allowed Oxford United to take the final play-off spot.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon took the lead against play-off hopefuls Portsmouth but the visitors soon equalised then scored twice in a minute just before the break and that's how it ended. Despite the defeat, results elsewhere meant that Wimbledon were safe.

They ended the season on a high after they held play-off certainties Lincoln City to a goalless draw at Sincil Bank to finish four points clear of the drop zone.

Paul Salt's Altrincham entertained a stuttering Notts County side who really needed a win as one of six clubs chasing the final play-off spot. Alty took the lead on 24 minutes but were pegged back right on half time. The game finished that way, the Robins ending a run of four successive defeats with Notts making it six games without a win.

Two days later they were hammered 4-0 at Solihull Moors before a disappointing 2-1 defeat at lowly Weymouth.

Paul Clark's Aldershot travelled to 2 nd place Sutton United more in hope than expectation and lost 3-1, Ricky Miller netting the consolation.

Another 3-1 defeat followed, at home to promotion-chasing Hartlepool United.

I paid £5 to watch the FA Vase semi-final Warrington Rylands v Walsall Wood on live-stream and was not disappointed as the NWCFL side made it through to Wembley after a well-deserved 2-1 win. The quarter-final had seen them eliminate the holders Hebburn Town after a penalty shoot-out victory, their third of this season's competition.

Boston United have re-signed the majority of the squad from last season but have lost the services of star forward Jordan Thewlis. He scored 22 goals in just 53 appearances for the Pilgrims.

 

Late April

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur FC hosted second bottom Newcastle Jets hoping to make up ground on the leading pack but were held to a 2-2 draw. Matt didn't manage to find the net on this occasion but he did set up both goals with brilliant passes and does appear to be the Bulls most important player. The result left them in 5 th place but having played more games than their rivals.

They then held leaders Melbourne City to a 1-1 draw although it was mainly back-to-the-wall stuff for the home side. The Bulls equalised thanks to a defensive blunder.

Accrington Stanley suffered another shocking defeat, 3-1 at bottom side Rochdale, a defeat which all but ended their play-off aspirations.

They then won 2-1 at home to Doncaster Rovers thanks to two Dion Charles penalties, the latter one coming in the 91 st minute. The Reds racked up an amazing 26 shots of which 11 were on target.

They then found themselves 2-0 down after only 11 minutes at Sunderland but fought back to level after the break. A Black Cat's goal on 83 minutes looked to have won it for the home side but two minutes later McConville scored the equaliser to earn a point.

Another thriller followed, at home to play-off chasing Portsmouth where the Reds led 2-0 at the break only for Pompey to level within ten minutes after the re-start. In between those goals Stanley's Phillips saw his shot tipped onto the post by the keeper and Burgess almost put the Reds back in front on 85 minutes when his shot cannoned back off the crossbar. The prolific John Marquis just about sealed the points for the visitors with a 91 st minute goal but amazingly, he then equalised for Stanley in the 95 th minute!

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon continued their amazing recent form with yet another comprehensive victory. A 3-1 home win against relegation rivals Swindon Town made it three wins in a row with the game over at the break thanks to the Don's 3-0 lead. The three points lifted them five points clear of the drop zone and with a far superior goal difference to all five of their rivals. The defeat for Swindon saw them drop to the bottom and all but seal their fate.

Next up, a home game against 6 th placed Oxford United saw them win for the fourth time in a row, 2-1 after coming from behind. With Wigan Athletic also on top form, the bottom four looked doomed.

They should then have made it five in a row as they were the far better side at Portman Road against Ipswich Town but despite raining in 18 shots, Pigott's missed penalty in the 22 nd minute proved costly. That blank for the Tractor Boys made it ten hours without a goal.

They then hosted another of the relegation threatened sides that were on top form, Rochdale, who really needed a win.

The Dons were well on top before Dale opened the scoring just before the break and doubled the lead ten minutes into the second half. The home side then scored twice in 5 minutes around the hour mark but were soon behind again. An 84 th minute penalty gave them a chance to equalise but for the second game in a row, Pigott failed from 12 yards. He then made amends by scoring a superb equaliser in the 97 th minute.

Paul Clark's Aldershot suffered their worst result of the season, losing 3-1 at whipping boys Barnet. It was only the Bees 4 th win of the season after 31 games and their first win in 13.

Next up, a home game against third bottom Kings Lynn resulted in another shocker, a 1-1 draw despite Boston United legend Ricky Miller putting them in front.

They then won 2-0 at home to struggling Wealdstone.

They then looked to have secured a 1-1 draw at leaders Torquay United but the Gulls hit the winner in the 98 th minute!

Paul Salt's Altrincham were battered 4-0 at Moss Lane by title favourites Sutton United, all the goals coming in the opening hour. Nevertheless, the Robins would never have been in a relegation battle even if there was relegation to the National League North.

They then entertained 2 nd bottom Barnet and it looked like being a rout as they led 2-0 after quarter of an hour but the Bees pulled one back right on half time before scoring two more goals in the final three minutes of normal time.

The small clubs finally saw some action as the FA Vase re-started. Of the 16 4 th round ties took place, no less than six went to penalties. NWCFL sides Warrington Rylands and Congleton Town made it through with wins against Shildon(5-4 on penalties) and Malvern Town respectively.

Warrington were then due to play North Ferriby but the Villagers were expelled from the competition after playing a suspended player in the 4-0 win against West Auckland Town. Town were re-instated and took the field for the next round at

Warrington which ended 1-1 with the home side winning once again on penalties, 3-1.

Congleton went down 1-0 at Hebburn Town who now travel to Warrington in the quarter-finals.

In the Northern Premier League, South Shields have already sold more than 500 season tickets for the 21/22 campaign.

Early April

Great Harwood Town legend Matt Derbyshire has carried on the goalscoring form that made him one of the best strikers in Cyprus, over to Australia, and he scored both goals in Macarthur's 2-0 home win against Perth Glory in front of a crowd of 3,724, which propelled the Bulls into 2 nd place.

That attendance dropped to 2,786 for the next home game where they lost 2-1 to Brisbane Roar.

A trip to Adelaide United was next up and after the home side struck first, Matt equalised on 33 minutes. A 72 nd minute penalty put the hosts back in front and a third made it safe.

Accrington Stanley recovered from the previous game's mauling at Peterborough United to earn a point with a goalless draw at home to Burton Albion.

They then produced a superb performance to deservedly win 2-1 at Oxford United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon outplayed Plymouth Argyle for most of the game at Home Park but still went down 1-0, mainly thanks to the Pilgrims keeper.

That was followed by another 1-0 defeat, this time at home to Fleetwood Town and courtesy of a goalkeeping howler two minutes from time. The Dons failed to muster a single shot on target to remain deep in trouble.

Stanley and Wimbledon then met at the Crown and a great display from the visitors saw them win 5-1 despite going behind.

They followed that up with another convincing win, 3-0 at home to Ipswich Town to lift themselves to 19 th position and also take their goal difference to -18, better than all the other five strugglers.

Meanwhile Stanley earned a point at Blackpool but Bishop missed a late penalty which almost certainly ended any play-off hopes.

Paul Salt's Altrincham looked to earned a point at Kings Lynn when keeper Thompson saved a 78 th minute penalty but two goals in the final ten minutes just about ended any slight play-off aspirations.

Paul Clark's Aldershot couldn't build on their win at Notts County and went down 2-1 at home to Stockport County.

Goals just before and just after the break then gave the Shots a 2-0 win at Dagenham & Redbridge before a 3-0 win at Weymouth.

Boston United have lost goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons who's opted to keep his season alive by signing for National League Stockport County although he will be second choice in the run-in.

Keeping hold of the better players has always been difficult for the Pilgrims management due to the geographical location but manager Craig Elliot has been hard at work over the last few weeks, re-signing goalkeeper Peter Crook, player of the year before the arrival of Fitzsimons, forward Fraser Preston, midfielder Tom Platt, longest-serving player Jay Rollins, captain Luke Shiels and full back Matt Tootle. Following on soon after were Paul Green and Connor Dimaio, Andy Thaoj, Terry Hawkridge, Scott Duxbury and Jake Wright.

That's great news for the Pilgrims because after every successful season, they seem to lose several of their best players. Nice to buck the trend and look forward to another crack at promotion next term.

Late March

In the A-League, Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur moved back up into 3 rd place after coming from behind at home to Western United. In torrential rain, the visitors took an 8 th minute lead before the Great Harwood legend equalised on 35 minutes with a superb header into the top corner. The Bulls took the lead in 1 st half added time and that's how it stayed, much to the delight of the saturated crowd of less than 2,000.

A 1-0 win at Wellington Phoenix saw them move up to 4 th place just 3 points behind leaders Central Coast.

Ex-Landlords Accrington Stanley lost their third game in a row, 2-0 at home to Sunderland and things didn't look to be going in the next home game against Wigan Athletic who took a 40 second lead. Stanley stormed back to equalise two minutes later and were in front after quarter of an hour. A Charles penalty wrapped things up on the hour mark. Although the points only moved them up into 12 th place, they remained just three points behind 6 th placed Charlton Athletic with two games in hand.

A trip to promotion favourites Peterborough United saw them reach rock bottom, losing 7-0 thanks to some pathetic defending.

In League One Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon moved off the foot of the table after a 1-1 draw against much-improved Wigan Athletic at Plough Lane. They then had to come from behind twice against Charlton Athletic, also at home. The bottom six teams were left well adrift and it now seems like it's four from those six for the drop with just two points separating them.

Two of them then met at Plough Lane with Northampton Town the visitors and the game finished dramatically. Joe Pigott looked to have secured the points with an 88 th minute strike only for the Cobblers to be awarded an added time penalty. The 97 th minute spot kick (their one and only shot on target) was brilliantly saved by Tsanev to earn an invaluable three points.

In the National League, Paul Salt's Altrincham needed a penalty for the second game in a row to salvage a point. This time it was at Woking and Hancock was once again the saviour with his last minute leveller. The Robins then dropped to 15 th after a 1-0 home defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Another home game saw them climb back up to 11 th thanks to a very comfortable 3-0 win against Kings Lynn, who appear not to be too bothered about results seeing as no one will be relegated. They've already furloughed many of their top earners!

A Colclough goal, direct from a corner kick, then gave them a 1-0 win at Maidenhead United.

Paul Clark's Aldershot felt hard done by as they lost 1-0 to a late goal at Halifax Town. Not only were denied what looked to be a penalty in the first half, they thought that they'd taken the lead 10 minutes from time only for the offside flag to ruin the celebrations. Lying in 14 th place after the defeat, they're going to pull out all the stops for the last 10 games.

A home game against Boreham Wood gave them the chance to get back on track but they found themselves 3-1 after a hour before two Rees goals salvaged a point.

The following home game was even less productive as they lost 1-0 to Chesterfield thanks to a 27 th minute goal by ex-Boston player Alex Whittle.

A trip to struggling Solihull Moors, win-less in nine, gave them the perfect opportunity to get back on track but the Shot-shy Shots (only one effort on target) lost 1-0 again and that despite Moors having two players sent off in the final quarter of an hour.

A 4 th minute penalty then gave them a 1-0 win at Notts County but it's too little too late for a play-off push.

Early March

As expected, and much to the dismay of many clubs in the National League North & South, the League and F.A. has decided to ignore their pleas to continue the season and said that the decision is final. Even the West Cheshire League have found a way to complete the season with Boston's old adversaries from their Northern Premier League days, South Liverpool, in pole position to win that League and maybe move into the pyramid with the NWCFL.

The Pilgrims misery was compounded by one of their floodlight pylons, similar to the ones at Fylde, was bent in half by strong winds despite being only a few months old.

In the Australian 'A' League, Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur travelled to leaders Central Coast Mariners but were outplayed for most of the game during a 2-0 defeat. Matt was unluckily booked for a challenge on the keeper when he was fully entitled to go for the loose ball. A crowd of just over 5,000 saw the leaders move seven points clear of the Bulls who remained in 2 nd place. No doubt with being a fairly new club, est.2017, Macarthur are struggling to attract decent attendances with the average being just under 4,000 although the best supported club, Sydney FC. Only average little more than 8,000.

With the club based in Campbelltown, a city with a population of around 171,000, the crowds will surely increase if the team is successful.

They then went sliding down the table after a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Melbourne City FC, all the goals coming in the opening 35 minutes.

Accrington Stanley took a 4 th minute lead at home to Ipswich Town but trailed 2-1 at the break, not helped by the 16 th minute sending off of Conneely. The game ended that way with the visitors climbing above Stanley to 7 th place.

They then won for the first time in five games, a 2-1 home success against strugglers Swindon Town to move back up to 7 th, two points off the play-off spots.

Next was a trip to Bristol Rovers who could have gone bottom with a defeat but the Reds were hammered 4-1 against a side that they defeated 6-1 in the reverse fixture.

Yet another defeat followed, 3-2 at MK Dons where they came from 2-0 down to level after an hour and must have been looking to win but a 92 nd minute winner gave the hosts the points.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon earned a fine point in a 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town thanks to an 84 th minute leveller. The Shrews dominated for most of the game and also had two 'goals' rule out for infringements.

The next game was a different matter as the Dons dominated for much of the game at Blackpool but still had to rely on a 93 rd minute equaliser to secure a point.

A home game against in-form Burton Albion was another difficult challenge and it proved too much as the Brewers won 1-0 for their fifth consecutive success.

Next up was a trip to fellow strugglers Bristol Rovers. The game finished goalless mainly thanks to the Don's Keeper although the result did see them fall to the foot of the table.

Paul Salt's Altrincham played the last hour of the home game with Woking after Hannigan was sent off but they more than matched their opponents and recorded a tremendous 1-0 win thanks to a 69 th minute Kosylo strike.

The next game, at home to Hartlepool, ended 1-1. The visitors could have gone top with a win but their task wasn't helped by a 24 th minute red card. Nevertheless, they took the lead before the Robins' Colclough equalised in first half added time.

The Robins then travelled to Paul Clark's Aldershot where a 47 th minute Hancock penalty looked to have secured a point only for the Shots to win it two minutes from time.

Late February

Matt Derbyshire followed up the previous week's hat-trick with another goal for Macarthur in the 'A' League but it came in added time of a surprise 4-1 defeat at Western United. He also hit the bar earlier on as his side dominated for large periods and had more than twice as many shots as their hosts. You can see highlights of the Bulls games on the club's website. In the win over Adelaide, aside from the three goals he scored, Matt also had three more shots that produced incredible goal line clearances.

Next up was a trip to reigning champions Sydney FC who had already beaten Macarthur 3-0 earlier in the campaign. After weathering an early wave of attacks, it was Matt who opened the scoring and just two minutes later the home side were reduced to ten men. Shortly after the break, Matt smashed a header against the bar and also saw another attempt brilliantly saved but overall the Bulls were in command and registered a fully deserved win which moved them up to 2 nd place.

In League One, Accrington Stanley moved into the play-off positions after a brilliant and deserved 1-0 win at Doncaster Rovers who could have gone second with a win. Paul Smyth's goal took them within 7 points of an automatic promotion spot, currently occupied by Hull City, with three games in hand.

They were then held to a 1-1 draw at the Crown by improving Shrewsbury Town before a 2-0 defeat at Crewe Alexandra. A trip to Lancashire rivals Fleetwood Town followed and despite taking the lead, Stanley had to settle for a point leaving them two points outside the top six.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon played well and held second placed Peterborough United in the first half at London Road but two quick-fire goals after the restart and a late goal saw them return to Plough Lane empty-handed.

Fighting until the end is something that the Dons' players have in abundance and that team spirit shone through again in the home game against Gillingham. An 89 th minute 25-yard screamer from Jack Rudoni earned them three valuable points and moved them out of the bottom four.

They then sank to 22 nd after a pretty comprehensive 3-0 home defeat against high-flying Hull City.

One of our greatest nights in 'recent' years was the epic cup win at Morecambe and who could have predicted the following few years where the Shrimps have, against all odds, stayed in the Football League. Now, with a brilliant manager in charge, they're pushing for promotion and they had a fantastic result against play-off rivals, and 'money no object' Salford City. Unluckily trailing to a first half stoppage time goal, the game was four minutes into added time at the end of the game when Mendes Gomes smashed in the equaliser and incredibly, two minutes later, Wildig hit the winner. Just a minute later Salford 'scored' what looked like a perfectly good goal only for the referee to disallow it for a foul on the Morecambe keeper.

In the National League Paul Clark's Aldershot had the chance to move between three points of the play-offs with a win at home to Solihull Moors but they were well beaten 3-1 and dropped to 13 th.

They more than made up for it in the following home game, thrashing Wrexham 3-0. The goals continued to fly in at Maidenhead United in the next game, the Shots winning 4-2 although it was far from comfortable, winning 3-2 and playing the last 20 minutes-plus with ten men until Rees completed his hat-trick in the 95 th minute.

An FA Trophy quarter-final against Hereford was next and it took an injury time equaliser from the Shots to take the game to penalties where they lost 5-3.

Paul Salt's Altrincham found themselves 3-0 down at home to play-off chasing Boreham Wood just after the break, not helped by an early red card, but they hit back with two goals to run the visitors close.

They then lost 1-0 at improving Chesterfield and 3-1 at Bromley leaving them in mid-table.

In the National League North Division, Fylde had a tremendous 3-1 win at York City to move up to second place, 5 points behind leaders Gloucester City but with 3 games in hand.

Boston United's game at Darlington, which should not have been played due to the Pilgrims already having won the fixture, fair and square, 2-0 earlier in the season, didn't take place as the Quakers refused to play, just like the game at Curzon Ashton two weeks previously. Surely the points should have been awarded to Boston who were quite willing to make the long midweek journey. That made it 11 postponed games in just 6 weeks since the turn of the year for the Lincolnshire side.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough hosted Billericay Town and with 15 minutes remaining, things didn't look too promising with the visitors leading 2-1 but the Sports hit back to win 4-2 and climb to 3 rd after their third win in a row.

Bad news for the Pilgrims and the Sports, as the clubs in those two divisions voted for the season to be declared null and void. Chorley and Fylde also wanted to carry on and a joint open letter to the League from 19 clubs who voted for the season to carry on has been sent out. Judging by the decision to replay the Darlington-Boston game, I don't expect common sense to prevail so the 'shedloads' of money that the government put in to keep the competition going, has been a complete waste. Will the clubs who voted to end the season now, be asking for more cash at the beginning of the next campaign? So much for being 'elite'!

Early February

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur twice took the lead at home to Western Sydney Wanderers but had to settle for a point after a 2-2 draw.

Next up was a home tie against mid-table Adelaide United and Matt shot to the top of the A-League's leading goalscorers with a second half hat-trick. The Bulls dominated from start to finish and the 4-0 win took them up to second.

Accrington Stanley's home game against Bristol Rovers was delayed for half an hour due to snow on the pitch but they came out flying and more or less had the game sewn up by half time, already 4-1 up. They scored two more and surprisingly, didn't score in the final 20 minutes. The win took them up to 7 th in League One.

They were then held to a goalless draw by struggling Northampton Town at the Crown and in truth, were fortunate to get the point. The Cobblers had twice as many shots with Stanley failing to register a single one on target.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 3-1 at Oxford United in the quarter-final of the EFL Trophy.

They then surrendered a two goal lead at second bottom Wigan Athletic before a late Pigott penalty earned them a precious three points to move them above the drop zone.

Paul Clark's Aldershot found themselves one down at home to bottom side Barnet after an hour but fought back to win 2-1. They then earned a creditable goalless draw at Stockport County who could have gone second with a win. The Shots had goalkeeper Walker to thank for making several fine saves and an 88 th minute penalty.

Paul Salt's Altrincham must be regarded as serious promotion contenders after they came from behind to win 2-1 at runaway leaders Torquay United. Sadly, they were then well beaten 2-0 at relegation-threatened Yeovil Town.

