Match week thirteen saw the first divisional winners crowned at their second attempt and new leaders once again in the Midlands division.
Match week thirteen was a double game week for four sides with two inter-club derbies on the Monday.
Firstly ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover FC Black) faced ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover FC Red) in the Midlands division and victory for the 'home' side saw them reach the summit once again after leading the division after match week one.
Current ESPFA golden boot frontrunner Chris Bitshuangu had the chance to extend his goal tally and put his side in the lead when he was bundled over in the box but the subsequent spot kit was put wide. Like all great strikers, he did not let that affect him and he did eventually put his side in front after the break after a goalless first half racing onto a through ball to finish with aplomb.
The Black's doubled their lead soon after when Ezekial Appiah scored direct from an in-swinging corner. A close range finish from Amin Mouflih and a header from Alieu Jatta secured the three points for the 'hosts' and placed them top of the division once again.
The second game of the day saw ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Black) host ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Amber) in the first group game of the West Midlands group in the ESPFA Cup.
The Amber side came out of top for the third time this season with a comprehensive 3-1 victory with goals from Josh Langley, Giovanni Lwando and Cobie Hodgkiss giving the 'visitors' the three points despite a consolation goal from Cullun Gibbons five minutes from time.
On Thursday ESPFA Cheshire (Witton Albion) had the chance for the second consecutive week to win the North division when they travelled to Greater Manchester to face Mossley FC.
After the previous week's loss to an inspired Adam Moseley ESPFA Cheshire (Runcorn Linnets) the side from Sandbach made no mistake and they had one hand on the divisional shield at half time when they took a commanding three goal lead into the break.
Michail Eleftheriadis put the visitors ahead when Isaac Shaw burst forward and saw his shot well saved by Dillon Delaney in the Lillywhites' goal but the rebound fell to Eleftheriadis and he struck the ball first time into the bottom corner.
Eleftheriadis doubled his tally and his sides lead soon after when he struck from a similar position after a cross fell into his path to sweetly strike again in the bottom corner.
Zach Billinge got into double figures for the season when his first time finish extended Albion's lead after 25 minutes.
In the second half Eleftheriadis claimed his hat-trick when he headed past Delaney and Harry Woodham sealed the three points when he struck from 10 yards out after a good team build up.
ESPFA Cheshire (Witton Albion) will now progress to the ESPFA National Championship final against the winners of the Midlands division.
ESPFA West Yorkshire (Ossett United) and ESPFA West Yorkshire (Brighouse Town) faced off for the second consecutive week with the visitors determined to give a better account of themselves following a heavy defeat the previous week and that is exactly what they did in a spirited performance.
However they faced difficulties with a strong wind in the first half and the elements played a part in the opening action when a goal kick was caught in the wind and Dylan Quinn raced through to give his side an early lead in the fourth minute.
The visitors should have been level after a quarter of the game when Ashton Gawthorpe made a superb save to deny Paul-Brian Ikoe before James Baylin's near post finish made it 2-0 to the hosts.
Ikoe did bring his side back into the game just after half time when he converted a penalty but a Keel Del-Grande second half hat trick took the game away from the visitors with victory sealed in the last seconds when Charlie Blacka headed home.
In the final game of the North division, it was a battle to finish runners up when ESPFA Lancashire (Skelmersdale United) hosted ESPFA Cheshire (Runcorn Linnets) and the Blues got off to the perfect start through an own goal from a corner.
They doubled their lead in the second half when a Harvey Adatsi free kick deceived everyone to fly in to the top corner.
Matthew Disley secured the three points when he showed determination, strength and skill to finish on the edge of the box and put the Lancashire side in pole position to finish runners up for the second consecutive season.
In the Midlands division, after ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover Black) victory on Monday, the pressure was on ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) and ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Amber) but both overcame tough fixtures to claim maximum points.
ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) hosted ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Black) and were unlucky not to take the lead earlier than they did with the woodwork and Luke Ireland keeping the scores level but eventually did take the lead through Malakai Squires when he got the decisive touch from a deep free kick.
The Nailer's doubled their lead through a similar play when this time Loui Carrington headed home from a deep corner.
The visitors halved the deficit when Harrison Walker converted from the penalty spot but further goals from Thomas Pegg, Shay Howard and Ephraim Yombo secured the three points for the hosts.
At Dales Lane, ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Amber) played hosts to ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover Red) and took the lead midway through the first half when Jack McDermott headed home from a corner.
Ellias Nianzou doubled the lead when he finished smartly from a free kick. Josh Langley made it three, firing in a free kick from 25 yards before skipper Cobie Hodgkiss burst through the defence for the fourth with ten minutes remaining.
Elliott Wyatt brought the visitors back into the game with a sweet strike from the edge of the box before a header from Gianni Day gave the Derbyshire side a glimmer of hope but time was not on their side as the hosts held on for the maximum points.
ESPFA Staffordshire (Stafford Town) travelled to ESPFA Nottinghamshire (Carlton Town) in a reverse fixture of match week twelve and the hosts have put themselves in the title picture recently with a run of three consecutive wins since match week five when they were bottom of the league.
They were looking to make it four but the visitors had other ideas and led early on when a Caelen Booth-Jordan strike was deflected in and the Reds' led through an own goal.
Phelix Fountain levelled when he reacted quickest following a a smart Josh Mcluskie save from a pacey free kick.
In the second half the Millers' took the lead when Aston Whitehead was played one on one and slotted the ball away calmly.
Substitute Khai Smith tucked away his sides third with a neat near post finish and in a back and forth encounter, Louis Stratton made it a one goal game with a tap in after a scramble from a deep free kick before Smith put the game beyond doubt in the closing stages racing on to the end of a great through ball by Fountain to chip the ball over Mcluskie for the victory.
The weeks results ensures that the title race will go down to the wire with goal difference only separating ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover Black), ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) and ESPFA West Midlands (Rushall Olympic Amber) with ESPFA Nottinghamshire (Carlton Town) just three points behind.
League Tables after Matchweek Thirteen
Post Match Interviews
TEAM OF THE WEEK - #MatchweekThirteen
Congratulations to all students who have made it into the ESPFA #TeamOfTheWeek.
Special mention to #ESPFACheshire student Michail Eleftheriadis who was named as the #PlayerOfTheWeek after his hat-trick helped secure the North division for Witton Albion in their victory at ESPFA Greater Manchester (Mossley).
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