#MatchweekSeventeen of the NPLFA brought us an exciting round of fixtures, with 12 teams in action across both divisions.
In the JOMA Division, Mickleover Sports continued their fine form and got the win over Stafford Rangers to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points. Mickleover beat the hosts 1-7 with Talyor Smith and Jack Thatcher both scoring hat tricks to notch their seventh win of the campaign. Despite an impressive win last week that moved them up to second place, Belper Town were beaten 1-3 at home by Witton Albion. A second half brace from Oliver McDonough helped Witton claim all three points as they move up to sixth in the table, above Carlton Town who were also in action this week. The Nottinghamshire side hosted Leek Town in a mid-table clash where Leek Town took the spoils on their visit to Robin Hood country and beat Carlton 1-4. Mbemba Juwara was on target again to continue his goal scoring streak as well as goals from Harry Bickerton (2) and Brandyn Williams. Leek move up to fourth in the table after an impressive run in 2020, winning three games out of four so far.
In the Sports Traider Division, Skelmersdale United travelled to Mickleover Sports and put on a contender for game of the season so far. Before kick off, Mickleover were in third place behind Skem and widnes, although they have played considerably less games (7) than both of them (Skelmersdale - 10, Widnes - 12). The two teams were trading blows like a heavyweight boxing match all game, with neither side wanting to let the game slip. Skem found themselves winning 2-3 with around 10-minutes left to play, but an equaliser and a late winner from Brodie Carter swung the game back in Mickelovers favour and the Derbyshire side hung on for their seventh win of the season, moving them above their opponents up to second place. Division front runners Widnes were in action as they travelled to Ossett United. Widnes were victorious on this occasion and made it five wins in a row as they beat the hosts 2-4, but the game didn't start as smoothly as they might have hoped. Recent first-team debutant, Carl Clarkson gave the home-side a first-half lead Until Amir Hajri evened things up soon after. The second half was brilliantly contested with both teams pushing for the result, but Widnes managed a second half resurgence to claim the win and maintain their six-point lead at the top of the table. Two more north west sides faced off in the Sports Traider Division as Runcorn Linnets hosted Radcliffe. Ross Avies opened the scoring for Runcorn with a well placed header before tucking away his second of the game with a pin point left footed strike. Radcliffe did manage to nick a goal before half time, as Kaiden Barlow scored directly from a corner and the sides went in at half time with Runcorn winning 2-1. Avies completed a perfect hat trick with a right footed finish in the second half and capped off an impressive 3-1 victory which moves them up to fourth spot.
With 12 teams in action in #MatchweekSeventeen, there was some fierce competition for places in #TeamOfTheWeek. Congratulations to all players nominated and selected by their coaches and a special mention to Ross Avies of Runcorn Linnets who was named as 'Player of the Week!' after scoring a perfect hat trick in a 3-1 victory over Radcliffe. Listen to what Avies had to say after his impressive performance on Wednesday.
Tune in to this weeks edition of The Highlights Show to catch an exhilarating week of fixtures in the NPLFA. 12 teams, six games, 34 goals and three separate hat trick heroes makes for an exciting #MatchweekSeventeen instalment of The Highlights Show.