A Newby goal gave Chorley a half time lead at fellow promotion hopefuls Brackley Town but the Saints hit back to win 2-1 thanks to two goals in three minutes around the hour mark.

He was on the mark again in the following game at leaders Gloucester City, the only game in the Division to survive the weather. That point saw them climb into the play-off positions although they have played far more games than most clubs. Darlington, lying 4 th bottom, could even overtake them with a good run in their seven games in hand.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough enjoyed an excellent 3-2 home win against high-flying Hungerford Town in the National League South. They looked to have earned a fourth straight win at home to struggling Concord Rangers when they took the lead just eight minutes from time but the visitors equalised two minutes from time to deny them. The Sports did though maintain their 5 th place.

Southport failed to make it to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, losing 2-0 at home to Torquay United.

Late January

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur FC lost 3-0 at home to Sydney FC with the ex-Harwood star having an eventful game. He was shown a yellow card after 34 minutes and also had a 'goal' ruled out for offside. The home side's chances weren't helped by the early sending off of Milligan but after a hours extended half time break because of bad weather, they came flying out of the traps and were the better side before the first goal.

Another blow for non-league football was the suspension of the National League's North and South Divisions for two weeks putting more doubt as to whether the season will be concluded.

Accrington Stanley slipped to 10 th in League One after a 3-0 defeat at Hull City, a win which took the Tigers to the summit. They didn't have to wait too long for their revenge though, just a week before two second half goals gave them a 2-0 win and restricted the visitors to just one shot on target, with Hull also losing top spot.

They then took the lead twice at Home Park but Plymouth Argyle hit back to claim a point.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost again to remain in the relegation zone. It was another heavy defeat, 4-0 at Portsmouth. After five successive defeats, they finally picked up a point with an excellent 1-1 draw at play-off chasing Crewe Alexandra. That point was enough to take them out of the bottom four but the next result, a 2-0 defeat at high-flying Doncaster Rovers, saw them drop back into them.

A home clash against arch rivals MK Dons brought further misery with another 2-0 loss.

Paul Clark's Aldershot had an excellent 3-2 home win against Solihull Moors in the FA Trophy although they were hanging on at the end with Moors hitting the woodwork in stoppage time.

They then came from behind to win 4-3 at Wealdstone. A home game against third bottom Weymouth gave them an excellent opportunity to move into the play-off spots but after keeper Walker was sent off after 17 minutes for handling outside of his area, they struggled to make any headway. They were in fact already one down by that stage and another goal before half time saw the end of the scoring.

A mid-table clash at Bromley was next but although they dominated for large periods, they lost 2-0.

Paul Salt's Altrincham trailed early on at second bottom Barnet but fought back and a 91 st minute Hancock strike gave them all three points. They then moved up to 4 th with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Wealdstone.

Southport also made it through to the 5 th round with a great 2-1 win at Halifax Town. It was backs to the wall for much of the game with keeper McMillan pulling of a series of great saves and Town hitting the bar three times, the last coming three minutes into stoppage time.

Boston United put up a decent show at home to National League Chesterfield but came up just short. They led until 15 minutes from time and should really have been two goals to the good as a defender was dispossessed 15 yards from goal but the resulting effort was about 15 yards over the goal. The Pilgrims keeper almost scored when his 80 yard effort came back off the crossbar. In the shoot-out, Chesterfield smashed in all four kicks whilst the home forwards scored just one from three attempts, one saved and one hit wide.

Early January

Matt Derbyshire's Macarthur opened their Australian A League season with a 1-0 win at Western Sydney Wanderers with Matt completing the 90 minutes as the lone striker. Former Reading keeper Adam Federici pulling off a couple of great saves to help the visitors and the only goal took a very fortunate deflection from a free-kick.

They were then beaten 2-0 at home to early leaders Central Coast Mariners with the Harwood legend the first player to be booked, after just half an hour. Manager Ante Milicic had words of praise for Matt, saying that he'd settled in well and insisting that the lack of conversions to chances was mainly due to him not getting decent service.

Next up was a home game against Wellington Phoenix and Matt's boys came back from a half-time deficit to draw 1-1.

He then scored his first goal of the season after 23 minutes of the game at Newcastle Jets. That proved to be vital as they won 2-1 to go second.

Accrington Stanley moved into the play-off positions after a great 2-0 win at Charlton Athletic. They then exited the EFL Trophy after a 4-0 mauling at Lincoln City although John Coleman did make ten changes to his team from the last outing.

They then fell out of the top six after a 1-0 home defeat by Gillingham.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon asked for their home game with Lincoln City to be called off but the League turned down the request and a late goal gave the Imps a 2-1 win. An excellent 1-0 win at Bristol Rovers saw them reach the last sixteen of the EFL Trophy.

Back in League action, they lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland although two late goals gave the scoreline a flattering look for the Black Cats.

In the National League, Paul Salt's Altrincham did brilliantly to come back from two down against Stockport County at Edgeley Park, a point that kept them in the play-off positions. They then moved up to 5 th after a 95 th minute, 30-yard equaliser, from Hampson gave them a point in another 2-2 draw at 3 rd placed Sutton United.

Ex-Boston star Ricky Miller returned to football after an 18 month break by signing for Paul Clark's Aldershot. He naturally scored on his debut, at Woking, and that was enough to secure the three points and leave the Shots just two points from the play-off spots.

In the North Division, Chorley's fine run was ended emphatically with a 4-0 defeat at Fylde-maybe some of the players had one eye on the forthcoming FA Cup tie with Derby County. That game, the 3 rd round of the FA Cup, saw the Magpies extend their incredible run with a 2-0 win.

Back in League action, it was a case of 'after the Lord Mayor's Show' as they were beaten 2-1 at home to Leamington. Things looked ominous in the following game at Victory Park as they trailed Farsley Celtic but hit back to win 3-2.

Fylde, meanwhile, won 2-0 at Telford United to move into 3 rd place.

Boston United had the chance to go second with a win at home to Kettering Town but after impressing in the opening half hour, the Pilgrims found themselves 2-0 down within a minute. Around the hour mark they struck back with a couple of goals in four minutes but couldn't find all-important winner.

Next up was a midweek trip to Bradford Park Avenue and thankfully, after three postponements of the fixture, it went ahead, albeit in the strong wind and pouring rain. Once again the Pilgrims went behind but soon equalised and once again they found an opposition keeper in great form who denied the visitors the three points which their dominant performance deserved.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough missed the chance to go 5 th after a 3-2 home defeat against Maidstone United. They then won 2-1 at Havant & Waterlooville to move above their opponents into 7 th spot.

Late December

Have to start with the absolutely ridiculous, stupid and unfair decision for many a year. A month ago Boston United travelled the long distance, in midweek, up to Darlington where their outplayed the hosts for the majority of the game and led 2-0 with 87 minutes on the clock. Sadly the game was abandoned after a serious injury to the Quakers Nicky Hunt. After around 15 minutes, and with the player unable to be moved, the game was abandoned-fair enough. The National League have now decided that the game must be replayed meaning more time off work for the part-time Pilgrims players for another long midweek trek. Which planet are these administrators on?

Accrington Stanley could have moved into a play-off position with a win against Blackpool at the Crown Ground but despite 22 shots the Reds had to settle for a point after a goalless draw.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon thought that they'd rescued a point at home to improving Crewe Alexandra when they equalised in the last minute but the visitors struck the winner in added time.

They then travelled to Oxford United but despite having three times as many shots than the hosts, they lost 2-0 with the United keeper Stevens man-of-the-match.

Paul Salt's Altrincham made it through to the last 32 of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 victory at home to Chester. They then won 1-0 at home to Stockport County in the National League but were very fortunate, the visitors having shots on target, seven to one and corners fifteen to one.

They were then beaten 3-2 at Halifax Town.

Paul Clark's Aldershot Town travelled to Welwyn Garden City for what some people were saying was the biggest game in City's history, Aldershot being the highest-placed club that they've ever played! Unfortunately the new 'covid' rules meant that just 48 hours before the game, fans were told that they couldn't attend the game costing the minnows an estimated £5,000 of much-needed cash. They'd already won through five rounds in their best cup run in living memory. Trailing just by a single goal at the break, the Shots' class and fitness told in the second period to run out 5-1 winners.

The Boxing Day derby at home to Woking was effectively over by the break with the Shots 3-0 up and that's how it stayed with the goals coming from their only three shots on target.

Next up was second-bottom Yeovil Town, just one point from their first six home games and fresh from a 6-1 thrashing at Torquay United-easy three points up for grabs? No, the form-book was turned on it's head as the Glovers recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win.

Boston United extracted revenge for their narrow league defeat at Fylde with an even narrower win at the Jakeman's Community Stadium in the FA Trophy. The worst possible start saw the visitors take a 22 second lead but the second half was back-to-the-wall stuff as the Pilgrims laid siege to the goal and after a late equaliser, they won 4-2 on penalties after keeper Ross Fitzsimons saved two spot-kicks.

The Boxing Day clash at home to Alfreton Town gave them their first win at the new ground, 2-0 the score after a dominant display although they gave away another penalty which was thankfully smashed against the bar. That win taking them up six places into sixth spot.

I tuned in to the next game, at Farsley Celtic, and just like the recent victory at Blyth, the Pilgrims could easily have recorded double-figures. Three times they hit the woodwork and several goal-line clearances kept the score down to 4-0, three points which moved them up into second place.

Southport progressed in the Trophy at Spennymoor Town despite being pummelled in the second half. A goalkeeping error gifted them an equaliser to make it 2-2 and take the game to penalties where the home side's Tate missed his spot-kick when a 'goal' would have taken Town through.

They then dominated at home to Curzon Ashton in the League but were denied the three points after a last minute equaliser made it 2-2.

Chorley have made some great signings and they're flying up the league after tremendous wins at much-fancied sides, 3-1 at home to Fylde and 2-1 at Chester.

After the Bank Holiday results just three points separated eleven teams from 3 rd placed Boston United to 13 th placed Farsley Celtic and another four teams just two points behind them.

A crowd of 200 saw Colne avenge their home cup defeat by Prescot Cables by beating the same opponents at the same venue 2-0 and cement their 3 rd place in the NPL North West Division. They then moved three points clear at the top after a late Dean goal gave them a 3-2 home win against Kendal Town in front of another 'capacity' 200 attendance.

Clitheroe were held to a 1-1 draw by Kendal Town at Shawbridge but then moved up to 4 th after a 1-0 win at Widnes. The Blues took a while to adjust to the artificial surface but dominated for most of the 2 nd half.

In the FA Vase, Nick Hancock was looking forward to a 3 rd round tie for his Buckland Athletic favourites at home to fellow Western League side Tavistock but two days of heavy rain put paid to it.

The game was eventually played on Boxing Day but proved to be a 'no-contest' with their Devon rivals running out easy 4-0 winners.

Longridge Town exited the competition after a 2-1 home defeat against an excellent Warrington Rylands side.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard drew 2-2 at home to Burscough.

Barnoldswick Town led 1-0 after 89 minutes but still lost 2-1 at Irlam, leaving them still second bottom.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen won 4-2 at AFC Blackpool and then 2-0 at home to Ashton Town moving them into third spot.

Nelson were well-beaten 3-0 at home to Atherton LR, a result that left them struggling in 17 th place, just two points above bottom side St Helens Town. A similar score in their next game at Steeton.

Early December

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon had a good 2-1 home win against 3 rd placed Peterborough United but the next game, at home to lowly Bristol Rovers, didn't produce the expected win. Rovers tore through the Dons defence at will to record an emphatic 4-2 success.

They did rather better in the EFL Trophy, winning 3-0 at home to Arsenal's under-21 side.

A tough-looking game at Charlton Athletic was next up and the defence once again fell apart. Two goals for the Dons just before half time gave them a 2-1 lead but the second half scored four more without reply.

Accrington Stanley trailed 2-1 at second bottom Shrewsbury Town deep into added time but were awarded a last-gasp penalty. Cassidy's 95 th minute spot-kick was saved but he knocked in the rebound to salvage a point. Another 2-1 victory followed, at home to MK Dons which them in 7 th place with games in hand on all of the clubs above them.

Like Wimbledon, they then defeated a team of future stars, in the shape of Manchester United under 21's, coming from behind to win 3-2 and set up 3 rd round tie at Lincoln City.

A trip to bottom side Wigan was next up but the basement boys looked to have had the game sewn up after half an hour, 3-0 up. Stanley hit back to make it 3-2 with 25 minutes remaining but ended up losing 4-3 and missing the chance to move into the play-off positions.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot gained a point with a goalless draw at Chesterfield but once again the Shots had a player sent off and they had keeper James to thank after a series of fine saves.

The shot-stopper was again the difference in the next game, at home to Dagenham & Redbridge, where a series of great saves helped them to a 2-1 win.

The next home game, against Halifax Town, looked to be bringing more joy to the long-distance Great Harwood Town fan, as they led 1-0 at the break, but Paul left the 'Rec' disappointed after the visitors scored three unanswered goal in the second half.

They then fought back from two down at Boreham Wood only to concede a third three minutes from time.

Paul Salt's Altrincham had a terrific 1-0 win at Wrexham to move up the dizzy heights of 4 th place where they stayed after another single goal win, at Dagenham & Redbridge.

In the North Division, I tuned in to the Gloucester City (top of the table) v Boston United game where the teams cancelled each other out to produce a goalless draw.

The following game for the Pilgrims was the first game at their new stadium, against Chorley, but everything didn't go to plan with the Magpies running out comfortable 2-0 winners despite missing an early penalty.

Chorley had drawn 1-1 at home to Curzon Ashton during the week and followed the Boston win with a 1-0 home success against Guiseley to continue their march up the table before a last minute penalty earned them a point at Alfreton Town, 1-1 the score.

I watched the Blyth Spartans v Boston United game on line and the game ended with a truly remarkable 1-0 win for the Pilgrims. In what was described by the reporter as the most one-sided first half ever, Boston could and should have been 10-0 up. Amazing saves from the keeper, the woodwork, three times, a 'goal' disallowed and some incredibly bad luck, saw the sides go in level at the break. Boston eventually scored soon into the second half but the keeper continued to make 'world-class' saves and Blyth even had a couple of opportunities to level before the end.

The poor finishing was evident in the next game, a goalless draw at home to Chester.

Fylde were held to a 3-3 draw at Mill Farm by a much-improved Bradford Park Avenue before losing 2-1 at lowly Hereford.

Southport lost 1-0 at home to Farsley Celtic and then looked to heading for yet another narrow home defeat until Archer's 93 rd minute leveller. They then took an early lead at struggling Guiseley but ended up losing 4-2.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough had a fantastic 3-1 home win against leaders Dartford and kept up the great form in the following game at Dulwich Hamlet.

They tore into the hosts from the start and should have been four goals to the good before Hamlet scored with their first, and second attacks of the game in the opening 15 minutes. The Sports continued to dominate but were thwarted time and time again by the home keeper and by the end, had only a consolation goal deep into injury time to show for their domination.

They then came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit at Concord Rangers to snatch a point.

In the FA Vase, Charnock Richard received a bye in their home tie against Ashington but a second round game at Stockton Town saw them exit the competition after a 4-2 defeat. The game was effectively over after half an hour with the Whites already 3-0 down. The home keeper was sent off soon afterwards but Stockton held out comfortably.

Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at Barnton thanks to a first half penalty.

Nick Hancock travelled up to Somerset to see his Buckland Athletic favourites make it through to the 3 rd round after a 2-1 victory against 1 st Division Wells City. The video highlights are on u-tube and it has to be said that the opening goal was definitely a cross which sailed over the keeper and into the net.

They then hosted Tiverton in a friendly, losing 4-2 in front of a three-figure attendance.

Late November

In League One, a three-goal first half blast gave Accrington Stanley a superb 3-0 win at Swindon Town. They were then held to a goalless draw by Lincoln City at the Crown but they did have to play the last 20 minutes after McConville was sent off.

A Bishop goal gave them a 1-0 home win against Crewe Alexandra to make it six without defeat.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon should have had the game at Rochdale sewn up earlier before they eventually made the breakthrough after 92 minutes.

They then lost 2-1 at Gillingham although their performance deserved at least a point. Another 2-1 defeat followed, this time in the FA Cup at home to Crawley Town despite taking the lead.

In the National League, Paul Salt's Altrincham had a great 3-2 home win, their first at Moss Lane this season, against Chesterfield thanks to an 89 th minute Hancock penalty. They followed that up with a single goal victory at Boreham Wood, this time with an 86 th minute goal by McDonald, the three points moving them into mid-table. They then lost to an early goal at home to Bromley but soon got back to winning ways, defeating Maidenhead United 2-0 at Moss Lane.

Paul Clark's Aldershot Town drew 0-0 at home to Maidenhead United with Fondop being sent off on his debut. They then drew another blank in a 1-0 defeat at Wrexham.

In the North Division, Chorley produced one of the surprise results of the season by winning at Telford United and the good form continued at Hereford, drawing 2-2.

Their season has been boosted by two tremendous signings, both former Rovers players. Full Back Adam Henley, who has full International caps with Wales, and highly-rated midfielder Willem Tomlinson. The FA Cup run saw them travel to high-flying League One Peterborough United and the Magpies must have feared the worst after going behind on 2 minutes but they fought back to record a memorable 2-1 win.

Southport's excellent away form continued, winning 2-0 at Bradford Park Avenue but they were then hammered 4-1 at Gateshead.

Fylde, surprisingly, lost 2-0 at Curzon Ashton but remained second despite scoring just 9 goals in their 7 league games. That was followed by a 1-1 draw at improving Leamington. Back on home turf, they trailed Boston United at the break but hit back to win 2-1 and inflict the Pilgrims first defeat of the season.

Also in the North Division, Alfreton Town led 3-0 at Leamington after only 21 minutes but the home side hit back to win 4-3, all their goals coming in the second half with the 3 rd and 4 th coming in the final 3 minutes.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough drew 2-2 at Tonbridge Angels having been two down with 20 minutes remaining, and then 1-1 at Oxford City but they then lost 1-0 at home to St Albans City.

We've been following the exploits of Stoke Gabriel in the South West Peninsula League and after their first 15 games, the good news is that they're only 6 points adrift of second-bottom Axminster Town. The bad news is the goal difference, Axminster -1, Gabriel -182.

Early November

Ex-Landlords Accrington Stanley lost 2-1 at Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup thanks to an 84 th minute winner for the hosts.

In the EFL they made it through with a 1-0 win at Barrow, following that up with another single-goal success at Northampton Town in the League, Russell scoring after just 2 minutes.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon returned to Plough Lane after 29 years but unfortunately he wasn't here to see it, hopefully he'll be up there looking down.

The Mighty Dons had looked on course for a memorable victory, leading twice, before an added time equaliser for Doncaster Rovers made it 2-2.

Paul Salt's Altrincham made it through to the 2 nd round of the Cheshire Senior Cup with a 3-0 home win against Barnton. They then lost 2-0 at home to fancied Solihull Moors in the National League and then 2-1 to Paul Clark's Aldershot with their goal coming as a mere consolation in the final couple of minutes. Paul had booked the day off work months ago in order to attend the game!

In the National League North, Fylde were held to a 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town before a 2-1 FA Cup exit at the hands of Exeter City at St James Park, this despite the Coasters taking an early lead. They then won 1-0 at home to Spennymoor Town before a home game against Boston United was postponed.

Before that game, the mighty Pilgrims had comprehensively beaten Darlington at Blackwell Meadows, leading 2-0 after 87 minutes before the game was abandoned due to a serious injury to the Quaker's Nicky Hunt. The decision on whether the result stands is now in the hands of the League.

Southport won 1-0 at Kettering Town before a 1-1 draw at Alfreton Town but that was followed by home defeats, 3-2 by York City and 2-0 by Spennymoor Town.

