2006-2007 Season
Northern Premier League
77 News Items
League Review (05-05-07)

Both play-off Finals saw the second and third placed clubs in the respective Divisions play one another with the ground advantage that goes with those finishing places having been decisive in the semi-finals as the results below show. However, that was not repeated in the two Finals with the Premier Division affair at WITTON ALBION a sell out. AFC TELFORD UNITED got off to a flyer in the first minute before going on to win promotion with a 3-1 victory whilst at CAMMELL LAIRD it was story of the two ‘keepers with EASTWOOD TOWN’s Ian Deakin crucial in keeping his side in contention whilst Laird’s Craig Bryan was completely deceived by a 35 yarder from Chris Shaw as the “Badgers” came back from a goal down to win.


League News (05-05-07)

The final UniBond “Club of the Month” awards have gone to BURSCOUGH and BUXTON – the two respective champions both of whom were winning the award for the second time during the campaign with Burscough having lifted it in October and Buxton in August. Both clubs were unbeaten in seven games during April winning five of them. GUISELEY and GRESLEY ROVERS took the April “Fair Play” awards with the Yorkshire club’s success merely cementing their place at the head of the season’s table and pocketing the top tier’s £1,000 first prize for the second season in succession and a third top four finish on the bounce – a terrific achievement. PRESCOT CABLES took the £750 runners-up award – the second consecutive season they had finished in the top four, WITTON ALBION bagged £500 for third and MATLOCK TOWN £250 in fourth. KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC were runaway winners of the First Division award whilst newcomers HARROGATE RAILWAY and ALSAGER TOWN filled the next two positions. GRESLEY ROVER’s excellent April of just one caution in seven games saw them share fourth spot with SHEPSHED DYNAMO who finished in the top four for the second campaign in succession.


League Review (28-04-07)

An only goal of the game victory on Tuesday evening at WITTON ALBION in front of over 1,500 fans sent early season leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED back to the summit and set up a final day showdown at Telford against second placed BURSCOUGH. Albion, meanwhile, were waiting in the wings to clinch top spot should the top two cancel each other out in the best finish to a Premier Division season for many years with the final day of the campaign threatening to rival those of 1969/70 when Macclesfield Town beat Wigan Athletic to the title by just .006 of a goal and the First Division race in 1998/9 when Droylsden took the honours by virtue of scoring 97 goals as against Hucknall Town’s 80 after both sides finished level on 86 points with the same goal difference of 42. In the event BURSCOUGH’s 2-1 win at AFC TELFORD UNITED in front of a gate of almost 6,000 gave them the title by just one goal as WITTON beat FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 2-0. One more goal for Albion would have seen them take the title on goals scored! Telford’s defeat dropped them to third and they will meet MARINE in the play-offs after the “Mariners” beat NORTH FERRIBY UNITED 4-1. A second hat-trick in a week for MATLOCK TOWN’s find of the season Ian Holmes ensured the Derbyshire club a play-off place as they overcame PRESCOT CABLES on Tuesday but FLEETWOOD TOWN’s chances of adding a play-off appearance to their League Challenge Cup victory disappeared in midweek when they were surprisingly beaten at home by the already relegated MOSSLEY with the only goal coming in the third minute of stoppage time.

With the top three places in the First Division already decided BRADFORD PARK AVENUE’s 1-0 win at BRIGG TOWN on Tuesday where they finished with nine men and the home team with ten enabled them to fill one of the remaining two play-off places leaving COLWYN BAY and STOCKSBRIDGE PS scrambling over the one remaining slot on the last day of the campaign for the right to travel to CAMMELL LAIRD in the play-off semi-finals with the Welsh club proving successful when both lost. Their trip on Tuesday, however, will be a daunting undertaking as Lairds have only failed to score once in the league in their debut season and Tuesday’s 4-1 defeat of CHORLEY took their league goal tally past the century mark for the third successive season. Stockbridge’s participation was stopped in its tracks at ROSSENDALE UNITED by a devastating stoppage time goal without which Stocksbridge would have overhauled Colwyn Bay on goal difference! EASTWOOD TOWN will entertain BRADFORD PARK AVENUE in the other semi-final with the two winners meeting next Saturday to determine who will be playing Premier Division football next season along with Champions BUXTON. Mention must also be made of Michael Lennon’s hat-trick for KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC in a 4-2 win over OSSETT ALBION as it took him past the fifty mark for the season.


League News (28-04-07)

RESTRUCTURING

The UniBond League is hopeful it has taken the sting out of the controversy on restructuring following the recent decision of the FA’s League Committee that the League would operate with two regional First Divisions each of 18 clubs for season 2007/8. At a meeting held on Sunday the League Management Committee reached agreement on a way forward and this was supported later that day by the member clubs at a Special Meeting. The good news is that the UniBond League endorses its support for a 1,2,3,6 structure with the League having two regional First Divisions of 22 clubs each to give it parity with the Isthmian and Southern Leagues. In the spirit of co-operation and to demonstrate its will towards achieving this final objective the League has, as an initial measure, agreed to accept the decision of the FA League’s Committee that the UniBond League shall have two regional First Divisions of 18 clubs each for season 2007/8 as it sees this as the right way forward in the development of the structure. However, the League recognises that the future constitution of the UniBond League is still of paramount importance and therefore, as a condition of acceptance, it is seeking from the FA by 14th May a written assurance that the constitution of the UniBond League will increase to two First Divisions of 20 clubs for season 2008/9 with a further increase to two Divisions of 22 clubs each by 2009/10 or no later than 2010/11.

The UniBond League is also asking the FA for agreement in principle to (1) supplement what would normally be a 34 match fixture programme with an additional 8 games to be compiled in a format yet to be agreed by member clubs and (2) for the League to be in a position to allocate, both numerically and geographically, the total of at least 36 clubs who will comprise the two UniBond League regional First Divisions taking in to account the views of member clubs. Whilst disappointed that, at this stage, it has only been allocated Divisions of 18 clubs the UniBond League remains hopeful the League’s Committee can still see its way forward to increasing these numbers to 2x20 for season 2007/8 as the League does not consider it is yet too late. The UniBond League is pleased that the expectations of the extra clubs promoted from the North West Counties League, Northern Counties East League, Midland Football Alliance and the Northern League have been met and are of the view that there still remains an ideal opportunity for similar benefits to be applied to clubs in the higher promotion positions in Southern based Step 5 competitions. The UniBond League will not be making any further comments until a response is received from the Football Association.

UNIBOND LEAGUE PRESIDENT’S CUP

A healthy crowd well in excess of 700 saw First Division Buxton add the President’s Cup to their Championship title on Monday evening in the pouring rain when they beat Wakefield FC 3-1. The game, however, was not without drama as with the score 2-1 underdogs Wakefield appeared to have netted an equaliser with a rasping 30 yard drive only for the effort to be ruled out in a controversy surrounding whether or not the ball had gone in the net and come back out off the supporting stanchion. Buxton were winning the competition for the second time having previously landed the trophy in its inaugural season in 1981/82.

NEW SHOWCASE FEATURE

A new feature at this year’s Annual General Meeting of the UniBond League to be held in Blackpool on June 16th will be a “Showcase” of suppliers to semi-professional clubs. Chairmen, Directors and personnel of member clubs will be able to view products and services from up to forty suppliers in a special “Showcase” which will be staged before and after the actual AGM. The “Showcase” will include stands from official partners of the League such as kit suppliers Macron, The Football Association and Onside TV – the production company behind UniBond TV. Running alongside the “Showcase” will be a two hour seminar on “20 ways to make money for your UniBond club” delivered by the League’s Head of Marketing Mark Harris and Svend Elkjaer of Sports Marketing Network. This item will be ideal for all the new clubs joining the League or as a refresher for existing member clubs. Attendance at both the “Showcase” and seminar is free of charge. Spaces in the Showcase cost just £250 plus vat for a 3m x 2m space or £400 for the same size space plus promotional material to be included in a club pack plus a full page advertisement in the 2007/8 official UniBond League handbook. Anyone interested in booking a space should contact showcase2007@unibondleague.com

STEWARD TRAINING

Another new initiative from the UniBond League is almost in place with the League running a course plus assessment for match day stewards that will see the successful applicants obtain a NVQ Level 2 in Spectator Safety. This qualification is compulsory for anyone working at Football League level and it thought is likely to also become compulsory further down football’s ladder over the next few years. As part of the qualification each steward will be assessed on two occasions in match day conditions in addition to classroom training with the course being run over two weekends in June. The course will be free of charge.

GATES ON THE UP

Fifteen of the twenty Premier Division clubs who were members of the UniBond League last season have shown increases in their average attendances with AFC Telford United, Burscough, Fleetwood Town, Guiseley, Witton Albion and, somewhat more surprisingly, Prescot Cables all achieving very impressive increases. The only major losers were Frickley Atheltic whose fall reflected their failure to maintain last season’s promotion challenge. First Division attendances were little changed overall with ups and downs split around 50/50. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the increase shown by Chorley despite the “Magpies” being in the bottom two throughout the campaign. The final figures can be found on the respective Results pages elsewhere in this Press Release.

OBITUARY

Frickley Athletic announced this week that long standing Committee Member Ken Day passed away on Thursday afternoon aged 86. He had been a Frickley official for almost thirty years joining the club initially as a Vice-President prior to joining the club’s Management Committee in 1988. He was also a keen cricket enthusiast playing for Hooton Pagnell before captaining South Kirkby Colliery 2nd eleven until he retired from playing at the age of 56 to become and umpire. In his latter role he went on to become the Umpire’s Secretary for the Doncaster & District Cricket League.

ALAN BALL

The tragic early death this week of World Cup winner Alan Ball was particularly poignant to UniBond League club Ashton United who had been planning to ask him to take an honorary position with the club where he started out in the game under his father Alan’s managership in 1959. As a fourteen year old Ball junior played eight games in that campaign including a Manchester Intermediate Cup Final against Mossley. Although turned down by both Wolves and Bolton whilst with Ashton, Blackpool took the plunge to sign the youngster and the rest is history.

BRADSHAW REACHES CENTURY MARK

North Ferriby United’s prolific striker Gary Bradshaw has reached a century of goals for the club in just 139 starts plus another four appearances from the subs bench. The former Hull City and Cheltenham Town player becomes only the fourth striker to reach the milestone for Ferriby but whereas all his goals have come in UniBond football, Mark Tennison (166), Darren France (161) and Andy Flounders (155) scored the majority of their goals at a lower level.

BUXTON CHEER ON LAIRDS

Followers of First Division champions Buxton have arranged a coach to take them to cheer on Cammell Lairds when the Wirral side compete in the play-offs next week. The support is even stranger when one considers the two clubs had never previously met prior to this season but early season banter between the two sets of fans on their respective websites turned gradually in to mutual respect as the two chased one another for top spot for much of the campaign. Buxton fan Ian Gill said “There is no historical link between the two clubs at all as this season is the first time we have played one another. But, because of the friendly rivalry and fun we have had with each other on our forums and at the two meetings we have had with them, we decided to take some fans to cheer Lairds on in the play-offs. Laird’s Paul McLoughlin responded “It is great that Buxton are making this gesture towards us as we found them to be a super bunch of people and despite our disappointment in not catching them we have had a good time chasing them with ‘phone calls being made after games for results. At the end of the day this is why semi-pro football is so enjoyable and we look forward to hopefully joining them in the UniBond Premier Division next season”.


League Review (21-04-07)

With all three contenders for the Premier Division title winning on Saturday the final week of the campaign will be one of the most nail-biting since the formation of the League almost forty years ago. Although BURSCOUGH lead the table they are the only club in the top three not to have the destination of the title in their own hands. They lead WITTON ALBION on goal difference but Albion have a game in hand on them. However, that game in hand is against none other than third placed AFC TELFORD UNITED on Tuesday evening with a final day dust up to come between Burscough and Telford whilst Witton’s last opponents will be FRICKLEY ATHLETIC. It is almost as close for the two remaining play-off spots with MARINE in fourth nowhere near guaranteed to finish in one of those places and it is a case of any two from four with MATLOCK TOWN, GUISELEY and FLEETWOOD TOWN all in the mix. HEDNESFORD TOWN’s slim chances disappeared when they were held to a goalless draw by ASHTON UNITED with that point keeping the “Robins” hopes of avoiding the drop alive although MOSSLEY’s relegation was confirmed.

Two wins in the week confirmed CAMMELL LAIRD as First Division runners-up and with BUXTON already crowned as champions it means the two top spots have both gone to newcomers. Despite losing surprisingly at home to BAMBER BRIDGE on Saturday EASTWOOD TOWN will be in the play-offs and then its any two from three for the remaining places. Contenders BRADFORD PARK AVENUE dropped two points when drawing 0-0 with the champions whilst both COLWYN BAY and STOCKSBRIDGE PS enjoyed 4-2 home wins. Avenue, however, with two games to play as opposed to their rivals’ one match appear favourites for one of the spots leaving everything depending on next Saturday when the Welsh club play host to Eastwood whilst Stocksbridge travel to ROSSENDALE UNITED who have won their last three games. What a finish in prospect in both Divisions!


League News (21-04-07)

LORDS TO THE RESCUE

The fine stately home of English cricket came to the rescue of Bradford Park Avenue as they sought a thousand seats to improve their Horsfall Stadium. Having contacted all the football clubs in the area without any success Avenue spotted an advert out of the blue in which Lords cricket ground stated they were replacing their seating and were offering their old ones on a come and remove them basis. Five Avenue volunteers went down to Lords and spent three days dismantling 1,600 seats working up to sixteen hours a day. Kevin Hainsworth, who led the volunteer force, said “It was a fantastic experience working in the home of cricket and all the history that goes with it. The fact that the seats match our home colours is an added bonus and they will look great when we’ve installed them in the summer. We are really grateful to everybody at Lords for their generosity and the support they gave us”. Avenue will be sending a photo to the Lords website once the seats have been installed.

FLEETWOOD TRIUMPH IN LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP

Nathan Pond was Fleetwood Town’s hero as he scored the only goal in a close fought UniBond League Challenge Cup Final played at Witton Albion on Monday evening. His goal prevented opponents and 2005 winners Matlock Town from joining an elite band of just three clubs, Hyde United, Marine and Runcorn, to have won the trophy three times. Fleetwood were lifting the cup for the second time having previously been successful in 1971 when they beat Macclesfield Town.

STEVENS QUITS AT SHEPSHED

There may be very little time left in the 2006/7 season but the managerial changes don’t stop. Hard on the heels of Derek Egan’s announcement last week that he would not be continuing at Rossendale United came news of a 26th managerial change when Adam Stevens and his Coach Dave Stringer resigned their positions with Shepshed Dynamo after last Saturday’s 6-1 defeat at next to bottom Chorley. Taking over in a temporary capacity until the end of the season is Club Secretary Dave Wheatley in what will be a third emergency stint. His previous two resulted in a win and a draw and he remained undefeated after his side took a point against Wakefield on Wednesday evening. Applications for the vacant position from suitably qualified and interested parties should be sent to new club Chairman Mr ShaunTaylor, Ingleberry House, Ingleberry Road, Shepshed, Leics LE12 9DE – Closing date Friday, 27th April. Mr Taylor has taken over from Peter Bull who has stood down after some thirteen years service, the last two as Chairman.

FANS GIVE FREE ADMISSION

Supporters going to Grantham Town’s last game of an arduous season for the “Gingerbreads” are in for a bonus courtesy of fellow supporters. Admission to next Saturday’s home match against Whitby Town will be free thanks to the generosity of a group of fans who have agreed to cover the admission charge in a sponsorship of the game. The supporters involved wish to remain anonymous leaving Club Chairman Roger Booth to say “We are very grateful for the offer they have made. It means we can give something back to the fans as a thank you for staying with us throughout what has been a long and difficult season”.

ASHTON NAME JOHNSON AS BOSS

Ashton United have named Danny Johnson as the man to replace former Bolton Wanderers star Scott Green who resigned suddenly in March. Johnson, who has no experience at this level of the game, is a former Preston North End junior who has amassed a wealth of coaching experience after his playing career was curtailed through injury. He arrives from Trafford who have been enjoying one of their best seasons for some time and are unbeaten since early February in the North West Counties League. Out of loyalty Johnson will remain with Trafford to steer them through their last few games of the season but will work with the Ashton squad in midweek training sessions. He is taking his Trafford Assistant Danny Jones with him to Hurst Cross and in Johnson’s absence it will be Jones who takes charge of playing matters when Trafford are playing. Club Chairman John Milne said “Johnson was a unanimous choice and beat off several experienced applicants at this level of the game to get the job. I would also like to re-iterate how grateful we are to Chris Royle who, at the age of just 26, has shown during this period of uncertainty tremendous maturity to step up from playing to the caretaker manager’s role in very trying circumstances”.

VINCE NAMES DEELEY AS NUMBER TWO

Left without an Assistant Manager when Benny Phillips took up a full time role with Bradford Park Avenue the week prior to Easter Witton Albion boss Jim Vince has named Nigel Deeley as his new number two. Deeley made his name on the UniBond scene as player-manager with Congleton Town before moving on to Stockport County where he had a spell as caretaker boss following the departure of Andy Kilner. As a player he started out as a junior with Manchester United before going on to play for Plymouth Argyle, Chester City, Runcorn, Northwich Victoria and Witton. Deeley currently coaches in Manchester City’s Academy set up as well as at Crewe and Alsager College and, in addition, scouts for the England Under 18’s.

RIGBY FAMILY STEP DOWN AT MOSSLEY

Mossley Chairman Sam Rigby has stepped down from the helm after ten years in which he brought the club back to life from near extinction. Mr Rigby, his wife Peggy and son Martin are, as a gesture of goodwill, giving away all the shares of the club to a new Board of Directors to be sold on behalf of the Rigby family for the sole benefit of the club. The shares are available to anybody interested in purchasing them at £10 each. Mr Rigby said “We would like to thank all the genuine fans for their support over the last ten years. Those fans who have found it necessary to make derogatory comments recently about us should now ask themselves what have they done for Mossley Football Club over the last ten years and then give the new Board of Directors the support they deserve”

HOLMES TAKES PREMIER DIVISION BY STORM

There is little doubt about the young player of this season in the UniBond League top flight with Matlock Town’s 21 year old Ian Holmes taking to Premier Division football like a duck to water. Plucked out of University football at Sheffield, Holmes got off the mark on his debut with his side’s only goal in an opening day 2-1 defeat at Guiseley and has never looked back. Thursday saw him hit his first hat-trick as the “Gladiators” beat Whitby Town 5-1 and the treble took the rookie’s tally for the campaign past the thirty mark – a very impressive effort considering his complete lack of experience at this level of the game.


