Saturday, 27 February 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: Third Round

Audenshaw Dynamo 1  Torpedo Tranmere 2
Blyth Spartans 0  Spartak-Slavia 2
Crystal Palace 4  Northwich Victoria 3
Gainsborough Trinity 0  Bootle White Star 1
Liverpool St Helens 1  Excelsior Marlow 0
Manchester Central 0  Stalybridge Celtic 0
Marine 4  Coventry Sporting 0
Red Star Mossley 4  Hartlepool Petrochemical 1

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Matchday #21: Results and Updated League Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo 4  Dynamo Burnley 2
Blyth Spartans 4  Spartak-Slavia 1
Gainsborough Trinity 5  Manchester Central 2
Hartlepool Petrochemical 0  Wrexham 2
Liverpool St Helens 0  Stalybridge Celtic 1
Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 1  Red Star Mossley 2
Marine 4  Excelsior Marlow 0
Northwich Victoria 1  Hungaria 2

Second Division

Atletico Espanol 3  Crystal Palace 1
Bohemians 0  Newcastle Blue Star 1
Bradford Park Avenue 2  Sheffield Wednesday 2
Caledonia Thistle 1  Marxist Polytechnic 5
Excelsior Benelux 0  South Liverpool Red Star 2
Hendon Hotspur 10  Merthyr Tydfil 2
Inter-Italiano 1  Torpedo Tranmere 2
Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 3  Manchester Newton Heath 2

Pivotal. That could well be the word to describe Stalybridge Celtic’s 1 - 0 win at Liverpool St Helens, a single goal, inevitably and unerringly scored by Eoghan Money, in a closely-fought contest of few genuine chances enabling the reigning champions to replace Saints as leaders of the pack, exactly the type of result against a direct rival that ultimately decides fates and the destination of honours. St Helens’ defeat was rendered all the more costly, as the two points gained from Marine’s comfortable 4 - 0 victory over Excelsior Marlow moved Crosby’s finest up into second place above their local rivals, Tegwyn Prothero following up last weekend’s rescue-act brace of goals with a hat-trick this time out.
Wins for Red Star Mossley, Gainsborough Trinity and Hungaria enabled each to gain a little on Spartak-Slavia, who remain fourth, but now four points adrift of the top three, despite a 4 - 1 beating at Blyth Spartans which elevated the victors to the heady heights of eleventh position, further clear of danger, leapfrogging Manchester Central, Gainsborough’s victims, in the process. In the relegation places, Hartlepool Petrochemical’s and Locomotive Crewe Alexandra’s home defeats, to Wrexham and Mossley respectively, leaves matters unchanged, but Audenshaw’s rip-roaring 4 - 2 win over Burnley in the battle of the Dynamos resulted in the two exchanging third- and fourth-bottom places two points above the basement pair, again, as at the top of the table, a potentially critical outcome.
Of those challenging to replace those eventually relegated from the Championship, Marxist Polytechnic cemented their position atop the Second Division even more firmly with a devastating 5 - 1 win at Caledonia Thistle that confirms the Anglo-Scots as being deep in danger of departing the division via the other route, back down to the regional leagues.  Sheffield Wednesday’s 2- 2 Yorkshire derby draw at Bradford Park Avenue maintains their second position, albeit two points further adrift of the student leaders. Wednesday remain two points clear of third, but that berth is now occupied by resurgent Torpedo Tranmere, whose last-gasp 2- 1 win at Inter-Italiano enabled them to move above Bohemians, who suffered a second successive league loss, on this occasion surprisingly at home to Newcastle Blue Star.
South Liverpool Red Star’s renaissance continues courtesy of a 2 - 0 win at Excelsior Benelux, who remain fourth bottom but now three points adrift of safety. Unusually, both of the bottom two won, Atletico Espanol beating Crystal Palace most impressively, 3 - 1, and Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo edging Manchester Newton Heath 3 - 2, although both clubs remain in grave danger of the drop as games begin to run out.


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Matchday #20: Results and Updated League Tables


Dynamo Burnley 3  Northwich Victoria 2
Excelsior Marlow 1  Manchester Central 1
Hungaria 7  Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 2
Liverpool St Helens 8  Audenshaw Dynamo 3
Red Star Mossley 2  Marine 2
Spartak-Slavia 2  Hartlepool Petrochemical 2
Stalybridge Celtic 5  Blyth Spartans 3
Wrexham 2  Gainsborough Trinity 2