Chorley produced the greatest comeback of the FA Cup 1 st Round, trailing 2-0 at the break at Wigan Athletic, they forced extra time and then won it with a goal in the opening minute of the added thirty.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough hosted ex-winners Blackpool in the FA Cup but were comprehensively beaten 3-0. They then drew 1-1 at home to Ebbsfleet United. They then inflicted Braintree Town's 7 th consecutive defeat of the season, winning 4-0 at home to move them into the head-spinning heights of 4 th spot in the National League South.

Phil O'Dell's FC United defeated promotion rivals Warrington Town 3-1 at Broadhurst Park but were well beaten 5-1 by Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup, also at home.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham took a 3 rd minute lead thanks to an own goal but were then hammered 6-1 by Avro at the Arbories.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria defeated Runcorn Town 2-0 at home in the Cheshire Senior Cup.

I managed to get a last game in before the 'lock-down' seeing Darwen lose 1-0 at home to Lower Breck who maintained their 100% record. The Salmoners gave a really good account of themselves and deserved a point.

Late October 2020/21

In League One, Accrington Stanley fell to a 2-0 defeat at Ipswich Town but then won 1-0 at home to Fleetwood Town with Town boss Joey Barton saying afterwards that he'd rather lose playing his way than winning Stanley's way. Yeh O.K.!!!!

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon should have beaten win-less Shrewsbury Town at Loftus Road but passed up a number of good opportunities before a sucker punch in the last minute gave the Shrews victory.

A few days later they were once again the better side at the Kcom Stadium against Hull City but the hosts scored the only game of the goal in the 52 nd minute of the 'first half' to go top of the table.

Things didn't get any better in the next game as an 86 th minute equaliser gave Burton Albion a share of the points at the Pirelli Stadium.

They then defeated Blackpool 1-0 at Loftus Road, helped by the Seasiders having two players sent off.

They then drew 1-1 at arch rivals MK Dons with the home side scoring from their only shot on target.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot travelled to fancied Eastleigh and came back with a point but it could and should have been all three but for a 92 nd minute equaliser for the Spitfires.

The Shots then exited the FA Cup, losing 2-1 at home to Woking despite taking a 6 th minute lead.

They again took the lead at home to Torquay United in the League but the Gulls ran out comfortable 4-1 winners to maintain their top spot.

Paul Salt's Altrincham dropped to the bottom of the table despite not playing although they've played less games than all of their rivals in the bottom half.

A tough FA Cup draw at Fylde saw them exit the competition after a 2-1 defeat.

They then earned a fine point in a 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United although that failed to lift off the bottom. Another fine away performance at Dover Athletic saw them win 1-0.

In the North Division, Southport condemned Chorley to their third straight defeat, winning 1-0 at Haig Avenue and the Magpies then lost again, 2-0 at home to Kidderminster Harriers, leaving them pointless after four games.

The Sandgrounders, meanwhile, won 3-0 at Blyth Spartans to move up to 2 nd and still to concede a goal after three games. That changed after they entertained the mighty Boston United who took the three points after a 1-0 win.

I saw an excellent game on the iPad, Boston United 3 AFC Telford 2. Two evenly matched sides slogged it out in the pouring rain at Gainsborough Trinity's Northolme with the Pilgrims coming out on top despite two world class goals from the Bucks.

They then produced their best performance of the season at home to Guiseley but couldn't convert more than one of the many chances and the visitors equalised with their first shot on target in the 96 th minute!

I then watched the win at Southport where they controlled much of the 90 minutes.

Chorley then picked up their first point in a goalless draw at Bradford Park Avenue.

Fylde won 3-2 at home to Kettering Town their third win from three leaving them in 2 nd place on goal difference. A comfortable 2-0 home win against Farsley Celtic followed.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were held to a 1-1 draw by visiting Chelmsford City.

In the FA Cup, the Sports made it through to the 1 st Round Proper with a 1-0 home win against Dulwich Hamlet before a 2-1 League win at Hampton & Richmond Borough lifted them to the dizzy heights of 8 th place.

Another victory followed, 2-1 at home to Welling United.

In the NPL Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign, coming from behind to beat bottom side Stafford Rangers 2-1 at Broadhurst Park.

They then had a great 2-1 home win against Guiseley in the FA Cup thanks to a late Sinclair-Smith winner.

Back in League action, they then lost for the first time, 1-0 at South Shields but then lost 3-2 at home to Marske United in the Trophy.

In the FA Trophy, two of our local sides were involved in thrillers. Ramsbottom United came from three down at Worksop Town to lead 4-3 before the home side levelled and then won the penalty shoot-out 5-4.

Back in League action, the Rams then won 2-1 at Tadcaster Albion and then 2-1 at home to Prescott Cables.

Colne trailed 2-0 at the break in their tie at Widnes but two goals in as many minutes saw them level. Widnes restored their lead before two more for the Reds, with Cooke notching the winner to complete his hat-trick.

A convincing 4-2 home success against City of Liverpool took them up into 3 rd place but a tough FA Trophy game at South Shields saw them end their FA Trophy run, losing 1-0.

Clitheroe made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with a superb 1-0 win at table-topping league rivals Dunstan but then went out after a 1-0 defeat at Ashton United.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria, after two opening defeats, had a cracking 2-0 home win against Longridge Town who were playing their first league game of the season. The good form continued when they entertained Irlam although it took an 87 th minute Lynch goal to secure a 2-1 win.

They then won 2-0 at Whitchurch Alport and 2-1 at leaders Winsford United, taking them to the top of the table.

Two points were then dropped at home to struggling Litherland REMYCA who twice came from behind to draw 2-2.

Longridge Town led 2-0 after an hour of their game at Bootle but the Merseysiders stormed back to win 3-2 and preserve their 100% record.

They then smashed Barnoldswick Town 4-0 in the League.

The afore mentioned Barnoldswick Town were left in shock after they lost 10-2 at leaders Winsford United. A Dale penalty actually put them in front after only 4 minutes and the same player equalised on 25 after United had gone in front but it was 5-2 by half-time and the Blues didn't let-up in the second period with the prolific Rob Hopley scoring three and Madeley getting 5.

They then let a two-goal lead slip at home to Hanley Town to lose 3-2 before the Longridge defeat.

Charnock Richard were surprisingly beaten 4-1 at home to Bootle and then 2-1 at Irlam.

Padiham lost 2-0 at home to 1874 Northwich but then smashed bottom side Litherland REMYCA 5-1 at the Arbories, having the game sewn up after 20 minutes, leading 4-0. They then exited the FA Vase, losing 2-0 at Warrington Rylands.

In Division One, Bacup Borough are usually to be found at the 'wrong' end of the table but they made it six points from two games with a fabulous 2-0 win at leaders Golcar United. They followed that up with a 1-0 home win against Steeton to go top.

Darwen gave as good as they got at Radcliffe against Bury AFC but the home side scored three more before the end to give the final scoreline a lop-sided look in front of a capacity 300 attendance.

They then defeated Chadderton 3-1 at the Anchor.

In the South Division, Stockport Town won 10-1 at Eccleshall and even the home goal was scored by a Town player!

In the FA Vase, Nelson were smashed 4-1 at home by Ashington and then conceded another four in the home League game against Garstang whose goals were all scored by Hothersall. The Admirals had led 3-2 at the break.

Things didn't go any better in their next home game, losing 5-0 to leaders Lower Breck, a defeat which saw them sink to the bottom of the table. The next home game saw a much-improved performance as they hammered Daisy Hill 5-0.

Down in the South West, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic travelled up the M5 to take on Roman Glass St. George expecting there points but despite taking the lead, they lost 3-1 thanks to a disappointing display.

They then won 3-2 at Street to move above their opponents and into 3 rd place although they've played more games than most of the teams towards the top of the table.

In the South West Peninsula League, we were following Stoke Gabriel and their results haven't really improved. They lost 17-1 at home to Ilfracombe Town and then 10-0 against Elmore AFC, also at the Speedwell Stadium. An improvement in the following game saw them only lose 6-0 at Sidmouth Town. Next game, oh dear, a 17-2 defeat at Honiton.

No doubt about the result of the month, Skelmersdale United's 4-1 win at Stafford Ranger sin the final qualifying round of the FA Cup. The lowest ranked team left in the cup and 50 years since their last appearance in the 1 st Round.

Early October 2020/21

Accrington Stanley went behind after 18 minutes at Loftus Road against Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon but two goals in four minutes saw them lead at the break and kept the Dons to very limited chances thereafter.

Paul Clark couldn't make the long trip to Hartlepool and was probably glad that he did as the Shots went down 2-1 thanks to an 87 th minute winner for 'pools'.

Paul Salt's Altrincham started the campaign with a goalless draw at home to Weymouth. In poor conditions, both sides failed to make much impact and the game produced just three shots on target.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough edged through to the next round of the FA Cup with a penalty shoot-out win at Dorking Wanderers after a 3-3 draw.

A few days later they began their National League South campaign with a very disappointing 3-0 home defeat against the same opponents.

Back in Cup action, they made it through to the final qualifying round with a 3-1 home win against Sheppey United.

Chorley had an excellent 2-1 FA Cup win at home to Gateshead but then lost 3-1 at York City in their opening League game. Back in the Cup, they won 1-0 at home to York and even better was the draw for the final qualifying round which gave them a bye into the 1 st Round Proper.

Boston United are playing their home games at Gainsborough Trinity's Northolme and they made short work of AFC Mansfield, winning 4-2. They followed that with a magnificent 4-0 win at Leamington in the National North.

They then should have hosted Guiseley in a clash of the top two but the game was postponed after three United players tested positive for COVID.

A home FA Cup game against Hemel Hempstead Town was then forfeited although the Pilgrims would have been red-hot favourites to progress.

Southport won 2-1 at home to Morpeth in the FA Cup before drawing 0-0 in the league, also at home, to Hereford.

Another home game against a North East side followed in the Cup but South Shields were a much tougher proposition and won 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Fylde won FA Cup games at Hyde United, 4-2, and at Farsley Celtic, 3-1, and then defeated Darlington 1-0 in the league at Mill Farm.

In the Northern Premier League, Clitheroe twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Trafford in front of an excellent turn-out of 400.

They then won 3-1 at Mossley before drawing 1-1 at Runcorn Linnets.

That was followed by a terrific 3-1 home win against Ramsbottom United in front of a crowd of 400.

Phil O'Dell's FC United progressed in the FA Cup thanks to a 2-1 win at Curzon Ashton and then went through from the next round after Alfreton Town had to withdraw from the competition because of COVID.

Colne made it three wins from three with a single goal victory at Ossett United with another cracking attendance of 300. They then lost 1-0 at home to Workington before drawing 1-1 at Widnes.

Back at home, they demolished Pontefract Collieries 6-2.

Ramsbottom United surprisingly only attracted 186 for the home came with Pontefract Collieries. A 3-0 win for Rammy made it three in a row and left them top of the table. That great form continued with a 2-1 home win against Ossett United in front of a much-improved 393. The Rams had to come from behind and needed a 90 th minute Osi-Efa strike to take the points before the 3-1 loss at Clitheroe.

Down in the South West, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 2-1 at Brislington leaving them in 4 th place.

The next game, at home to Tavistock was a different story with the Bucks being well-beaten 5-1 although four of the goals were in the final 10 minutes.

A 3-2 win at high-flying Bitton put them back on the right track and into 2 nd place.

They then entertained leaders Plymouth Parkway who's only dropped points this term was at home to the Bucks.

Despite an excellent display, it was Parkway who took the points with a 2-1 win in front of a great turn-out of 289.

Also in that part of the country, South West Peninsula Premier East League side Stoke Gabriel are finding things a tad tough. They began the season with an 8-0 home defeat, followed that up with 14-0 away defeat, 15-0 away defeat, 13-0 home defeat but a home clash with Bovey Tracey, also with a 100% losing run gave them a chance to record a positive result. Stoke Gabriel 1 Tracey Bovey 18!! They managed another goal in their next game at Elburton Villa but the hosts scored nine.

They then enjoyed their best score of the season, only losing 3-0 at home to high-flying Ivybridge Town and indeed, held them to a goalless first half. The next home game saw them go down 14-0 to previously win-less Plymouth Marjon and that was followed by a 15-0 defeat at Axminster Town.

In the FA Cup, Longridge Town produced a superb display to win 3-2 at Stalybridge Celtic. Their best ever (only two seasons though) run in the FA Cup came to an end at home to Skelmersdale United who won 1-0 in front of a capacity 300 attendance.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham managed to hold a game despite the terrible weather, drawing 4-4 against Whitchurch Alport who scored the eighth gaol in the 90 th minute. The roles were reversed in the following fixture at Squires Gate where a last minute penalty gave the Storks a 2-1 win.

They then progressed in the FA Vase with a 2-1 win at Heaton Stannington.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria twice took the lead against Warrington Rylands before eventually going down 3-2. They then lost 2-0 at Hanley Town.

Bacup Borough won through to the next round of the FA Vase with a penalty shoot-out win at home to Stockport Town after a 1-1 draw. A Gervin hat-trick then helped them to a 6-2 win against Chadderton, also at the Brian Boyes Stadium.

Nelson made the long midweek trip to Cleator Moor Celtic where a 92 nd minute strike gave the home side a 4-3 win.

Barnoldswick Town won 3-2 at home to Squires Gate with all the goals coming in the first half, Barlick coming back from two down. They then lost 3-0 at home to 1974 Northwich.

Carl Grimshaw was on the scoresheet, as usual, in a 2-0 win at West Didsbury & Chorlton in the FA Vase and again in a 3-1 home success against Squires Gate.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen raced into a three goal lead after just 25 minutes of their home game with AFC Blackpool, eventually winning 7-3 with Steele notching a hat-trick.

I then took in the Vase game with Runcorn Town where the visitors triumphed 2-0. There wasn't too much in the game but Town had that little bit extra quality. The attendance of 238 was a consolation for the Salmoners. Their cause wasn't helped by a sending off but in the next game at home Golcar United, the boot was on the other foot as the visitors were reduced to ten men before the break and then nine men in the second hlf when a player was 'sin-binned'. With Darwen pushing for the winner, having come from two down, a late goal, direct from a corner, condemned them to a 3-2 defeat and taking the Yorkshire side to the top of the table.

Late September 2020/21

Ex-Landlords Accrington Stanley lost at Burton Albion for the second time in a couple of weeks, 2-1 the score this time. Things then got even worse as they were hammered 4-1 at home by Oxford United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon were involved in a thriller at home to Plymouth Argyle. The game was actually played at Loftus Road as the new ground isn't ready yet. The visitors took the lead before being pegged back and despite being 'on the ropes' for much of the first half, they made it 2-1 just before the break. The Dons stormed back to lead 4-2 with just 20 minutes remaining but back came Argyle to level at 4-4.

Wimbledon then defeated Brighton & Hove Albion's under-21's in the EFL Trophy and back in league action, won 1-0 at Fleetwood Town.

Boston United have made eleven new signings this summer and their pre-season is going well. Hull City's under-23's were beaten 3-1, Gainsborough Trinity 2-1 and the Pilgrims then came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw 2-2 at Halifax Town.

Another win followed in their final warm-up game, 3-2 at Huddersfield Town 'B'.

Paul Clark's Aldershot lost 2-1 at Slough Town in a pre-season friendly. The Shots had some excellent news when former Premier League star Ross McCormack joined. Just four years ago he was transferred to Aston Villa for £12m.

In their last pre-season friendly game, they won 3-2 at Tonbridge Angels.

Paul Salt's Altrincham won 4-0 at Huddersfield Town B but then lost 2-0 at Alfreton Town. That was followed by an excellent 2-2 draw at Fylde, this after trailing 2-0 at the break.

Phil O'Dell's FC United drew 1-1 at home to Nantwich Town in the opening NPL game before a home FA Cup game against Pontefract Collieries. The Reds raced into a 5-0 lead within 35 minutes but the Yorkshire side didn't give up, scoring just before and after the break. A late United goal saw the game end 6-2.

Back in league action, they were held to a goalless draw by Scarborough in front of a capacity 600 crowd.

Clitheroe came from behind to win their opening game 2-1 at Brighouse Town, following it up with a 1-0 home win against Prescott Cables. I'd 'pencilled' that game in but their web-site stated that it was season-ticket holders only. The attendance of 372 certainly surprised me.

I then opted to see Darwen host AFC Blackpool but when I arrived at the gates, they were locked. Found out later that I was a week early!!

Ramsbottom United carried on where they left off last season, winning 4-1 at Widnes but then went out of the FA cup, losing 2-1 at Mossley.

In the FA Trophy, they progressed with a 2-0 win at Ossett United.

A penalty gave Colne a 1-0 win at Dunston.

I travelled to Charnock Richard to see the FA Vase game against Barton Town from Humberside. After a tight first half, the home side took control just before the break and ended up winning 3-0. The irrepressible Carl Grimshaw scored two and made the other.

A few days later they exited the FA Cup after losing 2-0 at Longridge Town.

Also in the Vase, Darwen drew 0-0 at Staveley Miners Welfare before going through in the penalty shoot-out.

Barnoldswick Town exited after losing 4-1 at Newton Aycliffe.

Nelson had an excellent 5-3 win at Carlisle City.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria went through after a 2-0 win at Golcar United.

Bacup Borough won 3-1 at Pilkington.

NWCFL side Shelly have resigned from the league due to the pandemic which dried up any income. It seems quite a surprise that more clubs haven't had to make that decision.

Bury AFC lost their first competitive game, 2-1 at Chorlton & West Didsbury in the FA Vase.

Biggest win was Deeping Rangers 10-1 home success over league rivals GNG Oadby Town.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic travelled to leaders Plymouth Parkway with Nick fearing the worse taking on a side that had won all five games, scoring 19 and conceding just one. The Bucks defended stoutly to earn a point in a goalless draw.

Next up, a home game against Chipping Sodbury Town, bottom of the league, five straight defeats, 2 goals for and 19 against. “Should be an easyish win” he said but a poor performance saw another 0-0 draw.

Early September 2020/21

The season began with the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup. I went to the Anchor to see Darwen take on Barnoldswick. The Premier League side won deservedly, 4-2 with the score being kept down thanks to some heroic goalkeeping and last-ditch defending. The original 'capacity' was set at 150 but doubled before the game which was a sell-out.

Barlick then travelled to Marine and not surprisingly lost 2-1 but the very late winning goal was very controversial. They had led until the 87 th minute so it was a valiant effort.

Nick Hancock watched his Buckland Athletic side bow out of the competition after a 5-3 penalty defeat at home to Bitton following a goalless draw. The BBC results service stated that the Bucks had actually won the shoot-out 5-3 with Nick hoping that the FA might take that as 'Gospel' and send the winners cheque to Homers Heath!

They kicked off their Western Premier League campaign with an excellent 4-2 home win against much-fancied Bridgwater Town in front of a healthy turn-out of 161 and followed that up with a 1-1 midweek draw at Tavistock. Nick travelled up there more in hope than expectation having lost there 5-0 last season. The good start to the campaign continued as they defeated Keynsham 2-1 at Homers Heath.

The BBC also said that Darwen's defeat came after extra-time, despite everyone knowing that there wouldn't be extra-time!

Talking of the BBC, they'd picked United Counties Division One side Burton Park Wanderers first-ever FA Cup game to be televised as they hosted AFC Sudbury but one of the Burton players tested positive for covid19 so they had to forfeit the game and in the process losing out on a huge pay-day which would probably have amounted to several years normal takings.

Another tiny club who had the same misfortune was Combined Counties Premier side Redhill whose home tie with Egham Town also had to be forfeited.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria made it through with a hard-fought 1-0 home win against Padiham but went out 5-4 on penalties to Charnock Richard after a 2-2 draw.

Arguably the best result of the round was Warrington Rylands 1906 6-1 win at 1874 Northwich, another game that drew a 300 capacity crowd. According to the Non League Paper, the result was 1874 Warrington 1 Rylands 6! 1874 NORTHWICH then got back on track with 6-1 away win of their own at Shelly in the Macron Cup semi-final.

