NWWRFL Premier Division – Top of the table clash as second meet…erm…seventh
Stockport County v FC United of Manchester
It’s the meeting of the two teams with 100% records as Stockport County host FC United of Manchester at Stockport Sports Village on Sunday. Albeit they’ve played just six league matches between them due to FA Cup commitments but Sunday’s game is expected to go a long way in the determining of the eventual league Champions come April. The two sides met previously in last season’s Argyle Sports Cup final as FC United ran out 3-2 winners.
Stockport County enter the game in second place with four wins from four and a goal difference of 14. FC United are in a false 7th place having completed just two league fixtures to date yet having won both. Both sides have reached the First Round Proper of the Women’s FA Cup and will return to their respective roads to Wembley next Sunday.
County coming hot off the heels of a 10-1 win at home to Penrith to add to their wins over Wigan Athletic, Penrith (again) and Mossley Hill Athletic. By comparison, FC United have enjoyed wins over Merseyrail and Fleetwood Town Wrens.
Whilst Tranmere Rovers and Mossley Hill Athletic will beg to differ it’s hard to look beyond the winners of this tie on Sunday becoming favourites to go on and collect the silverware come April.
Penrith v Manchester Stingers
Two teams who will be looking to end a barren run of form are Penrith and Manchester Stingers who meet at Frenchfields Park heading into the game in 10th and 6th respectively.
Penrith will be looking to get back on track after a 10-1 defeat away to Stockport County last week and end a run of five consecutive league defeats dating back to the opening day of the season when they were last winners away to Sir Tom Finney.
Manchester Stingers will be looking to bounce back from a 5-1 defeat to Mossley Hill Athletic last week and end a run of four wins without a game in which their only point came from a valiant 1-1 draw away to Meseyrail with 10 players. However since their 4-1 win at home to the same opposition in September they’ve been beaten by Fleetwood, Tranmere Rovers and Mossley Hill.
A local derby see’s league leaders Mossley Hill Athletic take on Merseyrail at home. Mossley lead Stockport by two points albeit having played three games more and are currently enjoying a five game run. Merseyrail are 9th having still yet to rediscover their form from last season having collected just three points from their opening six games.
Unbeaten Tranmere Rovers host eighth place Accrington Girls & Ladies who’ve won two and lost two from their opening four league games. Bottom club Sir Tom Finney host 4th place Wigan Athletic as they look to kick start their season and avoid the drop.
NWWRFL Division One South – West Didsbury & Chorlton and Altrincham face their toughest tests to date…each other
The game of the day in the division takes place at Brookburn Road as West Didsbury & Chorlton, the team with the last remaining 100% record host league leaders Altrincham.
West, having been bogged down by early Women’s FA Cup and Manchester Women’s Challenge Cup matches (five in total), have played just twice in the league this season and Sunday will actually see them play at home in the league for the first time this season. Their two league fixtures have been played a month apart as they won 7-0 away to Didsbury back in early September before a hard fought 5-1 win away to Stockport County Blues in early September. Sunday will mark a welcome return to league action for the Chorlton side as they look to catch up on as many as five games in hand on other teams in their division.
One of those teams is Altrincham who’ve taken full advantage to pull themselves deservedly six points clear at the top of Division One South as they reach a third of the way through the season. Altrincham will enter the game full of confidence as they overcame Warrington Wolverines last week with a 2-1 win and also welcomed Laura Dodds back to the side following her concussion injury. They are by no means a one player team but it’s a timely return as they head into a game against one of the sides considered pre-season favourites for promotion.
As well as being a potential title decider, somewhat of a local derby considering Altricnham’s home base in Sale but there will be an added dimension with the return to Brookburn Road of former West player Debbie Price who made the switch in August.
The chasing pack…
Three teams sit six points behind Altrincham, all with a game in hand, and will be looking to take advantage of any slip up by the Robins and close the gap to the top of the table. Warrington Wolverines will look to get back on track after their defeat last week as they host Chester FC. Chester continue to be the seasons surprise package having moved up to fifth with their win at home to Stockport County Blues last weekend.
Another team in form is Northwich Vixens who made it three wins from four with an 8-0 win away to City of Liverpool last weekend to lift them to sixth. They welcome the divisions leading goalscorers Curzon Ashton who will still be feeling aggrieved by a late decision not to award a penalty last week and will be hoping to make amends this week. Liverpool Feds Reserves host Didsbury who will be looking to shake off their Manchester Women’s Challenge Cup exit.
Finally, Stockport County Blues host City of Liverpool. The Blues are in seventh whilst the Purps sit bottom of the league.
NWWRFL Division One North – Five horse race for promotion
Pep Guardiola was correct when he confirmed in his press conference that the league is a five horse rate but he probably didn’t mean the NWWRFL Division One North
The highlight of the weekend’s games is undoubtedly Carlisle United versus Cammell Laird 1907 as 3rd take on 4th knowing that three points for either side will go a long way to securing their promotion credentials. Cammell Laird head to Cumbria with 12 points from an available 15 available and will need three points to keep within touching distance of the early leaders, Blackpool. However Carlisle head into the game level on points, albeit having played a game more, and know that they can put a serious dent in a follow promotion rivals hopes.
Both will be hoping that Morecambe Reserves enforced two weeks absence won’t affect their chances at home to Blackpool albeit that the Shrimps last outing saw them beaten 9-2 by Penwortham Town. Blackpool had a comfortable 3-0 run out last week at home to Leigh RMI and will be hoping to further extend their lead at the top of the table.
The impressive Bury head to Crosby this weekend looking to close the gap to the chasing pack knowing that they’ve up to three games in hand to aid them along the way. Their impressive win last week was matched by Crosby’s as the newly promoted side initially surrendered a four goal lead before defeating Burscough 5-4.
Burscough travel to Leigh RMI hoping that the resilience they showed last weekend will finally end their windless run and keep them in touch with Workington Reds who are in Argyle Sports Cup action v Fleetwood Town Wrens.
In second place are Blackburn Community who will be looking to build on their 10-0 win over Leigh RMI two weeks ago as they travel to Penwortham Town who’ve won both their last two league games scoring 15 times in the process.