On Thursday, the ESPFA 2021/22 campaign kicks off with six exciting fixtures from both the North and South Divisions.
Witton Albion v Ossett United
The first ‘Key Matchup’ for the 2021/22 season comes from the North Division where Witton Albion face Ossett United.
After what they would deem as a disappointing season last year in an incredibly competitive division, the hosts will be looking to get their season off to a positive start. Martyn Irvine, the Witton Albion academy coach has been working hard with his team in pre-season and has managed to get the team some warmup matches before the season starts. ‘We’ve been very fortunate; we’ve managed to get a couple of friendlies in and expose the players to a very good level of opposition playing Port Vale Academy’s under 18’s which was a great experience for the whole group and the Port Vale education programme.’ He said. With another year of experience under the team’s belt and a whole host of new recruits, there is a newfound sense of confidence within the Witton Albion camp.
Ossett United spent the majority of last season in the title race and impressed greatly in the North Division. In the end they finished second behind a talented Runcorn Linnets side who then progressed on to the ESPFA National Championships. Now with their top goal scorer and player of the year, Carl Clarkson having finished his time on the course and progressing on to University, Ossett will be looking for a new talisman to lead the line.
Brighouse Town v Mickleover
The current holders and the inaugural ESPFA National Champions are back in action on #MatchweekOne and will travel to Yorkshire where they face Brighouse Town. After finishing sixth in the North Division last year, Brighouse Town will be wanting to start the season well but will meet tough opposition in Mickleover.
Belper Town v Runcorn Linnets
Coming off the back of winning the North Division last season, Runcorn have kept hold of some of their key players and will be full of confidence going into the new season. Belper Town will have their own reasons to be excited for the new season, with a new 3G training pitch at their disposal and a new coach, moral is high within the Derbyshire side.
Chesham United v Rushall Olympic (Black)
Chesham United, the current South Division champions are coming off the back of a monumental season where they managed to win 10 league games out of 10. They host a strong Rushall Olympic (Black) side in their first outing of the season who finished third in the South Division last season.
Carlton Town v Rushall Olympic (Amber)
The home side play their first game in the South Division on Thursday as they welcome Rushall Olympic (Amber). Carlton will be ecstatic to get back out on to the pitch as their squad has been bolstered by 16 new recruits where-as Rushall Olympic (Amber), who came third in their division last year will be hoping to mount a challenge for the title this year.
Kidlington v Yate Town
These two sides have been mainstays in the South Division since 2019 and have some exciting clashes over the past couple of seasons. Kidlington finished in fourth spot last year and will be looking to challenge at the top of the league this season. Yate Town on the other hand only dropped points last season against the eventual division winners, Chesham united, so they will be expecting to be right up there again come the end of the season.