League Review (14-04-07)

Just two points separate the Premier Division’s top three teams with third placed club AFC TELFORD UNITED having to play the leading two WITTON ALBION and BURSCOUGH in their last two fixtures. Telford got back to winning ways after eleven games without success when they overcame FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 4-1whilst WITTON ALBION beat MOSSLEY 2-1 to leave the latter on the brink of returning to the lower tier after just one season at the top level. BURSCOUGH, after beating FLEETWOOD TOWN 4-1 in midweek drew at play-off hopefuls GUISELEY on Saturday – a result which enabled MARINE to go three points clear of Guiseley in the final two play-off spots. Right on the heels of Guiseley separated only by goal difference and with a game in hand are MATLOCK TOWN after two wins although they had to rely on bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN missing a penalty in order to come out of their midweek game with three points. FLEETWOOD TOWN had a more comfortable 2-0 win at Grantham on Saturday and are still very much in contention for the play-offs but HEDNESFORD TOWN’s chances seem to be disappearing on the back of their lack of goals although, in fairness, they too are only two points away from the play-off slots. At the other end RADCLIFFE BOROUGH had their relegation confirmed with a 4-0 reverse at OSSETT TOWN.

BUXTON were confirmed as First Division champions but they kept the Division’s biggest gate of the season, 720, waiting until stoppage time before hitting the goal against STOCKSBRIDGE that clinched the title. Second and third placed EASTWOOD TOWN and CAMMELL LAIRD finished all square in a six goal thriller whilst 1-0 home wins for COLWYN BAY and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE saw Stocksbridge drop out of the play-off slots. OSSETT ALBION’s outside chance of a play-off place took a dive when they lost at ROSSENDALE UNITED. At the other end it has been a long time coming for the patient CHORLEY fans but they at last had something to smile about when the “Magpies” hit six against SHEPSHED DYNAMO.


League News (14-04-07)

EGAN TO QUIT AT ROSSENDALE

Rossendale United manager Derek Egan has announced that he is to quit at the end of the current campaign due to a lack of funding and the uncertain future surrounding the Dark Lane club. Also going after ten year’s service is Secretary Kevin Proctor leaving Rossendale without any effective administration and an owner who is looking to sell it - none of which bodes well for its future.

EX ILKESTON MANAGER DIES

Bill Brindley, a former manager of Ilkeston Town in the mid-nineties before which he was a player/assistant manager with another current UniBond League club, Grantham Town, has died aged just 58. He was an England schoolboy and Youth international and went on to play for Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Gillingham. During his 221 appearances for County he won the Fourth Division title and was voted “Player of the Year” in 1974/5.

BURSCOUGH LOSE APPEAL

Burscough’s appeal against the League’s decision to deduct a point from the club’s record for playing Adam Wade as a substitute in their away fixture against Lincoln United on 9th December 2006 was dismissed by an FA Tribunal on Thursday. The game had ended in a 1-1 draw. The point deduction will now be shown in the league tables.


GRANTHAM TAKING APPLICATIONS

Grantham Town have opened up applications for the post of manager which has been in the hands of Adrian Speed and his Assistant Mark Harbottle on a caretaker capacity since Gary Marrow’s departure. Chairman Roger Booth said “Adrian and Mark have done everything we have asked of them and in very difficult circumstances have got on with the job. However we need to make the right appointment to give ourselves the best chance of a good season next time round. Adrian and Mark will be given the opportunity to put their case for being given the job on a permanent basis but we are inviting other applications as we need to consider what options are open to us”.

FINNEY VISITS KENDAL

Former England and Preston North End legend Sir Tom Finney was a guest at Kendal Town’s home match against North Ferriby United today with Club Chairman David Willan saying “We are honoured to have Sir Tom come to Parkside and we will ensure we make up for one of the greatest mistakes ever made in football”. Mr Willans was referring to the occasion around seventy years ago when a youngster who would become one of this country’s football legends was turned down by the Lake District club after a trial with the immortal words “Go home son. You are too small and will never make the grade” ringing in his ears!

A SIGN OF TIMES TO COME

Visitors of fellow UniBond League clubs to Colwyn Bay’s Llanelian Road ground are now facing a sign of a things to come for their own clubs with the Welsh side having had to adopt the no smoking ban that came in to effect in Wales from the 1st April. No smoking is permitted in any covered area that not only includes the clubhouse but also the covered stand and covered terrace. A rainy day will therefore presumably be bad news for smoking supporters. Off the field of play Club Chairman Bob Paton is stepping down at the end of the season and Secretary Mike Roberts has also had to resign to take up a job offer in Holland.


Good Friday & Easter Monday Review

The Holiday programme in the Premier Division culminated in not one of the top eight sides winning on Easter Monday at the end of which WITTON ALBION and BURSCOUGH were still separated only by goal difference. It wasn’t a productive Easter for Albion who lost at FLEETWOOD TOWN in the run up to the holiday but they did recover to narrowly secure the points against HEDNESFORD TOWN on Saturday. However they were on the receiving end of one of the shocks of the season on Monday when held at home by bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN who had their ‘keeper sent off after 76 minutes in an eight goal thriller. They didn’t lose ground though as BURSCOUGH after escaping with all three points on Friday against PRESCOT CABLES when the only goal came in stoppage time were held to a goalless draw at OSSET TOWN. It was a great opportunity for long time leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED to go level top but two 1-1 draws against ILKESTON TOWN and MARINE means they are eleven games since a win although incredibly they hold third place by four points from the “Mariners”. GUISELEY were another team to have two draws over the Bank Holiday but keep fifth as HEDNESFORD TOWN made it just two wins in fifteen games when being held at PRESCOT CABLES. After making steady progress by winning their games in hand FLEETWOOD TOWN were left shell shocked on Monday by relegation favourites RADCLIFFE BOROUGH whose 3-0 win prevented Fleetwood joining Guiseley in fifth. At the bottom there were significant wins for LEEK TOWN and KENDAL TOWN that should mean they are safe from relegation but Tameside neighbours ASHTON UNITED and MOSSLEY are still very much in the mix.

BUXTON are almost home in the First Division after two defeats for CAMMELL LAIRD who kept their slim title hopes alive on Monday with a 3-1 win over fellow play-off contenders STOCKSBRIDGE PS that secured Lairds a minimum of a play-off spot but it would take a mega change in form to deny the Derbyshire side the spoils in their first season back. EASTWOOD TOWN also guaranteed themselves a play-off place when they beat BELPER TOWN but the two other spots are wide open. COLWYN BAY are putting a run together and have been beaten only once in a dozen games, BRADFORD PARK AVENUE were held to a draw by third bottom WAKEFIELD after two wins whilst neither OSSETT ALBION or KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC can be ruled out.


League News (07-04-07)

THE OLDEST FAN?

Ashton United have been having a tough time of it recently out on the pitch but they are wondering if they have won one competition – that of the oldest fan. George Smart celebrated his 90th birthday last Monday when Marine visited Hurst Cross and as usual George was at the ground to watch the team he has followed since moving to area just after World War II. A regular at home matches he also takes in the odd away fixture too leaving Ashton officials asking whether he is the oldest fan who regularly attends games on the UniBond League circuit.

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARDS

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for March have gone to GUISELEY and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE respectively. Guiseley’s five cautions in seven games during the month not only won them the March prize but also edged them ahead of Prescot Cables in the race for the Premier Division’s overall season first prize of £1,000 after the two clubs had been locked together at the end of February with an average 1.06 disciplinary points per game. These two are clear of Witton Albion in third place that is worth £500 but the fourth place prize of £250 is being hotly contested by Mossley and Whitby Town. Bradford completed a Yorkshire double with just three cautions in seven outings during the month but the overall £1,000 first prize in the lower tier appears to be Kidsgrove Athletic’s for the taking after they maintained their impressive season long discipline with six cautions in eight games and they are the only member club in either Division not to have had a player dismissed this season. They are the proverbial mile ahead of nearest rivals (and coincidentally, nearest neighbours too) Alsager Town who themselves are well placed to pick up the runners-up prize of £500. Bradford’s excellent month has enabled them to close right up to Harrogate Railway to dispute who will get the £500 third place prize and who will take the £250 fourth prize. Waiting in the wings for either of these having a poor last month on the disciplinary scene are Woodley Sports, Shepshed Dynamo and Champions elect Buxton. Last month’s disciplinary records in full and the season to date tables can be found elsewhere in this Press Release.

UNIBOND LEAGUE CUP FINAL

The UniBond League Challenge Cup Final between Fleetwood Town and Matlock Town will take place at Witton Albion FC on Monday 16th April 2007. Matlock are attempting to win the competition for the second time in three seasons and, in addition, if they are successful in their quest, will join an elite band of just four clubs to have won the competition on three occasions. The other sides to have achieved this feat are Marine, Runcorn and Hyde United. The Final is likely to be a very close fought affair as both league fixtures between the two this season have resulted in 1-1 draws. Neither participants have happy memories of visiting Witton during the current campaign with Fleetwood losing there in both the league and FA Trophy whilst Matlock also lost on their league visit!

RESTRUCTURING

On Tuesday 3rd April the Football Association issued the following statement on their restructuring of the game at UniBond League First Division level –

“The Football Association today confirmed that the planned expansion of Step 4of the National League System to incorporate an additional division of the Northern Premier League will proceed in time for the 2007 / 2008 season. The revised structure will see the Northern Premier League operating with two First Divisions each comprising initially eighteen clubs. The additional Division will require a further twelve clubs to move up from current Step 5 leagues with the North West Counties, Northern Counties East and Midlands Football Alliance each providing a minimum of three clubs. The Northern League will also provide two clubs with both Durham City and Newcastle Blue Star committed to moving up the National League structure. Although the Northern Premier League had been pressing for two Divisions of 20 clubs they are happy to accept the 18 club Division as a means of putting the new structure in place. National League System manager Mike Appleby commented that he was happy with the outcome “The decision means that the restructure at Steps 1 to 4 will now be complete and in place for next season. The decision to go with eighteen clubs means there should be limited, if any, impact on the Southern League who remain against any mass movement of clubs from their current Step 4 Midland Division. Now that this phase of the restructure has been agreed we can now look forward and begin a review of the Step 5,6 and 7 competitions”. Northern Premier League Chairman Peter Maude said “The League is of the opinion that the decision raises questions that can only be answered when the constituent member clubs are known which isn’t expected to be until early May. The League will not be making any further statement until that time”.

AVENUE MAKE MANAGEMENT CHANGE

Bradford Park Avenue this week took the number of managerial changes within the UniBond League past the 50% mark when they announced the appointment of Benny Phillips as full time manager to take over from Phil Sharpe and Clive Freeman who will remain with the club. The Board made the decision to go with a full time manager in order to achieve their aims of progressing up the National League System and developing its ties with the local community but neither Sharpe or Freeman could commit to full time employment with the club due to their own business commitments. In addition to managing the first team Phillips will oversee the Reserves and all other teams playing under the Avenue banner as well as diversifying in to developing the business aspects of the club through schools, websites etc. He has a great deal of experience within the League having managed both Mossley and Witton Albion and been Assistant Manager at Stalybridge Celtic and Ashton United. In his playing days he was with Crewe Alexandra, Macclesfield Town, Bury, Stalybridge Celtic, Mossley, Winsford United, Barrow, Buxton and Rossendale United. Phillips is the 24th managerial change during the current UniBond campaign.

BURSCOUGH APPEAL DATE

Burscough’s appeal against the UniBond League’s decision to deduct a point for playing an ineligible player against Lincoln United will be heard this Thursday by an FA tribunal at Manchester County FA. Given the situation at the top of the Premier Division the outcome could be vital to Burscough’s title hopes.

THE RUN IN

The Premier Division run-in looks likely to be one of the most hotly contested in years with a host of clubs still interested in the title and / or a play –off position. AFC Telford United’s last two games, for instance, are against Witton Albion and Burscough whilst the latter also have Guiseley and Fleetwood Town to play. Of the clubs battling to avoid the drop Ashton United appear to have the most difficult run-in with two of their three remaining games against play-off hopefuls Hednesford Town and Fleetwood Town which makes next Saturday’s visit of Lincoln United to Hurst Cross a must win game for the “Robins”. Despite the First Division championship appearing to be Buxton’s for the taking there is still a great deal of interest in the play-off slots. With Eastwood Town and Cammell Laird favourites for two of the four available spots several clubs are competing for the remaining two places.


League Review (31-03-07)

It was a huge week at the top of the Premier Division at the end of which AFC TELFORD UNITED who had led the table since the end of September fell to third spot but are still level on points with the teams above them who are now led by WITTON ALBION after a 2-0 success at relegation haunted RADCLIFFE BOROUGH. Sandwiched between the two are BURSCOUGH who would have gone clear at the top had they won at home to ILKESTON TOWN only to be denied victory by an Adam Muller penalty. Two defeats, 3-4 at GATESHEAD on Monday and 0-1 at WHITBY TOWN at the weekend mean that Telford have now gone nine games since last picking up three points and the title looks to be building up to its most exciting climax in years. Waiting in the wings for any slip ups are GUISELEY whose win over MATLOCK TOWN was their fourth three pointer on the trot and puts them in fourth level on points with HEDNESFORD TOWN who are another promotion hopeful who can’t seem to win. They were held at home by GATESHEAD who have hit a tasty bit of form which leaves the “Pitmen” with just two victories in their last thirteen games. Lurking in the depths of ninth place but still very much in with a chance of hunting up the play-off hopefuls are FLEETWOOD TOWN and a solitary goal win over OSSETT TOWN on Saturday means they would only be a point off the play-off clubs if they won their two games in hand. Despite Matlock’s defeat that leaves them in sixth they too could easily make the play-offs with their outstanding games so everything is coming to the boil nicely in time for Easter. It is almost as interesting at the bottom where three clubs LEEK TOWN, ASHTON UNITED and KENDAL TOWN are locked together on 38 points as they battle to avoid the “comparison” relegation spot with clubs in the Isthmian and Southern Leagues. A win for MOSSLEY at home to bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN, however, kept them in touch with those three clubs six points adrift but with a game in hand on two of them.

First Division leaders BUXTON were held by BRIGG TOWN to have their lead cut to seven points from EASTWOOD TOWN who had two 1-0 home wins in the week. CAMMELL LAIRD also moved closer to the leaders with a win at OSSETT ALBION that was their eighth on the bounce in the league and they are now nine points behind but have two games in hand. STOCKSBRIDGE stay fourth despite a home defeat to WOODLEY SPORTS and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE bounced back from their midweek set back at Eastwood to beat ALSAGER TOWN to retain fifth. Just outside the play-off positions but fast running out of games are COLWYN BAY and the Welsh side could ill afford to be held to a draw at GRESLEY ROVERS who had lost five of their previous six games. At the bottom, two defeats for CHORLEY at the hands of the teams immediately above and below them almost certainly condemn the “Magpies” to a bottom two finish but with BRIDLINGTON TOWN picking up four points in the week they now have the Lancashire side firmly in their sights five points behind but with two games in hand.


League News (31-03-07)

UNIBOND LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP FINAL

A decision still has to be taken on where this season’s League Challenge Cup Final will be held with both clubs involved, Matlock Town and Fleetwood Town, meeting with the League Management Committee tomorrow (Sunday) to discuss the matter. The winners will take home £3,000 in prize money whilst the losers will have the consolation of a cheque for £1,000. Matlock Town, in addition to trying to win the competition for the second time in three years, are also attempting to become one of an elite band of just four clubs to have lifted the Cup on three occasions. The other sides to have achieved this feat are Marine, Runcorn and Hyde United. Fleetwood have won the Cup on one other occasion back in 1971. The two contestants had a warm-up for the Final when they met in a league fixture on Wednesday evening in a game that ended 1-1. It was both club’s second match in 24 hours such is their backlog of fixtures and the point elevated Matlock in to the fifth and final play-off spot. Fleetwood, too, despite currently being mid-table are not without a chance of making the play-offs with their games in hand.

UNIBOND LEAGUE PRESIDENT’S CUP FINAL

The UniBond League President’s Cup Final will be held at Buxton FC on 23rd April 2007 when the host club will take on Wakefield FC. The winners will receive a cheque for £1,500 with the losers pocketing £500. Buxton were the inaugural winners of this competition back in 1982 when they beat Goole Town in the Final but they haven’t played in another President’s Cup Final since whilst it is Wakefield’s first appearance.

GUISELEY CAPTURE CHAIRMAN’S CUP

The first piece of UniBond silverware to be won this season has gone to Guiseley who beat First Division newcomers Cammell Laird 2-1 on Tuesday evening in the UniBond League Chairman’s Cup Final. Guiseley’s teenage striker James Hanson headed them in to the lead in the 25th minute and they appeared to have wrapped it up with a second goal entering stoppage time. Within seconds, however, Lairds scored to set up an exciting two remaining minutes.

LEAGUE PRIZE MONEY

Next weekend brings Easter and with it comes the run in for the finale of the season’s long slog towards honours and the excitement of the play-offs or the despair of relegation. But, in addition to that, almost every club will have something to play for in terms of cash with financial incentives to achieve the highest possible placing cascading down to fourteenth place in each Division thanks to the League’s superb sponsors. The eventual Premier Division champions will pocket £4,500, runners-up £3,500, 3rd £3,000, 4th £2,600, 5th £2,400, 6th £2,200. 7th £2,000 and 8th £1,800. Clubs placed 9th to 14th in the top tier will be rewarded with £1,500 whilst the remaining clubs will receive £1,250 each. The First Division champions will take home £2,250, runners-up £1,750, 3rd £1,500, 4th £1,300, 5th £1,200, 6th £1,100, 7th £1,000 and 8th £900. Clubs finishing 9th to 14th will each receive £750 and the remaining clubs £625 each. In addition to the above prize money the sponsors have put up an additional £5,000 to promote Fair Play with the winning club in each Division receiving £1,000, the runners-up £750, 3rd £500 and 4th £250. The season to date play Fair Play tables will appear in next week’s Press Release.

NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE APPOINTED AT AVENUE

Bradford Park Avenue have announced the appointment of Robert Blackburn as the club’s new Chief Executive following his recent purchase of the majority shareholding in the club from Vice President Frank Thornton. Mr Blackburn is the Managing Director of various property related businesses and his companies will provide valuable sponsorships for the club. In addition he will be bringing to the club some key members of his experienced management team to maximise the potential of the football side and he is also hopeful of strengthening the current Board from his vast numbers of contacts in the business community. The appointment will see a significant six-figure sum of cash injected in to the club from a number of sources triggered by the appointment. In addition, Mr Blackburn has already initiated talks with the Local Authority who own the ground to seek ways of improving the facilities for the benefit of players and supporters alike. He said “We are all committed to the twin aims of the club competing at a higher level and benefiting the community as a whole”. Already Manager Phil Sharpe has made several significant signings.

FRICKLEY FUN DAY

Following the huge success of the Family Fund Day they organised last year when over 900 people attended Frickley Athletic’s 1-1 draw with North Ferriby United Frickley are repeating the idea on Good Friday for the visit of neighbours Ossett Town. The ground will be open from 1pm with all sorts of attractions for kids who will be admitted free.

MAGPIE WALKS DOG 80 MILES

Chorley fan Darren Fishwick and his 20 month old Border Terrier Nellie are making the 80 mile journey for the club’s final away fixture of the season at Belper Town on 21st April on foot! The Magpie fan and his dog are setting off on Wednesday 18th April at 7.30am heading for a B&B in Stockport following the canals from Chorley to Wigan then through Leigh and in to Manchester before finishing the day in Stockport. Thursday sees the intrepid pair walking down to Buxton with day three spent on the Limestone Way to Matlock. Saturday morning will see them walking the final ten miles to Belper. He is funding the accommodation and refreshments himself and any money raised which he hopes will be in the region of £500 will go to the club. So far he has been pledged £300 and anyone who would like to add to that amount is asked to contact Darren on 07980 727910 or e-mail sponsor@chorleyfc.com

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARDS

The UniBond “Club of the Month” awards for March have gone to GUISELEY and CAMMELL LAIRD respectively. The Yorkshire club took the Premier Division award with the only blot on their copy book coming in the first game of the month when they were held to a draw by Lincoln United before going on to secure seven consecutive wins. Lairds took the First Division accolade with a powerhouse performance that saw them win every match bar the UniBond League Chairman’s Cup Final last Tuesday when they lost 2-1 to Premier Division “Club of the Month” winners Guiseley!

SPEED NAMES ASSISTANT

Grantham Town manager Adrian Speed has turned to a former playing colleague Mark Harbottle to be his Assistant. Harbottle played 58 games alongside club record appearance holder Speed with 42 of those matches being in the 1997/8 Southern League Midland Division Championship winning side. Speed said “Mark offered his help when I first took the job on a few weeks ago. We got on well in the title winning side and have kept in touch ever since. He has a lot of knowledge of the Nottingham football area”.

FRICKLEY MATCH SECRETARY RUNS FOR CANCER APPEAL

Frickley Athletic Match Secretary Ruth Simpson is looking to raise funds for charity and has entered the Lucozade Active Women’s Challenge – a 5km run that takes place in Liverpool on 16th September just two days before her Wedding Day. She is running for the “Beating Bowel Cancer” charity and asks that anyone in the UniBond League who would like to support her cause contact her on 07719 011061

ANYONE KNOW WHERE TONY ROBERTSON IS?

Whitby Town are staging a game on 6th May to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the club winning the FA Vase at Wembley in 1997. Adding to the occasion the club have also invited their 1965 FA Amateur Cup Final team to the celebrations but are still trying to trace player Tony Robertson – anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to speak to Martin Hart 01947 601599 or 077796 645908.

WARRINGTON CELEBRATE VASE 20th ANNIVERSARY

Another club celebrating a past day out at Wembley in the FA Vase Final shortly are Warrington Town who are holding a reunion to mark the 20th Anniversary of the biggest honour in the club’s history. The reunion will take place at the club’s Cantilever Park home on 27th April with all players, management and officials who were involved in the 3-2 defeat at the hands of St Helens Town being invited along together with any supporters who wish to attend.

GATESHEAD AND CAMMELL LAIRDS PICK UP PROGRAMME AWARDS

After finishing second in the inaugural national NonleagueDaily.com programme awards Gateshead programme editor Alan Percival has seen his production now lift the Programme Monthly UniBond Premier Division prize. The First Division award has gone to newcomers Cammell Lairds whose win for editor Paul McLoughlin is even more remarkable as it is his first season in programme editing! Both clubs, incidentally, scored higher marks than any Conference North club.


League Review (24-03-07}

Long time Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED had their lead at the top cut to just one point after failing to win for the seventh game in succession when held at home by FLEETWOOD TOWN. Snapping fiercely at their heels are BURSCOUGH who beat third place WITTON ALBION in midweek before being indebted on Saturday to Adam Tong who they recalled from loan at Bamber Bridge during the week to come up trumps with both goals in a 2-0 success at NORTH FERRIBY UNITED. WITTON ALBION recovered from their solitary goal midweek reverse to inflict a one goal defeat on MATLOCK TOWN who could find their play-off hopes dashed by the sheer volume of games they have to play including the League Challenge Cup Final where they face FLEETWOOD TOWN after edging past First Division WOODLEY SPORTS on penalties in Tuesday’s delayed semi-final. HEDNESFORD TOWN, who played with ten men for half an hour after having goalscorer Gary Sucharewycz sent off, hold on to fourth after a 1-1 draw at fellow play-off contenders MARINE but the dropped home points pushed the “Mariners” out of the play-off slots as GUISELEY came from a goal down at the interval against relegation threatened MOSSLEY to win 5-1. It was a bad week for LEEK TOWN who lost at home to FLEETWOOD TOWN on Tuesday before managing a point at PRESCOT CABLES at the weekend. That, however, was not sufficient to keep them out of the fourth bottom place that involves a lottery with the other two leagues at this level for one relegation spot as KENDAL TOWN beat FRICKLEY ATHLETIC who after going two down also had a player dismissed. The biggest away win of the campaign in the top flight was recorded in midweek when GATESHEAD beat bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN 6-0 and they completed a good week on their travels with a 3-0 success at ASHTON UNITED on Saturday that was also a fourth consecutive clean sheet for them.

BUXTON carry on their merry way in the First Division and lead by eleven points after beating GRESLEY ROVERS but CAMMELL LAIRD are waiting for any slip ups after making it seven wins on the bounce with victories against CLITHEROE and HARROGATE RAILWAY. The latter had earlier in the week kept only their third clean sheet of the season when beating third place EASTWOOD TOWN who did recover to win on Saturday at ROSSENDALE UNITED who have been badly out of sorts since the turn of the year. It was, however, only Eastwood’s third win in nine games and another play-off hopeful finding the going tough at the moment is STOCKSBRIDGE PS whose draw at ALSAGER TOWN was their first point from the last nine on offer. With defeat for BRADFORD PARK AVENUE at WOODLEY SPORTS and COLWYN BAY being held at home by bottom club BRIDLINGTON TOWN the last play-off spot is looking wide open and OSSETT ALBION will be rueful at the two midweek home points dropped to SHEPSHED DYNAMO. In form teams at the moment include BAMBER BRIDGE and KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC who both made it four wins on the bounce whilst CHORLEY closed the gap on third bottom WAKEFIELD FC to eight points when the two met with a 3-0 win.


League Review (17-03-07)

WITTON ALBION moved to within five points of long time Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED when they beat ILKESTON TOWN 4-1 on Saturday whilst the top side were inactive and it was also a good week for BURSCOUGH who took four points from HEDNESFORD TOWN in back to back fixtures to move above the “Pitmen” in to third. Although Hednesford only picked up one point in those two games and drop from second to fourth they can thank GUISELEY it wasn’t worse as the Yorkshire side beat MARINE 3-1 to prevent the “Mariners” also going above Hednesford. That win brings Guiseley right back in to contention for a play-off place but MATLOCK TOWN in seventh are a threat to all with their games in hand despite being held to a goalless draw at home by managerless ASHTON UNITED. At the opposite end bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN lost again this time at home to PRESCOT CABLES and it will take something extraordinary for them to escape relegation with their cause not helped by the fact that they have only scored once in their last seven league outings. Two away wins in the week have enabled LEEK TOWN to climb out of the relegation places for just about the first time this season and their win over KENDAL TOWN dropped the Lake District side in to the danger slots whilst next to bottom RADCLIFFE BOROUGH didn’t do their prospects of reaching safety any good with a home defeat against OSSETT TOWN. Elsewhere NORTH FERRIBY UNITED kept their fourth consecutive clean sheet when drawing at GATESHEAD and FLEETWOOD TOWN took four points from back to back games with WHITBY TOWN.

Despite losing surprisingly at BELPER TOWN in midweek First Division leaders BUXTON increased their lead at the top to twelve points when they beat SHEPSHED DYNAMO 4-1 at the weekend. After being held to a home draw in midweek by bottom club BRIDLINGTON TOWN, EASTWOOD TOWN went second with a win over CLITHEROE and CAMMELL LAIRD also moved up a place when they won at BELPER TOWN despite having ‘keeper Craig Bryan sent off in the first half. STOCKSBRIDGE drop to fourth after losing at KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC for whom work experience player Byron Moore has proved an inspired signing with six goals in five games. At the bottom it was a big week for WAKEFIELD whose two 1-0 wins have put eight points between them and next to bottom CHORLEY.


League News (17-03-07)

GREEN QUITS AT ASHTON

Ashton United player-manager Scott Green has quit the club saying he had been upset by an article that had appeared on the club’s website and did not travel for the game. Taking charge of team affairs until such time as a replacement is found are players Chris Royle and his former Northwich Vics team-mate Steve Garvey. Chairman John Milnes said “There will be no knee-jerk reaction from the Board. We have no replacement in mind as we were perfectly happy with Scott and had no reason to believe he would not be our manager next season”. Any suitably qualified person interested in the vacant position should contact Mr Milne on 07748 355839 or 0161 330 6860.

SKELMERSDALE AND UNIBOND TV RALLY TO BABY EMMA’S CAUSE

Last Sunday saw UniBond First Division club Skelmersdale United throw its doors open to host a charity fund-raising day for two year old Emma Louise Clittie who is suffering from a very rare childhood cancer – neuroblastoma. Two local companies supporting Emma’s fight for life, Europanel and Centura, fought it out on the pitch with a guest appearance from former Liverpool defender Alan Kennedy. The proceedings were covered by UniBond TV who have announced that between now and the end of the season they will donate 50p from each weekly subscription and £3 from every £15 subscription to help bolster Emma’s fund which was swelled by the Skelmersdale United day to £65,000. The fund has been set up to send Emma to America where there are more options for treatment with one particular antibody treatment showing excellent results. Emma finishes her high dose chemotherapy in this country in May and the best time to have the antibody treatment is within 90 days of her treatment over here finishing. The hospital in the USA, however, cannot take Emma until the full amount required for her treatment has been raised so every day’s delay is vital. Anybody who wishes to help Emma can do so by logging on to the UniBond TV website via the UniBond League website or direct to Emma’s website at babyemma.co.uk preceded by www.

ROSSENDALE DEFENDER ATTRACTING ATTENTION

Rossendale United defender Daniel Warrender has been given permission to play two Reserve team games for Bury as he attempts to resurrect his full time career. The 20 year old started out with Manchester City but it was with Blackpool last season where he made his break through in to first team action clocking up fifteen appearances for the “Seagulls” before being released and joining Rossendale in the summer.

HAWTHORNE OUT FOR SEASON

Leek Town’s battle against relegation was dealt a blow with the news this week that former Crewe Alexandra defender Rob Hawthorne will be out of action for the remainder of the campaign after the injury he suffered at Mossley a week last Tuesday was diagnosed as a dislocated shoulder. More serious from the 22 year old’s point of view is that will miss some valuable course work at University as a result of which his graduation may be delayed twelve months.

DANBY LANDS TWO YEAR CONTRACT

Goole Town player-manager Nigel Danby has landed a two year contract following his success in guiding the club to the fringe of the play-off positions. Danby took over in a caretaker capacity from previous incumbent Paul Marshall in November 2005 and was given the job on a permanent basis a month later. He had moved to the “Vikings” as a player in 2002.

OBITUARY

Warrington Town have announced that Committee member Roger Warburton passed away on Monday. In addition to being on the club’s management committee Roger was also Chairman of the Supporter’s Club and, in addition, had donated funds for the revamp of the club canteen.

DATE SET FOR BURSCOUGH APPEAL

The Football Association have set the date for Burscough’s appeal against the UniBond League’s Board of Management decision to deduct the one point they had earned in a 1-1 draw against Lincoln United in December. Burscough had played substitute Adam Wade in that fixture when he was not a registered player with the UniBond League. The appeal will be heard at the Manchester County FA offices on 12th April.

CUP FINAL DATES

The UniBond League Chairman’s Cup Final between Guiseley and Cammell Laird will be played on Tuesday 27th March at Guiseley. The UniBond League President’s Cup Final will be played between Buxton and Wakefield FC at Buxton on Monday, 23rd April. A date and venue for the UniBond League Challenge Cup Final will be announced once Matlock Town and Woodley Sports have played their semi-final tie in order to decide who will meet Fleetwood Town.

BROTHERS IN ARMS FOR RADCLIFFE

Having transferred Ian Kearney to promotion seeking Witton Albion for an undisclosed fee , Radcliffe Borough have signed Lee Fitzpatrick to take over his role. The latter is the brother of Ian Fitzpatrick who is already on the Radcliffe books and the pair certainly have a footballing pedigree. 26 year old Ian is a former England schoolboy international who started out with Manchester United before a spell in German football. On his return to this country he made around fifty Football League appearances for Halifax Town. Brother Lee began his career with Blackburn Rovers but didn’t make the first team before moving to Hartlepool United where, like his brother, he also played about fifty Football League games.

COACH TROUBLE

Both Whitby Town and Cammell Laird were involved in spots of coach trouble this week although both stories finished up with happy endings. Two of Whitby’s junior supporters who had booked places on the team bus to last week’s League Cup quarter final at Matlock Town missed the deadline time for the coach setting off. In frustration one of them kicked a parking cone which was unfortunate as a police car was just passing. On hearing why the youngster had kicked the cone the police, who were heading in the direction the bus had set off in, did no more than continue their journey with the two lads in the car and caught the bus up! Cammell Laird, meanwhile, having won the UniBond sponsored Cheshire Senior Cup for the first time in their history on Tuesday evening against Northwich Victoria found they were stuck after the game when it was realised the keys to the team coach were with the wife of the driver who was already on her way home on the supporters bus! Thanks to that modern invention, the mobile phone, and some sketchy directions the supporters bus was stopped ten miles away and the keys retrieved!.

GINGERBREAD AND PITMEN SWOP STRIKERS

For the second time this season Grantham Town have lost their leading goalscorer. Following the departure of Jason Turner earlier in the campaign Jon Douglas has now also left after signing for Hednesford Town. He had found the net nine times in 34 appearances – almost a quarter of the Gingerbread’s goal output of 42. Moving in the opposite direction is youngster Danny Blair who, after leaving Nottingham Forest, was impressive for Carlton Town in scoring fourteen times this season before being signed by Hednesford.


League Review (10-03-07)

Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED had a frustrating week with their top of the table clash against WITTON ALBION falling victim to the weather on Tuesday whilst on Saturday it was frustration of a different kind when they were held to a goalless draw at OSSETT TOWN. HEDNESFORD TOWN boss Phil Starbuck no doubt also frustrated by his side’s lack of goals in their last three outings registered himself as a player this week and showed his strikers the way to do it with the first goal in a 2-0 win over bottom side GRANTHAM TOWN as the “Pitmen” reclaimed second place albeit seven points adrift of the leaders. BURSCOUGH and MARINE both lost ground in the battle for a play-off spot with the former being held at relegation threatened LEEK TOWN whilst the “Mariners” fared even worse at NORTH FERRIBY UNITED where they lost a to a single goal. At the opposite end of the table MOSSLEY had what might prove to be vital win in their bid to beat to drop when they beat Leek on Tuesday but at the weekend they slumped badly to a 4-0 home defeat against GATESHEAD.

BUXTON went eleven points clear at the top of the lower tier with a 3-1 win at ROSSENDALE UNITED who after a bright campaign until the turn of the year have now won only one of their last eight games. A former Buxton player Stuart Copnell shot STOCKSBRIDGE PS back in to second with all his side’s goals in a 3-1 success at GOOLE taking his goal tally to eight in a handful of matches since his move a month or so ago. Losing ground were EASTWOOD TOWN who went down at SHEPSHED DYNAMO but on the way up are BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who made it nine points from three games with a 4-0 win over BELPER TOWN who haven’t taken a point in their last five outings. At the bottom CHORLEY closed to within two points of third bottom WAKEFIELD with a 3-1 home win at the expense of GRESLEY ROVERS whilst Wakefield were losing at home to fourth bottom WARRINGTON TOWN who have now put eleven points between themselves and the bottom three.

FLEETWOOD TOWN reached the League Challenge Cup Final with a hard fought 1-0 win over WITTON ALBION but will have to wait to find out who their opponents will be. MATLOCK TOWN will play WOODLEY SPORTS in the other semi-final after substitute Ian Holmes saved them with a stoppage time equaliser against WHITBY TOWN to take the game in to extra-time at 2-2. A sensational extra-period saw the sides locked at 4-4 before Holmes popped in a winner in the 120th minute! The Chairman’s Cup Final will feature CAMMELL LAIRD in their first season in the league after they won 4-1 at the League’s bottom club BRIDLINGTON TOWN. The other semi-final was a much closer affair with ASHTON UNITED having levelled the score against GUISELEY with three minutes left only for the Yorkshire side to grab a final place a minute from time!


League News (10-03-07)

MARINE TO HOST FA CARLSBERG SUNDAY SEMI-FINAL

UniBond Premier Division club Marine have been invited to host one of the semi-finals of this season’s FA Carlsberg Sunday Cup on Sunday, 25th March 2007. It will be the fourth successive season that Marine’s “Arriva” Stadium has been selected by the FA to host a game at this stage of the national Sunday competition. The two teams competing in the tie for a place in the Final to be staged at Anfield on Sunday, 29th April are Liverpool based Barries FC who play Lebeq Tavern Courage from Bristol.

PRESIDENT’S CUP WINNER DIES

David Lowe, a UniBond League President’s Cup winner in 2000 with Trafford FC, has died from cancer at the tragically young age of 31. Lowe participated in one of the most exciting finals in the history of the President’s Cup when Trafford, then a lowly First Division side took on Premier Division Whitby Town and having made the long midweek haul to the “Seasiders” scored in the 120th minute of the 2nd Leg to level the aggregate score at 5-5. Trafford then went on to win 4-2 on penalties. Lowe made 69 appearances scoring 15 goals for Trafford.

