The Stealing Five Yards team would like to kick start the first preview of 2019 by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It would also like to extend their thanks to everyone who contributed to this website in 2018.
Tranmere Rovers v Sir Tom Finney
It’s been quite some time since top versus bottom seemed such a relished clash but with Sir Tom Finney’s pre-Christmas form seeing them take five points from their last three games Sunday’s tie is far from a home banker for Tranmere Rovers. The league leaders at Christmas, Tranmere currently sit six points clear, albeit having played five games more, of second placed Stockport County.
STF had lost their first five league games of the season but draws with Manchester Stingers, Mossley Hill Athletic joined by a 3-2 away to Penrith has breathed life into their season. Mersyrail might be further ahead still had their game against Merseyrail not been abandoned will take comfort that they’ve beaten STF in the reverse meeting already this season.
Accrington Girls and Ladies v Stockport County
Whilst Stockport County will be hoping Tranmere Rovers slip up at the Ellesmere Sports Village one side who won’t will be their opponents Accrington Girls and Ladies. Sir Tom Finney’s recent form has made the battle to beat the drop far from certain as they have moved to within one point of Penrith and Accrington. With just 11 teams in the Premier Division, the logical approach from the NWWRFL would be just one to go down to ensure that, with two promoted from Division One, a full complement of 12 teams is made up next season.
Stockport County face a mammoth 2018 with 13 games plus FA Cup, Cheshire FA Cup and Argyle Sports Cup still to compete for. With two games a week likely come the business end of the season the Hatters will be keen to ensure they pick up three points to kick start their 2019 and inch closer to the top.
Merseyrail v FC United of Manchester
Another side who didn’t want the winter break to arrive were Merseyrail who signed off before Christmas with a 6-1 defeat of Accrington to add to their win over Wigan Athletic the previous week. With one abandonment that left Merseyrail having registered three wins from their previous four league games and with no need for any additional incentive for the visit of FC United. The two sides met in September with the homeside running out 4-1 winners. However Merseyrail will still be feeling aggrieved for having a goal disallowed with the score at 1-0 to the Rail that had initially looked to have been given by the referee. FC United will be in action for the first time in five weeks themselves and will be looking to extend their current winning run to five games which has seen them score twenty times.
Its 6th v 7th at School Road as Fleetwood Town Wrens welcome Manchester Stingers with the two teams level on points. Stingers will be facing a side they were defeated at home in September and will not doubt face a tough ask for as a side who’ve not played a competitive fixture for almost six weeks; their last outing was a narrow 2-1 loss away to Tranmere Rovers. 4th placed Wigan Athletic host 9th placed Penrith at Abraham Guest High School. The Latics have been strengthening their young squad over the Christmas break whilst the latter keen to pull themselves away from the drop.
For Wigan, midfielder Abbie Moore has re-joined the club following a spell away at university where she collected a WPL winners medal with West Brom. Defender Olivia Powell also returns to the club from Everton whilst forward Ashley Taylor and winger Rachel Aisnscow re-join from WNL side Chorley.
NWWRFL First Division North
The Division that just keeps on giving will be hoping to survive the weather this weekend when the latest round of a compelling promotion chase takes place.
Blackburn Community v Carlisle United
The biggest game of the round see’s Blackburn Community, in second place, welcome Carlisle United who sit in third place. Just two points separate the teams but Carlisle currently enjoy two games in hand over the Lancashire side. Having taken four points off Bury, Blackburn Community will be confident that they can see off the other challengers in their pursuit of Blackpool however they were beaten 3-2 by the Cumbrian side in September with both Bury and Blackpool yet to visit Creighton Rugby Club. However, defeat for either side would represent a huge blow for their respective promotion pushes.
