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Updated: Nov 20, 2020

With the first half term of the educational year complete, and most teams with two competitive games under their belt, we look ahead #MatchweekThree of the 2020/21 ESPFA season where just four teams will be in action.

Key Matchup

There’s just two games going ahead in #MatchweekThree and both of them are in the Northern Division, so the key matchup of the week inevitably comes from the North where Ossett United face Runcorn Linnets.

Ossett United have had an excellent start to the season, winning their first two games of the campaign and are the only team in the Northern Division to achieve this feat. Despite sitting at the top of the league at this early stage, Ossett United coach Ben Ledger isn’t letting the side get ahead of themselves. He said: “We are taking every game as it comes and we’re certainly not looking further ahead than Runcorn this Thursday. It's important that we are off to a good start and have maximum points so far, but we cannot think that we are already the finished article and we're going to win every game. We as a group still have a long way to go and have a lot of tough games to play, but as said it's still pleasing to have won the opening two games”.

Despite this, he believes his team have faced different challenges from their opening two games and handled it well. He said: “In the opening game against Brighouse in a local derby it was more of a game of protecting a lead which was about desire and grit and versus Witton, having to come from a two-goal deficit was about determination and a never say die attitude. They are under no illusion of how tough each game will be but quite rightly so, the lads are buzzing and full of confidence looking forward to another challenging test against Runcorn”.

Ossett United captain Carl Clarkson has had a brilliant start to the season, scoring five goals in two games, including a hat trick in #MatchweekTwo. Clarkson has also been named in Team of the Week for both of the match weeks so far as well as being named ‘Player of the Week!’ for #MatchweekTwo. He is very pleased to have started the season so well both personally and with his team. Clarkson said “I’m most excited about how we are playing so far because as a team we are performing to a high standard which is why we are doing so well at the moment. It feels good to be the only team to have won the first opening two games in our division because it is reflecting all the hard work that we have put into pre-season and we are being rewarded for it”. He also believes that preparation is key and thinks it plays a big part in his bright start to the season: “I put my excellent form down to hard work and dedication and making sure I’m always well prepared for an upcoming fixture”.

Runcorn Linnets on the other hand have had a mixed start to the 2020/21 season. They beat Witton Albion 2-1 in their opening game of the season but lost 1-3 to Radcliffe in #MatchweekTwo despite taking a 1-0 into half time. Ossett United might be off to a good start to their 2020/21 campaign but Runcorn will be going into this fixture with confidence as they beat ‘The Sheepicorns’ 5-1 in the opening game of last season. With both teams playing some brilliant football so far in the season, this matchup will be a very competitive affair and one both teams will desperately want to win.

Northern Division

Skelmersdale United v Radcliffe

The only other game being played across the divisions also comes from up north as Skelmersdale United play their first game of the season when they welcome Radcliffe. Although Skem might not have kicked a ball in the ESPFA yet this season, the players will be well up to speed after having an impressive FA Youth Cup run that saw them reach the third qualifying round before being beaten by a strong Hyde United side. They welcome Radcliffe who will make the short journey from North Manchester across to Lancashire in search of their second win of the season after beating Runcorn Linnets last week after a brilliant second half performance that saw them score three goals to nullify Runcorn’s first half goal.

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