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The wait is finally over and the NPLFA season is back!

#MatchWeekOne was full of drama and excitement with all 16 teams in action and nearly 40 goals across the eight games played on Wednesday.

In the JOMA Division, Carlton Town sit at the top of the table after an impressive victory against Witton Albion, with Belper Town (Black) and Stafford Rangers just behind them on goal difference following wins against Radcliffe (Blue) and Leek Town, respectively. Mossley and Mickleover Sports (Red) shared the points on #MatchWeekOne after their hard-fought 2-2 draw.

In the Sports Traider Division, it’s already looking very tight at the top of the league table with 4 teams tied on three points. Mickleover Sports (Black) find themselves as the early leaders after a huge win against Belper Town (Yellow) and NPLFA new boys Runcorn Linnets are not far behind after they beat Ossett United away from home. Skelmersdale United are also in the mix after beating Brighouse Town and Widnes came from behind to beat Radcliffe (Black) in our #GameOfTheWeek. Read the full match report from Radcliffe (Black) V Widnes further down.

With the return of the NPLFA season, that also means a return for the NPLFA #TeamOfTheWeek. With a new intake of students keen to impress in their first match day and a whole host of second-year students returning to the program, the first #TeamOfTheWeek was tough to pick. A special mention to Widnes player Amir Hajri, who’s hat trick against Radcliffe (Black) earnt him the title of ‘Player of the Week’. Also mentions to Shay Rainford of Mickleover Sports (Black) who scored 4 goals in a win V Belper Town (Yellow) as well as Jordan Dainty (Skelmersdale United) and Olly Jarvis (Stafford Rangers) who netted twice in their opening fixture.

Returning as well this week is the NPLFA #MatchWeekOne Highlights Show. A high scoring week makes for an exciting show this week with some terrific long range goals, beautifully worked team goals and also the #GoalOfTheWeek from Runcorn Linnets.

A new feature on the Matchweek review this season is the #GameOfTheWeek which will feature post-match interviews with players from both sides and an in-depth match report from the game. See the match report from Radcliffe (Black) V Widnes below.

Widnes over power Radcliffe in the first game of the 2019/20 NPLFA season

In #MatchweekOne of the 2019/20 NPLFA season, Radcliffe hosted Widnes in this Sports Traider Division match up. It was Radcliffe who started the brightest of the two teams, taking the lead inside 90 seconds thanks to Rhys Moseley. A Radcliffe free kick pumped in to the box was not dealt with by the Widnes defence and Moseley controlled the ball brilliantly. The Widnes keeper came out to close down the angle but Moseley calmly stroked it past him. 1-0 Radcliffe. Radcliffe continued to dominate early on in the first half and Moseley looked dangerous every time he got the ball. He nearly had a second inside 10 minutes after Aidan Tulstin clipped a lovely ball over the Widnes back line. Moseley got on the end of pass and fired a shot towards the front post but Ryan Cook kept it out.

Moseley was pulling the strings again for Radcliffe and nearly set up Jayden Quaye. Moseley drifted out to the left flank from a Radcliffe counter attack, cut inside onto his right foot and fired in a cross to the front post. Cook spilled the cross in front of Quaye who was denied three time from point blank range by the goalkeeper. Radcliffe came undone on 30 minutes after giving the ball away on the edge of their box while trying to play out from the back. A pass was intercepted by Ben Forster who then gave it to Matthew Jefferson. Hajri was played in on goal who calmly slotted it home and levelled things up for the visitors. Radcliffe 1 – 1 Widnes.

A well worked move from Widnes gave them the lead just 3 minutes later. After moving the ball around with a crisp passing move, Charlie Walton cut inside from the left and fired a shot towards the near post which found the back of the net. Radcliffe 1 – 2 Widnes. Radcliffe were gifted an equaliser after 34 minutes when Rhys Moseley intercepted a goal kick from Cook and coolly slipped it past the Widnes keeper. Radcliffe 2 – 2 Widnes. Moseley could have had a first halfhat trick but couldn’t finish a one on one just before half time. A long ball over the top beat the Widnes defence and Moseley lifted the ball over Cook but the shot went wide.

Half time: Radcliffe 2 – 2 Widnes.

Widnes wasted no time getting back in front in the second half, with another goal coming inside 90 seconds of the restart. A poor back pass to the Radcliffe keeper was cut out by Hajri who made no mistake and poked home his second. Radcliffe 2 – 3 Widnes. Widnes were clearly the team on top in the second half and could have extended their lead after 60 minutes. Lewis Jackson crossed a ball in from the right hand side which Dibba spilled at the feet of substitute Kyle Young. Dibba recovered and denied Young to keep his side in it.

Another chance for Widnes came on 68 minutes when Jack Morton dribbled down the right wing and crossed the ball in for the two waiting Widnes players. Hajri left the ball for Kyle Young who scuffed his shot wide. Widnes gave themselves some breathing room just before the 80 minute after being awarded a penalty. Hajri won the penalty after being brought down by Radcliffe skipper Tom Waters. Hajri stepped up to take the spot kick and converted, scoring his third of the game. Radcliffe 2 – 4 Widnes.

Full Time: Radcliffe 2 – 4 Widnes

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