Updated: Dec 11, 2020
What a round of fixtures we have install for us this week at the ESPFA. A local derby in the Northern Division, a repeat of an opening week fixture in the Midlands Division that had all kinds of excitement and first place Chesham United face off against second-place Yate Town in the Southern Division. This should be good!
#MatchweekFive’s Key matchup comes from the Southern Division, in what should be a brilliant game between Chesham United and Yate Town. The Generals are one of only two teams in the ESPFA to win their first three games of the season, along with Stafford Rangers. They’ve shown a real strength of character and resilience throughout the squad after being involved in two very close games with Kidlington and Rushall Olympic (Black) at the start of the season, in which they were behind at half time in both of the games. Yate Town however will be no push overs as they have won their first two games of the campaign rather convincingly, with a 1-3 win on the opening week of the season against Rushall Olympic (Black) and a 0-3 win against Swindon Supermarine in #MatchweekFour.
With two teams with a 100% record meeting on Thursday, there are enormous stakes on this game. Gary Forde, the Chesham United academy manager thinks it is a huge game for both teams. He said: “It’s the type of game you play football for. Two good footballing sides going head-to-head. I think the away fixture will be the big one. In the next two weeks ‘Somebody’s 0 must go’. I think only the managers are not looking forward to it.”
Chesham United have been deadly in front of goal this season, scoring 10 goals in their first three games. This largely due to a strong front-line lead by Maddison Wilkin, who has scored five goals in his first three games and Callum Gerrard, who was the joint top goal scorer in the SLFA last season. Gary Forde believes he is very fortunate to have players like this leading the line for his team. “I’m very lucky, two very special players but what is even better is they really appreciate the service they’ve been getting game after game. They are part of a very special squad of players.”.
With the most recent lockdown putting the season on hold for a brief period, it could have been easy for teams to take a while to get back into the swing of things when the season got back up and running last week. Yate Town however took no time to get back up to speed and won their first game back convincingly. Stefanos Naos, the Yate Town academy manager commends his team’s patience with getting back playing competitive games. He said: “The break was definitely tough for all us to keep motivated without competitive games, but the group stuck together throughout and worked patiently until the season restarted. During the game against Swindon, we were very organised when we didn’t have the ball and the lads should be very proud of their performance.”
Yate Town have produced two solid victories in their first two games and will be hoping to extend that to three wins on Thursday. Yate Town academy striker, Emmanuel Allen-Burnett, has been impressed with his team in their opening two games and believes his side can go far this season. He said: “We’ve shown our great attacking abilities both as a team and individually. Furthermore, we’ve also displayed two class defensive performances to see out both games. The end goal is always to win the league, I mean you play to win don’t you, and as a team we feel this is possible.”
Runcorn Linnets v Mossley
After an emphatic 0-9-win last week which sent them to the top of the Northern Division, Runcorn Linnets will be in high spirits when they welcome Mossley on Thursday. Mossley do possess a strong defensive record, having conceded just two goals this season (joint best record in the division) which will be put to the test when they travel to a free scoring Runcorn Linnets side.
Skelmersdale United v Witton Albion
Two North-West teams face each other tomorrow as Witton Albion travel to Skelmersdale United on the back of a heavy defeat at the hands of Runcorn Linnets. They will be eager to bounce back and get their first points on the board but will face tough competition in Skelmersdale United who have managed a win and a draw from their first two games of the campaign.
Ossett United v Brighouse Town
Ossett United will be hoping to keep their 100% record intact and keep up with Runcorn Linnets at the top of the table when they welcome West-Yorkshire rivals Brighouse Town. This return fixture on the opening week of the season saw Ossett United come out on top with a 0-2 win, so not only will Brighouse be hoping for their first win of the season, but they will also be out for revenge and bragging rights.
Mickleover (Red) v Belper Town
Two Derbyshire teams go head-to-head in this fixture with Mickleover (Red) looking to keep up their emphatic start where they have swept away the competition. They are the leading scorers in the whole of the ESPFA, scoring 15 goals in just two games whilst also boasting the best defensive record in the ESPFA as they are the only team yet to concede a goal. Belper Town will be looking to turn their fortunes around and get their first points of the season in this local derby.
Rushall Olympic (Amber) v Stafford Rangers
Hoping to carry on their winning streak are Stafford Rangers, who sit at the top of the Midlands Division on nine points from three games. The two sides met on the first game of the season where Stafford Rangers got off to a brilliant start in the game and were winning 3-0 before a late comeback from Rushall that saw them score two goals in as many minutes. Rushall Olympic (Amber) have since been in good form, beating Carlton Town 7-2 in #MatchweekTwo and Mickleover (Black) 2-0 last week.
Carlton Town v Mickleover (Black)
After a tough start to the season, Carlton Town welcome Mickleover (Black) to the Bill Stokeld Stadium, hoping to get their first points on the board. Mickleover (Black) won their first game of the season against Belper Town but have struggled since after defeats to Rushall Olympic (Amber) and Stafford Rangers.
Frome Town v Kidlington
Sixth place Frome Town play Fifth Place Kidlington in a must win game for both sides who have struggled to find their form early this season. Kidlington will be disappointed to be on zero points after two games having narrowly been beaten by Chesham United in #MatchweekOne, despite leading at half time. Frome will be hoping to bounce back from a 3-0 defeat last week to Chesham and get their season up and running with a win.
Rushall Olympic (Black) v Swindon Supermarine
With both teams crammed in the middle of the table on three points, there is all to play for in this fixture as Swindon Supermarine travel to Rushall Olympic (Black). After getting off to a flyer on the first game of the season, beating Frome Town 1-5, Swindon Supermarine suffered a 0-3 defeat to Yate Town last week and will want to bounce back. Rushall Olympic (Black) on the other hand managed to get their first points of the season last week after beating Kidlington 1-2 and will be looking to kick on tomorrow.