Charnock Richard won 4-1 at Athersley Recreation and followed that with the win at Northwich

Colne won 2-0 at Daisy Hill.

Longridge Town came from a goal down at home to Winsford United and made it through the next round with a 3-2 win at Widnes. The winner coming with a last minute Melling penalty.

Former landlords Accrington Stanley bowed out of the EFL Cup at Burton Albion, losing 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

A few days later they demolished Leeds United's Under 21 side 7-0 at the Crown and then had a great 2-0 home win against highly-fancied Peterborough United in their opening League game.

Phil O'Dell's FC United were well beaten 4-1 at Marine in their opening friendly game before they drew 1-1 against City of Liverpool at Broadhurst Park in front of a tremendous attendance of 570. The final pre-season game saw them win 1-0 at home to Traford.

Clitheroe came from one down at the break to defeat Curzon Ashton 3-2 but their FA Cup run was halted at the first hurdle, losing 1-0 at Warrington Rylands.

I tried to get a ticket for that game but the 300 were quickly sold out so off to Holt House I went to see Colne bow out after a 2-0 home defeat to Prescott Cables. The Merseysiders were the better side and were cheered on by around 50 fans in the attendance of 270. As it turned out, the Rylands attendance was only recorded as 275.

Ramsbottom United came from a half-time deficit to blow away visitors Irlam with four quick second half goals.

New NWCFL side FC Isle of Man sadly had to pull out of their FA Vase campaign where they should have hosted AFC Liverpool thanks to Covid restrictions, giving the Scousers a bye into the next round.

July

FC Oswestry Town have resigned from the NWCFL 1 st Division South as with no income during the past few months and none for the foreseeable future, there appeared no way that the club could continue at that level.

At last, some football to report on and it was good news for Paul Salt and his Altrincham favourites. Hancock put the Robins ahead in their home play-off eliminator against Chester and on 53 minutes the game looked to be over after the visiting keeper was sent off for bringing down Mooney and Durrell doubled the lead from the spot.

By the hour mark it was three as Durrell scored his 6 th goal in five games after joining from York City but a few minutes later a poor back pass led to Dudley setting up Glendon for a tap-in.

Hughes then made it 3-2 but with 11 minutes remaining and 7 added on at the end, Alty held out.

That meant a daunting trip to hot favourites York City but a goal in each half gave the Robins a fantastic win which put them through to the final.

In the National League North game, Brackley Town hosted Gateshead and after some early home pressure, it was Gateshead who bossed things and should have taken a 1 st half lead but a very weak penalty kick was easily saved by the Town keeper. The Heed eventually went in front in the 4 th minute of added time but what happened next wasn't the half-time whistle but one of the best goals ever likely to be seen anywhere in the world! The kick-off was played back five yards to Shane Byrne who unleashed an incredible shot which flew into the top corner of the net. Check it out on YouTube.

The 2 nd half saw Gateshead continue to dominate but a missed 'sitter' from inside the six-yard box meant that the game went to penalties. Gateshead went first, and scored, as did Brackley. The next two spot-kicks were saved but the next six were all converted, and so onto sudden death. Gateshead's next one was blazed high over the bar leaving Brackley to score and go through but the penalty was saved. Two more were converted, Gateshead then went in front and the final one was saved by the visiting keeper.

Boston United hosted a Gateshead team that had beaten the Pilgrims 3-0 home and away this season so when they took a 19 th minute lead with their first attack, things looked ominous but two fouls by player-manager Williamson, both on Jake Wright, and excellently converted by Jordon Thewlis, gave the hosts a half-time lead.

A penalty for York six minutes into the second period levelled things up and after the three previous play-off defeats for Boston in recent years, the heads could have dropped but they Mighty Pilgrims upped the ante and scored another three in a 17 minute period and despite a late consolation for York, the result was never in doubt. Man of the match was Wright who won the spot kicks and scored the final two goals.

Williamson was less than magnanimous after the game, questioning the the penalties, the officials in general, and stating that the best team lost!! I watched the game and the best team DID win. The 'Brucie Bonus' was Alty winning so the final would take place at York Street and what a fitting end to the old ground if the last-ever game saw Boston promoted.

Making his debut in the game was ex-Chorley player Matt Challinor who made the switch several months ago and has in the meanwhile signed for Southport on a permanent basis but is still eligible for the last two Pilgrims games.

In the South play-offs, Weymouth stormed into a 2-0 lead within 11 minutes at home to Dorking Wanderers but were pegged back in the second half before 83 rd minute substitute Odubade hit the winner five minutes into stoppage time.

They will take on Dartford who also trailed at the break at Havant & Waterlooville but hit back to win 2-1.

The quest for promotion to the Football League saw Notts County and Harrogate Town make it to the final after wins at home to Barnet and Boreham Wood respectively.

Bury AFC will definitely be playing in the NWCFL 1 st Division North next season which is great news for the other clubs in that division but the owner of the original Bury FC, Steve Dale, is still hoping that the old club will be admitted into the National League with the supporter base split. NOT A CHANCE! Like Wimbledon (aka Milton Keynes), the REAL club will be Bury AFC.

FC Isle of Man will be playing in the NWCFL Division One South but how clubs who can only attract a few dozen spectators will be able to cover the cost of transport to away games, remains to be seen.

Both those new sides were denied entrance to the competition by the NWCFL but were over-ruled by the F|A.

Fylde have accepted their fate and have been relegated back to the National League North just a year after coming so close to promotion to the Football League.

Very few people will be sympathetic after the crazy decision to sack highly successful manager Dave Challinor. He took struggling Hartlepool to within three points of a play-off spot while his ex-employers continued to drop further down the table.

June 2020

Hopefully by the end of next month there'll be some football to report on.

New Colne head coach Nathan Rooney has not been idle during the crisis, he signed several players and they could be a decent bet for promotion next term. Ex-England International Chris Kirkland has joined the coaching staff with other signings including ex-Rovers under-19's captain Tom Brown from Radcliffe, Tom Dean from Hyde United, Jamie Cooke from Fleetwood Town, Harry Cannon-Noren from Droylsden and David Lynch from Alfreton Town.

Clitheroe have also been very busy signing new players. Experienced Billy Priestley has arrived from Bradford Park Avenue, Kieran Feeney and Daniel Pilkington from Lancaster City, Cole Lonsdale from Workington, Jake Connelly from Fulwood Amateurs, Chris Smalley, Ross Dent and Craig Hobbs from Stalybridge Celtic, and David O'Brien from Atherton Collieries.

Leaving Holt House is former Rovers' player Matt Makinson who's made the step up to join Phil O'Dell's FC United. The Reds have also signed Louis Mayers for his third spell at the club and goal-machine Dan Cockerline from AFC Liverpool, a player who scored 22 goals in just 26 appearances last season. Also arriving at Broadhurst Park is Nathan Burke from Bala Town.

Another Stalybridge player to depart the club is Thomas Stewart who's signed for Ramsbottom United

A well known player around these parts, Sefton Gonzales has left South Shield to join Matlock Town.

Ten years ago Andy Teague left Lancaster City for Chorley where he was instrumental in their great recent success's and now he's returned to the Giant Axe.

City of Liverpool have re-signed prolific Craig Cairns after three years away at Runcorn Town. During his time there he scored an incredible 119 goals in 115 games.

May 2020

No football club and no football means I've got to diversify even more so here goes.

The first £1,000 player was Alf Common who left Sunderland to Middlesbrough in 1905.

The first £10,000 player was David Jack who Arsenal signed from Bolton Wanderers in 1928, the last time that the Rovers won the FA Cup.

Goal nets were introduced in 1891.

Phil Brown has resigned as manager of Clitheroe and has been replaced by former captain David Lynch who returns to the club with ex-pro Chris Holland as his number two. Lynch has played for Matriarchal, Southport and Halifax while Holland has played for PNE, Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town and more impressively, 85 times for Boston United.

Colne have appointed Nathan Rooney as their new head coach.

South Shields have sold over 500 season tickets for the 2020/21 season, a remarkable achievement.

Fourteen years ago, the Czech Republic had a Euro warm-up game at Bamber Bridge, winning 9-1, a game which I was privileged to see. Watching the Czechs close-up, you could appreciate just how good they were and they made it to the final that Summer, eventually losing to Germany.

In 1990, Ben Rowe travelled to Fulham with his Exeter City side for a 3 rd Division game. He was disappointed to find himself on the subs. bench and even more disappointed to be sent off after 75 minutes without even coming on! For persistently abusing the referee.

In a game back in the 80's, Yeovil Town hosted Newport County. The Glovers had 3 players sent off and were 3-0 down with 15 minutes remaining and then 3-1 down with two minutes of the regulation 90 left. They ended up winning 5-4 and even missed a penalty!

30 years ago, Dartford of the GM Vauxhall Conference, opened their social club, situated in the ground, at 6-30 for evening games, and opened the turnstiles at 7-00!! The committee members were mystified why the first 30 minutes of trade was so slow! They also closed the club at 2-20 for 3-00 kick-offs.

Staying with the Kent side, a local newspaper stated that 'Beazer Homes side Dartford have done well to reach this stage of the competition'. Actually, they were exempt till that particular round of the FA Cup!!

Result from the Welsh Cup 3 rd Round-Llanfairpwllgyngllgogerychwrnorobwilliantysillogogoch 0 Shrewbury Town 1. And the crowd started to chant “Give us an L”..............

Ilford FC merged with Leytonstone and then Walthamstow and then Redbridge Forest and then Dagenham. Dagenham & Redbridge Forest then dropped the name Forest and haven't merged with anyone else for around 30 years.

I wonder if any readers have tried unsuccessfully to find Runcorn's old ground Canal Street? In years gone by, whilst following Boston United, I've spent longer looking for it than the Crusaders spent trying to find the Holy Grail. Whenever talking about the town, it's always referred to as the lost city of Runcorn.

I only recently found out that Rushden & Diamonds ex-ground Nene Park, was bulldozed three and a half years ago, just 25 years after £30m was spent re-developing it. I've been to hundreds of Football League and non-league ground and this was amongst my very favourites. Three all seater stands and a covered terrace for home supporters.

Peterborough North Star appointed a new manager, Scott Goodwin, who, within 24 hours of taking charge, had released the entire first team squad!

Darwen have been cashing in the the brilliant Netflix drama, The English Game, which followed the club in the early years as they reached the FA Cup Quarter Finals in 1879. Replica shirts from the period are proving very popular.

Former Colne, Clitheroe, FC United, Chorley, Stockport County and Droylsden star Sefton Gonzalez has been released by highly successful South Shields and will no doubt be in demand by non-league clubs in our area.

April 2020

The National League clubs have voted to end the 2019/20 season great for Chorley but not so good for Barrow although they will now be asked to vote on whether the play-offs should take place.

Personally, I was desperate to attend the final ever game at Boston United's York Street ground but sadly that looks highly unlikely to happen.

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia finished the season in top spot, for the first time in ten years, on goal difference from Anorthosis. They lost just three times and conceded only thirteen goals in 23 games. Matt scored the final goal of the campaign. APOEL had taken the title for the last seven years. He was the leading league goalscorer twice in the last four years and ended up as his club's top goalscorer this season.

20 years ago, on the 4 th of April, the Robins ended the season with a 1-0 defeat at Ramsbottom United to finish in 16 th place while Rammy finished in 3 rd spot.

The NWCFL website looked back at the 1983/84 season which saw the Robins finish in a dismal 3 rd from bottom place, just above Salford and Nantwich. We won just five games from 34 attempts and at the other end of the table, Fleetwood Town took the title losing just two games.

Plenty of clubs have good reason to 'gutted' by the FA's decision to declare the season null and void. Jersey Bulls won all 27 games in their Combined Counties campaign scoring 99 goals whilst conceding just 7. Vauxhall Motors had already gained promotion from the NWCFL Division One South while the excellent Northwich 1874 were set for the NPL, sitting 8 points clear with a game in hand in the Premier Division. Stockton Town ended the season 13 points clear at the top of the Northern League and Stowmarket Town were 15 points clear at the top of the Eastern Counties Premier League.

Maldon & Tiptree were about to be promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division and South Shields, backed by huge crowds, looked unstoppable at the top of the NPL Premier Division.

Rather less convincing was the Kings Lynn Chairman calling for his side and York City to be promoted if the National League doesn't re-start. Both those sides have recorded some very poor results before the suspension and the mighty Pilgrims of Boston were gaining ground.

New club Bury AFC are hoping to join the NWCFL next season and there's no doubt that they'll be welcomed with open arms due to the expected huge support that they'll bring to the competition.

The NWCFL will be waiving the fees for competing at this level as well as other benefits such as player registration fees, all together a saving for each club of around £1,000.

Oxford City's ground at Court Place Farmtowhere I visited a few years ago, and appears to be in the middle of nowhere, has been hit by vandals who caused around £1,000 worth of damage to the press box. These scum must have travelled a long distance to get to the ground in the first place and a tiny club like this will find it difficult to raise the necessary funds for repairs.

A report from Phil O'Dell's FC United, included manager Neil Reynolds comments that the Reds away following is often bigger than the Rovers in the Championship!! In reality, their original followings of 2,000, when first formed, have dipped to around 500. The Rovers followings have never dropped below that even for evening games at the likes of Swansea, Cardiff, Portsmouth and various London venues!! I presume that Neil is either a Preston or Burnley supporter.

Long-serving Colne manager Steve Cunningham has stepped down as manager after six, mainly successful, years in charge to spend more time with his family.

Darwen have been docked 11 points, despite the season already having finished. The penalty has been given for the club playing an ineligible player. They've also been banned from next seasons Macron Cup and the eleven points has sent them from 8 th, level on points with fifth placed Golcar United, to 13 th.

Rhyl FC look to be the first club to fold after the Coronavirus outbreak, having begun a winding up order. They were former Welsh champions, have won the Welsh Cup four times and were quite recently part of the English Pyramid system, often playing against ourselves. The club have

Back in November 1934, York City won 1-0 at Burton in the FA Cup 1 st Round with one of the goals being scored by outside left George Bowater.

In November the following year, the two clubs were paired together once more, this time at York. Burton exacted revenge by winning with Bowater again on target but this time for Burton!

Late March

Obviously not much news since the suspension of all football in the country.

The big news is that all football below National League level, has ended for the season with results being declared null and void, a decision that has not gone down well with the NWCFL committee.

Looking back 15 years to the 19 th of March 2005, we travelled to Salford City and were given the worst defeat since our reformation as GHTFC, 8-0!

How times have changed for both clubs with Salford, like ourselves in those days, struggling to attract three-figure attendances with only 55 present to see the thrashing.

Unsurprisingly, we finished bottom of Division One whilst Salford ended the campaign in 18 th position.

Paul Clark's Aldershot, like most clubs at every level, have seen their players take a wage cut whilst the coronavirus continues to cause havoc.

Back in 1957, Paraguay defeated Uruguay 5-0 in a World Cup Qualifying game and after the second goal, two supporters died of heart failure

Early March

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia won 3-0 at AEL Limassol with Matt stepping off the bench to complete the victory with an 87 th minute penalty.

Accrington Stanley had a very disappointing result, losing 2-1 at home to relegation-threatened Tranmere Rovers.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon could only draw 0-0 at home to bottom side Bolton Wanderers leaving then 6 points above Tranmere who have two games in hand. The two sides were certainly missing their 'shooting boots' with the Dons, 15 shots, 1 on target, and Wanderers, 10 shots, 0 on target.

Fylde continue to struggle in the National League and they lost 2-1 at home to Notts County before a goalless draw against Solihull Moors, also at Mill Farm.

Paul Clark's Aldershot left him very unimpressed after a 1-0 home defeat against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Paul then travelled to Notts. County but went home disappointed again after a 3- defeat despite taking the lead.

Another long trip for Paul, to Fylde, followed by another disappointing result, a 1-0 defeat, and another terrible return journey to Hampshire followed.

Chorley took a 2 nd minute lead at home to Eastleigh but a 2 nd half equaliser and a 94 th minute effort saw the visitors take all three points. Another home game brought a similar result and scoreline, against relegation rivals Chesterfield, leaving them 17 points from safety.

They then set off for an away game at mid-table Bromley before a player sickness forced them to abort the long trip south.

In the North Division, Boston United earned a good point at promotion rivals Brackley Town although the point came at a cost with leading scorer Andy Thanoj carried off.

I then travelled to see them play at Curzon Ashton where they led 1-0 and were up against ten men for the final half hour but still failed to hold on to the three points.

A Lincolnshire Senior Cup Final followed against Cleethorpes Town at Sincil Bank but the silverware eluded them as they lost 1-0. That made it just two goals in the previous five matches, both penalties and to compound matters, forward Jake Wright went off injured.

The Pilgrims then signed Chorley's ever-present right back Matt Challiner after Alex ||Penney decided to move nearer home with Kidderminster Harriers, despite the Worcester club having no prospects of promotion.

I was then about to set off for the Deva Stadium before I discovered that the game was postponed.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough gained a vital three points at home to Maidstone United to move them two points clear of the danr zone.

In the NPL Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United had a tremendous 4-0 win at Mickleover Sports. A much tougher fixture followed at leaders South Shields where Reds forward Owalabi scored a hat-trick and still ended up on the losing side. They had trailed 3-0 at the break before staging a gallant come-back, going down 5-3 by the end.

North West Division, Colne earned a fine point with a 1-1 draw at Runcorn Linnets.

Ramsbottom United came from behind to win 2-1 at Kendal Town before a 1-0 win at Marine kept them in 2 nd place in front of almost 700 fans.

Despite their poor form of late, Clitheroe are still attracting excellent gates, 390 saw the goalless draw with Dunston. They reversed that form with a 1-0 win at Runcorn Linnets before a 4-0 demolition of hosts Droylsden kept them in touch with the leading group.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Longridge Town twice led at 1874 Northwich only for the hosts to nick a 3-2 win with goals in the 89 th and 90 th minutes.

They then won 3-2 at home to Litherland REMYCA.

Barnoldswick Town trailed 1-0 at half time at home to Hanley Town but fought back to win 3-1. The roles were reversed in the following fixture, leading 1-0 at Squires Gate with less than 25 minutes left, they lost 3-1.

They then earned a fine point with a 0-0 draw at 1874 Northwich.

Charnock Richard won 4-2 at Skelmersdale United before a 4-3 home win against Litherland REMYCA with Carl Grimshaw scoring the first and last goals.

Padiham drew 1-1 at home to Avro but then lost 3-1 ay Northwich Victoria.

Massive crowds for the two games played on the Sunday. Congleton's 4-2 home defeat against Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria attracted 495 while Winsfrod United v 1874 Northwich drew an eye-watering 627.

Vics then drew 1-1 at home to Winsford before the 3-1 home win against Padiham.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough lost 1-0 at AFC Liverpool.

Darwen defeated Chadderton 4-3 at the Anchor before another four-goal blast

at Blackpool, winning 4-2 in front of incredible turn-out of 304.

Nelson took the lead twice at Pilkington before going down to a 3-2 defeat.

With the City v United Premier League game taking place on the Sunday, the two Wythenshawe sides attracted huge crowds despite both being at home. Amateurs had 546 through the gate for their 1-0 win against West Didsbury & Chorlton while Town were watched by 589 who witnessed a 3-2 home win.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic played their first game since the passing of their Chairman Roy Holmes. Admission to the game, at home to Bridport, was free, with donations to Oesophageal Cancer Research welcomed. A bigger than average gate of 179 raised £1700 for the charity with a 5-0 victory thrown in for good measure. The total raised so far is around £2,300.

A chance to build on that win came with a trip to mid-table Roman Glass but the bucks went down 1-0 and thankfully for Nick, he couldn't make it due to work commitments.

Great story from the Isthmian Premier League. Promotion-chasing Cray Wanderers have re-signed ex-keeper George Taylor. He made his debut in 1937 and it was unforgettable game where his team were on the wrong end of a 10-0 hiding. 100 year-old George signed registration forms before Cray's 3-1 home win against Merstham. The win took them to equal 2 nd with Hornchurch and Folkstone Invita.