GATESHEAD FINISH RUNNERS-UP IN PROGRAMME AWARDS

Gateshead’s match-day programme has finished runners-up in the inaugural NonleagueDaily.com 2007 programme awards. This really is a feather in the cap for the programme’s editor Alan Percival as he was competing against well over a hundred clubs in Conference National, Conference North and South and the Premier Divisions of the Isthmian and Southern Leagues in addition to his fellow programme editors in the UniBond League Premier Division. The only programme to beat Gateshead was Tamworth.

On the subject of programme editors Mossley are on the look out for someone to take over from current editor John Cawthorne who is stepping down after an unbroken stint of eleven years. Some may say he deserves a rest!

BARLOW GOES ON LOAN TO BAMBER BRIDGE

Fleetwood Town’s veteran former Football League striker Stuart Barlow has gone on loan to Bamber Bridge for the remainder of the season. The 38 year old, who scored more than a century of goals in the Football League in around four hundred appearances for Everton, Oldham Athletic, Wigan Athletic, Tranmere Rovers and Stockport County, had just returned to Fleetwood after a couple of months out on loan at another First Division club Skelmersdale United.

ANOTHER TWO ALL UNIBOND COUNTY CUP FINALS

Midweek results produced another two County Cup Finals to be contested as all UniBond affairs. Ilkeston Town will meet Matlock Town in the Derbyshire Senior County Cup whilst Guiseley take on Goole AFC in the West Riding County Cup Final. They join the Lancashire FA Trophy as all UniBond games with Burscough and Marine having won through to that Final last week. Rather unsatisfactory for the latter two clubs who look likely to be involved in the UniBond League play-offs, however, is the decision to play the Final less than 48 hours prior to their last league fixtures of the season – games which could make or break their respective promotion bids. Another UniBond club bidding for County Cup success this coming week is Cammell Laird as they attempt to lift one of the few pieces of silverware to have eluded them in their rapid ascent up the pyramid. They take on Conference side Northwich Victoria in the UniBond sponsored Cheshire Senior Cup Final to be staged at Witton Albion FC next Tuesday.

KNIGHT HITS BACK

Mossley midfielder Melford Knight hit back in the best way possible after being the victim of a physical assault by two so called supporters of the Lilywhites in the club car park after last Saturday’s home defeat at the hands of Marine in an incident that had manager Jason Beckford saying he wondered if football was worth the hassle. Knight struck the only goal of the game against Leek Town In Tuesday’s vital relegation battle.

TELFORD SAY FAREWELL TO A CLUB LEGEND

AFC Telford United held a minutes applause for Les Wilson who was a legend in his own lifetime at the club. At the time of his death just after his 80th birthday Wilson had enjoyed a seventy year association with the club having been a fan as a child before graduating to play in the “A” team, reserves and finally the first team. After his playing days he became coach or trainer at all three of the club’s sides before joining the Board of Directors. Described by current Chairman Lee Carter as a “one-off” Wilson was a regular in the last Telford side to win a league title when under their previous name of Wellington Town they lifted the now defunct Cheshire League championship in 1951/2. A crowd of over 2,000 turned out for his Benefit match against Wolves in 1958 and throughout his long career he was never dismissed. Wilson’s links with his beloved Telford, however, is not broken as his son Ian travels from Birmingham for every home game.

FLEETWOOD LINK UP TO START ACADEMY

Fleetwood Town this week announced plans to continue their ambition of making further progress towards climbing the pyramid and of also becoming a more community based club. It is linking up with Fleetwood Gym CYP Football Section to bring that organisation’s junior teams aged from Under 7’s to Under 18’s under the UniBond Premier Division’s club umbrella as its Academy. Chairman Andy Pilley said “I am thrilled with the link up as we have long aspired to have our own Academy. We are seeking to improve our facilities so that we can progress not only up the pyramid but also become a genuine community club. Having our own Academy will mean that access to club facilities will increase dramatically and that can only be a good thing”.

BRIDLINGTON TAKE TO SUNDAY FOOTBALL

Beleaguered Bridlington Town took an instant liking to Sunday football this week when they scored their first league win since beating Woodley Sports on August Bank Holiday Monday. Since then Bridlington had gone 28 games without picking up all three points and they had to do it the hard way on Sunday as they went two down in their re-arranged home fixture against Kidsgrove Athletic. The win, however, still leaves them looking for a first win in the league on a Saturday this term! Both Kidsgrove goals came from eighteen year old Byron Moore who has made a great start to his UniBond career. That was a third goal in two games since signing for Kidsgrove from Crewe on Work Experience.

BENTLEY FUTURE IN DOUBT

The playing future of 35 year old Alsager Town ‘keeper Scott Bentley seems in jeopardy after he broke his left hand in the first half of last Saturday’s fixture at Warrington Town. Bentley, who has done the rounds of semi-pro clubs in the Staffordshire area, was only playing for Alsager on an unofficial “loan” from neighbours Newcastle Town as first choice ‘keeper Phil McGing had picked up a hamstring strain in training. It seems certain that his season is over and Bentley, who once saved seven successive penalties earlier in his long career, is considering whether to even bother playing again.

TROUBLES CONTINUE TO BUILD UP FOR GRANTHAM

The latest blow to Grantham Town is the decision by midfielder Ian Robinson to quit the “Gingerbreads” just two weeks after agreeing a deal to re-join them. He had agreed to return following the recent dismissal of Gary Marrow and had been re-appointed captain - a position he held prior to the arrival of Marrow earlier in the campaign. However after just two games he has informed new manager Adrian Speed and Chairman Roger Booth that he has accepted a better offer from Northern Counties East club Sheffield FC. Despite only having made 38 appearances for Grantham, Robinson was the longest serving player on the club’s books apart from manager Speed who has no intention of playing again. His departure means that there is not one single player in the squad who was with Grantham last season!

TELFORD VOW TO TACKLE HOOLIGAN ELEMENT

AFC Telford United Chairman Lee Carter has slammed the small element of “idiot fans” who he says are endangering everything the club is trying to achieve as a community club. He spoke out after an incident at last weekend’s game against Kendal Town saying “I am absolutely ashamed and embarrassed. Idiots like this endanger the very future of the club because they will ultimately drive all the decent folk away. I have no doubt when we publish the picture of the person who caused the trouble on Saturday he will laugh but believe me the club is not laughing. We intend to ensure his picture is well publicised and if someone comes forward to name the individual concerned we will ban the offender for life from the Bucks Head Stadium” In the light of the incident last weekend Telford are reviewing all security arrangements and match day safety. Mr Carter said “We will review every aspect and this may well include closing parts of the stadium and the introduction of total segregation if that is what it takes”.


League Review (24-02-07)

The top of the Premier Division is beginning to look very interesting indeed with WITTON ALBION relentless in their pursuit of top spot. They beat last week’s second place HEDNESFORD TOWN 3-0 on Tuesday and then hit seven against WHITBY TOWN who themselves have been hovering in or around the play-off spots all season. Albion’s Adam Warlow became the first player to find the net five times in a UniBond game this season and thanks to LINCOLN UNITED holding leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED to a draw Witton are now six points behind the “Bucks” with two games in hand and a better goal difference after scoring an amazing thirty goals in their last seven league games. Telford’s draw leaves them with just two points from their last four games whilst Hednesford have only one win in their last seven outings. MARINE moved in to fourth after beating bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN who did ever so well to lose by the only goal having had to field a make-shift side due to several players quitting after the departure of manager Gary Marrow. The shock of the day saw MATLOCK TOWN tumble out of the play-spots when they surrendered their eleven game unbeaten run in the league to a FRICKLEY ATHLETIC side who hadn’t won in their previous nine! BURSCOUGH, 3-1 winners at KENDAL TOWN, were the beneficiaries and moved in to fifth place a point ahead of Matlock although they have played a game more. After Witton, the in form side is ILKESTON TOWN who hit four for the second game running when winning at PRESCOT CABLES whilst elsewhere a brace from Gary Bradshaw enabled NORTH FERRIBY UNITED prevent RADCLIFFE BOROUGH making any headway in their efforts to climb out of the relegation zone. In the one other game GATESHEAD ended a run of three games without a point when beating OSSETT TOWN.

First Division leaders BUXTON gained quick revenge for last week’s defeat by SKELMERSDALE UNITED when they travelled to Lancashire for the return and left with all three points courtesy of a penalty. With EASTWOOD TOWN rained off STOCKSBRIDGE PS moved ahead of them in to second with an emphatic 6-2 win over SHEPSHED DYNAMO whilst CAMMELL LAIRD joined Eastwood in third after beating other play-off hopefuls BRADFORD PARK AVENUE. With GOOLE AFC’s six match winning sequence being ended with a home defeat at the hands of KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC, Welsh side COLWYN BAY maintained their final play-off place with a 3-1 success at CLITHEROE. After five straight defeats ALSAGER TOWN turned things round in some style putting five past CHORLEY without reply and another team to find the road to goal no problem were GRESLEY ROVERS who were scoring four for the second week in succession when beating BELPER TOWN. Both the other games to survive the weather at BRIGG TOWN and OSSETT ALBION finished all square at 1-1 with the visitors being WOODLEY SPORTS and WAKEFIELD respectively.


League News (24-02-07)

MARROW GOES AT GRANTHAM

Gary Marrow became the twenty-second managerial change of the season when the Premier Division’s bottom club, Grantham Town, terminated his services last Sunday after the previous day’s defeat at Ashton United. That defeat was the “Gingerbreads” 14th loss during Marrow’s 22 game reign. Chairman Roger Booth said “Despite giving Gary our full backing only a couple of weeks ago and being prepared to run with him until the end of the season things have not moved forward since then at all. We decided the best thing was to sever the relationship at this moment in time. We need to bring a bit of fresh air in to the club. The atmosphere has been very sedate both on and off the pitch and this was the best thing to do”. The “Gingerbreads” are turning once more to club stalwart Adrian Speed who holds the club record for appearances with 638 and for whom it will a third spell in charge as caretaker manager having undertaken the role in 1999/2000 and again five seasons later. Marrow, who quit his position as manager of Frickley Athletic earlier in the campaign to take up the post at Grantham, was philosophical about the Board’s decision saying “If the decision was made purely on results I can see where they are coming from but the fact is that I have had to rebuild a side at Grantham on a budget that ended up being 50% less than before I came”.

BURSCOUGH DEDUCTED A POINT

Burscough have been deducted the point they won in their away fixture at Lincoln United during December for playing substitute Adam Wade who, at the time, was not a registered player with the UniBond League although he was registered by the club for other competitions. The deduction will not be shown in the league table as it is understood that the club will lodge an appeal against the decision. Burscough were also fined the sum of £150 as were First Division promotion hopefuls Stocksbridge PS who played another substitute Andy Ring when he wasn’t registered with the league in a defeat at Bradford Park Avenue in January.

UNIBOND LEAGUE TV

Forthcoming Games

3rd March 2007: Gresley Rovers v Eastwood Town; 10th March 2007: League Cup Semi Finals
17th March 2007: Guiseley v Marine; 24th March 2007: Woodley Sports v Bradford Park Avenue;
31st March 2007: Burscough v Ilkeston Town; All games plus highlights from other UniBond matches are available on UniBond TV viewed via the link on our website www.unibondleague.com

FERRIBY LOSE TWO TO OZ

North Ferriby United are experiencing a player drain to Australia with midfielders Jamie Heard and Ross Thompson announcing they are to follow in the footsteps of Graham Hockless who left last year to go down under. Heard only returned from a stint with Australian club Dandenong Thunder in December. He began his career with Leeds United and Hull City before moving in to the Conference with Chester City where he won the Conference title. Thompson, who is a former flat-mate of Hockless from their time together at Grimsby Town, joined Ferriby during the close season from Brigg Town after previously appearing for Doncaster Rovers.

BURSCOUGH UNVEIL NEW STADIUM PLANS

Burscough unveiled their plans for a new stadium and complex on Thursday evening and were given the thumbs-up from a very appreciative local community. The new ground which is to cost £4.3m of which £3.4m will be raised by the sale of their current home will be covered on all four sides and hold 5,000 with five hundred of those seated. Although those figures are very commendable in themselves it is potential the project has for development of future generations that is exciting people such as former England and Manchester United skipper Bryan Robson who has become heavily involved in the scheme. In addition to the new Stadium, which is expected to be ready for the start of the 2008/9 season with the overall development completed six months later, the project will house five junior pitches, two full size pitches and a full size Third Generation artificial pitch with all of them prepared to the highest possible specifications. Robson said “The elite youngsters in Britain already have top class facilities on which to play courtesy of the top clubs. This is for ordinary children who will be able now to both improve and enjoy their games in the best possible environment. It will take kids of all ages away from the streets and give them something to be truly proud of”.

LEEK TOWN TO HELP CUT NHS WAITING LISTS

Leek Town are poised to help the National Health Service cut waiting lists. The club has been approached by a company from the private medical sector to form a link with them and the NHS to help reduce waiting times. As part of the arrangements a mobile surgery will be set up on the club’s Harrison Park ground car park from early April offering consultations to long suffering patients. On the football front the club were rocked by a transfer request from vice captain Paul Booth who has failed to win his place back following a one match ban in January. Since then the 20 year old former Oldham Athletic player has only been on the fringes of the side making just one appearance in a County Cup tie against Sutton Coldfield Town. However manager Paul Moore has turned down the request saying Booth is still very much in his plans.

CHORLEY SEARCH FOR FORMER PLAYERS

Chorley have launched an appeal for help in tracing two former players from their side that beat Wimbledon in the 1997 FA Trophy. The players are holding a reunion on Tuesday, 7th March but the club have been unable to get in touch with former Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham Athletic and Altrincham midfielder Len Dickinson or centre half Peter Brown who also played for New Mills and Stalybridge Celtic. Anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of either player is asked to contact John Newman, Secretary of the Chorley Association of Former Players on 07877 244469 or 01257 263406.

UNIBOND LEAGUE CUP DRAWS

The draw for the semi-finals of the UniBond League Challenge Cup and the UniBond League Chairman’s Cup were made on Friday. In the League Challenge Cup the only two previous winners still left in, Fleetwood Town and Matlock Town were kept apart. Fleetwood will be at home to Witton Albion where a bumper gate can be expected whilst Matlock will also be at home against First Division surprise package Woodley Sports if they can over come Whitby Town, who they beat in the 2005 Final, in a delayed quarter-final. There will be a Premier versus First Division Final in the Chairman’s Cup with top flight teams Guiseley and Ashton United battling it out for the right to meet either Bridlington Town or league newcomers Cammell Laird. All four semi-finals will take place on Saturday 10th March.

AVENUE ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS MANAGER

Bradford Park Avenue have announced the appointment of Shadow Parvez to the position of Community Relations Manager in an effort to strengthen the club’s links with the community as a whole within the city. Mr Parvez has been in involved in football for many years and is on the committee of the Bradford Sunday Alliance as well as being a qualified referee officiating in the West Yorkshire League, County Amateur League and Bradford Sunday Alliance. He was also heavily involved in the setting up of SCAR (Sports Campaign Against Racism) and was the first Asian football scout in the country when working for Bradford City.

HUSSIN BACK IN TIME FOR COMMUNITY DAY

Marine have welcomed back midfielder Eddie Hussin who played for the Crosby based club for five years from 1999/2000 helping the “Mariners” win the UniBond League Challenge Cup in 2003. The 29 year old left to sign for Conference side Altrincham and more recently he has been playing for Leigh RMI. Manager Alvin McDonald said “I am delighted to have been able to sign Eddie. We have worked hard to capture him and I know he will provide that extra drive in midfield. I am hoping his signing will prove influential in the remaining two months of the season as we continue our push for a play-off position”. His arrival came in time for the club’s first Community Day of the new year. 25 schools in the area were targeted for today’s game at home against Grantham Town plus, for the first time, all the families living in the roads adjoining the ground.

HEDNESFORD SIGN UP WARREN BEATTIE

Hednesford Town have signed Warren Beattie, not the film star but a 20 year old midfielder from Preston North End. He moves to Keys Park on a month’s loan for a second stint on the UniBond scene having scored three times in eight games during an earlier loan period with Kendal Town.


League Review (17-02-07)

Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED suffered their second successive defeat when they lost at FLEETWOOD TOWN in midweek and the “Bucks” now have just one point from their last three games. Nearest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN, however, failed to capitalise when they were held at home by a RADCLIFFE BOROUGH side battling to avoid the drop. After scoring sixteen goals in three league outings WITTON ALBION found PRESCOT CABLES a much more difficult nut to crack as they were held to a 1-1 draw in midweek but they were back on song on Saturday with a 3-1 success at GUISELEY and are now up to third, a point ahead of MATLOCK TOWN who won at MARINE causing the “Mariners” to drop two places to fifth. Just outside of the play-off spots are BURSCOUGH after beating FRICKLEY ATHLETIC whilst GUISELEY and WHITBY TOWN, who were held at home by third bottom LEEK TOWN, both have the same number of points as BURSCOUGH but have played more games. ILKESTON TOWN made it a hat-trick of wins thanks to on loan Jamie Smith hitting a treble against GATESHEAD and have an outside chance of making the play-offs if they can sustain their recent good run.

There were goals galore in the First Division where none of the top three could manage a win. Leaders BUXTON went down at home to SKELMERSDALE UNITED, second place EASTWOOD TOWN lost at home for the second game running when CAMMELL LAIRD beat them 2-0 to join STOCKSBRIDGE PS in joint third after the “Steels” could only draw at COLWYN BAY who remain in the final play-off spot but have played six more games than BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who are in sixth only a point behind. Avenue would have ousted the Welsh side but lost a two goal lead at home to OSSETT ALBION and had to be content with a point. GOOLE AFC are also climbing the table quickly and their win at CHORLEY was their fifth on the bounce. There was an extraordinary game at GRESLEY ROVERS where the first half was goalless only for WOODLEY SPORTS to emerge 5-4 winners! Both Paul Edwards for the home side and Woodley’s Adam Morning scored hat-tricks whilst four of the goals came in the last seven minutes.


