Five Things We Learned 2023/24 - Gameweek 14

Wed 1st November 2023 | Five Things
By Jay Cooper

1. Another cup-heavy weekend

I'm not going to spend this entire list talking about cup fixtures like I did last week, but there was plenty to talk about over the course of the weekend and early this week regarding Isuzu FA Vase and local County Cup games, so here's your highlight reel. Both Ashville and Cheadle Town picked up hard fought wins in the Vase, with the former having to get the job done on penalties against Glasshoughton Welfare.

As many as 5 NWCFL teams were involved in Cheshire Senior Cup matches on Tuesday, with only one advancing to the next round - that being Alsager Town, who beat Stockport Georgians 3-0. Premier Division Chadderton also knocked reigning Manchester Premier Cup holders Radcliffe out of the tournament in a 4-3 firecracker of a game; and Barnoldswick Town absolutely demolished Yorkshire Amateur in the West Riding County Cup to the tune of a 10-2 scoreline. 


2. Come again another day

Goody, more postponements. You can tell we're slowly slipping further and further into the winter months now, as more and more games are being rained off. It was the NWCFL Premier Division that took the brunt of it yesterday especially, with 4 of 5 games scheduled being postponed due to Mother Nature's wrath.

Droylsden VS Abbey Hey in the Macron Cup was also scheduled to take place on Tuesday but would suffer the same fate. From the weekend, however, there was nary a postponement in sight, aside from ones involving teams in re-arranged cup ties, which means there's plenty of results based content to fill out this list, at least. 


3. The Skembonda train is moving

It's been 2 weeks now since NWCFL Premier Division bottom club Skelmersdale United appointed former Premier League defender Pascal Chimbonda to the dugout to give the Frenchman his first ever job in management. His reign couldn't have started much better, really, overseeing an impressive 4-1 win over Barnoldswick Town in his first league game.

Since then, Skem have been back in competitive action on occasions, and, both times, have been undone in unfortunate fashion. Against Pilkington in the Liverpool Senior Cup, they were edged out 4-3, and, against Squires Gate in the league, they were just about beaten 3-2. Given that results before Chimbonda's appointment read like 5-0, 6-0, 6-1 and 6-2 defeats, this is progress for United, and might bode well for their fight against the drop.


4. Impeachable Irlam

Another well-founded stat made mention of by Kevin Lawton, our excellent league statistician, earlier this week. We're officially in November now, and there remains one team in the NWCFL Premier Division who have yet to lose on home soil. It's not Bury or Wythenshawe, or Kendal Town, or any of the other teams who've pushed for the top of the table so far this season - instead, it's Irlam.

Their most recent home game was against Wythenshawe Town, who are currently 5 places above them in the table, but Irlam kept a clean sheet to come away with a point a hard-fought 0-0 draw. There is one other team in the NWCFL with this record, too, of not having lost a game at home this season, and that is First Division North leaders FC St Helens, but they're top of the league, which makes it slightly less surprising when compared to the team in 12th in the Premier Division. Fantastic effort from the side from the RG3 Digital Stadium.


5.  Lewis-Simon burns Route One

I've said it a few times this season - Route One Rovers are a team to watch if you want lots of goals in your football. The team currently 8th in the First Division North are still the division's outright top scorers, with 51 at the time of writing - a tally only bettered by the top two sides in the Premier Division right now, Bury and Wythenshawe. However, their game at the weekend, which also involved the numbers 5 and 1, wasn't one they'll want to remember.

They travelled away to Bacup Borough on Saturday to take part in what would be the division's joint-highest scoring game of the weekend, but they were outplayed by Brent Peters' team, with Lewis-Simon Byrne notching 4 in a 5-1 rout. This result means that there are only 3 teams who've conceded more goals this season than Rovers, those being the bottom 3 teams in the league - Nelson, Shelley and AFC Blackpool.

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