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#MatchweekNine - Preview

As we enter December the fixtures are coming thick and fast with five more games coming from the ESPFA.




Key Matchup


Brighouse Town v Runcorn Linnets


The North Division plays host to the key matchup this week and it’s a top of the table clash on the cards as top spot Runcorn Linnets head to second place Brighouse Town. Runcorn Linnets have been running away with the division so far, winning every one of their six games so far. Brighouse Town have been the nearest challengers all season and were keeping pace with the league leaders until they dropped their first points of the season in #MatchweekSeven.


Runcorn Linnets had an impressive 2020/21 campaign and made it into the ESPFA National Championships in May 2021. Since then, they have had a new crop of first years added to the second-year students and have been working incredibly hard so far. Steve Chaney, the #ESPFACheshire coach for Runcorn Linnets has commended his squad this year and believes the success of the team is down to the positive attitude the students show every day. He said: “Everyone within this squad, works hard and is pulling into the same direction. From day one the lads have shown me a real desire to learn, work hard and support each other, We have a great dressing room which is the foundation to everything we do, not just on a matchday but every classroom and training session too.” This is something that is echoed by Jamie Whittaker, an #ESPFACheshire student who plays for Runcorn Linnets. Jamie believes there is one common goal between the squad. To win the lot. “Before the season started we all made it clear what we wanted from this season and we were all on the same page from day one, we want to turn up every week, make a statement and win everything that’s up for grabs.”


Brighouse Town started the season in excellent form and won their first four games of the season. They were right up at the top of the table with Runcorn Linnets but their form has hampered in recent weeks after defeat to Ossett United in #MatchweekSeven and also drew with Witton Albion in their last fixture. Simon Ward, the #ESPFAWestYorkshire coach for Brighouse Town academy admits they have not thought about the title race and his side just continue try and win as many games as they can. He said: “We’ve never thought about the title this season. We’ve had no right to with us previously finishing so low down the table for two seasons. It has been other people that talked about us being contenders. We have just tried to win every single game like we have tried for the 2 years prior to this one. The difference has been the close-knit team spirit and mentality we’ve had this year got us off to a flying start with 4 wins in 4.” Despite a tough game on the horizon for Brighouse Town, the squad remain confident and will be hoping to deal Runcorn their first defeat of the season. #ESPFAWestYorkshire student and Brighouse Town academy player, Kian Butterworth said: “We’ll be looking to set up strong defensively as Runcorn are good going forward but if we can nullify there key players I feel like we will be able to get something out of the game. There will always be extra motivation to go beat an unbeaten team as you want to be the first ones to beat them and take away their unbeaten start to the season.”



North Division


Belper Town v Witton Albion


Two teams at the foot of the table face off in this fixture as Witton Albion travel to Belper Town. In their last match, Witton Albion earned a solid 0-0 draw at home to Brighouse Town whilst Ossett United tasted defeat at the hands of an inform Ossett United team. Both sides will be hoping to grab the win tomorrow and increase their points tally going into December.


Mickleover v Skelmersdale United


Skelmersdale United will be well rested and raring to go for this fixture after having no game since #MatchweekSix. Despite this, the #ESPFALancashire side currently sit in third place, just three points Brighouse Town ahead of them. Mickleover on the other hand will be wanting to get back to winnings ways and start climbing the table again.


South Division


Frome Town v Carlton Town


Frome Town are another side who will have fresh legs since their last game was on the 18th November. In their four games played, The Robins have only won on one occasion so they will be desperate for another three points in tomorrow matchup. Carlton Town recently earned a valiant point against an impressive Yate Town side in #MatchweekSeven so they will be trying to emulate that performance and convert it into a win.


Rushall Olympic (Black) v Kidlington


Rushall Olympic (Black) are the form side in the South Division having won their last three games. They now sit in third place and are snapping at the heels of Kidlington ahead of them. The Greens will be full of confidence though after an excellent win in their last game, coming from a goal down to beat Chesham United 2-1.

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