League News (17-02-07)

BROCKIE SENT OFF ON RAILWAY MANAGERIAL DEBUT

Harrogate Railway Athletic’s Martin Haresign became the twenty-first UniBond League managerial change of the campaign when he resigned on Thursday evening due to work commitments. His Assistant Vince Brockie was placed in charge of team affairs until the end of the season but on his debut as Harrogate manager at Rossendale United Brockie was dismissed to the stands at half time although he was still able to celebrate his first game with a resounding 5-1 away win to end a run of three successive defeats.

OBITUARY

Last week saw the death of a rare breed of man in Frank Whelan who was one of the few people to become Chairman of two different Northern Premier League clubs. He was associated for over a decade with Fleetwood Town from 1982 after many years involvement in junior football around the Wyre area. His first job with Fleetwood was as Secretary and he went on to become Chairman a year later. He was at the helm during a most successful period in the club’s history with an FA Vase Final appearance at Wembley in 1985, promotion to the NPL in 1987/8 followed immediately by another promotion to the NPL Premier Division plus an appearance at Maine Road in the 1989 NPL Challenge Cup Final. He stepped down in 1990 but only after the club had lifted the NPL’s President’s Cup. He relocated to the Manchester area and in 1994 accepted the challenge of taking the Chair at Mossley during a very difficult period in that club’s history and eventually stepped down in 1997.

CARTWRIGHT STEPS UP TO THE SCOTTISH FIRST DIVISION

Former Leek Town manager Mark Cartwright has re-surfaced in Scotland after resigning from his position with Leek towards the end of last year. He has been appointed goalkeeping coach at Scottish First Division side Livingston after being recommended to Livingston manager John Robertson. The former Harrison Park boss still lives in Leek and commutes to Scotland each Thursday returning home after Saturday’s fixtures.

JINXED GAME PLAYED AT LAST

The jinxed League Challenge Cup 2nd Round tie between Matlock Town and Gresley Rovers that should have been completed in November was finally played on Tuesday evening with the Premier Division side running out 4-1 winners. Matlock, who won the competition as recently as 2005, will now face Kidsgrove Athletic this midweek for the right to meet Whitby Town in the quarter final. Teams already through to the last four are Fleetwood Town, Witton Albion and Woodley Sports. The first club through to a UniBond domestic final this season is Buxton who squeezed past 2006 League Cup Finalists Stocksbridge 1-0 in midweek to progress to the President’s Cup Final – a competition in which they were successful in the inaugural final as long ago as 1982. It could well be an all Derbyshire Final with Gresley Rovers now due to meet Wakefield FC on Tuesday in the other semi-final. Beleaguered Bridlington Town after going 26 league games without a win at last had something to cheer about when they reached the semi-finals of the Chairman’s Cup with a 3-0 penalty shoot-out win over Shepshed Dynamo on Wednesday evening. They are joined in the last four by newcomers Cammell Laird who edged Alsager Town out with the only goal of the game on Tuesday. Still to contest the other semi-final berths are Ashton United who host Rossendale United and Guiseley who are at home to Ossett Albion with both those games scheduled for the forthcoming midweek.

HEATH BACK TO WORK AT FRICKLEY

Frickley Athletic manager Billy Heath is expected to return to the helm within the next week or so after spending the last six weeks with only a passing involvement in the affairs of the team due to work commitments. He will have the good news on his return that ex-Goole striker Paul Palmer has elected to stay with Athletic after a seven day notice of approach from his former club.

BURSCOUGH UNVEIL PLANS FOR NEW STADIUM

Detailed plans of Burscough’s proposed £4m football complex will be unveiled to fans for the first time at a Public Meeting to be held next Thursday evening with up to a couple of hundred people expected to view the proposals that are should serve Burscough FC well in to the 21st century. The plans, described by Club Chairman Chris Lloyd as a “marvellous opportunity for everyone in West Lancashire”, are to be submitted to the Local Authority later this month. The cost has ballooned from the original £3m due to the inclusion of extra facilities for the community including a Community Room and classrooms for sports orientated educational purposes. Founded in 1946 the club is funding the development through the sale of their current home for housing and they have also applied for a grant from the Football Foundation. The new ground will be built on twenty acres of land at the Crabtree End of the current stadium and will have a capacity of 5,000 with seating for 500 whilst, in addition, a Third Generation floodlit pitch will also be built.

TONG ON WAY BACK

Adam Tong who broke his leg in Burscough’s high profile FA Cup 2nd Round tie in December 2005 against Burton Albion in which the winners knew they would be playing Manchester United at home in the 3rd Round is on his way back. The 24 year old central defender who quickly built a big reputation after starting out at this level of the game at a comparatively late age is going to Bamber Bridge on a month’s loan to get some first team action after playing recently in Burscough’s reserve team.

GUISELEY SELECTED FOR ANTI-RACISM CAMPAIGN

Guiseley have been selected by the Football Association to front an anti-racism campaign. The club will launch its “Guiseley against Racism” project in early March as part of the Football Foundation’s and the King Baudouin Foundation’s “Stand Up, Speak Up” campaign against racism in football in particular and sport in general. The club are offering a total of fifty hours free football coaching aimed at children aged between six and eleven years from all areas of Leeds and Bradford with the emphasis on those from disadvantaged areas and particularly those children who are not currently participating in the game. The club is also looking to assist in forming junior clubs in these areas and to assist existing clubs achieve the FA Charter Standard which Guiseley AFC have already aspired to. Club Chairman Phil Rogerson said “We have had a great response from our players who hold the necessary coaching qualifications particularly from our ladies team to help with the coaching side of the project” The coaching sessions will be held on Guiseley’s new Third Generation artificial pitch which is managed by Stuart Gray who is currently out of the game following a horrific leg injury earlier in the season at North Ferriby. Stuart is the son of former Leeds United legend Eddie Gray and played for Glasgow Celtic prior to joining Guiseley at the start of the current season from Oxford United.

POPULAR POPLARS COME DOWN AT MATLOCK

In the week that Manchester City Council started taking the saw to the mighty Poplar trees within its parks for safety reasons so too did tree surgeons at Matlock Town’s Geoquip Stadium at Causeway Lane. Work began on felling almost twenty Poplar trees (the tallest measured at a staggering 97 feet) that have formed part of the outer boundary at the ground for over fifty years. Fans with log burners will certainly benefit – they have been invited to collect the wood for their fires to save on disposal costs!

GRESLEY DONATE PROCEEDS

Gresley Rovers have donated their share of the pre-season Bass Charity Vase competition to a local multiple sclerosis sufferer Des Brown. The father of two is a former Tae Kwon expert but now requires around the clock attention and is hoping to raise enough funds to travel to Holland for pioneering stem cell treatment. Manager Gary Norton said “We read about Help 4 Des in the local newspaper and we are very happy we have been able to get involved as we try to raise money for charities each year”. Incidentally, the Vase – a competition that was founded in 1889 with all money raised to go to medical related charities – is believed to be the most valuable trophy in English football.

HEDNESFORD KEEP SIGNING

Hednesford Town are leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit of leaders AFC Telford United and this week their signings continued apace with the arrival of defender Lee Soar and striker Justin Jenkins both of whom have played in the UniBond League previously. 30 year old Soar has done the rounds in the Midlands having had three spells at Hucknall Town as well as appearing for Gainsborough Trinity, Alfreton Town, Cambridge City, Ilkeston Town, Eastwood Town and Gresley Rovers. Jenkins is 26 years of age and has netted 19 goals this term for Rothwell Town having previously played for Hinckley United and Ilkeston Town

GRANTHAM TOWN SCHEME TASTER

Grantham Town’s initiative in setting up a football and education scheme is about to come to fruition with a “taster” day for Year 11 pupils being held next Tuesday at the Meres Stadium. The scheme is being run in conjunction with Grantham College and AVC Sports Management and whilst pupils receive formal education at the College their football learing will be supervised by the club and AVC with pupils studying towards the FA Level One coaching badge. The new set up begins for real in the autumn.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES

In a sign of the changing times Wakefield FC have signed Alexseys Laptevs who is believed to be the first Latvian player to have been registered with the UniBond League.

UNIBOND LEAGUE TV

Forthcoming Games

24th Feb Fleetwood Town v Mossley

3rd Mar Gresley Rovers v Eastwood Town

10th Mar League Cup Semi Finals

17th Mar Guiseley v Marine

24th Mar Woodley Sports v Bradford Park Avenue

31st Mar Burscough v Ilkeston Town

All games plus highlights from other UniBond matches are available on UniBond TV viewed via the link on our website www.unibondleague.com


League Review (10-02-07)

The sudden onset of wintry weather saw the entire midweek programme wiped out and Saturday didn’t show much improvement with the whole of the Premier Division fixtures falling foul of the elements and only three First Division games surviving. One Premier Division game did start at GATESHEAD where leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED were the visitors but the referee called a halt after fifteen goalless minutes. In the First Division, COLWYN BAY moved in to the last play-off spot with a 2-0 win over SHEPSHED DYNAMO whilst SKELMERSDALE UNITED ended BELPER TOWN’s fine run of five wins with a 2-0 victory that was their own first success in seven league outings. The one other game saw CLITHEROE leapfrog their opponents WARRINGTON TOWN with a resounding 5-1 win at the bottom end of the table.

All three League Challenge Cup scheduled quarter-final ties survived with WITTON ALBION continuing their fine recent league form with a 1-0 win over three times previous winners MARINE. Also through to the semi-finals are FLEETWOOD TOWN who beat the top tier’s bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN 3-1 whilst WOODLEY SPORTS won the all First Division affair against HARROGATE RAILWAY 3-2 after extra-time.


League News (10-02-07)

WOODLEY NOT ADVERTISING

Woodley Sports are not to advertise their vacant managerial post following last week’s parting with Ally Pickering. Chairman Peter Sullivan confirmed this week that former Chairman Ian Campbell and Pickering’s Assistant Ian Nevison will continue as joint caretaker- managers until the end of the season after the side responded well to the new management team to win 3-0 at Bradford Park Avenue. The scorer of Woodley’s goals in that match Adam Morning is understood to be being tracked by several Football League clubs and was again on the mark in today’s cup-tie.

MARINE CHASING ALL TIME TOP SPOT

Next Saturday could see Marine go top of the Northern Premier (UniBond) League’s all time points table when success at Matlock Town would take them one point above the current all time leaders Gainsborough Trinity. Matlock themselves will be looking to score their 2000th NPL goal before the end of the season – they are currently on 1,980.

GUISELEY TWINS MAKE HEADLINES

Guiseley’s footballing twins Ben and Tom Wilkinson this week made the headlines big time without even kicking a ball. They have been featured on BBC Look North, Yorkshire TV Soccer Night with Andy Townsend and Peter Beagrie and Sky TV as well as in a host of regional and local newspapers. And all because they travelled out to California to have trials with LA Galaxy the club that David Beckham is set to join. However there will be no multi-million dollar deal coming Guiseley’s way if either, or both, twins make it as they simply filled in an on-line application form and were surprised when they heard back from the Galaxy offering them a trial. Goalkeeper Ben and midfielder / full back Tom flew out from their local airport in time for the trials which have been arranged for this weekend. Neither has yet featured in first team action for the Nethermoor outfit although Ben is playing senior football with Guiseley’s link club Ilkley in the West Yorkshire League and both have seen Reserve team action.

LEEK PAIR GAIN REPRESENTATIVE HONOURS

Leek Town defender Steve Everett and midfielder Tim Lees were called up to the British National Railway squad last week and both scored on their debuts in a 6-0 away win in Luxembourg. Despite the win Britain failed to qualify for the European Railway Championship Finals and are now looking to rebuild their squad for next season in which, following their successful debuts, Everett and Lees could reasonably hope to play a part.

JINX STRIKES AGAIN

The Chorley goalkeeping jinx struck again last Saturday when their latest custodian John Ogden didn’t re-appear after the interval in last Saturday’s game against Rossendale United due to injury forcing outfield player Neil Wright to go between the sticks. Incredibly Wright became the third Chorley outfield player this season to have to go in goal during a game and the fifteenth ‘keeper in total used by the “Magpies” this season! Former Barnet player Neil Thompson was scheduled to become the sixteenth ‘keeper this afternoon had Chorley’s game at Kidsgrove gone ahead – a brave man indeed!

LEAGUE CUP TIE ALSO JINXED

Another jinx struck again on Tuesday when the League Challenge Cup Second Round tie between Matlock Town and Gresley Rovers was again postponed. The game was originally scheduled to be played 21st November but couldn’t take place because of a County Cup tie. Two more attempts to play the tie on 28th November and 5th December fell foul of a waterlogged pitch. The teams did actually get underway on 12th December only for the referee to abandon the game at half-time because of floodlight problems. It couldn’t be played on 19th December again because of a County Cup tie after which Christmas and New Year intervened. The tie was rescheduled for Saturday, 6th January when the rest of the clubs remaining in the competition were playing the next round but again it fell victim to the weather. A County tie again prevented the game being moved to 9th January but on the next available date of 16th January it was once more rained off. More County Cup ties intervened on 23rd January and 30th January and when the clubs tried to get the tie out of the way last Tuesday the Matlock ground was frozen as it was on Saturday!

SKELMERSDALE SIGN KEEGAN

League newcomers Skelmersdale United have signed midfielder Michael Keegan who has been playing in Welsh football with Rhyl and Connah’s Quay since being released by Swansea City. The 25 year old, who was born on the Wirral but is now based in Liverpool, signed for Swansea straight from school and went on to reach double figures in Football League appearances with them before dropping out of the full time game in 2003.

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Woodley Sports had an unusual hat-trick of hat-trick heroes last weekend. Adam Morning started the ball rolling for the first team with all his side’s goals in a 3-0 win at Bradford Park Avenue. Reserve team front man Sam Walker followed up with another threesome as his side beat Ossett Town reserves 5-2 and not to be outdone Youth team striker Ashley Hunt completed the weekend hat-trick of hat-tricks when he bagged three against Altrincham in a 6-0 victory!

FLEETWOOD OPEN NEW STAND

Fleetwood Town were issued with a Safety Certificate in respect of their new stand allowing it to be used for the first time for today’s visit of Grantham Town. Situated behind one of the goals it has been constructed in accordance with the wishes of “The Cod Army” as a standing area only and will accommodate 1,243 fans taking the ground’s capacity to 3,497. The structure, which cost in excess of £200,000 with a grant of £58,000 from the Football Foundation helping towards the financing of it, will be named the “The Percy Ronson Stand” in honour of a long serving former player at an official naming ceremony later in the year. It represents the next step in Fleetwood’s plans for the redevelopment of the ground and the Safety Certificate was issued in the same week that the club announced the planning of a 1,000 seat stand.

AVENUE MANAGEMENT TEAM EARN CONTRACTS

The Bradford Park Avenue management team of Phil Sharpe and his assistant Clive Freeman have been given contracts following the turn around they have brought to the club’s fortunes since rejoining Avenue in March 2006. Then the club were fighting against relegation, a battle they ultimately lost with a last day defeat consigning them to the First Division. Sharpe and Freeman, however, did see their charges lift the UniBond League President’s Cup and this term Avenue have been in, or on the fringes of, the play-off spots all season. Chairman Dr John Dean said “They have done very well since their return in March and have turned the club round. I believe the contracts show that we are going forward and I am confident of success in the coming years”.

ASHTON PLUG IN TO V PROJECT

Ashton United are one of the first UniBond League clubs to plug in to the national initiative known as the V Project to get volunteers to help spruce up their ground. The club are in liaison with their V Project co-ordinator in Tameside with the aim of involving local people who wish to volunteer their time and skills for projects within the area. With a move to the Local Authority’s brand new Tameside Stadium still a possibility there is an understandable reluctance to invest heavily at the current ground but fans are helping out in their spare time at weekends and hopefully the V project will unearth more volunteers.


League Review (03-02-07)

The top three in the Premier Division all lost whilst neither of the First Division’s top two could muster a home win. It was a particularly disastrous day for Indy Khela who put through his own net in the 25th minute and was then dismissed in the 86th at MATLOCK TOWN as leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED went down to a first away league defeat. The “Bucks”, however, didn’t lose ground as second place HEDNESFORD TOWN slipped up with an even more surprising defeat at lowly LEEK TOWN who trailed until Alan Nagington’s double in the last twelve minutes. WITTON ALBION made it sixteen goals in three games when they beat third place MARINE 5-2 in a game held up for 20 minutes due to fog and fourth place GUISELEY also gained on the top three with a 2-1 home win over KENDAL TOWN. Elsewhere NORTH FERRIBY UNITED had a first win in ten games, PRESCOT CABLES missed Mark Duffy who they sold to Southport for a four figure fee as they drew 0-0 at MOSSLEY and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH and LINCOLN UNITED shared six goals in a game that was almost lost to the fog. First Division leaders BUXTON were staring defeat in the face with 11 minutes to go at home to COLWYN BAY but came back to earn a point that actually increased their lead as second place EASTWOOD TOWN were surprised at home by third bottom WAKEFIELD FC. A goal by Stewart Copnell signed with only minutes to spare before the morning deadline was enough to give third place STOCKSBRIDGE the points against OSSETT ALBION whilst at the other end of the table it was a good week for CHORLEY who followed up their midweek point with a 3-0 win over ROSSENDALE.


League News (03-02-07)

PICKERING DEPARTURE TAKES TOTAL TO TWENTY

The managerial changes within the UniBond League hit the twenty mark this week when it was announced that Ally Pickering had left Woodley Sports by mutual consent. The former Rotherham United defender who went on to play in the Premiership for Coventry City had been in charge for two years and had established the Stockport based outfit as one of the best footballing sides in the First Division. Taking over for the “foreseeable” future is Assistant Manager Ian Nevison and former Club Chairman Ian Campbell. In fact it has been all change at the Cheshire club as directors Mike Clark, Craig Sellars and Stewart Vann have resigned from the football side of the club to concentrate their efforts on the new overall Woodley Sports Club development leaving Chairman Peter Sullivan and remaining Directors Rod Haslam and Jeff Mills to restructure the Board. Amongst the people approached to help are former club mainstays Tony Whiteside and husband and wife team of Pauline and Ian Campbell who all stepped down at the end of last season.

CHORLEY MOURN EX CHAIRMAN

Chorley were this week mourning the death of former Chairman Jimmy Tootell who had been a popular figure at Victory Park for over fifty years. He was instrumental in the building of the Social Club and also signed Paul Mariner, who later was sold to Plymouth Argyle for a club record fee on his way to 35 England caps, for the “Magpies”.

