Saturday, 30 January 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: Second Round

Bohemians 2  Manchester Central 4
Bootle White Star 4  Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 3
Bradford Park Avenue 1  Excelsior Marlow 1
Coventry Sporting 2  Wrexham 0
Crystal Palace 1  Hungaria 0
Kidderminster Harriers 1  Northwich Victoria 2
Manchester Newton Heath 2  Gainsborough Trinity 5
Marxist Polytechnic 1  Red Star Mossley 1
Merthyr Tydfil 0  Spartak-Slavia 1
Oxford Academicals 0  Liverpool St Helens 2
Preston North End 1  Marine 3
Red Star Halifax 4  Blyth Spartans 4
Sheffield Wednesday 2  Stalybridge Celtic 2
Shrewsbury Town 1  Hartlepool Petrochemical 2
South Liverpool Red Star 1  Audenshaw Dynamo 2
Torpedo Tranmere 3  Dynamo Burnley 3


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Matchday #18: Results and Updated League Tables


Blyth Spartans 4  Audenshaw Dynamo 2
Dynamo Burnley 0  Marine 2
Hungaria 3  Manchester Central 1
Liverpool St Helens 3  Hartlepool Petrochemical 1
Northwich Victoria 3  Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 0
Red Star Mossley 1  Wrexham 2
Spartak-Slavia 2  Excelsior Marlow 1
Stalybridge Celtic 1  Gainsborough Trinity 1

Second Division

Bradford Park Avenue 3  Atletico Espanol 2
Crystal Palace 1  Caledonia Thistle 1
Excelsior Benelux 1  Inter-Italiano 1
Manchester Newton Heath 2  Merthyr Tydfil 1
Newcastle Blue Star 4  Torpedo Tranmere 2
Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 2  Bohemians 6
Sheffield Wednesday 0  Marxist Polytechnic 1
South Liverpool Red Star 1  Hendon Hotspur 1

A Merseyside one-two at the top of the Championship, with leaders Liverpool St Helens maintaining their position after an expected victory over bottom-placed Hartlepool Petrochemical, not quite as routine as might have been predicted though, the Saints requiring two late goals to break the stalemate and the hearts of the gallant visitors who had equalised an early concession and then proceeded to hold their own for a good hour’s play.  St Helens are now only two points clear at the top after Marine’s first win of the year, comfortably 2 - 0 at lowly Dynamo Burnley whose defeat drops them back into the second of the relegation berths. Slipping down to third are reigning champions Stalybridge Celtic, two points behind Marine after a late blunder saw them concede an equaliser and thus only draw at home to Gainsborough Trinity, who themselves are now nine points adrift of the summit and surely out of the title reckoning. Spartak-Slavia’s close-run defeat of Excelsior Marlow allowed them to join Stalybridge on 27 points, five ahead of Trinity in fifth.
The big - indeed only - winners amongst the relegation-threatened were Blyth Spartans, who climbed from second- to fifth-bottom courtesy of a goal-peppered 4 - 2 triumph over Audenshaw Dynamo, one of the teams they’ve consequently leap-frogged, although only a point separates Spartans from the other Dynamo, Burnley, in the claustrophobic cluster above seemingly already-doomed Hartlepool.

Huge result in the battle of the top two in the Second Division as Marxist Polytechnic’s single-goal victory at Sheffield Wednesday allowed the students to usurp their hosts in pole position and quite possibly set down a significant marker in the power dynamic for the remainder of the season, not least in the controlled manner of the Poly’s cool, lean and mean display, largely nullifying free-scoring Wednesday’s attacking threat after taking a first-half lead and always suggesting the ability to add to their advantage if necessary.
Third and fourth at the start of the day also exchanged places after their respective trips to Newcastle, with Bohemians’ comprehensive 6 - 2 rout of their hosts Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo allowing them to take advantage of Torpedo Tranmere’s defeat at Blue Star, Tranmere’s second successive loss but continuing Blue Star’s unbeaten league run in 2016 so far, enabling them to reach the heady heights of ninth in the table, further away from the bottom four who will fall through the division’s trapdoor at the season’s end. The only other team in the lower half to taste victory, Manchester Newton Heath, similarly established a modicum of breathing space in the otherwise congested space above the basement two who are showing few signs of being able to rouse themselves in the scramble to avoid the dreaded drop, which state of entropy also seems to have enveloped South Liverpool Red Star, who have dimmed of late, even though they did earn a first point in five matches with a draw at home to Hendon Hotspur.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: First Round Third Replay

Manchester Newton Heath 1  Pegasus 0

Finally a winner in the four-match First Round marathon, with national Second Division Newton Heath triumphing over their regional opponents Pegasus, who did themselves proud over the course of the tie but eventually fell short of glory on this particular night, succumbing to but a single goal.