Second Division

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

The goals rained down at leaders Liverpool St Helens, where the home team deluged Audenshaw Dynamo by 8 - 3, a result all the more astonishing considering the visitors, courtesy of a quick two-goal salvo just before half-time, turned an earlier deficit into a 3 - 2 interval advantage, defending reasonably under sustained pressure from the Saints - eager to return to winning ways after last week’s first defeat in nine at Burnley - and counter-attacking with lethal efficiency. Following the break, however, Audenshaw’s dynamism deserted them and they imploded, withering in the face of the renewed onslaught and allowing St Helens to ruthlessly rack-up a further six goals without reply: the stuff of which champions are quite possibly made?
A similar margin of victory, with only slightly fewer goals, as Hungaria, victims of a seven-goal concession to a rampant Marine last Saturday, this time out performed an impressive volte-face and put Locomotive Crewe Alexandra to the very same sword, subjecting their unfortunate opponents to a 7 - 2 ‘revenge’ beating every bit as merciless as that suffered by themselves: the predatory Istvan Kovacz helped himself to four of the Magyars’ total.
Also in the goals but more closely shading a total of eight by 5 - 3 were Stalybridge Celtic, consequently moving up to second in the table and nipping Blyth Spartans recent revival in the bud in the process.
A week on from their thrashing of Hungaria, Marine found themselves under the cosh and were mostly outplayed by Red Star Mossley - unbeaten in four league and cup matches under new boss Tony Mucklethwaite - but the Crosbyites managed to rescue a point from an apparently hopeless position as last-throw-of-the-dice supersub Tegwyn Prothero’s late, late brace scraped a 2 - 2 draw from two goals down: again, such resilience, or the ability to conjure something from seemingly nothing, might suggest that the Mariners are not without certain of the requisite championship-winning credentials too, even if they have dropped a place to third (they are, after all, level with Stalybridge and only a point behind St Helens).
In matters at the wrong end of the table, Dynamo Burnley’s epic comeback 3 - 2 victory over Northwich Victoria courtesy of 86th, 89th and 90th minute strikes to recover a two-goal deficit elevated them from second-bottom to above both Crewe and Audenshaw, adding even more insult to the injury inflicted by the pair’s crushing defeats, with the Alex replacing Burnley in the relegation berth above Hartlepool Petrochemical, who remain firmly anchored at the basement despite a rare point earned in a worthy 2 - 2 draw at Spartak-Slavia who themselves are a little isolated in fourth, three points from third and four clear of fifth.
In the second tier, Marxist Polytechnic’s straightforward 3 - 0 beating of Merthyr Tydfil allowed the students to maintain a three-point lead at the top of the division, whilst Sheffield Wednesday replaced Bohemians in second place, prevailing 3 - 1 over Inter-Italiano, a first win in four, as Bohs lost at Manchester Newton Heath, their first reverse following a four-game winning streak. Torpedo Tranmere followed up their stirring Cup second replay triumph over Dynamo Burnley with a 3 - 2 last-minute edging of Hendon Hotspur to arrest a sequence of three successive league losses to move back within two points of Bohemians.
Of those fighting to remain in the Alliance, South Liverpool Red Star’s renaissance continued with an impressive 4 - 2 defeat of Bradford Park Avenue, affording them the luxury of moving out of the bottom four, Caledonia Thistle slipping into the danger zone instead following their loss at Newcastle Blue Star. Excelsior Benelux also boosted their survival hopes by beating last-placed Atletico Espanol 2 - 1, keeping the pot boiling nicely on what is sure to remain a close-run situation at the wrong end of the table.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: Second Round, Second Replay

Torpedo Tranmere 3  Dynamo Burnley 1 (a.e.t.)

(at Manchester Central)

The second round saga concludes after another two hours of pulsating action, Tranmere torpedoing Burnley's Cup aspirations for this season with two extra time goals after drawing level in the final five minutes of the scheduled ninety.
Deserved winners on the night and equal competitors throughout the course of the three matches, Tranmere now progress to the next round to meet the Championship's other Dynamo, at Audenshaw.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Matchday #19: Results and Updated League Tables


Audenshaw Dynamo 1  Northwich Victoria 2
Blyth Spartans 2  Liverpool St Helens 1
Excelsior Marlow 3  Wrexham 2
Gainsborough Trinity 4  Spartak-Slavia 0
Hartlepool Petrochemical 1  Stalybridge Celtic 3
Locomotive Crewe Alexandra 2  Dynamo Burnley 2
Manchester Central 3  Red Star Mossley 5
Marine 7  Hungaria 1

Second Division

Atletico Espanol 3  Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo 2
Bohemians 2  Crystal Palace 1
Bradford Park Avenue 1  Excelsior Benelux 1
Caledonia Thistle 3  Manchester Newton Heath 2
Hendon Hotspur 4  Sheffield Wednesday 2
Inter-Italiano 1  South Liverpool Red Star 5
Marxist Polytechnic 2  Torpedo Tranmere 1
Merthyr Tydfil 1  Newcastle Blue Star 0