Late February

As it proves more and more difficult to provide news for the website, we'll be looking back on events from yesteryear.

In season 1957-58, in the Italian League, Lazio were 4-3 up at home to Bologna going into the final minute when the visitors were awarded a penalty. Not surprisingly, the Lazio players went crazy and in particular, the goalkeeper Lavati who turned his back on the field of play and despite pleas from his team mates, refused to make any effort to save the spot-kick. The referee told the Bologna player to go ahead with the kick but his effort smashed into the 'keeper's back! Lavati turned around, grabbed the ball, broke his finger in the process, cleared the ball and was then happily taken off to hospital to have his injury taken care of!

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia drew 0-0 at 3 rd placed APOEL but the point was enough to send them to the top of the table as leaders Aonorthis lost 2-1 at home to AEK Larnaca. Matt was subbed 20 minutes from time.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon were smashed 5-0 at mid-table Oxford United and will be in deep trouble if Tranmere Rovers put together any kind of decent form. They were then held to a goalless draw at home to Blackpool but won 2-1 at Gillingham thanks to a 91 st minute winner to move eight points clear of the relegation spots.

Accrington Stanley were beaten 2-1 at home to leaders Rotherham United with the Millers' winner coming in added on time. Another defeat followed, 3-0 at Oxford United before a goalless draw at Bolton Wanderers.

In the National League, Fylde were hammered 5-0 at Dover Athletic

Paul Clark's Aldershot moved into mid-table with a 2-1 win at struggling |Maidenhead United and followed that up with another three points at home to Boreham Wood. They came from 1-0 down at the break to win 3-2.

Chorley are all but doomed at the bottom, losing 1-0 at home to Barnet and 2-0 at Torquay United.

In the National League North, Southport earned an excellent point at Brackley Town thanks to a last minute equaliser but then lost 1-0 at Leamington.

Boston United moved up to third with a 1-0 home win against Telford United, their sixth win in a row, and then had a chance to move within striking distance of the top with a home game against Gateshead. Sadly they were well beaten 3-0 by the Heed for the second time this season.

Paul Salt's Altrincham won 2-0 at Hereford.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough are just a point clear of the drop zone after a 2-1 defeat at Dartford and a 1-1 home draw against lowly Billericay Town.

In the Northern Premier League, Phil O'Dell's FC United won 2-1 at home to Stafford Rangers but were then thrashed 3-0 at Bamber Bridge. That was followed by a 1-0 win at play-off rivals Nantwich Town and a thrilling 4-4 home draw against Warrington Town with the equaliser coming in the last minute.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe's season has imploded after a decent first half of the season, losing 3-1 at home to Mossley and then 4-1 at Workington although it could have been worse in the second game after trailing 4-0 at the break.

Colne drew 2-2 at Dunston.

James Dean's name has been missing from the Bamber Bridge squad since his hat-trick in the Lancs. FA Trophy victory against Wythenshawe Amateurs. 'Brig' were his thirteenth club, that's if Great Harwood Town were his first.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic fought back from 4-1 down at 3 rd placed Hallen to have the hosts hanging on at the end after making it 4-3.

Sad news down in Devon was the passing of Bucks Chairman Roy Holmes who'd been at the club since its formation in 1977.

In the NWCFL 1 st Division North, Darwen's 3g pitch is coming up trumps as almost all games during the end of the month fell foul of the horrendous weather.

I managed to see a game where they were denied by Ashton Town who opened the scoring in the first minute. Darwen stormed back and looked full value for the points before the visitors equalised with the last kick of the game. They then lost 2-0 at home to play-off chasing Shelly.

The Bedfordshire Senior Cup semi-finals saw Potton United lose 1-0 at home to Luton Town and Bedford Town defeat Biggleswade Town 3-2 but both sides were expelled from the competition after fielding ineligible players!! That surely can't have ever happened before where both losing semi-finalists contested the final.

Early February

Great Harwood Town legend Matt Derbyshire scored both goals for Omonia Nicosia as they won 2-0 at Olympic Nicosia, a result that left them just a point behind leaders Anortosis.

They were unable to follow up that result, losing 2-1 at home to second bottom Achnas. Three yellow cards for the visitors in the opening 34 minutes told the story of how they approached the game and they then had the audacity to take the lead after an hour. Matt equalised with a penalty on 74 minutes but another spot-kick, this time for Achnas, gave them the three points. Fortunately, leaders Anorthsis also lost 2-1 but still remained two points clear of Omonia.

They were then held to a 1-1 at mid-table AEK Limassol.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 2-1 at Accrington Stanley despite playing against ten men for almost the whole of the second half.

They then lost by the same score at home to Fleetwood Town before earning a great point with a 2-2 draw at Rotherham United thanks to a 93 rd minute equaliser.

Accy, meanwhile, won a thriller at home to Lincoln City. They trailed three times before a 96 th minute winner.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot secured a vital point with a 1-1 home draw against second placed Harrogate Town.

Another mammoth trip followed for Paul and the Shots' faithful, to Hartlepool, and another miserable return journey ensued after a 2-0 defeat.

The miles kept on coming, this time to Fylde, and once again the Shots faithful returned home 'gutted', after a 1-0 defeat

Fylde were 6 points from safety after a 2-1 home defeat against Boreham Wood. They then found some relief from their league struggles as they made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with a 4-2 win at Dorking Wanderers.

Chorley remained bottom despite a tremendous 1-1 draw at second placed Yeovil Town. A trip to 2 nd bottom Ebbsfleet gave them a chance to bridge the gap to one point but they lost 1-0, a result that left them 12 points from safety.

In the North Division, I travelled up to the North East to see Boston United take on struggling Blyth Spartans but despite a dominant 90 minutes, the Pilgrims only won 1-0 thanks to a host of missed chances. Nevertheless, the three points lifted them to their highest position of the season, 3 rd place, after defeats for Brackley and Chester.

Next up was a huge home game against 2 nd placed York City and despite going a goal down early on, the roared back to win 3-1 in front of a 2,000+ crowd.

Southport could only manage a 3-3 home draw against bottom side Bradford P.A. And then blew the chance to move up from mid-table as they let a 2-0 lead, after 90 minutes at Hereford, slip as the Bulls scored two late goals.

Paul Salt's Altrincham remained in the play-off positions despite being held to a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Kettering Town. The Robins then brushed aside Blyth Spartans at Croft Park, 3-0 the score, a result that took them up to fifth.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough could only manage a 1-1 home draw against fellow mid-table side Hemel Hempstead Town.

They then led 1-0 at half-time at 4 th placed Weymouth but then needed a 95 th minute equaliser to salvage a point.

In the NPL Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United had to twice come from behind to salvage a point at home to Mickleover Sports, 3-3 the final score.

They then earned a fine point with a 1-1 draw at second placed Basford United.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe failed to halt the progress of title favourites Pontefract Collieries, losing 2-1 at home despite taking an early lead.

Ramsbottom United remained top after a 2-0 win at Droylsden. Tadcaster Albion were in the play-off spots as they travelled to the Riverside but proved no match for the Rams who ran out 3-0 winners in front of a superb turn-out of just under 400, the Division's highest gate of the day.

Colne defeated bottom side Pickering Town 2-0, unconvincingly, after an early own goal and a late clincher. They then earned a very good point with a goalless draw at home to promotion-chasing Marske and were one of only a handful of teams to play on a wet weekend, making the most of it to win 2-1 at Widnes.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by 2 nd bottom Burscough.

Carl Grimshaw then gave them the lead at Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria but they then needed two goals in the final five minutes to secure a 3-2 win.

Vics then looked odd-on for a great win at home to neighbours 1874, leading 3-0 a minute after the break but a McGowan hat-trick saved a point for the leaders in front of a superb turn-out of 557.

Padiham lost a potential relegation 'six-pointer' 4-2 at home to Skelmersdale United despite being 2-0 up after only 6 minutes. A 1-0 win at Ashton Athletic then gave them some breathing space.

Barnoldswick Town were smashed 5-0 at Congleton Town.

Longridge Town were held to a goalless draw at Winsford United. The Ridge then entertained Hebburn Town in the FA Vase and another goalless draw followed which took the game into extra-time in which the visitors notched the only goal before a record attendance of 692.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen lost 1-0 at Lower Breck. The next game saw Niall Ellis notch a hat-trick in the opening 33 minutes but Daisy Hill hit back to draw 3-3. The next home game brought three points thanks to a 3-0 win against Holker Old Boys in horrendous condidtions.

Bacup Borough lost 4-1 at Pilkington and then 3-1 at home to Atherton L.R. Despite leading at the break. The visitors win lifted them above Brent Peters' boys who dropped into third-bottom spot.

An early Zama goal secured a 1-0 win for Nelson at second-bottom St. Helens Town.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock saw his Buckland Athletic favourites embarrassed by fellow mid-table side Bitton, losing 6-1 at Homers Heath.

Their opponents then made it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Vase. The Western League had three teams in the last sixteen with Plymouth Parkway also making it through.

Nick's boys then won 2-0 at struggling Wellington.

Late January

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia inflicted just the second defeat of the season on leaders Anorthis. They won 1-0 at home to move within just a point of their rivals although Anorthis still have a game in hand. Matt was substituted after 95 minutes.

Our ex-landlords Accrington Stanley hosted 'whipping boys' Southend United hoping and expecting a good win to break the bad run of form but the Shrimpers took the points after their second win of the season, 2-1 the score.

The Reds then earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Burton Albion although their performance deserved three. Back on home turf, they were beaten 2-0 by promotion-seeking Peterborough United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon moved five points clear of the danger zone after stopping free-scoring Peterborough United at Kingsmeadow. The Dons deservedly won 1-0. They then twice came from behind at home to Burton Albion to salvage a point, leaving them 6 points above Tranmere Rovers in the final relegation place although the Merseysiders still had two games in hand.

In the National League, Fylde are in deep trouble after another defeat, 3-2 at home to mid-table Torquay United, a result which left them 3 rd bottom. Their plight wasn't helped despite earning a point in a 1-1 draw at Chesterfield.

Paul Clark's Aldershot's recent form has seen them move nearer the play-off spots then the relegation ones and hosting bottom side Chorley had the chance to go just 6 points behind the 7 th place but a last minute Alex Newby penalty denied them.

Paul then travelled down to mid-table Dover but a 2-0 defeat left them just four points above the drop zone. He then travelled down to Eastleigh for a midweek game but was less than impressed by a boring goalless draw.

Chorley, meanwhile, hosted play-off chasing Halifax Town and another blank, just eleven goals in fifteen home games, cost them as they lost 1-0.

In the North Division, I travelled to the 'Pure Stadium' (you've got to be kidding!) Haig Avenue, to see Boston United continue their great record there with a well-deserved 3-1 victory.

That left 8 clubs, separated by just four points, vying for the last three play-off spots.

The Mighty Pilgrims then hosted bogey side Brackley Town who regularly complete the double over them, but despite a dominant performance by the visitors, it was Boston who scored the only goal after 86 minutes.

Full-time Kidderminster Harriers were the next visitors to York Street and they were sent back to Worcestershire pointless after a 2-0 home win.

Paul Salt's Altrincham lost 2-0 at Gateshead but then defeated bottom side Bradford P.A. 2-0 at Moss Lane before a similar win at Kettering Town.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough remain in mid-table in the National League South after a 1-1 draw at Chelmsford City. The Sports Charlie Walker had a game to remember, scoring the equalising goal, then seeing a penalty saved, before being carried off with a head injury in the second half.

They then twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at home to Concord Rangers.

Southport finally managed to turn around their poor run of form around with wins at Pilkington-4-1 in the Liverpool Senior Cup-and 1-0 at Gloucester City in the league.

Pilkington, meanwhile, led 2-0 at Cleator Moor Celtic in the League before goals in the 86 th and 99 th minutes saw the hosts salvage a point.

In the NPL Premier League, Phil O'Dell's FC United needed a late winner to secure the points at Whitby Town thanks to a 2-1 win and another last minute strike to save a point at second bottom Buxton.

In the North West Division, Ramsbottom United came from behind to win 3-2 at Brighouse Town to remain just a point behind leaders Workington. I then made the short trip to the Riverside to see the top two clash and it was the Blues who deservedly triumphed after a 2-0 win. A dominant first half saw them two goals to the good and a strong second half defensive performance had them worthy winners and a place at he summit.

Gainsborough Trinity eased their relegation worries with a 3-1 win at Atherton Collieries thanks to a hat-trick from on loan Boston United Striker Nicky Walker.

Clitheroe attracted almost 500 fans for their home game with bottom side Pickering Town but the Blues blew their chance of success after a 2-2 draw. It could have been worse as they trailed 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining.

Another two points were dropped after a goalless draw at lowly Dunston.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, leaders 1874 Northwich made short work of 3 rd placed Charnock Richard, winning 5-0.

Charnock then got back to winning ways with a single goal success at Hanley Town.

Meanwhile, the leaders were heading for defeat at lowly Skelmersdale United before a last minute penalty equaliser and a 95 th minute winner!

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria won 2-0 at home to Barnoldswick Town thanks to two second half goals. They then lost 2-0 at home to Rylands.

Barlick then lost 3-0 at Runcorn Town.

Padiham were smashed 5-1 at Rylands leaving them just 4 points above the bottom side Litherland REMYCA. The Blues then won 2-0 at Litherland REMYCA.

Longridge Town won 2-1 at Whitchurch Alport in front of over 400 spectators but then surprisingly lost 3-2 at home to Ashton Athletic. Another home game saw them comfortably defeat Irlam 4-2. Two valuable points were then dropped at second bottom Burscough with the 'Ridges' only claiming a point thanks to an own goal in a 1-1 draw.

In 1 st Division North, Nelson won 2-0 at Atherton L.R. But then lost 5-3 at Golcar United and 3-1 at home to Prestwich Heys.

Darwen took the lead at Prestwich Heys but went down 2-1 before another excellent crowd of 160 saw them win 3-2 at home to Garstang, coming from behind twice in the process.

Two 1 st half goals saw Bacup Borough go down at Holker Old Boys.

Perennial strugglers Daisy Hill had a day to remember at St. Helens, winning 8-3.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic could only draw 0-0 at home to fellow mid-table side Brislington.

Early January

Matt Derbyshire's Omomnia Nicosia lost only their second defeat of the season, 2-1 at 3 rd placed Apollon, a result that saw them drop to 2 nd after Anorthosis's 3-0 win at Paphos.

They were then held to a goalless draw by mid-table Paphos who set out their stall from the start, earning five bookings in the process. Matt himself picked up his 4 th booking of the season late on, no doubt frustrated by the rough treatment from the visitors.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon had probably their worst result of the season after drawing 1-1 at home to practically doomed Southend United who equalised with an injury time penalty.

They then lost 2-1 at Portsmouth with substitute Wagstaff lasting just 11 minutes after coming on as a substitute and picking up two quick yellow cards.

Accrington Stanley remain in trouble after a 2-1 home defeat against fellow strugglers Rochdale. A trip to Ipswich Town, eight games without a win, gave them the chance to get back on track but they were soundly beaten 4-1 with only a late penalty to show from their efforts.

In the National League, Fylde continue to struggle as they lost by the only goal at home to leaders Barrow. They were then the last non-league side to exit the FA Cup, losing 2-1 at Sheffield United.

A home game against Southport in the FA Trophy saw them progress after a 4-1 win but they were rocked by legend Danny Rowe requesting a transfer. With the Coasters having no chance of promotion this season, he feels that it's now or never if he's to play in the Football League.

Paul Clark saw his Aldershot favourites gain a vital three points at home to Eastleigh, winning 3-1. He then travelled up to Wrexham for the proverbial 'six-pointer' and for once, he enjoyed the long journey home after a 2-1 win.

Chorley lost 2-0 at home to Wrexham in a vital '6 pointer' and then 1-0 at Woking.

In the North Division, Boston United had the chance to halt Kings Lynn Town's title charge but they lost 3-0 at the Jakeman's Stadium in front of well over 2,000 supporters.

I travelled to Bradford Park Avenue to see the Pilgrims move up to 6 th place after a hard-fought 2-1 win against the league's bottom side.

They then moved up another place despite being held to a goalless draw at York Street by third-bottom Curzon Ashton, surprisingly in front of the lowest home attendance of the season.

Southport's shocking run of form continued with a 4-0 defeat at Chester and a 2-0 reverse at home to York City before their exit from the FA Trophy.

Paul Salt's Altrincham defeated close neighbours Curzon Ashton 2-1 at Moss Lane but were then held to a 1-1 draw by Guiseley at the same venue.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 3-2 at home to Dorking Wanderers before drawing 1-1 at Slough Town. A home game against relegation-threatened St Albans Town gave them the opportunity to move further towards mid-table but they were held to a 3-3 draw.

Town took an early lead before the Sports hit back 10 minutes later. Within moments though, the hosts were down to 10 men after a red card but they remained on level terms until 15 minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately for Mike's boys, the spot-kick was blasted high and wide.

Straight away, the visitors re-gained the lead but 7 minutes from time Eastbourne equalised again and looked to have won it with a 91 st minute strike only for a last gasp goal to salvage a point for the Saints.

In the Northern Premier League Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United smashed neighbours Hyde United 5-1 at Ewen Fields. They were then given a taste of their own medicine in the FA Trophy at Barrow where they were smashed 7-0 in front of almost 2,000 fans.

In the North West Division, Ramsbottom United moved up to 2 nd place with a 3-2 home win against bottom side Pickering Town.

They then made it through to the 2 nd round of the Integro League Cup with a 2-1 win against Bamber Bridge, also at the Riverside.

Back in the League, they then hammered City of Liverpool, 5-2 away from home.

Colne looked on course for a great win at 2 nd placed Marine, leading 2-0 with 20 minutes remaining and then 3-2 going into the final minute but had to settle for a point after a late equaliser. They then lost 1-0 at home to Dunston and then 3-0 at home to leaders Workington.

Clitheroe lost 2-1 at home to play-off rivals Tadcaster Albion and by the same score at mid-table Mossley to drop out of the play-off positions.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard won 2-0 at home to play-off rivals Irlam before beating Rylands 3-1, also at Mossie Park.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria needed a last minute goal at lowly Hanley Town to rescue a point, 2-2 the final score. They then made it through to the 3 rd round of the Cheshire Senior Cup with a 1-0 home win against Stockport County. That was followed by another single goal home win, this time in the league, against Avro.

Longridge Town came from behind to defeat Winsford Town 5-3 at home before making it through to the last 16 of the FA Vase with a superb 5-1 home win against Midland League leaders Newark Flowserve, with captain Tom Ince netting a hat-trick. With Vauxhall Motors losing 1-0 at home to Hebburn Town, that left the 'Ridge' as the only remaining NWCFL club still in the competition. They will now take on Hebburn.

The competition at this stage ceases to be 'regional' and it threw up a nightmare journey for West Auckland Town who must travel to Plymouth Parkway!

Barnoldswick Town had an excellent 1-0 win at 5 th placed Rylands.

Padiham lost 3-2 at Skelmersdale thanks to a last minute winner from former York, Southport and Boston striker Richard Brodie, leaving them 3 rd bottom.

They were then trailing 3-2 at home to 1874 Northwich when the game was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch after 85 minutes.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen attracted another superb crowd of 161 as they defeated 3 rd placed AFC Liverpool 1-0 at the Anchor. They then looked to have secured a point at Chadderton before a 90 th minute goal saw the hosts win 4-3.

2 nd bottom Bacup Borough won 2-0 at home to highly placed Ashton Town but then lost 3-0 at Shelley. Another defeat was looming with Brent Peters' boys trailing 1-0 at home to Steeton at the break but that's when the referee halted proceeding due to a waterlogged pitch.

Nelson lost 2-0 at Garstang and then suffered 3-2 home defeats to Shelley and Pilkington.

