This week provides some enticing fixtures with 12 teams in action across both divisions. Brighouse Town face Skelmersdale United in a game that could decide the North Division Champions whereas in the South Division, Rushall Olympic (Amber) are hoping to capitalise on Kidlington having no game this week and take a lead at the top of the table.
Brighouse Town v Skelmersdale United
3rd place Brighouse Town welcome Skelmersdale United to the Yorkshire Payments Stadium who currently sit in 2nd place in the North Division. Both teams have been playing catchup to Runcorn Linnets all season and a draw in this fixture would crown the #ESPFAChesire side as champions for the second time in a row. Aside from that, this is shaping up to be a very close matchup, with Skelmersdale United only three points ahead of Brighouse Town but have played a game more. The sides are yet to meet in a division fixture this season but have faced off in the cup competition, where Skem took home the bragging rights with an impressive 4-0 victory.
Brighouse Town will be hoping to use the home advantage tomorrow as they have struggled recently when travelling to Skelmersdale. The #ESPFAWestYorkshire coach for Brighouse Town, Simon Ward admits that their opposition for this week have been a bogey team of theirs. Reflecting on the 4-0 defeat in #MatchweekTwelve he said: “4-0 always sounds bad but to be honest we thought we were pretty good in the first half where we hit the bar twice and created various good chances to score goals. However, we never seem to win over in Skem played 3 lost 3 even when we’ve played well like last season it must be our bogey Town as no matter how well we play they always soak up any pressure and hit us with a counter, or a set play like their first two goals.”
Despite the challenges that Skelmersdale United have caused of late to Brighouse, they remain confident, and Simon is elated with the way his team have performed this season and commends the camaraderie in the group. He said: “The improvement in league position over the last two seasons is simply down to the boys being a close-knit group of friends that work for each other. It’s a smaller group than previous years so we’ve been able to work on the social and psychological corners a lot more and we’ve been able to create a really good environment for them to play and enjoy their football in.”
On top of a strong cohesive group, Brighouse have had the benefit of an excellent striker who has consistently been finding the back of the net in Paul Ikoe. He has scored nine goals in all competitions so far and has surpassed any other Brighouse Town players single season ESPFA goals tally in recent years. Paul has put his brilliant season down to the hard in training and the support of his teammates. He said: “My impressive start I give credit to the team and Wardy because we work on most of the moves to feed me the ball and my teammates always give me a good pep talk before the game and it then gets me in a positive mindset to have an eye for goal and hopefully score many more.”
Skelmersdale will be looking to make it a six-point gap between themselves in 2nd and Brighouse in 3rd. They go into this fixture in great form having won 3 of their last four games. The #ESPFALancashire coach for Skelmersdale United puts this impressive run down to the team spirit shown in training. He said: “We have been doing ok recently which i believe is down to the lads playing as a team, all working for each other and not as individuals. We have made some slight changes to the way we are playing, and the lads have taken this on board well. They are a good group of lads who get on well with each other and enjoy what we are doing.”
Having recently beaten Brighouse in the cup competition, Skelmersdale United will be confident heading into this matchup but they won’t be taking the game lightly. Will Green, an #ESPFALancashire student and forward for Skelmersdale United insists his team will be prepared for Thursday’s match and won’t be resting on the recent cup result. He said: “In the cup game we knew it would have been a good game looking on their results, but we knew we was more than capable with winning, the plan shouldn’t change massively leading up to the game on Thursday as we as a team and graham have been doing well throughout our training sessions so keeping it the same I’m confident we will get a good result.”
Belper Town v Ossett United
Belper Town welcome Ossett United on Thursday in search of their first division win of the season. They managed to break their duck in the cup competition with a win over Mickleover and have been a stubborn side in the league of late, losing only one game in their lost four. Ossett United have had a slow start since the break over Christmas and have only played one game in which they were beaten 2-0 by Skelmersdale United. Both teams will be hoping to add a tally in the win column and get their season rolling.
Mickleover v Witton Albion
Mickleover go into this game looking for their first win of 2022 after having a game postponed last week and falling at the hands of Belper Town in their cup fixture in #MatchweekTwelve. Witton Albion with have a spring in their step though after rallying from 2-0 last week to earn a point from their division fixture against Belper with a last-minute penalty.
Carlton Town v Chesham United
Chesham United travel to Nottinghamshire in search of their first win since the opening day of the season back in September. Carlton Town are still yet to secure their first three points of the season so a lot is on the line for both teams who are desperate for the win.
Rushall Olympic (Black) v Frome Town
Here the team that has played the most games in the division (Rushall Olympic (Black)) take on the team who have played the least games in the division (Frome Town). Frome are hoping to get their season back on track and string together some results after they had a point snatched away from them right at the death last week against Yate Town. ‘The Pics’ on the other hand are well rested having not had a game since they handed Rushall Olympic (Amber) their first defeat if the season in #MatchweekTwelve.
Yate Town v Rushall Olympic (Amber)
Two powerful teams go head-to-head here as Yate Town welcome league leaders Rushall Olympic (Amber). The visitors currently sit at the top of the South Division, level on points with Kidlington and have the chance to take a commanding lead with Kidlington not playing this week. Yate Town have the chance to extend their unbeaten run to four games in this fixture and will be full of life having scored a late winner last week to claim all three points against Frome Town.