For the victors, the reward is a plum draw at home to Cup holders Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday week.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Matchday #17: Results and Updated League Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo 3  Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 2
Excelsior Marlow 3  Stalybridge Celtic 2
Gainsborough Trinity 2  Liverpool St Helens 3
Hartlepool Petrochemical 1  Blyth Spartans 0
Manchester Central 1  Dynamo Burnley 1
Marine 1  Northwich Victoria 1
Red Star Mossley 3  Spartak-Slavia 2
Wrexham 3  Hungaria 1

Second Division

Atletico Espanol 1  Bohemians 3
Caledonia Thistle 3  Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 2
Hendon Hotspur 2  Excelsior Benelux 1
Inter-Italiano 2  Bradford Park Avenue 1
Marxist Polytechnic 2  South Liverpool Red Star 0
Merthyr Tydfil 3  Crystal Palace 2
Newcastle Blue Star 2  Sheffield Wednesday 2
Torpedo Tranmere 1  Manchester Newton Heath 2

A weekend characterized and defined by a spate of 3 - 2 results in the Championship, the most impressive and significant being Liverpool St Helens’ win at Gainsborough Trinity, enabling the leaders to extend  their advantage at the summit to a healthy three points as previously joint-top Stalybridge Celtic, fresh from thrashing Mossley last Saturday, fell back down to earth with a surprising crash at Marlow, Excelsior recovering remarkably from their preceding pasting at St Helens and also gaining a measure of revenge for another six-goal concession in the earlier reverse fixture at Stalybridge. Elsewhere, Red Star Mossley attempted to at least begin putting the derby mauling behind them with a defeat of Spartak-Slavia that keeps the losers back in fourth, unable to make advance on the top of the table. Marine’s 1 - 1 draw at home to Northwich Victoria was another result to benefit St Helens and means Crosby’s finest, after that scintillating 10-match unbeaten burst that took them to pole position, have now only won one in their last five and not yet since the season’s resumption.
The fourth 3 - 2 win of the day saw Audenshaw Dynamo vanquish Locomotive Crewe Alexandra and thus leapfrog them in the bottom five, with Dynamo Burnley doing likewise to Blyth Spartans courtesy of the point they gained at Manchester Central, Blyth dropping into the second of the relegation places after being the hapless victims of only rock-bottom Hartlepool Petrochemical’s second victory of the season, a situation of growing concern to a team who finished last term in fourth - albeit distantly - and were defeated Cup finalists, seemingly on the up.

In the Second Division, Marxist Polytechnic crept a point closer behind Sheffield Wednesday with a routine win over Red Star as the leaders drew at Blue Star, whilst third-placed Torpedo Tranmere made no ground on the top two as they slipped to a surprise home defeat to Manchester Newton Heath, a timely fillip for the victors before their Cup First Round 3rd replay this Wednesday.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Matchday #16: Results and Updated League Tables


Blyth Spartans 1  Gainsborough Trinity 1
Dynamo Burnley 2  Wrexham 1
Hartlepool Petrochemical 1  Audenshaw Dynamo 1
Hungaria 2  Spartak-Slavia 3
Liverpool St Helens 6  Excelsior Marlow 1
Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 3  Marine 2
Northwich Victoria 3  Manchester Central 1
Stalybridge Celtic 7  Red Star Mossley 2

Second Division

Bohemians 6  Caledonia Thistle 0
Bradford Park Avenue 3  Hendon Hotspur 2
Crystal Palace 2  Torpedo Tranmere 4
Excelsior Benelux 1  Marxist Polytechnic 1
Inter-Italiano 6  Atletico Espanol 2
Manchester Newton Heath 1  Sheffield Wednesday 2
Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 0  Merthyr Tydfil 3
South Liverpool Red Star 1  Newcastle Blue Star 2

Welcome, dear reader, to the resumption of league action after the Football Alliance’s mid-term recess.

