Five Things We Learned 2023/24 - Gameweek 38

Wed 17th April 2024 | Five Things
By Jay Cooper

1. Right to the wire, Part One

Oh, my goodness me, this title race has been ridiculous. As the weeks went by since the turn of the year, it quickly became apparent that 1 of only 3 teams would be walking away from the 2023/24 NWCFL Premier Division campaign with the league title - Wythenshawe FC, Wythenshawe Town, or Bury. However, I don't think too many of us expected all 3 teams to have a serious shot at glory on literally the last day of the season.

This past weekend, then-league leaders Wythy Town were beaten by play-off chasing Chadderton, Wythenshawe FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Burscough, leaving the door wide open for the Shakers to take top spot going into the final day. However, just last night, Bury were also put to the sword 2-1 by Padiham, and now it is literally anyone's season, and play to the whistle this weekend. Both Wythenshawe teams have 92 points, Bury have 91, and it all comes to a head on Saturday (weather notwithstanding).


2. Right to the wire, Part Two

We're not done yet - literally nothing is concretely decided at the top of the NWCFL Prem, and there is ONE gameweek left this season! This past weekend, both Chadderton and Prestwich Heys picked up maximum points against Wythenshawe Town and West Didsbury and Chorlton, respectively, and, as mentioned, Padiham managed the same feat against Bury on Tuesday. All these 3 teams that won these matches over the course of the last few days currently make up 5th, 6th and 7th in the table, and are all separated by goal difference - 77 points each.

In addition to this, the team currently in 4th, Kendal Town, have only 79 points, and could technically still fail to make the play-offs on the final day. It's not even in their hands - they have just one match left against Burscough, who themselves held Wythenshawe FC to a draw just this past weekend, whereas Padiham and Heys both have two games to go and could both leapfrog Kendal with 6 points each. Everyone, hold your breath!


3. Droylsden are going for gold

It's been somewhat forgotten that 2023/24 has been Droylsden's first in the NWCFL as a refurbished club, and, to their absolute credit, they've made the best of the opportunities that they've been presented with. As covered last week, their position in the play-off places in the First Division South is insurmountable, and, if they were to win that mini-tournament, it might go nicely as a pair with another piece of silverware.

Last night, Dave Pace and his players travelled away to the Flacon Fire Stadium (I'll never get bored of that name) to face Prem side Chadderton in a rearranged clash for a place in the Macron Cup final. Thanks to an Owen Whitehead goal and a Fuad Kasali brace either side of an own goal in their favour, the visitors picked up a 4-1 win, and a shot at the trophy in the eventual final against one of Barnoldswick Town or Alsager Town.


4. Shelley and Nelson are down

With just one gameweek left of the Prem season in full, the First Divisions North and South are now, mostly, wrapped up. For instance, Nelson played their final game of the 2023/24 campaign on Saturday against Steeton, and they won 4-0 , but that won't be enough to save them from the drop, with their 26 points (including a deduction) being 2 shy of the guaranteed safety spaces in the table.

Accompanying them will be Shelley, who only joined the NWCFL last season from a league below but will be returning after a less than ideal campaign that has seen the community side struggle near the bottom, but not actually be bottom, for 90% of the campaign or so. However, they're bottom now, and only a win midweek in a rescheduled clash with Bacup Borough will change that.


5. Market Drayton Down

MDT had a pretty decent start to life in the NWCFL after their promotion last season, but, not even half way through the campaign, in mid-October, the club began a losing streak that simply hasn't stopped. It was October time when manager Adam Shillcock left the club, and since that change came into effect, the team haven't been able to get back on their feet.

Following a defeat to Ashville in their final game of this campaign, they are propping up the rest of the pile, a point behind year-long strugglers Winsford United, and a whole 11 points behind other year-long strugglers New Mills. Only the re-implementation into the table of Ellesmere Rangers has stopped them appearing dead last in the standings, but that won’t be enough to save their place in the NWCFL for next season.

Our Sponsors & Partners

Our Sponsors & Partners