Five Things We Learned - Gameweek 37

Thu 13th April 2023 | Five Things
By Jay Cooper

1. Congratulations Vauxhall Motors!

After the last two weeks of these lists building to something momentous for the Motormen, it was their 4-1 home victory over AFC Liverpool that has seen them officially crowned as the 2022/23 Champions of the NWCFL Premier Division. They sit at the top of the tree on a phenomenal 91 points, and due to Bury AFC drawing 3-3 with Wythenshawe Town, who were also title challengers at one point, the Shakers can no longer catch Mick McGraa's side - and nor can anyone else.

So, the race for the play-off spot begins. Avro currently occupy 2nd place in the league, and hold all the cards with 2 games to spare. However, both Wythenshawe Town and Bury AFC are within chasing distance of the side from the Vestacare Stadium, and Bury AFC in particular, as they have done throughout the season, still have 2 games in hand on their compatriots. The promotion picture is by no means settled yet.


2. Burscough's incredible fight back

For the longest time, it looked as if Burscough were never going to find the form that would save them from finishing below the dotted line in the NWCFL Prem. And yet, here we are, 2 weeks from the finish line, and they are a mere 4 points behind 3rd-bottom, which is currently Irlam, and they even have a game in hand to their names.

At the weekend, they smashed Squires Gate 5-1, and their run of form from their last 6 games is currently the 8th best in the division, which is quite the statement from the team currently in 21st. They've won their last 2 games in the league, and face both Kendal Town and Northwich Victoria in the run-in, neither of whom have much to fight for in the last few games.


3. Pilks are nearly there

It's been a bit harder to talk about the First Division North title race in these lists throughout the season, because, whilst it's never been a formality, Pilkington have largely been the team at the top whilst the teams below fought to see who was going to be their closest challengers. In the end, that side ended up being Chadderton, but even Chaddy's hopes might be totally faded after Thursday,

The reason for this is that Pilkington will go away to FC St. Helens in their 3rd-to-last game of the season, and, if they win, they will no longer be able to be caught at the top of the table, and their position as Champions will be confirmed. There is still scope with the D1N play offs too with Holker Old Boys still able to make the play offs if Holker can beat Runcorn Town by two clar goals and Ilkley fail to take any points from their ho,e game against South Liverpool on Saturday.  Still a lot of unfinished business in this Division, its going to go right down to the wire.


4. Last day drama in the South!

It doesn't get much more tense than this. On bank holiday Monday, Wythenshawe Amateurs travelled the short distance to Maine Road in the league, knowing that a win would seal the title, no matter the score at Stockport Town. However, a Josh Clegg goal was enough to give Road all 3 points on the day and leave the Ammies hoping that Stockport had lost.

They hadn't - 2 first half goals had been enough to see off local rivals Georgians, and this title race will move into the last day of NWCFL First Division South action, with a mere point between 1st placed Wythenshawe and 2nd placed Stockport. All the Ammies have to do is beat already-relegated Foley Meir, whereas Town must conquer Barnton, and hope for a favour from the Staffordshire side.


5. Down at the bottom...

The three relegation places in the NWCFL First Division South have now been confirmed. Both Rocester and the aforementioned Foley Meir knew that they would finish in the bottom 3 before the Easter weekend, and it will be Stafford Town who join them after their 5-0 defeat to Brocton on Monday.

Of course, this is by no means the be all and end all. At this level of the game, relegation reprieves can happen, and there's still a chance that these sides can save themselves when paired up against other "relegated" teams from leagues at the same step via a points per game average system.  That said, winning their final league games of the season against Cheadle Town, Wythenshawe Amateurs or Abbey Hulton United might go some way in helping their case.

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