Just 33 supporters turned up for the Holker Old Boys v Daisy Hill game but the few were entertained royally as the hosts won 8-0.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock travelled up to 3 rd placed Clevedon Town, more in hope than expectation, but he travelled back down to Devon in good spirits after a superb 3-2 win.

Another great FA Vase run came to an end at home to league rivals and joint leaders Bradford Town who won 2-1 in front of 174 fans at Homers Heath.

Late December

Matt Derbyshire was missing from his side's line-up as they hosted aEK Larnaca but the host still managed to earn the three points thanks to a 3-2 win.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost a vital 'six-pointer' 1-0 at Tranmere Rovers leaving them just 3 points above the drop zone before a 2-1 home defeat against fancied Oxford United.

Accrington Stanley gained a point in a 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rovers leaving both sides in the bottom half of the League One table before the Reds defeated Burton Albion 2-0 at the Crown Ground.

Fylde looked to be well on their way to three valuable points, leading second-placed Yeovil Town 2-0 at Mill Farm with just over 10 minutes remaining but the Glovers hit back to salvage a point. They then lost 3-2 to Stockport County, also at home, to leave them in deep trouble towards the bottom of the table.

Paul Clark's Aldershot had a great 2-1 home win against promotion-seeking Stockport County before holding Barnet to a goalless draw at the 'Rec'.

Chorley exited the FA Trophy after a replay defeat against Matlock Town at Victory Park. The game went into extra-time with the sides level at 1-1 after 90 minutes and although Town re-gained the lead, Chorley equalised in the final minute after a penalty was saved but the rebound put in by the taker Holroyd.

Unfortunately he also missed a spot-kick in the shoot-out.

They then looked on course for three points at home to Dover before the visitors equalised in the final minute.

A home game against Harrogate Town brought more disappointment after a 2-0 defeat.

Paul Salt's Altrincham maintained their impressive home form with a 1-1 draw against Kidderminster Harriers and a 3-0 success against full-time Southport.

Boston United bowed out of the FA Cup after a 2-1 home defeat in the 2 nd round replay at home to Rochdale. Over both games the Pilgrims can count themselves unlucky not to have secured a home tie against Newcastle United but only have themselves to blame after a shocking own goal by the keeper and an equally ridiculous challenge to hand Dale a penalty. The attendance of over 4,000 was the biggest at York Street for many years.

A 1-0 defeat at leaders Kings Lynn followed but they deserved at least a point despite playing the majority of the game with ten men.

A 2-1 home win against Kettering Town then maintained their place just outside of the play-offs.

Southport made it through to the 2 nd round of the FA Trophy, coming from behind to defeat 3-1 South Shields at Haig Avenue. An excellent 4-1 win at Blyth Spartans then lifter them up into 3 rd place before the defeat at Altrincham.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough registered a vital three points with a 2-1 home win against Welling United.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham took the lead at home to Rylands but went down 3-1 in front of only 81 spectators. A much bigger crowd turned up for the next home game, a derby against Longridge Town where the Storks triumphed 2-0. That result saw Town drop to 4 th place.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria took the lead at home to high-flying Bootle but still went down 2-1.

Barnoldswick Town went out of the West Riding County Cup, losing 3-1 at Harrogate Town, who, last time I looked, were based in the North Riding!! Another defeat followed, 1-0 at Litherland REMYCA in the league.

Charnock Richard scored three unanswered second half goals at Whitchurch Alport to remain in 2 nd place despite having three points deducted for a breech of league rules.

In the 1 st Division North, Nelson had a tremendous 5-1 win at AFC Blackpool.

I went to the Anchor to see Darwen overturn a half time deficit against Prestwich Heys, to deservedly win 2-1 and that despite playing for about an hour with ten men. The fantastic gate of 226 was partly due to the club offering a free pie and pint to all spectators.

In the South West, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic won 4-2 at home to Cribbs.

Early December

Matt Derbyshire's 2 nd placed Omonia Nicosia won 2-0 at home to bottom of the table Doxa before hosting 3 rd placed and unbeaten APOEL and the game, not surprisingly ended in a draw, 0-0 the score.

They then went top after a 3-0 victory at Nea Salamis.

Accrington Stanley drew 1-1 at Tranmere Rovers in League One before making it through to the next round of the Leasing.com Trophy with a 2-0 home win against Bolton Wanderers in front of a crowd of then than 1,000. Over 700 Portsmouth fans then helped swell the crowd for the next League game, 2,429 witnessing Stanley come from behind to win 4-1.

In the National League, Fylde lost to a last minute goal at Barnet which left them just a point above the drop zone before a goalless home draw against Sutton United. They then edged past Curzon Ashton in the FA Trophy, 1-0.

Paul Clark made the epic journey from Farnborough to Barrow but made another horrible return home as Aldershot were beaten 1-0 by the league leaders. A trip to Torquay for an FA Trophy was next and once again, Paul and the loyal Shots' supporters had a miserable return after a 5-1 hammering.

Chorley sank back to the foot of the table after a comprehensive 4-2 defeat and that despite taking an early lead. They then looked to be heading for an early FA Trophy exit, trailing 2-0 at Matlock Town with 20 minutes remaining but they fought back to earn a draw.

I made the short trip to Rochdale, along with over 900 fellow Pilgrims to see Boston United produce a superb performance in holding the League One side to a goalless draw.

They followed that with an excellent and well-deserved 3-1 success at Kidderminster Harriers.

Paul Salt's Altrincham lost 2-0 at Stalybridge Celtic in the 1 st round of the Cheshire Senior Cup. They then lost 2-0 at bottom side Bradford Park Avenue who'd won just one of their opening ten home games.

Despite twice taking the lead in the FA Trophy at Farsley Celtic, they then had to settle for a replay.

Southport strengthened their play-off position with a 1-0 home win against Gloucester City before securing an FA Trophy replay after a 2-2 draw at South Shields.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were already 4-0 down by half time at mid-table Concord Rangers and eventually lost 5-0. A 2-0 defeat at Wealdstone made it a miserable few days for the Sports. They were then held to a 2-2 draw by Salisbury.

James Dean opened the scoring for Bamber Bridge in their Lancs. Challenge Cup quarter-final at home to Wythenshawe Amateurs and then completed a hat-trick as his side won 5-1. They then gained a valuable three points with a 3-2 home win against Mickleover Sports to move themselves 6 points clear of the drop zone. They continued that good form with a 1-0 win at Whitby Town.

Phil O'Dell's FC United had little difficulty in disposing of visitors Matlock Town who they beat 5-2 in the NPL Premier Division. In the FA Trophy they defeated higher-division Kettering Town 2-1, also at Broadhead Park.

North West Division Colne were well beaten in the Lancs. Challenge Cup, 5-2 against Prestwich Heys at Holt House and then drew 1-1 at home to City of Liverpool. That was followed by a bad 3-2 defeat at bottom side Pickering Town.

Ramsbottom United came from a 2-0 half-time deficit at promotion rivals Tadcaster Albion to salvage a point. They then moved up to 3 rd after a great 5-0 home win against Droylsden.

4 th placed Clitheroe hosted 3 rd placed Marine and a crowd of just over 400 saw the spoils shared after a 1-1 draw.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Charnock Richard had little difficulty at bottom side Litherland REMYCA, winning 5-2 with Carl Grimshaw netting his 16 th league goal in only 15 appearances and his 22 nd goal in all competitions.

They then drew 2-2 at home to Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria after trailing 2-0 after an hour.

They then drew 1-1 at Padiham while Steve's boys lost 2-1 at home to Longridge Town.

Longridge Town won 2-0 at home to Congleton Town and then attracted just 85 supporters to their home game against Skelmersdale United which they won 1-0 before the previously mentioned win at Northwich.

Barnoldswick Town defeated Winsford United 2-1 at the Silentnight Stadium but then came from behind to defeat Burscough 4-2 at the same venue.

In the 1 st Division North, Nelson won 1-0 at home to Chadderton in front of just 35 supporters at Victoria Park. They followed that up with a 3-1 win against Ashton Town with another four fans in attendance. The Admirals certainly can't be accused of being 'crowd-pullers', their next game, at Shelley, was watched by 36 fans who witnessed a 5-3 home win

On on evening where very few games escaped the horrendous weather, Darwen's game at Emley survived but he Salmoners wished it hadn't after a 3-1 defeat but they then won by the same score, at the same venue, against Bacup Borough.

Bacup Borough lost 2-1 at home to leaders Lower Breck with only 42 spectators present before the Darwen defeat.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic lost 1-0 at home to Bradford Town.

Late November

Matt Derbyshire was on target yet again for Omonia Nicosia as they won 2-0 at Paralimni. He opened the scoring in the 9 th minute as the 3 rd win in a row kept them in 2 nd place.

Accrington Stanley lost 2-0 at home to Crewe Alexandra, in the FA Cup and then 1-0 at Rotherham in the League, before producing a great display, and a record victory at home to Bolton Wanderers. The Trotters had been much improved of lately but despite taking an early lead, the Reds stormed back to win 7-1.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon drew 1-1 at home to Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup but lost the replay 2-0. In between those two games, they lost 3-1 at Southend United, in the EFL Trophy, and 2-0 at Blackpool leaving them struggling near the foot of the table. A much-needed three points then arrived with a 1-0 home win against Gillingham.

In the National League, Fylde lost 3-1 at Solihull Moors that was after they made it through to the 2 nd round of the FA Cup, winning 1-0 at Nantwich Town. Three first half goals were then more than enough to dispatch Dagenham & Redbridge at Mill Farm.

They then eased past Kingstonian with a 2-0 away win to reach the 3 rd round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

Paul Clark's Aldershot were hammered 6-1 at Dagenham & Redbridge with the Shots already 4-0 down inside 25 minutes! A crowd of over 2,200 then saw them defeat Notts County at the 'Rec'. They then looked on course for another three home points until Chesterfield equalised in the final minute, 2-2 the score.

Chorley are showing signs of improvement after their FA Cup exit at Mansfield Town, winning 3-2 at Chesterfield in front of over 4,000 fans and then 1-0 at home to Torquay United. Another 1-0 home win, against Dagenham & Redbridge moved them to within two points of 20 th place.

In the North Division, Southport lost 1-0 at Spennymoor United and then 2-1 at home to leaders Kings Lynn but made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy, coming back from two down at Colne. A 1-0 win at struggling Kidderminster Harriers moved them up into 4 th place.

Boston United made it through to the second round of the FA Cup with a 4-1 win at Carshalton Athletic but then lost 2-1 at Spennymoor United in the League, despite dominating for large periods. Having two players sent off at high-flying Farsley Celtic wasn't ideal but the Pilgrims still earned a deserved three points with a 4-2 success. A 2-0 home win against Blyth Spartans then lifted them up into 5 th place. A side featuring 8 changes then exited the FA Trophy after a 1-0 defeat at Atherton Collieries.

Paul Salt's Altrincham won 1-0 at York City in the FA Cup. They then smashed Hereford 5-1 at Moss Lane and followed that up with a 3-0 win, also at home, to Gateshead.

A mouthwatering FA Cup clash at Portsmouth followed and the Robins were on course for a replay before the prolific Brett Pitman notched a 94 th minute winner.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough won 1-0 at Hungerford Town in the league before making it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with a 3-1 home win against Hartley Wintney.

A late penalty then gave them a 2-1 home win against Chippenham Town which moved them 8 points clear of the danger zone.

James Dean is now with Bamber Bridge in the NPL Premier Division and is back to scoring goals. He scored both as Brig surged into a 2-0 lead at home to Stalybridge Celtic but three second half goals from the visitors secured the points.

He then put his side ahead at Hyde United but the Tigers hit back to win 4-1.

Phil O'Dell's FC United won 3-1 at home to Basford United in the FA Trophy and then 3-0 at Hyde United in the Manchester Premier Cup. They then drew 3-3 at Witton Albion before winning on penalties in the Integro Cup at home to Glossop North End after a 2-2 draw. The good form continued as they won 3-0 at Runcorn Linnets in the FA Trophy.

They then looked to be cruising at home to second placed Lancaster City, 2-0 up after only 7 minutes and that was how it stayed until 6 minutes from time when the Dollyblues scored twice in three minutes but a last minute Doyle goal gave United the points.

Colne won 3-1 at home to Buxton in the FA Trophy and then 1-0 at Mossley in the League. In the Integro Cup, they lost 2-1 at Lancaster City. They then lost 3-2 at home to Southport in the FA Trophy and 2-1 at home to Trafford back in the League.

In the same competition there was a thriller at Nantwich Town where visitors Widnes won 6-5. The visitors looked to have had the game sewn up, leading 3-0 after half an hour but the Dabbers stormed back to lead 4-3 by the break. They made it 5-3 before three Widnes goals in the final 16 minutes gave them the win.

Clitheroe drew 1-1 at Marine in the Integro League Cup but lost out on penalties. They then did well to get the home game against Ossett United played after days of heavy frost but the ground staff's work paid off as a 400+ crowd saw them win 6-1 and move to within a point of the summit

Ramsbottom United drew 1-1 at home to Runcorn Linnets before winning 2-1 at Prescot Cables and the good form got even better in the next game as they thrashed City of Liverpool 5-0 at the Riverside. Even that result was surpassed as they hammered promotion rivals Marske United, just one defeat all season, 5-1, also at home.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town lost 3-2 at Burscough but then had a penalty shoot-out victory over Steeton in the West Riding Cup. That was followed by a 3-0 home defeat by Irlam and a 2-1 home loss against Runcorn Town. They the gained a point at Whitchurch Alport with a 1-1 draw.

Charnock Richard won 3-1 at home to Bootle but then lost by the same score at Congleton Town. Two Grimshaw goals saw them win 2-0 at home to Padiham and they followed that with another 2-0 success at Winsford United. A 4-0 home thumping of Hanley Town ended the month nicely.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 2-0 at home to Runcorn Town in the Macron Cup but then won 2-1 at Avro in the League. Despite taking the lead at Ashton Athletic, they went down 3-1 but reversed the trend at Skelmersdale United, trailing 2-0 at the break but eventually triumphing 4-2. the inconsistency continued at home to Squires Gate where they led 2-0 after 25 minutes only to go down 3-2.

Padiham lost 4-3 at Rylands in the Macron Cup and then 2-0 at home to Runcorn Town in the League and then by the same score at Charnock Richard and then 2-1 at Longridge Town. They got back to winning ways with a 1-0 home win against Burscough.

Longridge Town went out of the Macron Cup after a 3-0 home defeat against Vauxhall Motors but then won 2-1 at home to Padiham. Leading 2-0 after an hour at promotion rivals Bootle, they then managed to lose 3-2.

The 3 rd round of the FA Vase was next and an Ince goal 5 minutes from time looked to have secured victory at Congleton Town but the Bears took the game into extra-time with a 92 nd minute leveller. The visitors re-took the lead but a goal 10 minutes from time meant a replay.

Bacup Borough lost 2-1 at Abbey Hey in the Macron Cup before being involved in a thriller in the League at Garstang. They twice took the lead but found themselves 4-2 down with only 15 minutes remaining before storming back to earn a point. A Gnabouyou hat-trick then helped them to another four-goal haul at home to Holker Old Boys, 4-2 the final score. Mathew Bryan then went one better by scoring four in the 5-1 home victory over Chadderton.

Darwen took the lead at Prestwich Heys in the Macron Cup but exited the competition after a 2-1 defeat. They then lost 3-2 at St. Helens Town but twice came from behind at Garstang to win 5-2 and move off the foot of the table. That was followed by another two wins, 2-1 at home to AFC Blackpool and 4-1 against Atherton L.R., also at the Anchor.

Nelson drew 1-1 at home to St. Helens Town before winning 3-2 at Daisy Hill. They were then knocked out of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy after a 6-3 defeat at Bamber Bridge and that after the hosts led just 1-0 at the break.

Nick Hancock travelled to Tavistock for the FA Vase 3 rd round tie and made it through after a 2-1win. Quite a turnaround for the Bucks who lost 5-0 there earlier in the season.

Early November

Matt Derbyshire scored a goal in each half to give Omonia Nicosia a 2-1 win at Achnas who'd lost just one of their opening six fixtures. The three points kept Matt's team in second place.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon moved out the League One drop zone thanks to a 92 nd minute leveller at home to Lincoln City.

Accrington Stanley remained too close to the bottom four even after a fine goalless draw at Coventry City.

In the National League, Fylde, under new manager Jim Bentley, could only draw 0-0 at home to mid-table Dover.

Chorley led 1-0 at the break in their game at Barnet but still went down 2-1.

Paul Clark's Aldershot gained a much-needed three points with a 2-0 home win against Maidenhead United.

In the North Division, Boston United played some of their best football of the season, coming from a half time deficit to win 3-1.

Paul Salt's Altrincham twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at promotion-chasing Kings Lynn, the second of those equalisers coming in the last minute.

Southport's excellent start to the season continued with a 4-1 win against Leamington at Haig Avenue but they then exited the Lancs. Challenge Trophy, losing 3-2 at home to Ashton Athletic.

In the South Division Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were beaten 2-0 at home by fellow strugglers Dartford.

In the NPL, Phil O'Dell's FC United had to come from behind twice just to earn a point at home to bottom side Gainsborough Trinity though the result did keep them in the last play-off position.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe smashed mid-table Droylsden 4-0 at Shawbridge to keep the pressure on leaders Workington but were then dumped out of the Lancs. Challenge Trophy after a 3-0 home defeat against Atherton Collieries.

.

Colne let a half time lead slip, going down 2-1 at Brighouse Town. They then breezed past visitors Bacup Borough, 5-0 in the Lancs. Challenge Trophy.

Ramsbottom United found themselves 4-1 down after only 40 minutes of their clash with Marine at the Riverside and despite pulling two goals back, couldn't force a draw.

In the NWCFL, Charnock Richard hammered Whitchurch Alport 4-0 at Mossie Park but were then smashed 5-1 at the same venue by Lancaster City in the Lancs. Challenge Trophy.

Padiham won 2-0 at home to Hanley Town.

1874 Northwich, who impressed me when I saw them, had a field day at Litherland REMYCA, winning 9-0.

In the FA Vase, Longridge Town won a thriller against one of our previous opponents, Thornaby, 6-4 the score with Turner notching a hat-trick. He scored again as the 'Ridge' came from behind to defeat !874 Northwich 2-1, also at home.

Another player scoring a treble was Northwich Victoria's Reed who hit his inside the opening 15 minutes but it still wasn't enough to secure victory at home to Wythenshawe Town. The Mancunians came back from 3-0, 4-1 and 5-2 to force a replay after a breathless 5-5 draw against Steve Pickup's boys. Amazingly, all the goals came in the opening 66 minutes with no further ones in the final hour or so.

Last year's semi-finalists then went out, losing 2-1 in the replay.

Barnoldswick Town lost 2-0 at Stockton in front of a tremendous crowd of 627.

Nick Hancock travelled down to Cornwall and saw his Buckland Athletic make it through the 3 rd Round with a 1-0 win at AFC St Austell.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough lost 3-2 at AFC Blackpool.

Darwen's artificial pitch hasn't proved to be an advantage and lost again, 3-0 to Cleator Moor Celtic followed by a Lancs Challenge Trophy exit at Radcliffe Borough who scored the only goal of the game with an 86 th minute penalty.

Another big score in this division, AFC Liverpool winning 8-2 at home to Holker Old Boys.

Nelson edged past visitors Golcar United 3-2 at Victoria Park.

Late October

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia led the table before taking on local rivals Olympiakos Nicosia at home, but despite taking the lead, they were held to a draw by the win-less visitors with Matt picking up a 2 nd half booking.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley won 2-0 at home to League One leaders Ipswich Town but couldn't follow that up as they lost 4-0 at Peterborough United and then by a single goal at home to Gillingham.

