We finally got the ball rolling yesterday and in some style as the long-awaited start to the 2021-22 season arrived and just shy of 6000 supporters attended our 29 games across the three divisions.
We have taken a quick look at the days action to sum up what went on across a busy day around the NWCFL.
In The Premier Division Macclesfield FC made their debut at Step 5 against Burscough and 2018 supporters, the non-league press, local and national media all turned up to see the occasion as Leon Arnasalam got the clubs first goal in the NWCFL on 16 minutes. It turned out to be the only goal of the game and enough to give The Silkmen all three points.
Northwich Victoria made a statement of intent as they travelled to newly promoted Prestwich Heys and ran out 0-4 winners on the day, duly aided by a hat-trick by Bradley Lynch. A Brace from Louis Potts and another from Kane Wallwork gave Avro a comfortable opening day win at home over Padiham.
Charnock Richard entertained Winsford United at Mossie Park and the visitors got off to a great start going ahead on two minutes, however after a half where Charnock Richard perhaps rode their luck a bit they managed to turn it around by half time with goals from Nickeas and Haydock. In the second half the home side secured a comfortable opening day win with goals from Riding and a brace from Darr to help it finish 5-1.
It was a good day for a couple of the promoted sides as AFC Liverpool travelled to Vauxhall Motors and came away with a 2-1 win courtesy of a goal either side by Dan Cockerline after Joey Heath had put the Motormen ahead earlier on. Wythenshawe Town saw off Ashton Athletic 1-0 at Brocstedes Park and Lower Breck opened their Step 5 account with a good win on the road at Squires gate, a John McGrath penalty on the hour giving the Breck a good start to life in the Premier Division.
Irlam and Litherland Remyca did battle at the RG3 Digital Stadium and it was the home side who took the spoils with the only goal of the game courtesy of a John Main penalty on 24 minutes. There was only one goal at Longridge Town too but it was Congleton who scored it, Jordan Johnson netting on 36 minutes, giving The Bears a solid start to their campaign. Rounding up the Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town travelled to Pavilions to take on Runcorn Town and it was the visitors who won the game by the odd goal in three.
In Division One South, FC Isle of Man travelled by Ferry to Maine Road (Via The Pier Head, Liverpool) and recorded their historic first goal and first point for the club in a 1-1 draw. The honour went to Frank Jones who put The Ravens ahead, however Maine Road levelled on 39 minutes through Jamie Roe.
Just up the road, Abbey Hey took on Matt Jansen’s Stockport Town and the clubs shared four goals between them, Jordan Lazenbury levelling the game in the third minute of added on time to give Abbey Hey a point. It was the same score at The Venue as St Martins and Abbey Hulton could not be separated on the day.
Cammell Laird FC 1907 got off to a great start with an impressive 4-1 home win over Cheadle Heath Nomads. Goals from Ben Summers, Colm Lynch (p), Jack Lloyd and Max Herbert with the goals for The Cammells and Max Lewens opening his scoring account for The Nomads in the first half.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the new clubs in the division, Rocester got off to a great start with a 2-1 win over Eccleshall. A brace of goals for Alex Cimino made the difference and gave the side from The Hillsfield an opening day win. Stafford Town and Ellesmere Rangers shared seven goals between them but it was the visitors, Ellesmere who ran out 3-4 winners on the day. Stafford’s goals came from Josh Wilson, Ryan Taylor and Sheikh Barrow whilst Ellesmere benefitted from a brace from David Howarth and goals from Karl Bailey and Blake Robinson.
Stafford’s neighbours, Brocton also failed to net points on their opening day, however reports from their game at Sandbach United suggest that they will do well in the NWCFL. Sandbach were business-like on the day, stepping out into a 3-0 lead with goals from Callum Evans and a double from Bobbie McDonnell before Brad Rolston pulled one back for Brocton.
New Mills got off to a winning start at Cheadle Town with a 2-3 win on the road. They got off to a flying start with Akim Samms opening the coring for the visitors on 19 min followed by a second scored by Joe Bevan on 22 mins. However, Cheadle Town equalised after the break courtesy of two goals from Patrick Davin, however it was Darren McKnight who netted the winner a minute from time to give the Derbyshire club the three points.
Two goals in the last ten minutes overturned Barton’s early lead to give Wythenshawe Amateurs a winning start whilst West Didsbury and Chorlton were also winners on the road with a 2-1 win at Alsager, helped by two goals from Sam Heathcote.
It was a busy Day in Division One North, topped by a great game at Ilkley as The Ba’hatters made their NWCFL and Step 6 debut with a home game against Bury which saw six goals in an enthralling game, watched by a sell-out all ticket crowd of just under 500. All of the games came in the second half as Bury took a 2-0 lead through Adam McWilliam (46) and Ayomide Ibrahim (50) before Ilkley pulled the game level courtesy of quick fire goals from James Hudson and James Hughes in the 54th and 55th minutes respectively. Aiden Chippendale secured the points for Bury with goals on 68 minutes and a penalty on 83 minutes.
Atherton LR were the other big winners on the day with a 2-5 win at St Helens Town, a brace from Connor Comber and a hat-trick from Luke Nicholls ensuring a comprehensive win on the day.
St Helens neighbours Pilkington AFC had a better start to their campaign with a 2-3 away win over Nelson at Little Wembley. Brian Mabhena put Nelson ahead on 11 minutes and that kept them ahead until the 73rd minute when the game kicked into overdrive, Danny Bate levelled for Pilks on 73 mins and two minutes later, Phil Marsh put the visitors ahead. Bradley Ditch levelled on 82 minutes only for a point to slip from Nelsons grasp on 88 minutes when Callum Laird scored the winner.
Chadderton travelled to face a new look Daisy Hill on and off the pitch and a solitary goal from Adam Dale gave the visitors all three points. Up the road, AFC Darwen got off to a winning start as they faced League newcomers South Liverpool who looked the part at The Anchor Ground. Two goals from Leon Creech in the last 12 minutes, including a penalty gave the home side the three points.
Ashton Town hosted AFC Blackpool and it was the visitors from the seaside who put in a strong performance to take the win 1-2. Goals in the first half from Oscar Radcliffe keeping Town out of reach as Rustam Stepans late goal in the 4th minute of added time amounted to only a consolation on the day.
Garstang got off to a flying start at home to Campion AFC and they looked fairly comfortable having gone two goals ahead through Joseph Noblet and Corey Harrison either side of the break, however a screamer from Thomas Robinson brought Campion back into it on 67 minutes only for Noblet to re-extend Garstang’s lead shortly after. Campion didn’t give up the ghost though and made it uncomfortable for Garstang for the last few minutes as Mark Ferguson kept their options open with a goal on 85 minutes.
Holker and Golcar fought out a 1-1 draw at The Handmark Engineering Stadium, Pat Allington putting the home side ahead on 34 minutes only for Michael Fish to level on 47 minutes. It also finished honours even at Bacup Borough as the home side let a two-goal lead slip against Cleator Moor Celtic. Kyle Siddle and Alex Mellor’s goals being cancelled out late in the second half by Tom Mahone and Jack Conway.