A return to league action today after the Cup assumed centre-stage last weekend.
In the Championship, leaders Liverpool St Helens fell to defeat, their first in nine matches, surprisingly at Blyth Spartans and, to make matters worse, to a last-minute goal: for the victors, it was a second successive league win, enabling them to edge a little further clear of the bottom two although the Spartans are by no means out of the danger zone.
The last time St Helens lost, Marine thrashed them 7 - 1 in the Liverpool outskirts derby, and coincidentally Crosby’s finest were at it again today, Hungaria being the victims of just such a pasting, enabling the free-scoring Mariners to hit the 60-goal mark for the season so far and, more importantly, move level on points with Saints. Only one behind are Stalybridge Celtic, following their straightforward 3- 1 win at hapless Hartlepool Petrochemical - had the reigning champions packed their shooting boots with them on their trip to the north-east, they could easily have chalked-up a Marine-like scoreline, such was the level of superiority they exercised over their opponents, but Celtic had obviously used up some their goals quota in the preceding midweek Cup replay stroll against Sheffield Wednesday.
Fourth-placed Spartak-Slavia took a comprehensive 4 - 0 beating at Gainsborough but despite their impressive triumph Trinity still dropped from fifth to seventh as Northwich Victoria and Red Star Mossley overtook them by each earning three points from away victories, respectively 2 - 1 at Audenshaw Dynamo and 5 - 3 in a rip-roaring old-school derby at Manchester Central which, in addition to the eight goals, saw four players dismissed for various offences, both teams ending a couple of players short of a full complement. Having successfully negotiated a tricky Cup commitment against Second Division leaders Marxist Polytechnic, albeit narrowly after requiring a replay, new manager and former playing hero Tony Mucklethwaite has enjoyed an unbeaten start to his tenure in the Mossley hot seat and will be hoping the level of consistency so far achieved under his watch - the lack of which ultimately led to the downfall of the previous incumbent - continues. The Mossley faithful and indeed the footballing fraternity in general will be hoping Mucklethwaite enjoys a measure of success in helming his local club as some compensation for his career on the pitch being brought to a premature conclusion by injury caused by an accident at home, slipping on a goldfish hoicked from its bowl onto the floor by his pet cat Trotsky.
Elsewhere, Excelsior Marlow moved level on points with Wrexham in mid-table following their last-gasp 3 - 2 victory over the Welshmen, overturning a two-goal half-time deficit in the process, whilst second- and third-bottom Dynamo Burnley and Locomotive Crewe Alexandra fought out a feisty, topsy-turvy 2 - 2 draw at the latter’s home, each team at one stage holding a goal lead, leaving the league table placings unchanged but at least drawing level on points with Audenshaw.
Not unduly inconvenienced by their Cup replay defeat at Mossley despite the disappointment of running the Championship side so close over the course of both matches only to lose out deep into extra time of the re-match, Marxist Polytechnic cemented their position at the top of the Second Division by defeating another of their promotion rivals in the form of Torpedo Tranmere, a late strike proving decisive in an encounter both highly-skilled and hard-fought. Despite a third consecutive league defeat that leaves them four points shy of second place, and their ongoing involvement in a Cup battle with Dynamo Burnley, with a second replay due this coming Wednesday, Tranmere showed enough in defeat to suggest they still might feature prominently in the promotion shake-up. With Sheffield Wednesday also extending their own winless league run to three matches - although the first of those at least yielded a point - in a 4 - 2 defeat at Hendon Hotspur, Bohemians took advantage of these falterings to climb to second courtesy of a fourth league win in succession, the latest 2 - 1 against Crystal Palace.
One of the more remarkable results of the day was South Liverpool Red Star’s 5 - 1 dismantling of Inter-Italiano on the latter’s own patch, a sublime and deadly counter-attacking performance by South bringing them a first league win in six matches that, but for Caledonia Thistle’s 3 - 2 defeat of Manchester Newton Heath, would have propelled them out of the bottom four, each of whom will be relegated back to the provinces come the season’s end. Of those seemingly in most danger of demotion, Atletico Espanol pulled level on points, finally achieving double figures, with Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo after emerging victorious by 2 - 1 in the battle of the basement duo, a highly contentious goal deep into stoppage time finally separating the teams.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Football Alliance Cup 2016: Second Round Replays

Blyth Spartans 4  Red Star Halifax 3  (aet)
Dynamo Burnley 1  Torpedo Tranmere 1  (aet)
Excelsior Marlow 3  Bradford Park Avenue 1
Red Star Mossley 2  Marxist Polytechnic 1  (aet)
Stalybridge Celtic 4  Sheffield Wednesday 0