PREVIEW: First Division South

Fri 14th February 2020 | Match Previews
By Martin Fallon

For those of you in the southern part of our area, there's seven games to choose from this weekend in the First Division South.

And just like the First Division North, the top two go head to head in this division as Vauxhall Motors host FC Oswestry Town. Vauxhall are having a fine season, with 22 wins from 26 games giving them a seven point lead at the top. They have lost just three times this season, the latest against Wythenshawe Town at the end of January, and have won seven of their last eight games in the league. Oswestry sit second in the form table, losing just one of their last eight games, that coming against Stockport Town in their last home game. They have won ten of the 18 games they have played on the road this season, a record only bettered by Vauxhall.

Stone Old Alleynians are in third place in the table and they travel up to Manchester this weekend to face Abbey Hey. Stone have actually won more games on the road this season than at home, but they have stuggled recently, winning just three of their last eight games, including a defeat at Oswestry in their last game. Abbey Hey, who are outside the top four on goal difference, have won 10 home games this season and win would move them level on points with Stone. However like their opponents they have also struggled recently, winning just two of their last nine games.

Wythenshawe Town travel to Sandbach United with the best defensive record in the division, conceding just 23 goals in their 25 league games and keeping 11 clean sheets this season in all competitions. They are one of the form sides in the division, losing just one of this previous 13 league matches. Sandbach are having a sxdifficult season although they had a fine win over West Didsbury & Chorlton in their last match. That was though only their 4th win in the last 16 games and its home that seems to be the problem, their 15 games at the Sandbach Community Football Centre bringing just five wins.

Abbey Hey are fifth and just behind them are West Didsbury & Chorlton who are at home to New Mills. West were lingering in the promotion spots for much of the season but fell outside of the top after a poor run towards the end of 2019. Five wins from their last seven league games have got them back on track, although they lost 2-0 in their last game which was a 2-0 defeat to Sandbach United in the Cup. Incdentally, that was their first ever defeat in that particular competition.

There will be little movement in the lower top half of the division, with Eccleshall, Cheadle Town, Maine Road and Stockport Town not in action this weekend. It's a good opportunity then for 11th place Cheadle Heath Nomads and 12th place Wythenshawe Amateurs to close the gap on them, and they face each other in a local derby match at the Hollyhedge Park Community Stadium.

Wythenshawe Amateurs have struggled somewhat this season after a fine debut season last season. They are doing better of late though with five wins and just two defeats in their last seven games. As with others it is their home form that has been their undoing, and they have lost 10 of their 17 games at home, including a 1-0 defeat to Abbey Hulton United last weekend. They won't relish playing Cheadle Heath then, who have a better away record than home this season. Cheadle won 4-1 away at Alsager Town last weekend, that bringing to an end a run that saw them lose nine of their previous ten games.

Cammell Laird 1907 weren't in league action last week after reaching the Final of the Wirral Senior Cup, and then return to the bread and butter of the league with a trip to St Martins. Lairds sit in 13th position in the league, and they really do need to start picking up points with their last league win coming in early December. Since then they have played eight league games and picked up just a single point. Bottom placed St Martins may therefore see this as a prime opportunity to pick up three points. They are though bottom of the form guide at present, picking up just one win in 2020 and losing all of their last five games.

Our final game sees Alsager Town host Barnton. Alsager have won just one of their last six games, but they had put together a three game unbeaten run before losing at home to Cheadle Heath Nomads last weekend. Once again home form has been a problem, and they have lost 11 of their 17 games at Woodpark Stadium. Barnton have picked up form recently, and three wins in their last four games have propelled them up to 15th in the league table. Barnton have picked up more wins on the road than they have at home, and they will fancy their chances this weekend.

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