1. The ECC Quarters are all wrapped up
Saturday was certainly a key day in terms of cup competitions, and, unlike in the scheduled league matches, we didn't have much of a downpour to contend with. The last 8 of the Edward Case Cup went at it for a chance to make the semi-finals of the competition, and some of the results certainly didn't disappoint.
In a tense affair, South Liverpool edged out Ashville away on penalties; Euxton Villa also needed a shootout to progress after a 1-1 draw with Winsford United; last years' winners Bacup Borough battered Sandbach united 4-1 on home soil; and Droylsden continued to fly the flag for the First Division South with a victory over Stockport Georgians.
2. The semi-final draw has been made
Following on from that, with little match action to talk about from the weekend, another major talking point from the week has to be the fact that the semi-final draw has been conducted now for our First Division Cup competition. And, unlike the Macron Cup, we are no longer waiting on any postponed games to find out who makes the cut.
Defending champions Bacup, who beat Ellesmere Rangers in last years' final, will square off against fellow First Division North side South Liverpool; with the other fixture seeing the First Division North's Euxton Villa take on Droylsden from the First Division South. As their divisions' only representatives left, maybe there'll be a serious fire in Droylsden’s bellies for this one. Either that, or we'll be looking at an all-North final.
3. Some things are more important than a game
In other, more harrowing news, those Premier Division fixtures weren't the only ones that needed to be stopped. A match in the First Division North on Tuesday night was 52 minutes old, with Atherton LR, the away side, beating Ashton Town 1-0 at the time. Unfortunately, a catastrophic injury to an Ashton player caused the game to be abandoned at that moment.
It has since been confirmed that Town's Kevin Pollard sustained a double fracture in his right leg as a result of this injury and has chosen to undergo surgery in order to accelerate his recovery. In a week that has seen the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, it's so important to remember that individual health is more important, and much more worth treasuring, than any on-field rivalries. We wish Kev all the best in his recovery.
4. Let's actually talk about league games from Saturday
Because there were quite a few, thankfully! So, here's the picks of the bunch. In the Prem, Wythenshawe Town officially took the torch that Kendal Town carried in the early months of the season with a 4-2 win; Bury kept up the pressure from second place with a 3-2 win over Pilkington; nearer the bottom, Burscough smashed Squires Gate in a 6-pointer; and both Chadderton and Ramsbottom United scored 6 and 5 in home wins, respectively.
In the North, FC St Helens strengthened their grip on top spot with a 3-1 win over Steeton; and all of Holker Old Boys, and two struggling sides in Shelley and AFC Blackpool kept clean sheets in vital victories. In the South, Eccleshall pumped Cheadle heath Nomads 4-0; and Abbey Hey and Alsager Town put on a thrilling 3-3 draw which featured a 94th minute equaliser from the home side's Kieran Nolan; and there was one more note-worthy match that took place - to the point where it can have its own entry.
5. The Maine Event
10-goal thrillers are certainly more common at this level of the game than at the elite level. But, mere weeks after Bury put 10 past Skem in the Prem, here we are again with another double-digit scoreline that was split a little more evenly than that match at Gigg Lane, but still saw one team win in dominant fashion, and the other have to take the L.
Market Drayton Town, who are on a baron run of form at the moment, played host to middle of the road Maine Road, and did manage to put 3 past their visitors thanks to Lewis's Holdham and Brown (2). However, goals for Road from Yousif (2), Devlin, Kirongozi, Duffy, Perry and Samb eventually saw the M21 side walk away from Greenfields with an impressive 7-3 victory.