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARDS

The UniBond “Club of the Month” awards for January have gone to ILKESTON TOWN and EASTWOOD TOWN respectively. Both prizes were close run affairs with several clubs in the Premier Division unbeaten whilst in the lower tier Belper Town, Bradford Park Avenue and Eastwood all boasted 100% league records during the month. Ilkeston took the Premier Division accolade with four wins and a draw during January and with three of those games away they nudged out AFC Telford United and Prescot Cables who both had three wins and a draw in four games. In the First Division Belper Town won four out of four league matches whilst Bradford were successful in all four league and cup fixtures but it was Eastwood who landed the spoils with five wins from as many games with four of them on their travels. With the season now in to its sixth month no club in either Division has won the prize on more than one occasion!

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARDS

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for January have gone to PRESCOT CABLES and OSSETT ALBION with Cables remarkably picking up the prize for the third time in four months! Needless to say they sit at the top of the season to date Fair Play table which can be found elsewhere in this release but, remarkably, despite their excellent record they are still only 0.10 of a point ahead of Guiseley who are the same margin in front of Matlock Town. Albion lifted the First Division prize with a dramatic improvement resulting in just two cautions in four games after a pretty desperate disciplinary record up until that point. Despite their improvement they stay next to bottom in the season to date table with only Clitheroe below them. Kidsgrove Athletic continue to lead the overall table by a country mile and seemed destined already for the Division’s £1,000 first prize come the end of April. However, who gets the runners-up prize of £750, 3rd place prize of £500 and £250 for 4th spot is wide open.

CABORN VISITS TELFORD

Minister of Sport Richard Caborn visited Telford on Thursday together with Chairman of the FA Premier League Sir David Richards to help celebrate the launch of Telford Sports, Learning and Enterprise Village that has been born out of AFC Telford United’s brush with extinction. The pioneering development will provide a range of sports and learning facilities at four sites including AFC Telford United with each of the venues specialising in one or more of eight sports – Football, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Tennis, Cricket, Dance, Netball and Basketball. During their visit the dignitaries heard how AFC Telford United’s dramatic turnaround in fortunes had led to it becoming the inspiration behind the new sports village. The old club was bankrupt to the tune of £6.5million in May 2004 when running under the name Telford United but the new entity has been transformed in to a vibrant partnership owned by the supporters and the local community. It has been awarded three grants worth almost £1.2million from the Football Foundation to help build the learning facilities in the stadium as well as at one of the other centres in addition to providing for a vulnerable children’s scheme.

FOURTEENTH ‘KEEPER FOR CHORLEY

Chorley used their fourteenth goalkeeper of the season on Tuesday evening when John Ogden made his debut for the struggling First Division side. He follows in the footsteps of Mark Threlfall, Phil Priestley, Mike Allison, Ryan Platt, Dave Fish, Brett Walker, Mark Canning, Mark Thornley, Scott Ball, Danny Hurst and Paul Eatock. The other two players to feature between the sticks this season for the “Magpies” were outfield players James Quadrio and Ian Callaghan who had to take over in games where the ‘keeper of the day had been injured! Ogden was the “Magpies” fourth custodian in as many games after Hurst, Thornley and Eatock had appeared in their previous three fixtures!

QUICK FIFTY UP FOR SHARPE

Bradford Park Avenue boss Phil Sharpe has piled up a quick fifty games in charge since his appointment in March 2006. His fiftieth game came with a 2-1 victory in Tuesday evening’s County Cup at Pontefract Collieries with his complete record reading Won 26 Drawn 5 Lost 19.

HOME FROM HOME

Today’s visit to Leek Town must have been like a home from home for title challenging Hednesford Town. Not only was Assistant Manager John Ramshaw returning to a ground where he was manager but half of the “Pitmens” side had also played for Leek. Dave Whittaker, Chris White, Phil Hadland, Gary Sucharewycz and Jamie March have all appeared for Leek during their careers.

ALL UNIBOND WEST RIDING CUP

The semi-finals of the West Riding County Cup will be an all UniBond affair following Harrogate Railway Athletic’s defeat of neighbours Harrogate Town on Wednesday evening in front of the club’s biggest gate (648) since the visit of Bristol City for an FA Cup tie FA cup-tie in 2002. Railway join fellow UniBond First Division clubs Bradford Park Avenue and Goole AFC in the semi’s whilst Wakefield could make it not just an all UniBond affair but an all UniBond First Division last four if they can overcome Premier Division Guiseley in a delayed quarter-final. Their game on Tuesday evening was called off due to an under ground cable problem that caused the floodlights to malfunction. It is a tremendous achievement for the UniBond League to capture all of the last four places in a competition that contains several clubs such as Halifax Town from higher up the pyramid.

ALBION’S £70,000 INVESTEMENT COMES TO FRUITION

Ossett Albion’s ambitious project to refurbish their floodlit training area is due to be completed and in use next week. The training area that served the club well for many years had to be closed eighteen months ago when the tarmac surface deteriorated to such an extent it was deemed dangerous. It has now been upgraded with a third generation Astroturf surface along with improved floodlighting and, in addition to considerably improving the club’s own training requirements, will serve the needs of numerous other organisations in an area where such facilities are at an absolute premium. With changing accommodation already on site the club’s £70,000 investment should not only enhance Albion’s own facilities but also generate additional income for a club that has often struggled over the years to raise sufficient finance to compete at this level.

GRANTHAM REDUCED ADMISSION PAYS OFF

Grantham Town Chairman Roger Booth declared himself extremely pleased with the response from fans to a reduction in admission prices of 25% last Saturday for the visit of Ossett Town where the gate of over 300 was the “Gingerbreads” fourth highest of the season. He said “The Board decided to reduce the admission as a gesture to get fans to come back. Our attendances have dropped over the past two seasons but we knew the fans were still out there and we wanted to encourage them back. We felt we needed to do something to turn the tide. Over the past couple of years the football hasn’t always been the best and we recognise that. We will review the policy after the next home game against Frickley and if that is a success too then we shall look at reducing the prices for more games or even the rest of the season”.

MOSSLEY LOOK TO TAYLOR AND MURPHY

Mossley are looking to new signings Alex Taylor and Paul Murphy to help in their battle against relegation. Last season’s First Division champions have taken Taylor on a month’s loan from Barrow and he has certainly proved he can score goals at a higher level having been Lancaster City’s leading scorer in 2005/6 with 24 goals after being surprisingly released by Burnley where he had been a regular marksman in both the Reserves and Youth teams. This term he moved to Barrow where he netted four times in eight starts. Manager Jason Beckford has also lined up former Irish Under 19 international Paul Murphy who spent some time on loan at Mossley earlier in his career when with Manchester City. However, Beckford’s plans for Murphy who can play anywhere except goal are held up awaiting International Clearance from Irish League club Bray Wanderers. One piece of good news for Beckford, however, is that leading scorer Peter Wright has been given the all clear to carry on playing for the rest of the campaign despite a double hernia problem that has been restricting his appearances recently. Once the season has ended, however, Wright will have to undergo an operation.

EIGHT ON THE BOUNCE FOR LENNON

Michael Lennon, the League’s leading scorer with 34 goals to his credit for Kidsgrove Athletic going in to today’s game at Gresley Rovers, was on the mark again in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Woodley Sports. It was the eighth successive game Lennon had found the net beginning with the away game against Skelmersdale United on 19th December and continuing against Rossendale United, Alsager Town, Chorley, Buxton, Skelmersdale United at home and Bradford Park Avenue.

GRESLEY ANOTHER STEP NEARER TO GROUND MOVE

Gresley Rovers are another step closer to moving to a new home from their Moat Ground where they have been playing for 99 years. The club has been awarded a grant of £75,000 by the South Derbyshire District Council to help tie up the purchase of the current ground from local brewery Mitchell & Butlers. Once the club have finalised the purchase they plan to sell it and build a new stadium on former industrial land in Church Gresley with club officials hopeful of moving sometime during 2008

BAD BREAK FOR WARRINGTON

Warrington Town’s Karl Robinson will be out for the rest of the season after sustaining a broken ankle in Tuesday evening’s goalless draw against Chorley


League Review (27-01-07)
HEDNESFORD TOWN closed the gap on Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED to eight points with a game in hand when they beat play-off hopefuls WHITBY TOWN whilst the “Bucks” were being held at home to a goalless draw by lowly ASHTON UNITED. Another game without a goal was at BURSCOUGH where visitors MATLOCK TOWN made it nine games unbeaten when ending the “Linnets” run of four straight wins whilst third place MARINE maintained their status with a 2-1 success at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC who are now seven games without a victory. GUISELEY’s narrow win at FLEETWOOD TOWN moved them in to the final play-off place but WITTON ALBION in sixth with their games in hand are a danger to all as they proved with a 5-1 win at KENDAL TOWN. Bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN crashed again at home where OSSETT TOWN won 3-1 and in what might yet prove to be a decisive six pointer MOSSLEY went above LEEK TOWN with a 2-1 win against their rivals and are now just two points adrift of RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who went down at home to ILKESTON TOWN. Elsewhere an Eamonn Price hat-trick for PRESCOT CABLES beat GATESHEAD and on Friday NORTH FERRIBY UNITED extended their run since a win to nine games when losing at LINCOLN UNITED

The First Division clash of the day was at CAMMELL LAIRD where table topping BUXTON were the visitors and the game lived up to its star billing as the Derbyshire side came from two down to win and leave Lairds with one win in their last six league outings. EASTWOOD TOWN kept up the pressure, however, with a 4-0 win at WAKEFIELD and STOCKSBRIDGE moved back in to third with what was only their second success in nine games when they won at BAMBER BRIDGE. The next three clubs, BRADFORD PARK AVENUE, ROSSENDALE UNITED and COLWYN BAY, all won to keep the play-off spots bubbling but GRESLEY ROVERS lost ground when they were held at home by BRIDLINGTON TOWN who were only denied a first win in 25 games by a stoppage time equaliser.


League News (27-01-07)
HEDNESFORD BOOST STRIKE FORCE

With only one point from their last three games going in to today’s fixture against Whitby Town second place Hednesford Town looked to boost their strike force with the signings of Danny Bacon and Mark Sale both of whom have Football League experience. 26 year old Bacon made around fifty appearances for Mansfield Town before dropping in to the UniBond League with Hucknall Town in 2003. His goals promptly shot Hucknall in to the Conference North and subsequently the 2005 FA Trophy Final. His form earned him a return to the Football League with Lincoln City from whom the “Pitmen” have signed him. Sale, now approaching 35, has more than two hundred Football League appearances under his belt for Stoke City, Birmingham City, Torquay United, Preston North End, Mansfield Town, Colchester United and Plymouth Argyle.

ENTWISTLE MAKES JOB HIS OWN

Phil Entwistle’s results since stepping in as caretaker-manager at Bamber Bridge following Andy Whittaker’s Boxing Day resignation have so impressed the club’s officials that he has been given the job on a permanent basis. Going in to today’s game “Brig” were unbeaten in their four league games including three wins under Entwistle who has a long association with the Preston based club. He was in his second spell as Assistant Manager when serving with Whittaker after occupying a similar role under Tony Greenwood in the late nineties. He left for a short spell with Accrington Stanley and then slipped down the pyramid to help West Lancashire League side Fulwood Amateurs before returning to Irongate in the 2004/5 season as Whittaker’s number two. Entwistle has appointed Neil Crowe from the second string management team as his Assistant and the appointments continue a run of promoting from within as both previous incumbents Paul Byron and Whittaker were also appointed via this route.

COLWYN BAY APPOINT FINLEY

Colwyn Bay have acted quickly to replace manager Peter Davenport who quit last week to take over at Southport. The Welsh club have named his replacement as Gary Finley who, in addition to having a wealth of UniBond experience both as a player and manager, has played and managed at higher levels. He made a name for himself as a player in the UniBond League with Marine, Warrington Town and Hyde United and appeared in the Football League for Doncaster Rovers. He was involved in the League of Wales with Aberystwyth whom he guided in to Europe as player-manager and had a short spell as a player with Colwyn Bay in 2004 before becoming manager of Witton Albion. His last job was as manager of Lancaster City in the Conference North until a financial crisis engulfed the Giant Axe club earlier in the current campaign.

ALSAGER TURN TO STOKES

A third managerial appointment announced this week saw 36 year old player Dean Stokes take over as Alsager Town’s manager just a week or so after previous boss Greg Clowes left for North West County League neighbours Newcastle Town. Stokes made around a century of appearances in the Football League for Port Vale and Rochdale in the late nineties and was signed as a player for Alsager by Clowes from Newcastle last season!

SPEED CALLS IT A DAY FOR GOOD

Grantham Town stalwart and former captain Adrian Speed has called it a day after a club record 638 appearances since his debut in a County Cup tie against Grimsby Town in 1990. He had been released by previous manager Lee Glover in September to spend more time with his family but was persuaded back in to the fold by new boss Gary Morrow. The 36 year old outlasted thirteen managers and even had two spells as manager himself! Speed, who has been suffering with back problems as well as looking after his wife who has been hospitalised, said “It has been good working for Gary Marrow - I got on well with him and he has been good for me. I am just sorry to be leaving with the club languishing at the bottom but time waits for no man”. During his time as captain Speed led Grantham to two promotions in 1998 and 2002 and in the same season that the “Gingerbreads” lifted the Southern League Midland Division title in 1998 they also reached the last eight of the FA Trophy.

League Review (20-01-07)

Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED opened up a ten point gap when they edged past GUISELEY 3-2 on Saturday as nearest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN were rained off and the rest of the chasing pack also fell further behind too. Third place MARINE were held at home by third bottom LEEK TOWN whilst the recently free scoring MATLOCK TOWN could only manage one goal at ASHTON UNITED despite the home side having ‘keeper Lee Bracey dismissed on 65 minutes. THE “Gladiators” dropped two points as a result and failed to move above BURSCOUGH and WHITBY TOWN who were both victims of the weather. The big winners in more ways than one were WITTON ALBION whose six goal blast at home to LINCOLN UNITED enabled them to move in to serious play-off contention with games in hand on all the seven sides above them. Further down the table NORTH FERRIBY UNITED can’t buy a win at the moment and lost a two goal lead to bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN with leading scorer Gary Bradshaw adding to their woes missing a penalty as the “Gingerbreads” fought back to grab a point. Elsewhere KENDAL TOWN earned a point at ILKESTON TOWN despite playing with ten men for an hour whilst PRESCOT CABLES beat OSSETT TOWN 2-1.

Although First Division leaders BUXTON managed a one goal home win over managerless ALSAGER TOWN they had their lead at the top reduced to seven points by EASTWOOD TOWN who had two away wins in the week without conceding a goal. The “Badgers” have a game in hand on the leaders and have kept an impressive six clean sheets in their last eight outings. Things got even better for the top two when third and fourth CAMMELL LAIRD and STOCKSBRIDGE PS fought out a 1-1 draw whilst both ROSSENDALE UNITED and COLWYN BAY missed out on the chance to climb in to the play off positions. The Welsh club, who lost manager Peter Davenport in midweek, crashed 4-0 at GOOLE whilst Rossy lost at home to BAMBER BRIDGE for whom it was a third win on the trot. In the other games BRIGG TOWN owed their three points to sub Karl Slack who had only been on the pitch six minutes when scoring the only goal in the 88th minute against CLITHEROE, BELPER TOWN had a third win on the bounce when beating SHEPSHED DYNAMO, WAKEFIELD edged further away from the bottom two with a point at WARRINGTON TOWN and WOODLEY SPORTS were held at home to a goalless draw by GRESLEY ROVERS.


League News (20-01-07)
HENDERSON NAMED AS ASSISTANT AT WAKEFIELD

New Wakefield FC manager Gareth Stoker has named veteran central defender Damian Henderson as his assistant-manager. 33 year old Henderson had been playing with Harrogate Railway whose boss Martin Haresign said “He was an integral part of our promotion winning squad last season but I think this is a good move for him. It isn’t too often that Assistant Manager jobs become available”. Stoker and Henderson know one another from their time together at Scarborough.

CLOWES MAKES EIGHTEEN

Gary Clowes ensured the UniBond League managerial merry go round continued unabated when he announced he was quitting league newcomers Alsager Town immediately after last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Ossett Albion. He is leaving to take charge at neighbouring North West Counties club Newcastle Town leaving captain Steve Elks and fellow players Dean Stokes and Richard Mitchell to take charge of team affairs until a replacement can be found. Clowes, who became the eighteenth UniBond managerial change of the campaign, had an unusual record with Alsager whom he joined in 2000 when they were in the Staffordshire County Senior League. Indeed it is probably a unique record as, along with his Assistant Dorian Garner, he took the “Bullets” from the relative obscurity of the Staffordshire County League in to the North West Counties League and through both Divisions of that competition into the UniBond League First Division without actually winning anything! When the club was promoted from the Staffordshire County League they did so as runners-up because the champions did not have the required ground-grading and the same applied when they were promoted to the NWCL First Division after 2002 2nd Division champions Stand Athletic also failed to meet the necessary ground grading requirements. Alsager were promoted to the UniBond last season when five new clubs were required and they had finished third behind Cammell Laird and Skelmersdale United. Clowes’ luck also held in cup competitions when Alsager won through to the Final of the Mid-Cheshire Cup and were awarded the trophy because Northwich Victoria couldn’t play due to other more pressing commitments!

AND DAVENPORT TAKES IT TO NINETEEN

Tuesday evening witnessed yet another managerial departure when former England international Peter Davenport informed Colwyn Bay that he was leaving to take over the full time post of manager at Conference National club Southport. The ex Manchester United and Nottingham Forest striker had been with the Welsh club since May 2006 when he replaced Adie Jones. Davenport’s number two Huw Griffiths will be in charge of team affairs until Bay can find a replacement.

WHITBY’S NEW STAND TAKES AWARD

Whitby Town’s new West Stand has been selected as the Groundtastic Football Grounds Magazine Best Non-League Stand for 2006. The Magazine created the Award in 2005 to give recognition to clubs who put the time and effort in to creating spectator facilities that not only please the eye but also provide safe and comfortable viewing. The magazine in making the award noted that Whitby’s West Stand was well elevated whilst the judges were also impressed with the club’s energetic fund raising campaign that Whitby had undertaken to fund the construction. The award takes the shape of a commemorative plaque and framed certificate that will be presented to the club in the near future.

SIGNS OF A TROUBLED SEASON

The troubled season experienced by Chorley this term was highlighted this week when Keith Wedge became the seventieth player to be registered by the club who are also in to their third manager.