The only place to begin is, of course, at Stalybridge, and the hosts' 7 - 2 derby demolition of neighbours Red Star Mossley, Celtic exacting brutal revenge for the opening day defeat in the reverse fixture which somewhat spoiled their maiden appearance as reigning champions, ace marksman Eoghan Money’s four-goal haul being the individual highlight of a magnificent team performance.
For those, like yours truly, statistically-inclined, the scoreline breaks a couple of all-time records, being the first time Stalybridge have scored seven goals against Mossley, home or away, and also constituting the largest winning margin achieved by Celtic in the fixture, although they did once win 6 - 0 at Mossley, in the 1985 - 86 post-regular season play-off round - not the only occasion Stalybridge hit their next door neighbours for six on their own patch, however, also considering a 6 - 5 win during 1987 - 88 (which was followed the next season by a 5 - 5 draw, then 5 - 3 and 5 - 4 wins for the home side in a succession of goal-fests). For their part, and in the interests of balance, Mossley’s biggest home successes over Celtic occurred during the first two seasons of the national Football Alliance, with a 5 - 0 victory margin in the inaugural one, 1980 - 81, being followed the very next term by a 7 - 3 tonking: away, their best return is a 4 - 1 win in 1984 - 85.
Overall, in a total of 47 face-offs between the local rivals in the history of the Alliance, now in its 36th season, Stalybridge narrowly lead Mossley by 22 wins to 19, with six drawn matches (14 - 3 - 6 in favour of the home team at Stalybridge, 13 - 3 - 8 at Mossley), so honours are pretty even. In the matter of local versus national pride, though, Mossley have achieved five Championships compared to Celtic’s two, which seems considerably more significant unless one is being particularly parochial, although that of course is the preserve of local rivalries.

Back to the present, that remarkable 7 - 2 result takes the ‘Bridge joint top of the table, with Liverpool St Helens, who lead by virtue of away points garnered thus far and who kept pace with an impressive five-goal winning margin of their own, 6 - 1 against Excelsior Marlow. With Spartak-Slavia emerging victorious from the battle of the ethnic clubs at Hungaria, gaining revenge for their opening-day reverse, Marine, who began the day in pole position, slipped down to fourth after a surprise 2 - 3 defeat at Locomotive Crewe Alexandra (a direct inversion of the matchday #1 result), although only a single point separates the leading quartet - the victors did their prospects at the opposite end of the table no harm with those welcome two points, particularly with second-last Dynamo Burnley also earning themselves a ‘win bonus’ against Wrexham. With Audenshaw Dynamo and Blyth Spartans both drawing 1 - 1 - the former at bottom club Hartlepool Petrochemical, only their 6th point of the campaign after a disastrous first semester - Crewe have leapfrogged the pair and Burnley have drawn level on 13 points, so the relegation situation has intensified from the very off, a good sign for competitiveness at both ends of the table.

In the Second Division, another draw for Marxist Polytechnic enabled Sheffield Wednesday, 2 -1 winners at Manchester Newton Heath, to establish a three-point lead at the summit, whilst Torpedo Tranmere’s fine 4- 2 victory at Crystal Palace moves them level with the students and signifies the strength of their promotion credentials whilst simultaneously undermining the prospects of the losers. Fellow-winners Bradford Park Avenue and Bohemians are three and four points behind, in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: First Round Replays

Manchester Newton Heath 3  Pegasus 3 (aet)
Merthyr Tydfil 6  Aldershot Town 2
Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 1  Preston North End 3
Sheffield Wednesday 4  Liverpool Stanley 2 (aet)
Torpedo Tranmere 3  Matlock Red Star 2 (aet)

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: First Round

Aldershot Town 1  Merthyr Tydfil 1
Bishop Auckland 1  Bradford Park Avenue 4
Bootle White Star 3  Newcastle Blue Star 1
Coventry Sporting 2  Caledonia Thistle 1
Crumpsall Dynamo 0  Marxist Polytechnic 1
Kidderminster Harriers 3  Atletico Espanol 0
Locomotive York 1  Bohemians 2
Matlock Red Star 1  Torpedo Tranmere 1
Liverpool Stanley 2  Sheffield Wednesday 2
Oxford Academicals 3  Hendon Hotspur 2
Pegasus 2  Manchester Newton Heath 2
Preston North End 1  Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 1
Red Star Halifax 4  Inter-Italiano 3
Sheffield Comrades 2  South Liverpool Red Star 3
Shrewsbury Town 4  Excelsior Benelux 1
Stockport Borough 0  Crystal Palace 2

A change to the format of the Cup for this season, with the First Round proper being contested between the 16 Second Division clubs and another 16 qualifiers from the various regional leagues, the latter being afforded home advantage, and six of these clubs capitalising to eliminate their higher-ranked opponents, with, so far, and five ties having ended in draws, only five of the national league teams emerging victorious.

Replays will be played this coming Wednesday, 6th January.