They then entertained Liverpool under 21's in the EFL Cup and enjoyed a great 5-2 win.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon lost 1-0 at Burton Albion but then won 1-0 at home to Portsmouth in front of a packed Kingsmeadow Stadium.

In the National League North, Southport won 3-2 at home to Hereford, and moved up into 6 th place, in front of a shocking turn out of just 604. They then rose two more places after a 3-0 success at Bradford Park Avenue.

Just 212 fans turned up for the Liverpool Senior Cup tie at home to Burscough with the Sandgrounders edging past the Linnets 5-3 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough recorded their best result of the season with a 1-1 draw at 2 nd placed Hemel Hempstead and followed that up with a 1-1 home draw against promotion-chasing Weymouth.

In the NPL Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United were hoping to build on their last home outing when they won 7-0 but found 2 nd placed Basford United a different proposition, going down 3-1 despite taking an 8 th minute lead.

A last minute goal then gave them a 3-2 victory at local rivals Atherton Collieries.

Another 'derby' followed, in the FA Trophy at Radcliffe and a 2-0 win tookthem through to the next round.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe moved up to 7 th place with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Kendal Town. I then travelled to Shawbridge to see the only game in the league to survive the weather and it was the Blues who came out on top against rivals Ramsbottom United, 2-1. A fantastic 20-yard shot into the top corner by Gregroy set them on their way before a defensive howler let the Rams back in it but a cute dummy left Mulgrew with an easy 2 nd half winner from 6 yards. The three points took them into 2 nd place although they have played more games than any other team.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town lost 3-1 at 2 nd placed Bootle.

Charnock Richard lost 3-1 at home to Congleton Town and then went out of the Macron Cup, 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Bacup Borough.

Back in League action, they then won 4-0 at home to Skelmersdale United.

Barnoldswick Town looked on course for a point at Irlam before a 90 th minute goal gave the Mancunians a 3-2 win.

Darwen won 3-2 at Congleton Town in the Macron Cup.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria took a 3 rd minute lead at lowly Squires Gate, previously one win from nine, but still went down 2-1. They then won 3-1 at home to Barnoldswick Town in the Macron Cup.

In the same competition, Padiham recorded a stunning 9-1 home win against St. Martins.

Nelson exited the cup after a 96 th minute own goal gave St. Helens a 2-1 win.

Big score in the 1 st Division South where Wythenshawe Town won 9-0 at Abbey Hulton United.

In the FA Cup 4 th qualifying round, Boston United made it through for the first time in 22 years, apart from the time that they were a Football League club, after defeating Hednesford Town 1-0 away from home.

I endured a nightmare journey, to and from York, to see them take on leaders but in a tight affair, the Railwaymen came out on top 2-1. A magnificent following of112 supporters cheered on the Pilgrims.

The lowest ranked team were Colne who went down 5-0 at Gateshead but they made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with aa 1-0 win at Kidsgrove Athletic.

Chorley went through after a tough game at home to Spennymoor Town which they won 2-0. Back in League action, they lost 2-1 at home to Yeovil Town before a home game against second bottom Ebbsfleet United gave them a perfect opportunity to record only their second win of the season. The signs look ominous for the Magpies as they were smashed 4-0.

Fylde breezed past Peterborough Sports 6-1 at Mill Farm and followed that up with a 2-0 win at Boreham Wood and a 1-1 draw at Maidenhead United. Morecambe legend Jim Bentley has been appointed their new manager.

Paul Salt's Altrincham won 3-1 at Southport.

Paul Clark couldn't get to Bromley for Aldershot's game and he missed a thriller as his Shots favourites lost 4-3. He did travel up to Harrogate but was gutted to see his side lose 1-0 thanks to a last minute goal. They then drew 0-0 at Boreham Wood.

Nick Hancock travelled up to Somerset to see his Buckland Athletic side take on 3 rd placed Bridgwater Town and leading 3-1 into the second half he must have thought that victory was secured but the promotion-chasers hit back to earn a point.

Early October

Matt Derbyshire put Omonia ahead after 64 minutes of their away game at lowly Paphos but the home side hit back to win 2-1 and to add insult to injury, Matt was booked 10 minutes after his goal.

In League One, Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon have endured their worst start to a season since 'returning' to the Football League but they burst into a 3-0 lead at home to Rochdale before holding out for a 3-2 victory.

They then won 3-0 at home to Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy before fantastic 4-1 win at Southend United took them out of the drop zone.

Accrington Stanley earned a decent point in a 2-2 home draw with Oxford United in a feisty affair that brought nine bookings.

They then breezed past Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park, 3-0 the score in the EFL Trophy. Back in League action, they then lost 2-1 at Rochdale.

In the National League, Fylde are enduring an unfamiliar start to the campaign and they remained just a point off the drop zone after a 4-0 home drubbing against Barnet and a last minute 2-1 loss at Torquay United.

A game against relegation-threatened Chesterfield gave them the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways but once again, they failed miserably at Mill Farm, well- beaten 3-1 with the Coasters goal coming in the 92 nd minute.

That proved to be the end for boss Dave Challinor as his services were dispensed with despite several successful seasons under his leadership.

Paul Clark travelled up to the North West to see Aldershot take on rock-bottom Chorley but could only draw 0-0, a result which saw both sides remain in the drop zone although the Magpies moved to second bottom.

The Great Harwood Town fan was then in a state of shock as he saw the Shots demolish visitors Dover Athletic 4-0 to move up several places. They were then beaten 2-0 at home by Hartlepool after two goals in the final 10 minutes.

Chorley, meanwhile, earned a terrific point at leaders Halifax Town thanks to another goalless draw before another 0-0 draw at fancied Eastleigh.

In the Bet Victor Premier Division, Phil O'Dell's FC United slumped to another disappointing result, losing 2-1 at home to runaway leaders South Shields.

They then won 3-2 in the local derby at Stalybridge Celtic thanks to an 89 th minute winner.

The Reds then made it through to the second round of the Manchester Premier Cup after a a 4-2 penalty shoot-out success following a 2-2 draw at Radcliffe.

Rock-bottom Buxton then visited Broadhurst Park and were smashed 7-0.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe trailed 2-0 at rock-bottom Pickering Town after barely 25 minutes but fought back to win 3-2.

They then went out of the FA Trophy after a 3-0 home defeat to Prescott Cables.

Ramsbottom United moved into 6 th position after 2-0 home win against Brighouse Town.

In the FA Cup, Colne won 3-2 at Dunston UTS.

Rammy then entertained Colne in the FA Trophy 1 st round and it was the visitors who went through with a 3-1 win in front of a healthy 375.

Southport progressed to the 2 nd round of the Liverpool Senior Cup with a 3-0 home victory over Prescott Cables before smashing Farsley Celtic 5-0 away from home in the FA Cup. The excellent form continued with a tremendous 1-0 home win against a Brackley Town side who consistently challenge at the top of the league.

Also in the FA Cup, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were well beaten 3-0 at Dulwich Hamlet but back in League action, they won their first away game of the season, 3-1 at St. Albans City.

Paul Salt's Altrincham made it through to the 4 th qualifying round with a 2-0 win at Halesowen Town. They then earned a point in a 1-1 draw at Guiseley.

I travelled down to Sutton Coldfield Town to see Boston United progress after a hard-fought 1-0 win. The attendance of 497 was mostly made up of travelling Pilgrims' supporters.

I then went to Darlington expecting another victory but left disappointed after a poor performance and a 2-1 defeat. The Pilgrims never recovered after conceding twice in the opening 10 minutes.

In the Western League Premier Division, Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic lost again, 1-0 at lowly Cribbs but made it through to the next round of the FA Vase with a 2-1 win at South Western Peninsula League Camelford.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Longridge Town demolished Rylands 4-1 and then won 5-0 at Litherland REMYCA. Their next game, at home to Ashton Athletic was abandoned after 53 minutes because of a waterlogged pitch with the visitors leading 3-1. They were soon back in the old routine, winning 4-2 at home to Crook Town in the FA Vase in front of a healthy attendance of 230.

Barnoldswick Town lost 4-2 at home to Whitchurch Alport but then made it through to the 2 nd round of the West Riding Cup with a 2-0 win over Silsden. They then demolished Abbey Hey 5-0 away from home in the FA Vase.

Charnock Richard came from behind at the break to win 2-1 at Burscough but then exited the FA Vase after a comprehensive 5-2 home defeat against Lower Breck with only two home goals in the final 7 minutes giving the scoreline a slightly better look.

Padiham were well beaten, 4-1 at Winsford United and then lost 1-0 at home to Bishop Auckland in the FA Vase.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria looked to have secured the three points at home to Hanley Town after an 87 th minute goal but the Staffs side equalised two minutes later.

They then won 2-1 at Rylands.

Padiham went down to a 1-0 home defeat agianst Ashton Athletic.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen lost 3-2 at home to Emley AFC and in the PlayerMatch Cup, things got even worse as they went down 8-3 at St. Helens and it could have been a bigger defeat as the Saints only managed a single goal in the final half hour.

Incredibly, they then shipped in another 8 at AFC Liverpool, failing to score themselves.

Bacup Borough fought back from 2-0 down after only 12 minutes at Cleator |Moor Celtic but the home side hit the decisive goal in the 92 nd minute.

Garstang lost 8-0 at home to Pilkington.

In the PlayerMatch Cup, Nelson lost 4-0 at West Didsbury & Chorlton while the goals flew in all over the place.

Ashton Town hammered Atherton LR 9-2, Golcar United trailed 4-1 at home to Wythenshaw Town with 10 minutes remaining but equalised with a 90 th minutes spot-kick only to lose the tie 4-3 on penalties.

The Lancs Challenge Trophy failed to excite the East Lancs public with just 40 turning up at the Arbories to see Padiham lose 6-5 on penalties after a goalless draw against Prestwich Heys, and only 30 spectators at Victoria Park to see Nelson progress after a 4-1 win against Holker Old Boys.

The Admirals were then beaten 6-3 at home by Daisy Hill who always seem to be struggling at the wrong end of the table but now lie 4 th.

 

Late September

Matt Derbyshire had to be content with a place on the bench for Omonia's home clash with Apollon and only entered the fray after 95 minutes of the 1-0 victory. That left them top of the table after inflicting the visitor's first defeat of the season.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley looked to be on course for a fine 1-0 home success against Blackpool before the Seasiders equalised in added time. They then won 1-0 at Southend United.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon took the lead at home to Bristol Rovers but went down 3-1 and a defeat at Peterborough left them 'bottom of the league', bearing in mind that Bolton will almost certainly end the campaign in that spot.

Paul Clark's Aldershot lost 2-0 at Barnet before finally winning a home game, at the sixth attempt. A 94 th minute goal gave them a 1-0 success against Wrexham, who surprisingly slipped into the bottom four. The Shots were unable to build on that, losing the next game 3-1 at home to in-form Yeovil Town.

Another defeat followed, 2-1 at struggling Chesterfield despite them taking an 11 th minute lead.

Fylde moved out the relegation places with a 3-1 home win against Eastleigh and then twice came from behind to beat Wrexham 3-2, also at Mill Farm.

A trip to high-flying Notts County then saw them lose 2-0 in front of a 9,000+ crowd.

Chorley secured a fine point in a 1-1 home draw against leaders Woking but then lost 3-1 against Barrow at Victory Park, despite taking the lead on 25 minutes.

A goalless draw at 6 th placed Dagenham & Redbridge failed to lift them from the foot of the table.

In the South Division, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough made it through to the next round of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at Tonbridge Angels.

A home league game against a Chelmsford City side, one draw and four defeats from their opening away games gave them the perfect opportunity to build up some momentum but they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 leaving them just a point outside of the relegationplaces.

In the NPL, Clitheroe lost 3-0 at lowly City of Liverpool but then won 2-0 at home to league leaders Workington. That was the Blues first home win after five attempts.

They then defeated Sheffield 2-1 in the FA Trophy at home.

In the FA Cup, Boston United breezed past Lincolnshire neighbours Stamford with a 4-0 away win before gaining three points at home to full-time Southport. That win took them into 8 th place and in truth, the margin of the victory could, and should, have been much greater.

Paul Salt's Altrincham drew 1-1 at Chester before winning the replay 1-0.

Southport had an excellent 5-2 home win against Scarborough Athletic before their defeat at Boston.

Colne could only draw 0-0 at home to Ossett United but smashed the Yorkies in the replay 4-0. They then made it through to the next round of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 home win against Marske United.

Phil O'Dell's FC United lost 2-1 at home by Warrington Town despite taking the lead but then exacted revenge just three days later, winning 1-0 away from home in the league. A 1-0 home win against Bamber Bridge then took them into the top half of the table.

Ramsbottom United were hammered 6-0 at Gateshead in the Fa Cup and then 5-1 at league leaders Workington.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Carl Grimshaw scored the first two goals in Charnock Richard's 4-1 home win against Winsford United.

Barnoldswick Town lost 3-0 at Hanley Town but then won 2-0 at home to Litherland REMYCA.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria came from behind to thrash visiting Burscough 6-1 but were then held to a 3-3 draw at home by Irlam who trailed 3-1 with barely 15 minutes left.

I travelled over to the Arbories to see Padiham well beaten 3-1 by Bootle but the Storks then won 1-0 at Burscough

Longridge Town won 4-1 at Skelmersdale United but then exited the Lancs FA Challenge Trophy, losing 3-2 at home to Bamber Bridge after twice leading.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough drew 0-0 at home to AFC Liverpool before an excellent 2-1 win at St.Helens after going behind.

Nelson led 1-0 at the break at Emley AFC but went down 2-1.

Darwen took a half time lead at Golcar United but three second half goals sealed the points for the home side. They then made it through to the 2 nd round of the Lancs Challenge Trophy with a comfortable 4-1 home win.

A 1-1 draw at home to Nelson followed.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock travelled up the M5 to high-flying Brislington and returned to Devon with three points after a comfortable 3-1 win.

That good result couldn't be followed up as they lost 3-2 at home to 3 rd placed Clevedon Town.

Early September

Matt Derbyshire was on the score-sheet for the second game running as his Omonia side went top of the table in Cyprus. He made it 2-0 after 32 minutes and that's how it ended.

A tough game at AEK Larnaca followed and a 98 th minute penalty robbed them of another victory, the score ending 2-2 with Matt subbed 20 minutes from time.

Accy Stanley made it through to the next round of the EFL Trophy after a 2-1 home success against Fleetwood Town.

They then had to play almost the whole of the second half at Bristol Rovers with ten men but still ground out a 3-3 draw.

That proved then too much of an obstacle in the next game,at home Sunderland, where they went down 3-1.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon went out of the EFL Trophy after a 2-0 home defeat against Brighton & H.A. U21 side.

Back in the league, they then travelled to bitter rivals MK Dons and went down 2-1 leaving them in the relegation positions before a 1-1 draw at home to Shrewsbury Town.

In the National League, Chorley remained bottom after a 2-0 defeat at Harrogate Town but moved out of the bottom spots with a terrific 3-0 home success against Stockport County and followed that up with a fine goalless draw at Dover Athletic.

Fylde's poor start continued as they lost 2-1 at Stockport County and then 3-2 at Yeovil Town to leave them in the bottom four.

Paul Clark's Aldershot lost 2-1 at home to fellow strugglers Barrow and had a stoppage time penalty saved. Paul then travelled up north to Stockport County where the mighty Shots eased to a 2-1 win.

Towards the foot of the table, Sutton United, Harrogate Town, Wrexham, Aldershot, Fylde and Chesterfield are surprise strugglers.

In the North Division, Boston United won their first midweek away game for three and a half years, 2-0 at Kettering Town, delighting the fantastic 200+ United followers. They then moved into the play-off positions with a 2-1 home win against Bradford Park Avenue. The next game saw them travel north to Gateshead where three second half goals in nine minutes just after half time saw them go down 3-0.

Paul Salt's Altrincham went down 2-1 at Southport but then smashed Leamington 5-0 at Moss Lane. On the road, they then lost 2-0 at Kidderminster Harriuiers.

Meanwhile, Southport continued the good form with a 1-1 draw at title favourites York City and a 2-0 home win against Blyth Spartans.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne United drew 0-0 at Welling United before losing 2-0 at home to Slough Town. They then drew 2-2 at Bath City.

Padiham exited the FA Cup after a 3-0 away defeat at Marine in their preliminary round replay.

Charnock Richard were hammered 4-0 at home by Irlam.

Phil O'Dell's FC United drew 0-0 at Lancaster City and were then held to a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup at Broadhurst Park by Atherton Collieries but won the replay 1-0.

They then ground out a goalless draw at Stafford Rangers.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria drew 0-0 at Lancaster City but lost the replay 2-1.

Ramsbottom United made it through in the FA Cup after a fine 3-1 replay win at Winsford United thanks to a Jerome hat-trick in front of a terrific turn-out of 352.

They then won 5-1 at Maltby Main in the next round before defeating Clitheroe 2-0 at the Riverside.

Old adversaries Glasshoughton Welfare won 6-3 at Litherland REMYCA. They had led 3-0 after half an hour before the Merseysiders took the game into extra-time.

Another of our recent opponents, Seaham Red Star, exited after a 1-0 home defeat against Witton Albion.

Thornaby drew 2-2 at home to Ossett United but were hammered in the replay 6-0.

Colne produced arguably the best performance of the round, drawing 0-0 at South Shields before winning the replay 1-0.

In the North West Division, a late goal at Workington denied them three points in a 1-1 draw.

Clitheroe lost 2-1 at home to Prescott Cables and then 2-0 at Ramsbottom United before a cracking 4-4 home draw against Runcorn Linnets. The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes but the Blues stormed back to lead 3-1 at the break. A sending off for the home side plus two penalties for Runcorn, the last in the 6 th minute of added time, saw the game end 4-4.

In the NWCFL PlayerMatch Cup, Bacup Borough lost 3-2 at Abbey Hey.

In the Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town defeated Longridge Town 3-1 at the Silentnight Stadium.

James Dean scored Padiham's goal in a 1-1 home draw against Litherland REMYCA but they then lost 4-0 at Congleton Town before making it through to the next round of the FA Vase with a 1-0 win at Sunderland West End,

Charnock Richard recovered from their Cup exit against Irlam by winning 4-2 at the same side despite trailing 2-0 at the break. Carl Grimshaw scored two of their goals taking him up to seven league goals for the campaign. He then scored all three goals in a 3-2 win at Prestwich Heys in the the FA Vase.

Barnoldswick lost 3-0 at Skelmersdale United.

In the 1 st Division North, Nelson were beaten 5-0 at leaders Ashton Town and 4-1 at home by AFC Liverpool.

Darwen lost 4-0 at home to second placed Lower Breck in front a reported eye-watering attendance of 254.

In the FA Vase, Longridge Town came from one behind at the break to defeat Blackpool 3-1 while Barnoldswick Town came from two down at Northallerton Town to win 3-2.

Bacup Borough looked to heading out of the Vase, trailing 3-1 at home to Golcar United with a minute left but a last minute penalty and a 94 th minute equaliser saw them force a replay.

In the Western League, Nick Hancock travelled up to Bitton to see his Buckland Athletic favourites but he returned home disappointed after a 4-0 defeat.

He then made the trip down to Cornwall where the Mighty Bucks made it though to the next round of the FA Vase thanks to a resounding 4-0 win against Bodmin. The home side also had a player sent to the sin bin which has been introduced to levels up to step 5 (NWCFL Premier Division) Should be interesting at Darwen!

Ex-opponents Thornaby went through after a 1-0 home win against Thackley, Seaham Red Star won 3-2 at Steeton, Guisborough Town won 5-1 at Albion Sports, Crook Town won 2-0 at Cleator Moor Celtic, Brigg Town lost 3-2 at Chadderton, andHall Road Rangers led Maine Road 4-3 at home with less than half an hour to play but ended up losing 6-4,

Late August

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia began the season rather better then they ended the last one-although it could hardly have been worse, five defeats in a row-as they won 2-0 at Doxa with the Harwood legend opening the scoring after 25 minutes.