COUNTY CUP BONANZA FOR WARRINGTON

Although Warrington Town lost their Liverpool Senior Cup tie at home to a strong Liverpool side on Tuesday evening they had considerable consolation from the attendance of 1,347 that will help fill the First Division club’s coffers. It was the highest attendance at the ground since their successive appearances in the semi-final of the FA Vase in 1986 and 1987. The only attendance to come anywhere near Tuesday evenings was the visit of Merthyr Tydfil, then of the Conference, for a 3rd Round FA Trophy replay in 1992/3 that produced a “gate” just short of the one for the Liverpool game.

NOONE GOES TO ANTWERP FOR TRIAL

Skelmersdale United winger Craig Noone could find himself plucked from obscurity and in to the big time by manager Tommy Lawson. The nineteen year old this week flew out to Belgium for a trial with Manchester United feeder club Royal Antwerp in a move that manager Tommy Lawson first suspected was a wind-up. Noone had appeared to be heading out of Skelmersdale until Lawson’s appointment in the close season. The new manager took one look at him in the Reserves and fast tracked him to the first team three games in to the current campaign since when he has been a regular and earned himself a contract.When Lawson first heard from Antwerp he thought it was a wind-up. The manager said “Let’s just say I have one or two friends who are not beyond dishing out a wind-up like that. However it turned out to be genuine and after a conversation with the Chairman we agreed it was too good an opportunity for the lad. He is a talented player and it is an absolute disgrace that he has been overlooked by local senior clubs in the area. We have so many such clubs around here but their scouts cannot have been doing their homework. I don’t want to lose my best players but if they are good enough to play at a higher level I won’t stand in their way”.

PRESTIGIOUS AWARD FOR HEAD OF MARKETING

Mark Harris, Head of the UniBond League’s Marketing Committee and a Director of member club Witton Albion as well as being a former Chairman of Altrincham FC, has had his contribution to the business travel industry recognised by being named 2007 Business Travel Personality of the Year at a ceremony held at London’s Hurlingham Club. Harris, who was nominated for the prize by a panel consisting of industry journalists and travel buyers, said “I was very shocked but naturally delighted to win this very prestigious award. I have been in the business travel industry for nearly seventeen years but honestly had no idea that the award was going to be bestowed on me until my name was read out at the ceremony”. The League’s Chief Executive Officer Duncan Bayley said “When Mark returned to football as a Director with Witton Albion we quickly identified his unique talent and asked him to front our Marketing Department. We consider ourselves very fortunate indeed to have somebody of his calibre and experience to call upon”.

STORM SHAKES SKELMERSDALE

Today’s game at Skelmersdale United where Bradford Park Avenue were the visitors was called off on Friday after Thursday’s storms had wreaked havoc at Skem’s Ashley Travel Stadium. The roof came off one of the stands and, in addition, floodlight pylons were badly damaged and left tilting making it impossible to ensure the safety of spectators. The club is now battling to get the ground in order for next week’s visit of Clitheroe.

UNIBOND TV GOES LIVE

This weekend sees four UniBond clubs make history with their games being the first to be broadcast on UniBond TV – the League’s new broadband TV service. Visitors to the League’s website will be able to download highlights of the Marine v Leek Town game from lunchtime on Monday 22nd January with Witton Albion v Lincoln United following 24 hours later. The first batch of matches scheduled to be broadcast will cover mainly Premier Division fixtures although the League does intend to cover some First Division games too. In addition to the above two games the following fixtures have been scheduled –

27/01/07 Hednesford Town v Whitby Town; 03/02/07 Matlock Town v AFC Telford United; Witton Albion v Marine; 10/02/07 Gateshead v AFC Telford United; 17/02/07 Buxton v Skelmersdale United; For £1-99 a week fans will be able to download the highlights from the featured game(s) plus goal action from matches for which other UniBond clubs are able to supply footage. Once established it is hoped that more clubs will start to film matches for inclusion in the highlights package bringing a new dimension to the semi-pro game in the Midlands and North of England. The initiative comes from the League’s Marketing & Sponsorship Group following a hugely successful pilot scheme at the end of last season when over 1,000 fans downloaded highlights of the play-off finals in three days. It is the first time a Step 3 league has launched its own TV service which will be operated by Onside Sports, the company behind Charlton Athletic TV and production company for Sky TV’s Hong Kong Soccer 7’s and International Masters Football.

MARINE CALL IN BANKS

With a potential goalkeeping crisis looming, promotion contenders Marine have acted to bring in Fleetwood Town’s Andy Banks as replacement for regular custodian Andy Ralph who is leaving to start a new life in New Zealand at the end of February. Thirty year old Banks, who has been influential during Fleetwood’s rise to the UniBond League Premier Division from the North West Counties League in the past couple of years, became available when Fleetwood signed Danny Hurst from Radcliffe Borough earlier this month. Marine manager Alvin McDonald said “I would like to thank Andy Ralph for what he has done for Marine since signing at the start of last season. He has played for me at three different clubs and at all of them he has proved he is an excellent ‘keeper who has shown me great loyalty”.

MARINE CLOSE IN RECORD NUMBER OF POINTS

Marine went in to today’s game against Leek Town requiring only seven more points to overhaul Gainsborough Trinity’s record number of UniBond League Premier Division points. Trinity have won 1,822 points against Marine’s 1,816 but it isn’t necessarily a true comparison as Trinity’s record includes 210 wins that only brought them two points a time as against 55 Marine wins at the time it was two points for a win. Against that, however, Marine have played far fewer games to get to their target (1170 as against 1542). The “Mariners” still lag some distance behind Trinity’s record number of Premier Division wins trailing Gainsborough’s 541 by 29.

League Review (13-01-07)
AFC TELFORD UNITED took a seven point lead at the top of the Premier Division when nearest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN failed to score for the third game in succession as they slipped to defeat at WHITBY TOWN who kept hold of the final play-off spot with their win. The leaders, however, were subjected to a severe shock at relegated threatened MOSSLEY who came back from two down to take the lead before the “Bucks” pulled themselves together to win 4-3. Third place MARINE were held at OSSETT TOWN and MATLOCK TOWN despite their sixth position could well overtake the “Mariners” with their games in hand. The “Gladiators” continued their fine form with a 5-1 win over KENDAL TOWN and are now seven games since a league defeat. Another side to score five were GATESHEAD against bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN for whom it was a straight fifth defeat after taking the lead in the North East. They lost ground on next to bottom LEEK TOWN who won with a penalty kick as opponents NORTH FERRIBY UNITED finished the game with nine men. RADCLIFFE BOROUGH ended a run of four defeats on the bounce with a point at home to PRESCOT CABLES and are now five points clear of MOSSLEY but still five points from complete safety. In the First Division leaders BUXTON slumped at COLWYN BAY but their two nearest rivals before play began STOCKSBRIDGE PS and CAMMELL LAIRD also lost. EASTWOOD TOWN took full advantage beating ROSSENDALE UNITED 1-0 and moved up to second albeit ten points adrift of the leaders. Lairds suffered a rare home defeat as GOOLE came back from 2-1 down to win in stoppage time and STOCKSBRIDGE went down at BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who move back in to the play slots as a result. The come back of the day was at HARROGATE RAILWAY where WARRINGTON TOWN were two down before storming back to win 4-2 whilst OSSETT ALBION’s point at ALSAGER TOWN was their fourth consecutive 1-1 draw. Finally, WITTON ALBION failed to make the last 16 of the FA Trophy when they lost by the only goal to Conference club Rushden & Diamonds.
League News (week ending 13-01-07)
ALBION POCKET FIVE FIGURE FEE FOR WHALLEY

Witton Albion have concluded the sale of winger Shaun Whalley to Coca Cola League Two side Accrington Stanley for an undisclosed five figure fee. The deal was first mooted in November but due to the transfer window at that level of the game couldn’t be completed until now with Whalley spending the intervening period at Stanley on loan.

TELFORD SIGN BIRCH

Premier Division leaders AFC Telford United have strengthened their fire power still further going in to the second half of the campaign with the signing of striker Gary Birch from Lincoln City. The 25 year old has over twenty Football League goals to his credit in around 150 appearances during a full time career that saw him play for Walsall, Kidderminster Harriers and Lincoln in addition to loan spells with Exeter City and Barnsley.

UNIBOND LEAGUE CUP DRAWS

The draws for the quarter-finals of the UniBond League Challenge Cup and Chairman’s Cup plus the draw for the semi-finals of the President’s Cup were made on Wednesday and are listed below.

Should Matlock Town be able to overcome Gresley Rovers in their long delayed 2nd Round tie and then beat Kidsgrove Athletic there will be a repeat of the 2005 Final as the “Gladiators” will host Whitby Town whom they beat in a two legged Final two years ago. Two other former winners remain in the competition with 1971 victors Fleetwood Town at home to Grantham Town whilst three times winners Marine have an intriguing contest when they travel to Witton Albion. There will be at least one First Division club in the last four with Woodley Sports drawn at home to league newcomers Harrogate Railway Athletic.

The only previous winners of the President’s Cup to have a chance of lifting it again this season are Buxton and they have been drawn at home in the last four against Stocksbridge PS who were beaten League Challenge Cup Finalists last April. The other semi-final sees Wakefield travel to either Matlock Town or Gresley Rovers. There will be a new name on the Chairman’s Cup with none of the last eight having previously been successful in it. All the ties are to be played on Saturday 10th February apart from the game at Shepshed which will be delayed to the following midweek due to opponents Bridlington Town being involved in a County Cup game.

NOW WALKER QUITS AT WARRINGTON

Warrington Town’s Glenn Walker has become the seventeenth managerial change of the UniBond campaign. He had been in charge for over three and a half years before quitting this week prior to Warrington playing Woodley Sports on Tuesday. Walker is replaced by his Assistant Ian Street who has managerial experience with St Helens Town and Atherton LR in the North West Counties League. Street has named Bob Howard, a coach at Everton, as his number two.

FLEETWOOD PAY FOUR FIGURE FEE FOR HURST

Fleetwood Town have paid Radcliffe Borough an undisclosed four figure fee to capture goalkeeper Danny Hurst from Radcliffe Borough. The 26 year old had been Borough’s number one choice for the past three seasons after Kevin Glendon plucked him from relative obscurity but with his contract up at the end of the season and Radcliffe unable to persuade him to sign another one a move was on the cards. Hurst had recently been on loan at Chorley and the deal went through immediately his temporary move to the “Magpies” finished last Saturday.

FIXTURES

All outstanding fixtures apart have now been allocated dates and grids containing the amendments are printed elsewhere within this Press Release.

Henkel UniBond League Sponsorship
Henkel sticks to UniBond League sponsorship for a record 15th year . Henkel Consumer Adhesives has extended its support of the UniBond League for a further two seasons, taking its record-breaking 15 year sponsorship through to June 2009. The DIY product maker, whose UK production centre is in Winsford, Cheshire, has signed its further commitment to the League as the competition plans to expand to three divisions from the start of the 2007/8 season. “We have always been very proud of our northern base - where we employ nearly 400 people - and are delighted at the success and growth of the UniBond league during our partnership with its organisers” says Henkel’s sponsorship manager, Rob Jenkins. Since the UniBond League sponsorship started in 1994, Henkel has provided well over £1 million of funding to the 44-club competition.

League Review (06-01-07)
Just one goal was sufficient to enable AFC TELFORD UNITED establish a four point advantage over nearest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN when the two met for a second time in a week on New Year’s Day. However Hednesford only had themselves to blame for their defeat as they played the last half-hour with ten men after Darren Alexander was dismissed in the 58th minute and to add to their woes Dave Whittaker missed an eightieth minute penalty! The crowd of 3,005 meant well over 7,000 fans had watched the two games between the Premier Division’s top two sides. At the other end of the table ASHTON UNITED completed a holiday double over neighbours MOSSLEY and as a result opened up a ten point gap between themselves and their victims who remain third bottom. Both lost on Saturday, however, with Ashton’s defeat at ILKESTON TOWN enabling the Derbyshire side to go above their victims after they secured a first win in nine league outings. With RADCLIFFE BOROUGH losing at home to GATESHEAD a six point gap has now appeared between them and safety whilst MOSSLEY are a further four points back. Of the top six only BURSCOUGH were in league action on Saturday and they took advantage to consolidate their play-off position with a win at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC.

First Division leaders BUXTON opened up a twelve point lead when they squeezed home at KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC whilst closest challengers STOCKSBRIDGE were being held at SKELMERSDALE UNITED. The next four teams all closed up on Stocksbridge with wins although third place CAMMELL LAIRD needed a late winner to take the points at lowly WAKEFIELD. The shock of the day in the UniBond League Challenge Cup came at HEDNESFORD TOWN who again found themselves down to ten men as did First Division WOODLEY SPORTS. Despite leading at half-time Hednesford’s miserable cup form continued when Woodley bounced back to grab a 2-1 win. GRANTHAM TOWN staged the come back of the day to win 3-2 at GOOLE after being two down at the interval whilst elsewhere there were wins for WITTON ALBION, HARROGATE RAILWAY, FLEETWOOD TOWN, MARINE and WHITBY TOWN.

League News (week ending 06-01-07)
GRESLEY SELL LEADING SCORER O’CONNOR

First Division Gresley Rovers sold leading goalscorer Aaron O’Connor to Conference National club Grays Athletic on Friday in a deal described by Rovers as “undisclosed mutually agreed terms”. The 23 year old striker had scored seventeen times this term and last season had finished top of the First Division goalscoring charts after finding the net 35 times. The move was remarkable as Grays parted company with manager Andy Gray on Thursday and former Spurs player Justin Edinburgh was only appointed hours before O’Connor’s move.

MARSHALL OUT AT BRIDLINGTON

First Division strugglers Bridlington Town have parted company with manager Paul Marshall less than three months after he took over the reins from Chairman Peter Smurthwaite who had been running team affairs until October. However, results didn’t improve greatly and after twelve games under Marshall’s stewardship had produced just four points Smurthwaite acted as he tries to turn the ship around. The Chairman said “It was always going to be difficult for whoever came in and we thank Paul for his efforts in the short time he was with us”. Bridlington have now appointed a joint management team of Paul Stoneman and Ashley Berry. Stoneman has been playing with another struggling First Division side this season Wakefield. He made around 150 appearances in the full time game with Blackpool, Colchester United and Halifax Town and Bridlington secured his release as a player in time for him to face Ossett Albion today. Berry, who holds a UEFA “B” coaching badge, was also with Wakefield earlier in the campaign as Assistant Manager but left to take up a similar post under Chris Stammers at Clitheroe.

DAVID TAKES CHANGES TO SIXTEEN

Paul David became the sixteenth UniBond managerial change of the campaign when he resigned following Paul Stoneman’s decision to quit and join Bridlington. David, who has been at the club sixteen years as a player and on the management side, said he is disillusioned with players and has no wish to ever manage again. He will not, however, be quitting the club he obviously loves and he will join the Board to offer his wealth of experience to help try and guide the club back to the higher echelons of the semi-professional game. David is best known as being part of the Emley (as Wakefield were then called) side that were holding a West Ham United team containing the likes of Frank Lampard, John Hartson and Rio Ferdinand until the 82nd minute with David having scored his side’s equaliser in a 2-1 Upton Park FA Cup 3rd Round defeat. He is, however, not averse to “getting stuck in” and when the club moved to their new College Grove ground this year David played his part including getting his hands dirty on the mountain of manual work that was required to bring the site up to standard.

Taking over from David is midfielder Gareth Stoker who has been influential in Wakefield’s recovery from a dreadful start since he joined the Yorkshire outfit from Leigh RMI in October. The 33 year old played around 150 games in his full time career with Hull City, Hereford United, Cardiff City and Rochdale after starting off as a trainee with Leeds United. When his Football League career finished he moved in to the Conference with Scarborough.

CLITHEROE POCKET UNDISCLOSED FOUR FIGURE FEE

Clitheroe have pocketed an undisclosed four figure fee from the sale of striker James Dean to Northwich Victoria. The 21 year old was signed during the summer from North West Counties 2nd Division side Great Harwood Town so has made a meteoric rise through the pyramid in a very short space of time. Defenders in the Conference should note that Dean is not to be messed around with – he is a former English kick-boxing champion! However he recently gave up his title to concentrate on furthering his football career and it has obviously paid dividends.

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARD

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for December have gone to PRESCOT CABLES and GRESLEY ROVERS respectively. It is the second time in three months that Cables have taken the top flight accolade and their efforts have lifted them in to joint top spot in the overall season to date tables with previous sole leaders Guiseley who, by coincidence, they played today when presented with the award. Prescot took the honours with three cautions in five outings but they may, on this occasion, have been fortuitous winners as Matlock Town had only caution in three games but the minimum number of games required to qualify is four. Last month’s bottom two clubs Ossett Town and Fleetwood Town appear to making efforts in the right direction and averaged just one caution each but December’s third bottom club Frickley Athletic went from bad to worse with fifteen cautions and one dismissal in their seven outings and have slumped to bottom place as a result.

Gresley Rovers received some consolation for narrowly missing out on the December “Club of the Month” award announced last week by lifting the First Division “Fair Play” prize with two cautions in five games that takes them to fourth place overall. Kidsgrove Athletic continue to lead the First Division season to date tables by some distance and must be hopeful of securing the £1,000 first place prize. At the opposite end of the table last month’s bottom two Clitheroe and Ossett Albion had thirteen cautions each and making matters even worse the former had three players dismissed and Albion four. The League Sponsors, UniBond, put up £5,000 prize money each season on top of the agreed sponsorship to encourage fair play with £1,000 on offer to the winners of both Divisions. The two runner-ups pick up £750, third place clubs £500 and fourth place teams £250.

UNIBOND TV IS GO

Later this month UniBond League fans will be able to download recorded highlights of UniBond matches from their PC’s, laptops and PDA’s with the launch of UniBond TV. The League has teamed up with Onside Sports – the company behind Charlton Athletic TV and production company for Sky TV’s Hong Kong Soccer 7’s and International Masters Football – to launch a service that will be available to anyone with broadband internet access. Visitors to the League website will be able to download a 20 minute highlights package from a Premier or First Division match filmed by Onside within 48 hours of the final whistle complete with interviews and match analysis. A second 45 minute programme is expected to come on line in the coming weeks showing highlights from UniBond clubs able to film and supply their own games. Each programme will be available for just £2 with season tickets available to reduce the cost even further.