Burscough Dynamo v Bury
Burscough will be hoping a hard-fought 2-2 draw before Christmas at home to Workington Reds will be a good omen for 2019 as they welcome promotion contenders Bury. 9 points behind, three games in hand and with two meetings against Blackpool to come means that the Shakers remain the biggest threat to Blackpool’s promotion challenge in the second half of the season. They enjoyed a 7-0 win over Burscough in the reverse fixture back in September with the team only having dropped points in their two meetings against Blackburn Community in the league to date.
League leaders and unbeaten Blackpool welcome a Crosby side who’ve not played since November 11th and have recorded three consecutive defeats in the league. At the back of the chasing pack, Cammell Laird will be looking to keep the pace with a trip to Preston North End. 10th placed Leigh RMI face 7th placed Penwortham Town whilst 8th placed Workington Reds face 6th placed Morecambe Reserves.
NWWRFL First Division South
Altrincham v Liverpool Feds Reserves
Third host top in the undeniable game of the day in Division One South when Altrincham host Liverpool Feds Reserves at Mersey Valley FC. The Robin’s missed the chance to spend Christmas Day on top of the pile when they were beaten away to Didsbury (played at Mersey Valley) in the last round of games in 2018 as Liverpool Feds Reserves took full advantage defeating Wythenshawe Amateurs 11-0. The landslide victory saw Feds overtake Altrincham in goal difference meaning it will take a Robins win by at least two clear goals to overtake Feds on Sunday. They will be confident in doing so however as they saw off Feds in the reverse fixture back in September winning 2-1.
West Didsbury & Chorlton v Stockport County Blues
As Altrincham and Feds fight it out for pole position just a few miles down the road two sides who’ve both topped the table for a single round meet as West Didsbury & Chorlton face Stockport County Blues. Had the weather been kinder for the Blues they might have been heading into the weekends game top of the Division having seen their three match winning run only halted by the weather conditions with their last outing being a 2-1 win over Liverpool Feds Reserves back in November.
West have enjoyed a 100% start to their league campaign but face significant fixture congestion with 13 games still to play and will be in need of three points against a side they beat 5-1 at Stockport Sports Village to keep pace with Feds and Altrincham.
But for a points deduction and the abandonment of a game they were winning 10-0 Chester might have found themselves in the top three before this weekend and the visit of Didsbury to Ellesmere Sports Village. The Cheshire League Champions have taken are unbeaten since the beginning of November and face a run of games. They’ll face a Didsbury side confident of victory having emerged from their game against Altrincham with three points and a clean sheet.
City of Liverpool will be hoping to put their spate of recent postponements and abandonments behind them when they search for their first points of the season at home to Curzon Ashton. Bottom club Wythenshawe Amateurs host fourth place Warrington Wolverines who could finish the weekend as high as second should they complete a league double over the Ammies.
GMWFL Division One
The extensions of the GMWFL season is unlikely to do little but delay Salford City’s coronation as Champions as the current league leaders boast a 100% record headed into the new year. They travel to a Sale side they overcame 7-0 back in October but also one finally coming to grips with the GMWFL top division having earned their first three points of the season with a 4-3 win over Urmston Meadowside in November. Salford have already shown their ready for the second half of the season as they were narrowly beaten by WNL side Bolton Wanderers in a friendly last weekend as the home side ran out 5-4 winners.
Second plays third as Barr Hill take on Rochdale with Dale needing a vital three points to stay within touching distance of the Salford side. Barr Hill pipped Dale to the league title last season and will remember the 6-0 victory they enjoyed over them back in November.
Langho face Urmston Meadowside in the final game of the round whilst its Bolton Lads & Girls turn to miss out.
GMWFL Division Two
The Division Two Cup takes over this weekend as Swinton host AFC Oldham in the quarter finals with a semi-final against Heyside awaiting the visitors. The other semi-final will be contested between Tameside United & West Didsbury & Chorlton Development.
That leaves just one other fixture as third placed Heyside look to close the gap to the top of the division to two points when they travel to the Armitage Centre to face Flixton. Tameside United currently lead the way with 22 points from 10 games with West Didsbury & Chorlton Development in second with 18 points from 8 games.