After a brilliant start to the 2021/22 ESPFA campaign, the title races are hotting up and both the South and the North Division are extremely close. #MatchweekFive’s fixtures could have real implications for teams hoping to finish at the top of the division.
Rushall Olympic (Black) v Carlton Town
This week’s ‘Key Matchup’ comes from two teams in the South Division who haven’t quite got going yet this season. Rushall Olympic (Black) got their first point of the season last week after a 1-1 draw with Chesham United, but Carlton Town are still searching for their first points after two difficult games to start the campaign.
Carlton Town have had a tough beginning to the season, having faced the current two top sides in the division in Rushall Olympic (Amber) and Kidlington. Their academy captain, Hammad Arif believes that winning is essential on Thursday to kick-start their season. “I think it’s very important [that we win] as we’ve had a slow start to the season and three points would get team moral up and boost us in the right direction. We as a team have learnt from the last two games and have improved as a whole, so it’s important to get three points on Thursday.” Said Arif.
Arif knows that this is an opportunity to pick up some points, but the team won’t be changing the way they prepare. He said: “we have been preparing in the last week in training by putting in 100% just like against any other team. We know how important it is to win on Thursday and the team is looking forward to playing on the 4G surface as it’s a very good pitch and a great surface to play on”.
Rushall Olympic (Black) have been involved in some very close games so far this season have possibly been unlucky to not have more points. In their first two games of the season, they were beaten by a one goal margin at the hands of Chesham United and Frome Town respectively. They have been tight at the back, but Jack McDermott, the Rushall Olympic (Black) captain believes they need to take their chances at the other end of the pitch to have a chance of winning. He said: “We have been solid at the back, but we have got to be taking more chances all round to get some points on the board. it is very important that we get the win and start building up some momentum in these games as we have had a bit of a slow start”.
Skelmersdale United v Witton Albion
Skelmersdale United go into this fixture currently sat in third place on six points, level with. Mickleover who are behind them in fourth. The team should be full of confidence after a 2-4 win against Belper last week where striker Dom Evans scored twice. If Witton Albion play a full 90 minutes in the same manner that they finished their game against Brighouse Town last week, they will be a tough team to beat. The #ESPFACheshire side found themselves 4-0 down at half-time but after a rousing team talk at the break, they came out strong and looked a completely different team.
Runcorn Linnets v Ossett United
The hosts will be eager to get back into action on Thursday after having no game scheduled in #MacthweekFour. They have won three games from as many games and have looked a very strong side to start the campaign, but Brighouse Town have knocked them off top spot after winning their fourth game of the season last week. A win for Runcorn will be enough to reclaim the top spot thought as they have a significantly better goal difference and Brighouse don’t play this week. Ossett United on the other hand could do with a win having not picked up any points since the first game of the season, and could do their West Yorkshire rivals, Brighouse Town a big favour if they were to get a result.
Frome Town v Kidlington
Frome Town face a Kidlington on Thursday hoping to get back to winning ways after losing to Yate Town in their last fixture. Kidlington on the other hand experienced a 0-0 stalemate last week in their fixture against Rushall Olympic (Amber). The Greens now sit level on points with both Yate Town and Rushall Olympic (Amber) at the top of the division.
Chesham United v Rushall Olympic (Amber)
Both sides are coming off the back of closely contested draws in #MatchweekFour. Chesham played Rushall Olympic (Black) and although they lead for most of the game through an own goal in the first half, Rushall fired back in the second half to earn a draw. A win for Chesham United would do wonders for their hopes of retaining the South Division title. Rushall Olympic (Amber) could extend their lead at the top of the table if they claim all three points as they have a better goal difference than Kidlington in second.