Ex-landlords Accrington Stanley drew 1-1 at Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon but then lost an amazing game at home to Shrewsbury Town. Leading 2-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining, an own goal then two strikes in the last 5 minutes saw them go down 3-2. That was followed by a 2-0 defeat at Fleetwood Town with another red card to go with the one they got at Wimbledon.

The Dons, meanwhile, lost 3-1 at Sunderland with both them and Stanley without a win in their collective nine games.

The Reds finally got three points after coming from behind to defeat MK Dons 2-1 at the Crown.

In the National League, Paul Clark's Aldershot were beaten 2-0 at Torquay United before drawing 1-1 at home to Sutton United leaving them 4 th from bottom with just a solitary win from their opening seven games.

The Shots then recorded a much-needed win, 2-1 at second bottom Ebbsfleet United.

Chorley drew 0-0 at home to Hartlepool United but were then well beaten 5-1 at Notts County leaving them bottom of the table. Their position wasn't helped by a 3-1 home defeat by struggling Boreham Wood in the televised game.

In the North Division, Boston United lost their first game, 3-0 at Evesham United against homeless Gloucester City but then trounced Altrincham 5-0 at York Street. Another excellent performance followed at Hereford but they had to settle for a point after a goalless draw.

Paul Salt's Alty, meanwhile, had drawn 1-1 at home to Darlington two days before the Boston game with the Quakers snatching a last minute equaliser. The Robins then won 3-1 at home to Fa.rsley Celtic.

Southport lost 1-0 at home to Telford and then 2-0 at Alfreton Town before drawing 1-1 at home to Kettering Town.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough continue to struggle, losing 3-0 at home to Dulwich Hamlet before forcing a goalless draw at Havant & Waterlooville which left them in the drop zone. A 4-1 home win against Hampton & Redbridge Borough eased the pressure.

In the NPL, Phil O'Dell's FC United have endured a torrid time after relegation last term. They lost 1-0 at home to Scarborough Athletic before earning their first point in a 1-1 draw at Radcliffe Borough. They followed that up with a first win, 4-2 at home to Morpeth Town.

In the North West Division, Clitheroe won 2-1 at Kendal Town before hosting Colne and it was the Reds who won, 2-0 in front of a bumper 524 attendance. The Blues then moved into the top five with a 2-0 win at pointless Trafford.

Four second half goals saw Colne defeat Ossett United at Holt House.

Ramsbottom United defeated Trafford 1-0 at the Riverside before drawing 3-3 at home to Winsford United in the FA Cup.

Back in league action, they lost their 100% record after a 2-0 defeat at Pontefract Collieries.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, Padiham took the lead at home to Squires Gate but went down 2-1 at the Arbories. In the FA Cup they drew 1-1 at home to Marine but in the Vase they smashed visitors Bedlington Terriers 5-0.

Carl Grimshaw scored a brace for Charnock Richard at Longridge Town but he was outdone by the home side's Paul Turner who's hat-trick earned the points for the hosts.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria lost 2-0 at Runcorn Town but then won 2-1 at home to Prescot Cables in the FA Cup. It looked odds-on that they'd be exiting at the first hurdle, one down in the final minute but Kilifin equalised in the 90 th minute and then notched the winner two minutes into added time.

Back in League action, they smashed Litherland REMYCA 8-0 at home.

Barnoldswick Town won 4-3 at Avro. And looked on course for another three points, leading Squires Gate 2-0 at the Silentnight Stadium with only 15 minutes left but the Seasiders hit back to earn a point, the equaliser coming in the 93 rd minute.

A daunting trip to Whitley Bay in the FA Vase followed but two Zak Dale goals saw them through.

In the 1 st Division North, Darwen lost 4-1 at Shelly but then won 2-1 at Steeton. A 4-1 defeat at much-improved Daisy Hill followed and an early FA Vase exit at Ashton Athletic, 3-2 in front of only 29 spectators ended the month badly.

Bacup Borough lost 3-2 at home to Nelson but then defeated Pilkington 1-0 at the same venue. A great game then followed at Chadderton where they led 2-0 at the break and then 3-1 with two minutes of normal time remaining. The home side then scored in the 88 th minute and equalised in the 92 nd only for Gnabouyou to steal the points for Brent Peters' side.

Unfortunately, they then exited the FA Vase after a 2-1 home defeat against Grimsby Borough despite taking a 2 nd minute lead.

The Admirals then won 2-0 at home to Cleator Moor Celtic and lost by the same score at home to Irlam.

Our old Vase opponents Seaham Red Star then ended their involvement in the competition after a 3-1 win in Nelson despite the home side leading at the interval.

Charnock Richard and Longridge Town met for the second time in four days, this time at Mossie Park and in the FA Cup, with Grimshaw and Turner again on the scoresheet. The 1-1 draw meant a third meeting in a week.

Before that though Town won 3-1 at Hanley but Charnock lost by the same score at home to Avro leaving then 2 nd bottom.

The cup replay saw Grimshaw on target yet again as Charnock won 2-0 in front of a massive 500+ crowd.

They then made it through to the next round of the FA Vase with a tremendous 3-2 win at Cammell Laird.

Longridge Town had little difficulty overcoming Newcastle University in the FA Vase, winning 5-2 at home.

In the Western Premier League, Nick Hancock travelled to newly promoted Tavistock to see his Buckland Athletic favourites but he wished he'd stayed at home after an embarrassing 5-0 defeat.

A 4-0 win at home to struggling Chipping Sodbury Town slightly made up for it but Nick wasn't particularly impressed by the performance. They then made it through to the next round of the FA Vase with a 4-2 win at Almondsbury.

In the FA Vase, old opponents Glasshoughton Welfare were involved in an incredible game at Litherland REMYCA. A Nathan Perks hat-trick in the first half hour looked to have sealed their progression into the next round but the Merseysiders hit back to take the game into extra-time where the visitors then notched three more unanswered goals to win 6-3.

Wem Town, a small club in Shropshire travelled to Sandbach United in the Vase and were hammered 13-0 but it could have been much worse as they were 12-0 down after only an hour.

Early August

The opening day of the National League season saw Paul Clark's Aldershot carry on where they left off last term, with a defeat. They lost 2-1 at home to Fylde in front of just over 2,000 fans at the 'Rec'.

A local derby at Woking followed and this time the Shots won 1-0 before going down 2-1 at Solihull Moors. Another home defeat followed, 1-0 against Bromley.They then drew 1-1 at home to high-flying Halifax despite taking a 1 st minute lead.

Chorley attracted almost 1500 fans to Victory Park for their goalless draw with Bromley and then played out another one at Fylde. The draws continued at Sutton United despite the Magpies storming ahead 2-0 in front after only 10 minutes.

The next home game turned into a nightmare as a 16 minute Blissett hat-trick helped Solihull to a 6-1 win.

Another heavy defeat followed, 4-1 at Maidenhead United although two goals in added time made the score looked more decisive than it really was.

In the North, Boston United's poor home form showed no signs of changing with a new season as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chester and that point was mainly thanks to the Pilgrims' keeper Crook. Another 1-1 draw followed at Alfreton Town.

They then deservedly defeated Leamington 1-0 at home bit a late fracas saw four players, two from each side, sent off. Having seen the video, the decision to even book anyone seemed ridiculous as it was just a bit of pushing as worst.

The Pilgrims were then held to a 1-1 draw by Guiseley despite the visitors being reduced to ten men early on.

Paul Salt's Altrincham lost 3-1 at home to much-fancied York City but then gained a decent point at Chester before a 1-1 draw at Gloucester City. The first win of the season came with a 3-2 home win against Alfreton Town but they then went down 1-0 at Brackley Town.

Southport secured an excellent point with a 0-0 draw at Gateshead but were then held to another goalless draw by Curzon Ashton at Haig Avenue. They then entertained a Guiseley side who'd won their first two games 3-0 and 5-0 but hammered them 3-0. The excellent form continued at Farsley Celtic where they recorded another 3-0 win.

They then lost for the first time, 2-0 at Darlington.

In the South, Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough were hoping for a much better season than the last one but they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Billericay Town. That was followed by a 2-0 home success against Tonbridge Angels and a 1-1 draw against Oxford City. A crowd of more than 1700 turned up to see their next game, at Maidstone United, but the majority left disappointed as the home side were held to a goalless draw.

Braintree Town had lost their first two home games but thrashed the Sports 5-0.

In the South West, Great Harwood Town fan Nick Hancock saw his other favourite team, Buckland Athletic, go down 3-1 at home to Westbury United and their FA Cup were dashed with a 1-0 defeat at Plymouth Parkway.

They then won 2-0 at home to Wellington.

I made the short trip to Shawbridge to see Clitheroe take on 1874 Northwich in the FA Cup and the visitors made it through after a deserved 2-1 win in the biblical wind and rain. The attendance of just under 400 was made up of mostly away supporters.

Another excellent 300+ crowd turned up for their first league game of the season against Brighouse Town but the Blues were held to a goalless draw.

Phil O'Dell's FC United began life in the Northern Premier League with a 3-2 defeat at Grantham thanks to two late goals for the Gingerbreads.

Colne led 3-1 at the break at Droylsden but had to settle for a point in a 3-3 draw.

Ramsbottom United found themselves 2-0 down against Widnes at home but fought back to win 3-2.

In the NWCFL Premier Division, James Dean re-appeared on the radar at Padiham. He scored an equaliser at 1874 Northwich but it couldn't prevent the Storks from defeat, going down 4-1.

He then scored the first and last goals in a 4-0 win at Athersley Recreation in the FA Cup.

Another 4-1 defeat followed, this time at home to Whitchurch Alport.

Longridge Town opened their Premier League debut with a tough game at AVRO but they came back from behind to win 2-1. They then surprisingly lost 4-2 at Irlam.

The 'ridge' were then involved in their first-ever FA Cup game where they came from one down against Barnoldswick Town to win 6-1 (5-1 by the break) in front of a fantastic attendance of almost 400. The crowd was also helped by the appearance of the Trophy at the ground.

A 3-1 win at Congleton Town followed with all the goals coming in the opening 16 minutes.

Barnoldswick Town drew 3-3 at home to Congleton Town before their FA Cup exit at Longridge. They then won 1-0 at home to Ashton Athletic.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria went down to a 1-0 home defeat against Whitchurch Alport thanks to a 93 rd minute winner. They then drew 2-2 at home to Silsden in the FA Cup. The replay saw them take a three goal lead before being pegged back but won through with an 86 th minute winner.

They then defeated struggling Skelmersdale United 2-0 at home.

Carl Grimshaw scored a 30 th minute penalty for Charnock Richard at Rylands but it couldn't prevent them going down to a 3-2 defeat. He was on target again in their opening home game in which they defeated Barnoldswick Town 2-1 in front of a very healthy turn-out of 164. They then made it through the next round of the FA Cup after a 2-1 home success against Lower Breck.

The next game, at home to 1874 Northwich, saw five second half goals give the visitors a 5-0 win.

In the 1 st Division North, Bacup Borough lost 3-1 at Daisy Hill and then 5-3 at Ashton Town despite leading 2-0 after 25 minutes. That left them pointless and bottom of the league.

AFC Darwen made the long trip to Holker Old Boys and things looked ominous after the home side took a 2 nd minute lead but the Salmoners stormed back to win 6-1. Another away game followed, at Bacup Borough, and it was six from six as they won 2-1, coming back from a half-time deficit. That winning run looked to be continuing at Atherton LR before a 93 rd minute equaliser saw the game end 2-2.

Nelson must have been bitterly disappointed to draw 1-1 at home to Atherton LR but they then had an excellent 2-0 win at Prestwich Heys. That was followed by a 2-1 home defeat by AFC Blackpool and a 4-1 thrashing at Lower Breck despite leading at half time.

Tremendous crowds for two of the newcomers. Pilkington drew 224 for their 3-0 home defeat to Cleator Moor Celtic while Golcar United attracted a whopping 379 who saw the home side defeat Prestwich Heys 2-1.

Here's how some our recent cup opponents fared in the FA Cup;

Guisborough Town drew 2-2 at North Shields, Thornaby won 2-0 at Bishop Auckland, Seaham Red Star won 4-2 at home to Penrith and Hall Road Rangers lost 3-0 at home to Goole.

Highest score of the round was at Harrogate Railway where visitors Whickham won 10-1.

Garry Thompson took over as Bradford Park Avenue manager in the summer and his reign lasted two games (both 5-0 defeats) before he was sacked.

July 2019

Boston United have signed Darlington's Simon Ainge on a season-long loan.

Spencer Harris has signed for Matlock Town.

They then signed striker Shaun Tuton, previously with Spennymoor, and right back Karl Byrne from Frickley Athletic. Pre-season has gone particularly well with wins against Grimsby Town, Worksop Town and Scunthorpe United.

That winning run was ended at thanks to a goalless draw at Grantham Town.

A crowd of just under 500 then saw them make it through to the semi-finals of the Lincolnshire Cup with a comfortable 3-0 home win against Stamford.

Nick Hancock's Buckland Athletic hosted their illustrious was a great success, drawing an attendance of 1,038 neighbours Torquay United and although they lost

3-0, the afternoon was a great success. Their final friendly was at home to Truro where another good turn out, 153, saw the visitors overturn a half-time deficit to win 2-1.

Paul Clark's Aldershot Town won 3-0 at Badshot Lea. They've signed Alfy Whittingham and Harry Panayiotou and before the end of July had signed no less than 11 new players.

Chorley won 2-1 at Charnock Richard before losing 3-0 at home to Wigan Athletic's under 23's. They then drew 0-0 at home to FC United.

Colne defeated Chester 2-1 and then local rivals Padiham by the same score at the same venue.

Phil O'Dell's FC United smashed Clwb Pel-Droed Bangor 12-1 at Broadhurst Park, also known as Bangor 1876, a club set up by disillusioned Bangor City supporters, 800 of whom travelled to the game. They then secured a goalless draw at Chorley.

Paul Salt's Altrincham won 2-1 at home to a Blackpool XI and 3-1 at home to Fylde before winning their final friendly, 2-0 at Trafford.

Don Fitzgerald's Wimbledon won 3-1 at Hampton & Richmond Borough.

Clitheroe won their opening friendly 4-0 at Nelson and then drew 327 for their friendly with the Rovers under 23's, rather more than we attracted when we entertained the youngsters a few years ago. The home side put up a fine show, only losing 2-0. They then won 2-1 at AFC Blackpool and drew 1-1 at Barnoldswick Town.

They've signed Elliot Pond from Darwen.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough lost 3-1 at Lewes but then won 5-1 at Burgess Hill Town.

Ramsbottom United won 6-1 at Caernarfon Town before losing 3-2 at home to Rochdale.

Fylde won 3-1 at Ossett United.

AFC Blackpool have suffered from vandals for some years and the problems have escalated in recent months with the Jepson Way ground being smashed up this month. Windows broken, pay booth trashed, concrete panels broken and the stand and goalposts damaged. Some of the scum have been identified on CCTV footage so hopefully they'll end up in court and have to pay for the damage but don't hold your breath folks!

Sin Bins are being brought into the NWCFL, amongst other, next season, and from what I've seen in recent years, they're going to get plenty of 'airing'!

June 2019

Matt Derbyshire's Omonia Nicosia saw their shocking end to the season leave them in 6 th place with a record of 10 wins, 6 draws and 16 defeats, 36 points, 34 behind league champions APOEL.

Colne's Alex Curran gas signed a two-year full-time contract with National League Stockport County. He scored 15 times for the Reds last season.

Paul Clark's Aldershot have lost goalkeeper Jake Cole who's left to join Maidstone United but the Shots then received the expected news of a reprieve from their relegation to National League South after Gateshead were thrown out of the top division.

More good news at the 'Rec' is that the club has secured a new 118 year lease on the ground and will pay just £1 a year rent. That will come into force after the Shots secure planning permission and until that happens, they'll still be paying £25,000 a year.

They've signed Dean Rance, Mitch Walker and Ethan Chislett from Ebbsfleet, Dover and Met Police respectively.

Boston United fought off competition from several clubs to sign Bradford P.A.'s Tom Clare. Also arriving at York Street is Harrogate Town forward Dominic Knowles who scored 16 goals in the promotion season of 17/18. Manager Craig Elliot then signed midfielder George Green from Chester and Alex Whittle from Warrington Town.

Paul Salt's Altrincham have signed 31 year-old Nathan Arnold. He spent the early part of last season with the mighty Pilgrims and looked a class act. The Robins have also bought midfielder Conor Branson from Bradford Park Avenue but have lost forward James Poole who's emigrating to Australia.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough will have a completely new look about them next season as manger Lee Bradbury has released seven players as well as three loans going back to their parent clubs.

Phil O'Dell's FC United have re-signed ex-Rovers player Louis Myers.

Steve Pickup's Northwich Victoria have lost captain Brad Cookee who's left for the manager's job at West Didsbury & Chorlton.

Ramsbottom United have lost striker Jamie Rainford to Runcorn Linnets and defender Luke Thompson to Lancaster City.

The West Riding County Amateur League has folded with only 12 clubs finishing the season. The FA criteria has a minimum level of 14 clubs at step 7 and an incredible 24 of it's clubs have folded over the last three years.

Clitheroe's new manager, ex-Lancaster City boss, Phil Brown, has made his first signing, midfielder Charlie Russell who returns to Shawbridge from the Dollyblues.

They've also made a magnificent signing of former England C player Craig Stanley who has 200 Football League appearances to his name and won the Southern League last season with Kettering Town. He was also part of the Hereford United and Morecambe sides that won promotion to the League.

Forward Connor Gaul, Atherton Collieries, and Jordon Darr, Chorley, have also made the switch.

Darwen have been given the go-ahead to install a 3G pitch at the Anchor.

Carlisle City have lost their appeal against being moved from the NWCFL to the Northern League.

I can't find the final fantasy non-league table anywhere, only the one from early May.

Boston Danglers were in 723 rd place while GT Harwood Town languished in 893 rd spot from 1,363 entries.

Late May 2019

Matt Derbyshire was missing from the Omonia squad that lost 2-1 at AEK Larnaca, despite taking the lead in the second half. That made it seven defeats in a row.

Danny Rowe scored the only goal of the game as Fylde vecame the first club to win the FA Vase and the FA Trophy as they defeated Leyton Orient at Wembley.

Mike Barry's Eastbourne Borough have a new manager, Lee Bradbury

Paul Clark's Aldershot have appointed ex-Braintree boss Danny Searle as their new manager and there could be good news for Shots' fans after Gateshead were thrown out of the National League for breaches of League rules. The 'Heed have been demoted two divisions to the NPL and that could mean a reprieve for the Hampshire side.

The Conference North teams have three new 'local derby's' to look forward to next season, Kings Lynn Town, Oxford City and Gloucester City!

Phil O'Dell's FC United have already signed six new players as they look to bounce straight back from the Evo-stik League.

New clubs coming into the NWCFL are, Emley AFC, Golcar United ( a village near Huddersfield) and Pilkington (St. Helens), all into the 1 st Division North.

Two ex-Boston United managers have new posts. Steve Evans, who took the Pilgrims into the Football League, has gone to Gillingham, and Paul Hurst has taken over at Scunthorpe United with his first game set to be a return to York Street in the Lincolnshire Cup.

Up in Scotland, Berwick Rangers have been relegated to the Lowland League after a comprehensive 7-0 aggregate loss against Cove Rangers.

Down in the South West, Chard have been thrown out of the Western League and into the Somerset County League because of their sloping pitch. This comes five years after they were barred from entering the FA Cup and FA Vase because of the same reason.

With the final table just around the corner, the Fantasy Non-League has been another disappointment for GT Harwood Town who lie in 893 rd place with Boston Danglers 723 rd from 1363 entrants.

 

   
Go to the Harwood Home Page Go to the Harwood Home Page Contacts Page Take a look at our souvenirs
©2009 J Fenton