Updated: Feb 8
The ESPFA Cup returns this week in the North and four divisional games are also on the cards. As we approach the business end of the season every fixture matters and there should be some excellent matchups on display.
Rushall Olympic (Amber) v Frome Town
Frome Town make the trip up to Rushall Olympic (Amber) for a pivotal fixture in the South Division title race. The hosts remain at the top of the division and have held that position for the entirety of the season but Kidlington below them are hot on their heels, just a point behind and have also played one less game. Rushall Olympic (Amber) dropped two points last week after their away fixture at Yate Town ended in a 1-1 draw to open the door for Kidlington. Rushall do have the better goal difference to give them a slight edge in the run in, having scored the most goals in the division (42) and conceded the joint least goals in the division (8).
The visitors will be in good spirits for this fixture having picked up a vital three points in their last run out, beating Rushall Olympic (Black) 0-1. They will be also be pleased to be playing their third game in three weeks and are starting to get a bit of consistency into the season, having had a very stop-start campaign so far. The Robins currently sit in 6th place in the division but have a minimum of two games in hand on the teams above them, so have plenty of time to climb up the table.
Despite only picking up four points out of a possible nine in their recent games, Rushall Olympic (Amber) still believe they can hang on to the top spot till the end of the season. #ESPFAWestMidlands student and Rushall Olympic (Amber) player Joe Talbot said: “I am confident we can maintain the top spot in the league despite Kidlington having a game in hand on us and we believe in our squads’ ability to get over the line come the end of the season.”
Joe admits that Yate Town caused them problems last week and not having their usual goalkeeper effected their tactics. He said: “Yate last week was certainly a difficult place to go, they made it difficult for us, without a natural GK in the sticks it didn’t allow us to play out from the back as much as we would've liked to, however Louis did brilliantly.”
Chesham United v Carlton Town
These two sides met last week in the reverse fixture where it was Chesham United that took the plaudits after a convincing 5-1 victory. Madison Wilkin was back in the squad and back amongst the goals scoring a hattrick after a lengthy injury which will be a huge boost to his side.
Kidlington v Rushall Olympic (Black)
This is a must win game for Kidlington if they want to keep up the pressure on Rushall Olympic (Amber) at the top of the division. Kidlington are just one point behind the leaders and also have a game in hand, so three points here would be vital for the division challengers. Rushall Olympic (Black) are currently third in the division and are yet to be beaten in the division in 2022.
Runcorn Linnets v Skelmersdale United
Two north-west rivals go head-to-head here as Skelmersdale United make the short trip to Runcorn Linnets. Both sides have got off to hot starts in the cup competition, winning their first and only games and with the division title in touching distance for Runcorn, they will be keen to make the best start possible in pursuit of the double. Skem on the other hand have recently beat North Division rivals Brighouse Town in both the division and the cup competition so will be full of confidence.
Witton Albion v Belper Town
These two sides will be full of confidence having picked up their first division wins in #MatchweekFourteen. Belper however have already picked up a W in the North Cup and will be searching for a second win to boost their chances of qualifying for the next rounds. Witton Put up a valiant effort in their first North Cup game against Runcorn Linnets, narrowly losing 2-0 on the day and a win here would give them huge momentum going into the back end of the season.