Lancs and Cheshire take league spoils

John Howard present the trophy to Julian Patterson and manager Rob O’Connor
John Howard present the trophy to Julian Patterson and manager Rob O’Connor

The match between the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL and the Lancashire Amateur League at Cheadle Town was the 87th fixture between the leagues.

It was also a double-header with the leagues playing for the John Howard Trophy as well as it being a first-round match in the North West Inter League competition.

It went to the drama of a penalty shoot-out after ending a 2-2 at the end of full time.

Luke Bennion (Whalley Range) gave the L and C and early lead with a cool header from a narrow angle after eight minutes.

A close first half saw both sides miss chances but the LAL drew level on 40 minutes with a penalty from Sean Rushton (Old Boltonians).

The second half was dominated by the L and C and they got their reward with a clinical finish from Connor Downes (Whalley Range) and looked to be cruising to victory but the LAL had the final word with a second strike for Rushton, direct for a free-kick, meaning it was down to penalties.

Both sides missed one spot kick before a great save from L and C keeper Kevin Gooney (Mellor) gave them the edge for a 4-3 success.

The winning Lancashire and Cheshire team
The winning Lancashire and Cheshire team

League action

It was back to full league action three days later with the title-chasing teams in the Premier division in action.

Leaders Mellor had few problems in accounting for South Manchester by 7-0 to keep five points clear of the chasing pack.

Champions Rochdalians were depleted through injury and were given a stern test by an in-form Newton.

Rochdalians grabbed an early lead with a direct free kick for 20 yards but then Newton gave as good as they got before going down by the odd goal in five.

They stay six points behind Mellor with five games in hand.

Whalley Range are also firmly in the hunt with a big backlog of games in hand.

They had few problems in accounting for basement team Bury Ams as the goals flowed from Obi Beebes (three), Connor Downes (two), Tim Kinsella (two) and Niall Keogh in an 8-3 cruise.

At the other end of the table Chorltonians new-look team gave a good account of themselves in a 4-1 derby win over a depleted Parrs Wood Celtic.

Netting for Chorlts were Curtis Connel (two), Scott Verigotta and Daniel Fox.

The title race in division one took a tilt in the direction of Tintwistle Athletic after a 3-1 win at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

Second-placed High Lane lost ground in a close contest with Salford Vics with Vics, fielding five second team players, edging a 3-2 win after taking the lead three times through Rob Payne (two) and Scott Daniels.
Lane levelled twice with  James Leeson and Jason Willingham on target but it was not enough to grab a vital point.

Govan Athletic were emphatic 5-0 winners at Old Stretfordians to stay level on points with Salford Vics.

The other game involving teams from division one was the delayed Rhodes Cup match between Moorside Rangers and Burnage Metro.

Rangers led 2-0 at the break with goals from Briggs and Kay and a windy second half saw Metro pull a goal back but it was not enough to force extra time.

In division two the game between the top two saw Stoconians pull off a fine 3-1 win at Leaders Whalley Range seconds.

A strike from Range hotshot Owen Traynor was not enough to prevent the first league defeat of the season for Range as Stocs closed the gap to four points.

Chorltonians seconds moved into the title chase with an efficient 2-0 win over AFC Oldham with goals from Wayne Piper, who rose like a salmon to head home, and Lee Barnes with a clinical free-kick.

The other two games were close affairs with Urmston SC and Spurley Hey locked at 1-1 and Mellor seconds won a thrilling local derby with Spurley Hey by the odd goals in seven.

No problems for the top two in division three as they both enjoyed comfortable wins.

Leaders Chorltonians Town look to be unstoppable as they powered to an 8-1 win at Oldham Vics.

The Town goals were shared by Aaron Rodger (two), Jamie Fountain, John Fraiel, Daryl Garwood, David Grantham, Ellis Westwood and Oliver Williams.

Trafford United stay eight points adrift after winning 6-3 at Newton Heath seconds.

AFC Stockport came close to a shock result as they lost out to the only goal of their game with local rivals Heaton Mersey while Newton seconds kept an immaculate clean sheet in their 3-0 win over Moston Brook seconds.

Just three games in division A and Chorltonians Athletic had Max Steel and Tom Hull providing the firepower in a 2-0 win at Burnage Metro seconds to reduce the lead of Salford Vics seconds to five points.

Aldermere were good value for a 4-1 derby win over Old Strets thirds and Bury Ams seconds and Moston Brook thirds shared the points in a 3-3 deadlock.

Division B leaders Mellor thirds have completed their fixtures and it is now up to the chasing pack to hunt them down.

Signol Athletic seconds reduced the lead to two points with four games in hand with a tight 3-2 win at Govan Athletic seconds to overtake Stoconians seconds who were held to a 2-2 draw by Bury Ams thirds.

Whalley Range thirds kept up their hopes of getting into the title frame with a 5-3 win over Tintwistle Athletic thirds as the goals went in from Gabriel Calwell (two), Adan Remeh, Abdul Sheikh and Malik Yabib.

Old Tafford and Gorse Hill seconds posted a comfortable 3-0 win over Abacus Media seconds.

Plenty of action in division C and Moorside Rangers seconds disrupted the championship hopes of Tintwistle Athletic thirds with a great 5-3 win.

With leaders Chorltonians Rovers without a game Old Strets fourths were good value for a 3-0 win at Burnage Metro thirds and Hooley Bridge Celtic thirds were also in good form with a 7-4 win over AFC Oldham thirds.

Staly Lions seconds shared four goals with Manchester Rovers and Spurley Hey seconds won 2-1 hosting Deans FC.

Hillgate took a big step towards the division D title winning 5-1 at Chorltonians Villa who had Jake Manning providing their consolation strike.

Abacus Media thirds also went nap in a 5-0 cruise hosting Trafford United seconds.

Salford Vics thirds and Parrs Wood Celtic thirds played in awful conditions and produced a game that would have been a cridt to any division in the league.

Vics had Steve Tudor (three), Jordan Waite, Joe Flaherty and Mike Alker netting a 6-2 victory.

The hopes of Oldham Vics seconds winning division E were given a boost as close rivals Bury Ams suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Lowly Staly Lions fourths.

Stoconians fourths were 3-0 winners over Whalley Range fourths and Burnage Metro fourths were in a 2-2 derby deadlock hosting Bedians thirds.

Pics: 1 Land C team, 2 John Howard present the trophy to Julian Patterson and manager Rob O’Connor, Action from 1 Rochdalians v Newton (Newton in yellow and blue), 2 High Lane v Salford Vics (Lane in red shirts), 3 Chorltonians v Parrs Wood Celtic (Celtic in white shirts)