In a huge week in the ESPFA we saw eight games played across two days including the final game of the North Division. We review all the action from an entertaining #MatchweekTwentyThree.
Runcorn Linnets v Belper Town – 31st March 2022
The North Cup hosted the ‘Key Matchup’ this week when Belper Town made the tough journey to
the North Division Champions. Runcorn Linnets completed their divisional campaign on Tuesday with a 0-4 win over Brighouse Town to finish with a perfect record of 12 wins from 12 games. Belper Town however came into the game off the back of a very impressive win over Skelmersdale United in their last run out so were full of confidence.
In the opening period, Belper Town were proving hard to breakdown and despite seeing most of the ball, Runcorn Linnets didn’t have anything to show for their possession. It took nearly 30 minutes for Runcorn Linnets to break the dead lock and that was through a brilliant curling effort from the left-back Jamie Hague. A well worked move down the left wing led to Hague cutting inside onto his right foot and curling his shot into the top right corner. Right before half-time, the home team doubled their lead through Adam Moseley. More good play down the left wing, this time from Joel Raven saw him beat his man at the by-line and whipped in a cross. The ball wasn’t dealt with, and Adam Moseley was on hand to smash the ball past the Belper Town goalkeeper.
In the second half it was more one way traffic for Runcorn Linnets and they continued to dominate the ball. Belper Town had their best chance at the start of the second half though after the break when the ball fell to Leslie Gumede, but he dragged his shot wide. Belper Town continued to soak up pressure from the home side until Kai Philpott added another goal for Runcorn which was aided with a stroke of luck. He drove forward from midfield with authority and blasted a powerful shot towards goal. Jack McDowell, who replaced the injured Bobby Taylor in the Belper Town goal made a terrific fingertip save on to the crossbar, but the ball unfortunately ricocheted off the bar, hit McDowell on the back and rolled over the line. Whilst the Belper Town side were flooding forward at the end of the game, Runcorn Linnets caught them on the break once more as Adam Moseley doubled his tally for the game and secured a 4-0 win for Runcorn Linnets.
Following the game, #ESPFADerbyshire student and Belper Town academy player Dylan Tomlinson was brutally honest with his assessment of his team’s performance. He said: “I don’t think we were good enough. I think losing Bobby [Taylor] at the start, it hurt us a lot so we had to lose one of our best attackers and out him in goal but obviously Runcorn is a difficult place to play and they just showed their class today.”
When asked about Runcorn Linnets impressive divisional season where they won 12 games out of 12 and were crowned the North Division champions, #ESPFACheshire student and Runcorn Linnets academy player Alex Kenamuinjo said: “It feels great, it feels amazing. Every time you walk in, you walk like a champion.”
Brighouse Town v Runcorn Linnets – 29th March 2022
In the final North Division game of the season, Runcorn Linnets travelled to Brighouse Town on Tuesday looking to complete their perfect campaign and win their 12th game out of a possible 12 in the division. A double from Adam Moseley plus goals from Kai Philpott and Reece Jones confirmed the 0-4 result and ensured that the #ESPFACheshire side finished with 36 points from 12 games. The result probably doesn’t match the contest that Brighouse Town put up, with all four goals coming after the 75th minute. Brighouse Town ended their season in third with a split record of four wins, four draws and four losses.
Yate Town v Kidlington – 29th March 2022
Both teams were playing in their final South Division game before turning their full attention to the cup competition and it was Yate Town who ran out the eventual 3-2 winners. Zak Rice’s second half brace wasn’t enough to earn his Kidlington side anything from the game as gaols from Flynn Rawlings, Ryan Filer and Nathan Burge saw Yate Town over the line. The win for Yate means they sit in fourth place in the division with only Frome Town, who have two games left to play, are the only side who can catch them. Kidlington, despite the result have already confirmed their place in the standings and finish the campaign in second.
Carlton Town v Ossett United – 29th March 2022
Both sides were level on points at the foot of the table before this clash and three points would be very handy for both teams, especially Carlton Town due to them already playing five games out of their seven in the cup. A 2-2 draw was probably what neither team were after but Ossett United still have a strong hope of progressing to the next stage as they have four games left to play. Ossett united took the lead early on through Alex Taylor but two goals from Tiago Mata either side of half-time got Carlton in front but Keel Del-Grande found an equaliser for Ossett united with 15 minutes left to play.
Mickleover v Skelmersdale United – 29th March 2022
Despite finishing second in the North Division, Skelmersdale United are struggling to find their momentum in the North Cup and have faced a few injuries of late. A 3-1 win for Mickleover saw them move above the #ESPFALancashire side into third place, whilst Skem are currently fourth on six points with just one game left to play. An impressive first half performance from the hosts saw them run out to a 2-0 lead at half time. Dom Evans managed to get his side back into the game on 60 minutes but Reece Perry’s goal in the 85th minute sealed the win for Mickleover.
Witton Albion v Carlton Town – 31st March 2022
After a tough schedule of playing two games in three days, Carlton Town travelled to a Witton Albion who have been enjoying the North Cup and currently sit at the top of the standings. In an excellent display, Witton continued their impressive cup run with a resounding 5-1 victory, with Dan Williams scoring twice, Jack Sandbach also scoring a brace and Zach Billinge adding a fifth.
Chesham United v Rushall Olympic (Amber) – 31st March 2022
Chesham United started and ended the game at the top of the South Cup table despite the visitors taking home the points with a 0-1 victory. Having played four games in the Cup, Chesham remain at the top having won two, drawn one and losing their first game here as Joe Talbot scored the only goal to earn Rushall Olympic (Amber) the points. The South Division champions move up to second in the table and take another step in their hunt for division and cup double.
Frome Town v Rushall Olympic (Black) – 31st March 2022
The Robins picked up their first win of the cup campaign with a 1-0 win over visitors Rushall Olympic (Black). Lucas Schwalbe-Goodwin’s strike in the 80th minute ensured they still have a chance of finishing in the top four of a heavily contested South Cup group with just four points separating Frome Town and Chesham United at the top.
Team of the Week - #MatchweekTwentyThree
Well done to all the students who were nominated by their coaches for this week’s edition of #TeamOfTheWeek and also a special mention to #ESPFACheshire student Reece Jones who was chosen as the #PlayerOfTheWeek for two excellent performances for Runcorn Linnets.
The Highlights Show
You can catch all the North and South Division goals and match highlights in #MacthweekTwentyThree’s edition of The Highlights Show.