Signol book their place in the Rhodes Cup quarter-finals

Bedians v Hooley Bridge Celtic (Celtic in green)
Bedians v Hooley Bridge Celtic (Celtic in green)

There was virtually a full and mixed programme of domestic and county cup games in the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL as the league nears a festive break from fixtures.

In the Rhodes Cup the main aim was to reach the last eight for the competing teams and the outstanding game came between division one high-fliers Signol Athletic and Moorside Rangers.

It was a frantic game full of spills, thrills and action beginning after two minutes when Moorside took the lead with a fine header at the back post.

But Signol hit back quickly as a big pump from keeper Downhill eluded the Rangers defence to allow Scott Norris to lob Kontanidis.

Signol then took the lead with a slide-rule finish from Luke Flanagan after a defence-splitting pass from Norris. They extended their lead with a fine run and finish from Alex Jones.

Rangers came back to life after the break and Sixsmith reduced the arrears and then put on waves and waves of pressure in vain as Jake Parkinson broke away to double the lead.

Kelly hit back for Rangers and saw Brown go agonisingly near as Signol hung on for a 4-3 win to book their place in the quarter finals.

Hooley Bridge Celtic were the giant-killers as the division two side visited premier division Bedians.

Celtic’s returning star Chris Nuttall showed his enduring class with a hat-trick on either side of the interval and they looked to cruising to victory but Bedians had them grateful for the final whistle as late strikes from James Seggie and Sean Chappell jangled the Celtic nerves.

Bedians v Hooley Bridge Celtic (Celtic in green)
Bedians v Hooley Bridge Celtic (Celtic in green)

In all Premier ties, Old Trafford and Gorse Hill won 3-1 at Abacus Media and High Lane won a tight game at South Manchester by 2-1 with Clay Murray’s strike not being enough to keep South in the competition.

In the Wray Cup Chorltonians seconds gained club bragging rights as they saw off their first team by 4-2.

Also in the Wray Cup there were wins for Mellor seconds by 5-1 at Spurley Hey, AFC Oldham by 4-2 at Staly Lions and Moston Brook seconds in a close 3-2 encounter with Didsbury seconds.

Whitehead Cup action featured a thriller between Whalley Range thirds and Tintwistle Athletic thirds.

After Athletic had taken an early lead Range levelled through Abdullah Shieki and went on to win 4-3.

Also going through were in-form Hollingworth with a tight 2-1 win over Signol Athletic seconds and Chorltonians Rovers in another close 4-3 win at Hillgate.

Hellawell Shield action

The rest of the domestic cup action featured teams from divisions C and D in action in the Hellawell Shield.

There were goals galore at Spurley Hey seconds who shared ten goals with Salford Vics thirds with Hey winning the penalty shootout by 5-4.

It was also close at Manchester Rovers who eased through 4-3 over Swinton seconds but there were few problems for Didsbury fourths in a 5-0 cruise over AFC Oldham fourths.

County Cup action had Tintwistle Athletic surging into the next round of the Derbyshire Junior Cup as they demolished Bradwell Sports 7-0 but the great run of Newton Heath seconds in the Manchester Amateur Cup was ended in a 3-2 defeat by Manchester Gregorians seconds.

Limited premier division action saw the top two extend their big lead at the top although they were given tough tests before securing victory.

Parrs Wood Celtic were made to rue missed chances at Whalley Range before a clinical finish from Niall Keogh gave Range the lead and they went on to win 3-1 and Mellor worked hard for a 2-0 win at reigning champions Rochdalians.

The other game had Newton winning 5-2 at Moston Brook to boost their hopes of escaping from the bottom two.

Milton close the gap

With the top two in division one in cup action Milton were able to close the gap to six points with a 4-1 win at Salford Vics and there were big wins for Trafford United by 7-2 over Newton Heath and Oldham Vics by 8-3 against Swinton.

Just one league game in division two and leaders Waterloo showed their class in a 7-4 win over Whalley Range seconds to extend their lead at the top to six points.

A mid-table clash in division three had Hooley Bridge Celtic seconds defeating Chadderton Park 5-2.

The two games in division A had Bury Ams seconds winning 4-2 at AFC Oldham seconds and Mellor thirds completed club hat-trick of victories as they went nap beating Moston Brook thirds 5-3.

Abacus Media seconds stay in firm control of division B with a 3-1 win at Village Manchester and Old Trafford and Gorse Hill seconds stay in second place, nine points adrift, after winning their local derby with Old Strets seconds by 4-2.

A basement battle was won 5-2 by Rochdale Galaxy at Chorltonians Villa and Milton seconds kept an immaculate clean sheet in their 3-0 win over Deans.

Moorside romp away

With Spurley Hey seconds in cup action Moorside Rangers seconds took over top spot in division C romping to a 6-0 win at Stoconians thirds.

There were wins for Abacus Media thirds by 3-2 at Didsbury thirds and Parrs Wood Celtic thirds by 6-2 over AFC Stockport.

Bedians thirds are a massive 12 points clear in division D after winning 7-4 in an action-packed game with Whalley Range fourths.

Old Strets thirds kept up their hot Manchester Amateur Cup form with a big win over Staly Lions thirds but it was much closer for Stoconians fourths in a 3-2 win at Chadderton Park seconds, Chorltonians Athletic by 3-2 over AFC Oldham fourths and Droylsden JFC by 4-2 hsoting Trafford United seconds.