Updated: Feb 7
After the recent freezing weather, it was great to see the action return with a full list of fixtures during match week twelve.
In the ESPFA Cheshire derby, Witton Albion after an excellent season were presented with the chance to clinch the North division with victory over rivals Runcorn Linnets. However the Linnets had other ideas with first teamer Adam Moseley the difference with a brace. His first goal came after four minutes when he met a ball over the top to finish cooly in the bottom corner. His second was even more impressive, the striker picked up the ball 25 yards out and with some quick feet made room for himself to double the lead and seal the win for the away side.
In the other North division game, ESPFA Lancashire (Skelmersdale United) hosted ESPFA Greater Manchester and the hosts got off to the perfect start with a goal inside 40 seconds through Dominic Evans and doubled their advantage through Evans again not long after when he showed his strength and composure to sweetly finish into the bottom corner.
In the second half, a good fast team build up finished with Calvin Haddock slotting in his teams third before Harry Roper gave the visitors hope with some excellent forward play in the box.
The game was put to bed when Leyton Baines burst through to restore his sides three goal advantage and secure the maximum points for the Lancashire side.
The Midlands division has been very competitive this season with several lead changes and results this week brought ESPFA Derbyshire (Mickleover FC Black) and ESPFA Nottinghamshire (Carlton Town) into the title picture.
Since Mickleover (Black) travelled to ESPFA Derbyshire (Belper Town) in match week three where defeat left them bottom of the division, they have won their next three games which meant victory over their county rivals would complete the turnaround and see them sit at the top of the Midlands division summit.
Facing a strong Nailers side with hot shot Ewan Sutherill was always going to be a tough ask, with the forward causing havoc for defences with his powerful running in behind and it was this attribute that gave the away side the lead when he latched onto Tom Barton's through ball and rounded the keeper in the first half.
The game was a tight affair as expected and the hosts turned their fortunes around in the space of four minutes in the final stages of the game. Firstly Ethan Walker equalised when his left footed strike flew into the top corner and then an unfortunate mix up saw the Blacks win the game through an own goal and head to the top of the division.
ESPFA Nottinghamshire (Carlton Town) picked up their third consecutive win and in doing so have positioned themselves within three points of the leading pack.
In another exciting game involving ESPFA Staffordshire (Stafford Town), the Millers took an early lead when Tiago Mata took advantage of a misplaced pass to lob the keeper and give his side the lead.
The home side responded with a fantastic Jack Horton free kick from 30 yards and a Louis Stratton finish at the back post to give the Reds the half time lead.
Mata's excellent first touch and powerful finish equalised for the visitors and the forward secured his hat trick not long after when he reacted quickest to a loose ball to give the Yellows the lead for the second time in the game.
The goal of the week came soon after when Aston Whitehead strike from 25 yards flew into the top corner to spark wild celebrations.
Caelen Booth-Jordan gave the Staffordshire side some hope when he won and dispatched the resulting penalty but the visitors held on for another impressive victory.
With the ESPFA cup up and running, ESPFA West Yorkshire (Ossett United) came out on top with a convincing victory over ESPFA West Yorkshire (Brighouse Town) in the North East group. Hat-tricks from Keel Del-Grande and Dylan Quinn alongside a brace from Bobby Isbell and strikes from Jack Sowerby, Owen Gerrard, Sam Hellawell and James Baylin gave the visitors an important three points in the group stage with Paul-Brian Ikoe's adding a consolation strike in the closing minutes of the game.
League Tables after Matchweek Twelve
Cup Tables after Matchweek Twelve
Post Match Interviews
TEAM OF THE WEEK - #MatchweekTwelve
Congratulations to all students who have made it into the ESPFA #TeamOfTheWeek.
Special mention to #ESPFANottinghamshire student Tiago Mata who was named as the #PlayerOfTheWeek after his hat-trick was the difference in Carlton Town's 4-3 victory over ESPFA Staffordshire (Stafford Town).
The Highlights Show
Team lineups (scroll left)