Premier Division Preview - 14th October 2017
Fri 13th October 2017 | Match Reviews | By Gary Langley
With the announcement confirming the Hallmark Security League will be running the additional Step Six League in the region from 2018-19 there has been a lot of attention on our Premier Division this week. The permutations for how many go up and how many go down are yet to be decided.
As a result, clubs at both ends of the table are starting to calculate various options. What is known for sure is that points are needed to be racked up. With the next round of FA Vase games looming as well as the Macron Cup games on the horizon, clubs will be keen to get some league business under their belt, so lets take a look at this weekend's Premier Division games.
Starting at the Abbey Stadium where Abbey Hey take on Ashton Athletic this Saturday. Abbey Hey currently sit 19th in the League table and with only one win in their last ten games in all competitions they really need to get a result under their belt. A midweek draw at home to AFC Darwen on Tuesday must be viewed as a useful point.
Only a couple of weeks back, Ashton Athletic were in the bottom three, largely down to not having played many league games due to Cup Competition exploits. Fast forward a couple of weeks to today and four games unbeaten including an impressive 5-1 win over Northwich Victoria, Athletic’ now sit 13th in the table and still have up to four games in hand on the sides around them.
AFC Darwen host Bootle at the Anchor Ground fresh from that 1-1 draw at Abbey Hey in midweek. They are currently in the wrong half of the table and will be looking to make home advantage count against a Bootle side who have been impressive over the last few games. Bootle travelled to Squires Gate on Tuesday night and by all accounts were impressive in their 5-0 win on the road at the Brian Addison Stadium. With a 2-0 win also on the road at Abbey Hey last Saturday that marked the first time this season that Bootle had turned in the same result in successive matches.
Barnton welcome Barnoldswick to Townfield this weekend with the home club still in the bottom four and looking upwards. On Wednesday night Barnton put in a solid performance at home as they drew 2-2 with Widnes, giving them another important point, however they are still without a league win all season. Barnoldswick ended a run of six league games without a win on Tuesday evening as they beat AFC Liverpool at the Silentnight Stadium, a run of form they will have been happy to put to bed. They find themselves 16th in the table now and only a good result or two away from making the top half of the table.
Burscough take on Runcorn Linnets at the Victoria Ground with these clubs fortunes varying greatly for far this season. With Runcorn Town’s draw at City of Liverpool in midweek, it sees Linnets only four points behind their neighbours now at the summit. Linnets have the momentum being unbeaten in their last nine games, their last game being a rather dramatic 1-1 draw at Hanley Town in midweek. Technically a good point on the road, but you can argue it was two dropped, the sending off of three players in added on time is unlikely to help either.
Burscough have had a rough run of results of late having seen them lose their last three league games and shipping fourteen goals in the process. They currently sit third from bottom of the table and with cup games ahead as well as a tough looking set of league fixtures they could be up against it a bit over the next few weeks.
“Pride Restored...” was tweeted out by City of Liverpool FC in midweek following their 0-0 draw with Runcorn Town on Tuesday evening. I’m not sure how much pride needed restoring as City of Liverpool have been consistently in or around the top six all season. However, you can understand the sense of pride after an excellent result which saw the “purps” become the first team this season to take anything from Runcorn Town in the league.
They host Congleton at the TDP Solicitors Stadium this weekend with their tails up. They currently sit in eighth but are only a win away from possibly fourth if results go their way.
Congleton currently sit 12th in the table and have recently held 1874 Northwich to a draw as well as taking three points from Irlam at home so they are in decent form at the moment and they do travel well so this has the makings of a decent game.
Irlam face Northwich Victoria at the Ambitek Stadium this weekend with the home side in good form at the moment. Only one defeat from their last six league games sees them on the periphery of the top six. The Vics are still a ‘work in progress’ with Steve Wilkes strengthening his squad and trying to get his own stamp on things. They sit 20th in the table, without a win in any competition since a league win over City of Liverpool on the 15th August. They did record a reputable draw against Widnes last Saturday, however any momentum gained from that may have been dissolved by their 5-1 midweek defeat by Ashton Athletic.
Maine Road and Charnock Richard meet for the first time this weekend at Brantingham Road. Maine Road currently sit comfortably in mid-table in 14th spot with a number of teams around them on a similar amount of points as them. They have won two and lost two of their last four, those wins coming against Northwich Victoria and AFC liverpool respectively.
Charnock Richard will be looking to keep the pressure on the top four as they could only draw last time out, that was a home tie against Winsfors United. With a long trip in the Vase to Bedlington Terriers next week they will be looking to sort League business out before hitting the road. So close is the division, Charnock sit fifth in the table, thirteen points behind the leaders, Runcorn Town but with four games in hand on the two Runcorn Clubs.
Next up are Padiham who take on Hanley Town at the YESSSS Electrical arena. Padiham are another of those sides who are not out of the mix yet, they are flying high in the form table and are undefeated in any competition since a league defeat at Runcorn Linnets back on the 2nd September. Not bad for a club who lost five of their first six in all competitions.
Hanley currently sit in fifth, four places and three points better off than their opponents and in equally good form, they go into this game having won seven of their last nine in all competitions and like Padiham, ride high in the form table as a result.
Squires Gate and AFC Liverpool go into their game this weekend both in the bottom four of the form table and really needing a win. Squires Gate we’re beaten 5-0 at home by Bootle in midweek which sent them back to the bottom of the league table by virtue of goal difference. AFC Liverpool seem to be in free fall at the moment as they have slipped to 15th in the standings after what had been a positive start for the reds. Six straight defeats in all competitions sees them really needing something from this game to stop the rot.
Widnes host 1874 Northwich at the Select Security Stadium with both clubs looking to get their promotion campaigns back on track. Widnes sit in mid-table at the moment and can’t seem to get a run of results going, their midweek game at Barnton as a prime example, it was their second consecutive 2-2 draw on the spin.
1874 just can’t seem to get a run of league games played, let alone a run going. 1874 have played just six league games all season due to their Cup progress and they are in a false position for sure. They have a busy month or two ahead of them though, they have five games to play during the remainder of October and so far nine games scheduled for November! Their kit man will be busy for sure!
Winsford United welcome West Didsbury and Chorlton this weekend with the visitors still glowing from the success of their Non-League Dogs Day promotion last weekend that saw them mentioned in Sky Sports News. West Didsbury and Chorlton generally travel well and are on a run of three fraught wins in all competitions and five wins from their last six.
Fourth placed Winsford United aren’t looking too bad themselves with only one defeat in their last four which was against Runcorn Town. In midweek they also showed that they know where the net is by putting six past Burscough on their own ground on a wet evening that really cemented their credentials as possible promotion candidates.
So there you have it, lots of great games around the region and some really tough looking fixtures between clubs with similar promotion aspirations, or indeed those just looking to steer clear of the bottom quarter of the table.