It is the first time that a Step 3 league has launched its own TV service with the initiative having come from the League’s Marketing Committee following the hugely successful pilot scheme at the end of last season when more than a thousand fans in three days downloaded the highlights of the Play-Off Finals. Peter Brooks, a former MD of Manchester United and now Chairman of Onside Sports, said “Semi-Pro football has suffered from a lack of TV coverage for many years. This is a great opportunity for fans who follow their local side to enjoy key action via the internet and it covers the gap between the main broadcaster’s excellent coverage at the top end of the game for those fans who want to pictures from grass roots level”.

PARSLEY IN AT FERRIBY

North Ferriby United have named former Guiseley manager Neil Parsley as their replacement for Brian France with whom the club parted company after ten years just before Christmas. Parsley himself had been in charge at Guiseley for five seasons until, with his side lying in third place, the Nethermoor outfit replaced him in September with Terry Dolan who is ironically a resident of North Ferriby. After starting out with Witton Albion Parsley moved in to the full time game as a player at Leeds United and also played for Chester City, Huddersfield Town, Doncaster Rovers, West Bromwich Albion and Exeter City with Albion paying £250,000 to secure his services in 1993. Parsley has named Trevor Storton as his Assistant and he is another man who has a great deal of experience in the UniBond League with his last job being in charge at Bradford Park Avenue for five years winning the First Division title in 2000/1. As a player Storton had the privilege of being signed by the legendary Bill Shankly for Liverpool but being a central defender with the likes of Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Smith, Larry Lloyd and Phil Thompson in his way he played only a minor role in his two seasons at Anfield after his move there from Tranmere Rovers. He went on to play ten seasons for Chester City before retiring from the full time game in 1984.

GUISELEY TAKE SECOND SERRANT ON LOAN

Guiseley’s recent loan signing from Leeds United Ryan Serrant will be hoping he follows in the footsteps of his cousin Carl but without the injuries the latter had to contend with. Carl Serrant was capped by England at Under 21 level in 1997/8 whilst with Oldham Athletic and was signed by Kenny Dalglish for Newcastle United in exchange for £500,000. Whilst at Newcastle he was called in to the full England squad by Glenn Hoddle but injury forced his retirement in 2001.

RECORD GATE FOR HEDNESFORD

The attendance of 3,005 at Hednesford Town on New Year’s Day for the visit of AFC Telford United saw a new ground record set for a league game easily surpassing the previous figure by some two hundred. It wasn’t far short either of the overall ground record which stands at 3,169 for the FA Cup visit of York City to Keys Park in January 1997.

EASTWOOD SELL KERLEY

Eastwood Town have sold striker Adam Kerley to Northern Counties East Premier Division club Retford United for a significant four figure fee plus an add on clause. The 21 year old had been with Eastwood for eighteen months since being released by Lincoln City for whom he made one Football League appearance as a substitute in 2004. He had found the net ten times this season for the “Badgers” but in recent times had been having problems due to a serious family illness as reported in last week’s Press Release.

SKELMERSDALE TAKE BARLOW ON LOAN

Veteran striker Stuart Barlow has joined league newcomers Skelmersdale United on loan from Fleetwood Town. The 38 year old made over four hundred appearances in the full time game scoring more than a century of goals in a career that took in Everton, Oldham Athletic, Wigan Athletic, Tranmere Rovers, Stockport County and Bury.

League Review (30-12-06)
Well over 10,000 spectators turned out to watch UniBond League action on Boxing Day with more than 4,000 of those witnessing the only goalless game of the whole holiday period at table topping AFC TELFORD UNITED where second place HEDNESFORD TOWN were the visitors. The drawn game sets up an intriguing New Year Day’s encounter in the return fixture which is again expected to draw an impressive crowd. Telford were then held to another draw on Saturday as they played their game in hand on their rivals at KENDAL TOWN but it was enough to send them in to the New Year a point clear of Hednesford on level games so its all to play for when the two meet on Monday in the first fixture of 2007. BURSCOUGH enjoyed their festivities with six points from their two games against PRESCOT CABLES and WHITBY TOWN respectively and they leap-frogged the latter to move into fourth four points adrift of third place MARINE but with a game in hand. Boxing Day had seen the “Mariners” snatch a narrow victory over another play-off chasing side in GUISELEY who got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 2-1 win over RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who didn’t take a point from either of their two outings. Making matters worse for Borough was the fact that the two teams immediately above and below them captured three valuable points. ASHTON UNITED beat MOSSLEY in their Boxing Day “derby” but the latter bounced back in style to record a 4-0 win at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC to end a run of eleven games without a win as the battle to avoid relegation gathers pace.

In the First Division, leaders BUXTON had a very good holiday and finished it ten points clear. Even when they looked like being held to a draw by SHEPSHED DYNAMO the fog came to their rescue and they then went on to take maximum points from what they would have considered tricky encounters away at WOODLEY SPORTS and at home to one of their leading rivals CAMMELL LAIRDS in a match that saw the second best attendance (610) of the First Division campaign. Lairds had won both their other holiday games at GOOLE AFC and at home to COLWYN BAY to close the gap on second place STOCKSBRIDGE PS to just two points with two games in hand after the “Steels” had been held by in form GRESLEY ROVERS before being rained off on Saturday. EASTWOOD TOWN and ROSSENDALE UNITED also both dropped points over the holidays with drawn games against OSSETT ALBION and KIDSGROVE ATHELTIC respectively but stay in the play-off spots as nearest rivals BRADFORD PARK AVENUE and COLWYN BAY fared even worse with both sides picking up just one point over the festive season. At the bottom CHORLEY were having a good time with four points from two games until they came across the holiday period’s form team KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC who put five past them to add to the four they had scored on Boxing Day when almost five hundred watched their 4-3 local derby win against ALSAGER TOWN.

League News (week ending 30-12-06)
PLUM DRAW FOR WITTON

Witton Albion could be the surprise package in the last sixteen of this season’s FA Trophy after the only remaining UniBond survivors were given a home draw in the 2nd Round Proper against Conference National side Rushden & Diamonds. Whilst Albion will be giving away two Divisions in status their visitors were third from bottom of the Conference at the time the draw was made after suffering relegation from the Football League last season. With Witton themselves pushing hard for a play-off position the tie is all set up for a piece of possible giant-killing action and should attract a healthy crowd.

MUSSLEWHITE RESCUES BUXTON

The vastly experienced Paul Musselwhite has come to the aid of First Division championship chasing Buxton who were recently forced to use striker Rob Ward in goal for the whole ninety minutes against Bridlington Town. Despite Ward keeping a clean sheet in that game he obviously doesn’t figure in manager Nicky Law’s plans for a permanent place between the sticks. Buxton’s plans began to go astray when regular goalkeeper Scott Hartley was unavailable due to a back injury and also work commitments in London. To cover his absence Laws signed Harrogate Railway’s Liam Sutcliffe but he didn’t arrive at Bridlington forcing Ward to go in goal. Laws consequently turned to 38 year old Musslewhite who amassed more than six hundred appearances in the full time game including more than three hundred for Port Vale, two hundred for Scunthorpe United and a century for Hull City after starting his career as an apprentice with his home town club Portsmouth.

McGURK BECOMES NUMBER THIRTEEN

Peter McGurk became the thirteenth managerial change of the UniBond season when he delivered a shock resignation to a meeting of club Directors days before Christmas. McGurk, who had been in charge for just over two years, said he felt he couldn’t further his ambitions for the club as regards attracting new players from his contacts. Taking over in a caretaker capacity is his Assistant Adam Stevens who had to deal with a hectic schedule of five games in two weeks over the holiday period including a daunting trip to league leaders Buxton and two derby games against Gresley Rovers. Stevens, a former player at the Dovecote until injury curtailed his playing days, will be helped initially by Reserve team boss John Warriner but will look to appoint an assistant as soon as possible.

AND WHITTAKER MAKES FOURTEEN

Despite all its festive cheer Christmas didn’t manage to bring the UniBond League managerial merry-go-round to even a temporary standstill for hard on the heels of Peter McGurk stepping down came the resignation of Andy Whittaker at Bamber Bridge. Whittaker called it a day after his side had slumped to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of neighbours and next to bottom Chorley in their Boxing Day “derby” encounter. A talented striker in his day who played in the 1998 FA Trophy Final for Southport, Whittaker scored 130 goals for “Brig” before taking over as joint manager in November 2004 with Phil Entwistle and then taking overall control of team affairs from the start of 2005/6 with Entwistle as his Assistant. The latter, who has a long association with the club, now takes charge for the foreseeable future.

LAWSON AWARDED FIVE YEAR CONTRACT

A happier manager this Christmas was Skelmersdale United’s Tommy Lawson who had his current three year contract ripped up and replaced with a five year deal so happy are the club with the progress made under him since he joined them in the summer. Lawson said “I am very pleased to accept the offer. I’ve said on more than one occasion that this was the job I’ve always wanted and it will more than likely be the last football job I do. It’s a fantastic challenge for me to oversee the progress of Skelmersdale United FC and to be handed a deal like this allows me to plan for the future. It is nice to know that the club supports my ambitions and hopefully we can take the club to another level by becoming a leading team in the UniBond Premier Division”.

GRANTHAM LOOK TO FARMER FOR HELP

Grantham Town, struggling against relegation, have turned to much travelled Steve Farmer for help. The central defender moves from top to bottom leaving title chasing Hednesford Town to join the “Gingerbreads” battle against the drop. The 27 year old began his career at the now defunct Atherstone Town before joining Sutton Coldfield Town and then Solihull Borough where his form caught the eye of Nuneaton Borough only for him to return to Solihull eight months and twenty games later. He then had further moves to Willenhall Town, Halesowen Town and Rugby Town before ending up at Hednesford last summer. However a pre-season injury saw him miss the start of the campaign and he was loaned out to First Division Wakefield FC to aid his come back and with competition at Hednesford for places being high Grantham boss Gary Marrow has made a move for him saying “I have made no secret of the fact that I wanted a centre-half and I tried to persuade my old club Frickley to part with Steve Kennedy but when that fell through I turned to Farmer who is very experienced”.

AND IT’S A PORTER AT GATESHEAD

Gateshead have signed former Darlington goalkeeper Chris Porter on his release from York City. The 27 year old has done the rounds of lower Football League clubs after starting as a trainee with Sunderland. But despite stints from 2000 with Darlington, Hartlepool United, Southend United and his last club York City he had managed only fifteen games in his Football League career when the latter club were relegated in 2004. He did, however, go on to become a regular for York missing just one game in the Conference last season when the “Minstermen” finished eighth.

EASTWOOD’S CENTRAL DEFENDERS PROBLEMS CONTINUES

First Division promotion hopefuls Eastwood Town saw their defensive problems continue over the holiday period when Matt McKenzie, out with injury since last October, was pressed in to service on Boxing Day only to limp off after just thirty minutes. He had been recalled to cover for eighteen year old Marc Stevenson who, after making fifty first team appearances last season, has suffered various nagging injuries this term. Three other central defenders were missing though their absences were more self-inflicted through suspension. Another absentee has been striker Adam Kerley whose problems with a serious family illness led to internal disciplinary action being taken but this is now being sorted out between the player and manager Paul Cox who continues to strengthen his squad in other areas. He has recruited two nineteen year old wing backs in Jay Smedley, who had a first team squad number at Leicester City, and Lewis Smith who had been a big hit with “Badgers” fans in a short spell last season before going globe trotting.

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARDS

December’s Premier Division “Club of the Month” award has been captured by second place HEDNESFORD TOWN who extended their unbeaten run to twenty games in the league with three wins and a draw during the month. Despite their consistency it is somewhat surprisingly the first time they have won the award which came on the back of wins against Fleetwood Town, Gateshead and Lincoln United capped by a draw at leaders AFC Telford United. Their nearest rivals were Burscough and Marine. The First Division award was also being won for the first time by another league newcomer in ALSAGER TOWN who put together some very impressive results including away wins at two of the top three clubs in Stocksbridge and Cammell Laird. Indeed, in the case of the latter it was the first time they had lost at home in the UniBond League. They also beat Bridlington Town and Skelmersdale United and held yet another play-off side in Rossendale United with the only real blip coming in a 4-3 derby defeat on Boxing Day at neighbours Kidsgrove Athletic. Alsager’s nearest rivals were Gresley Rovers who were unbeaten in five games but had been held to a draw by Stocksbridge who Alsager had beaten.

MOSSLEY SIGN WILSON

Last season’s First Division champions Mossley who are fighting to avoid a quick return to the lower tier have signed 32 year old goalkeeper Steve Wilson from Worksop Town. Wilson has well over three hundred appearances under his belt in the full-time game having started off as a trainee with his home town club Hull City. He went on to play around two hundred times for the “Tigers” before moving to Macclesfield Town in 2001 where he was again a regular clocking up around one hundred and fifty appearances before signing for Tranmere Rovers twelve months ago playing a dozen games prior to the end of the campaign.

LAIRDS BEGIN PLANNING CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

League newcomers Cammell Laird enter 2007 in their highest ever place within football and significantly the year ahead brings the Birkenhead club’s Centenary celebrations. Club spokesman Paul McLoughlin said “2006 has been the most successful year in the club’s 99 year history and it is easy to forget that just two and half years ago we were in the West Cheshire League three levels below where we are today. It would be an immense achievement to mark our Centenary Year with further success in the UniBond League First Division. Officially our birthday is in June but our first ever game took place in September 1907 when we played neighbours Tranmere Rovers. Indeed, for the first two years of our existence we shared Prenton Park with Rovers. We are planning several events to mark our Centenary but a match against Tranmere will certainly be the main one”.

Laird’s visitors on Boxing Day, Colwyn Bay, presented their hosts with a framed commemoration of the Centenary. Bay’s manager and former England international Peter Davenport made the presentation to Laird’s coach Reggie McGuire. The pair played together for Lairds 25 years ago prior to Davenport being snapped up by Nottingham Forest. Another UniBond club about to start their Centenary year is Bradford Park Avenue who were formed in May 1907 and the former Football League club are also busy making preparations to mark the occasion. Who knows, both clubs could yet be celebrating in style with promotion.

League Review (16-12-06)
It is still neck and neck at the top of the Premier Division table after leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED bounced back from their first defeat of the campaign last week to win at relegation threatened GRANTHAM TOWN but it took a late goal to break down the “Gingerbreads”. HEDNESFORD TOWN kept level on points with their seventh win in eight games and are now unbeaten in nineteen games as everything builds up nicely to the home and away meetings of the two top sides over the holiday period when crowds in excess of 3,000 are expected at both games. They stay eight points clear of MARINE who had to come from behind to inflict a first defeat in five games on RADCLIFFE BOROUGH but WHITBY TOWN, after becoming the first side to lower Telford’s colours last week, failed to make any further headway when losing at home to OSSETT TOWN. The three bottom teams all lost and there is now an ominous seven point gap between third bottom MOSSLEY, who lost 4-0 at BURSCOUGH, and the two teams immediately above them. KENDAL TOWN, however, did themselves a massive favour thanks to a goal by debutant Gareth Arnison that beat LEEK TOWN.

First Division leaders BUXTON increased their lead to eight points with a 5-0 win at struggling BRIDLINGTON TOWN whilst nearest challengers STOCKSBRIDGE PS were going down at home to the in form ALSAGER TOWN who are now seven games unbeaten after losing their previous five! Stocksbridge at the moment appear to have lost their way to goal as they failed to find the net for the third game in succession. EASTWOOD TOWN stay third after overcoming bottom club CHORLEY with the only goal of the game but COLWYN BAY dropped out of the play positions when they were held at home by KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC. Taking full advantage of the Welsh club’s lapse were CAMMELL LAIRD with their first win in five and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who beat BELPER TOWN leaving the “Nailers” seven games since their last win. Beginning to threaten the play-off hopefuls are ROSSENDALE UNITED who have won six of their last seven home games after seeing off WARRINGTON TOWN 4-2 whilst GRESLEY ROVERS are another side beginning to climb the table after a slow start. They have now won five of their last six after coming from behind to win at SKELMERSDALE UNITED. In the FA Trophy WITTON ALBION are the League’s sole survivors after they won 3-1 at WOODLEY SPORTS.

League News (week ending 16-12-06)
ENGLAND CALL UP FOR WELSH ‘KEEPER

England Futsal manager Graeme Dell has again called up Colwyn Bay ‘keeper Farai Jackson for his squad to take on France next Tuesday and Wednesday at the impressive £24 million English Institute of Sport based in Sheffield. Jackson, who has been capped eleven times for the Futsal team, is currently being kept out of the Bay side by Ryan Brookfield who has Football League experience with Chester City, a situation noted by League of Wales club Rhyl who have issued a seven day notice of approach. Another player with UniBond connections has also been selected for the fourteen man squad with Mickey Lyons, who is registered with Gresley Rovers as a non-contract player, also having made the squad. Lyons has been capped seven times at Futsal level and was a Gresley regular until moving down South. The two warm up games are being used by Dell to assess his players before setting out on pre-qualification for UEFA’s Futsal Championships to be held in Portugal. After these matches England travel to Deva in Rumania during January to play in a four team group that also includes the host nation, Latvia and Bulgaria. The winners then go in to February’s Qualification stage whilst the runners-up will also have a chance of moving on as the two best runners-up from the three pre-qualification groups will take part in the Qualifying stage along with the group winners.

UNIBOND CLUBS IN CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

UniBond clubs Marine, Colwyn Bay and league newcomers Cammell Laird have entered in to the spirit of Christmas with various offers to fans. First up today were Marine who had their inaugural Christmas Community Day inviting over 2,000 children from 25 local schools to watch the game with Radcliffe Borough for free providing they were accompanied by a paying adult. But to ensure an even greater Christmas feel to events there was free admission for any adult dressed as Santa Claus. Next to get in to the festive spirit are Colwyn Bay who, conscious of the traditional difficulty in attracting spectators for pre-Christmas games, are also encouraging youngsters with a competition to draw their favourite player. The winning design will be used as the cover for their game next Saturday against Woodley Sports with the prizewinner also acting as mascot for the match. But the older fans are not left out as Father Christmas will be arriving early with supporters able to enjoy a £1 a pint Christmas Special offer in the club house!

Colwyn Bay also feature when Cammell Laird help get supporters in festive mood as they are the visitors to Laird’s Kirklands ground on Boxing Day when fans will only have to pay £2 admission if they have been to one of the two clubs’ pre-Christmas fixtures. Lairds and the Bay are both giving out vouchers to supporters who attend one of their respective home games preceding what could prove to be a vital clash between two clubs who could, at the very least, be play-off contenders. Lairds Press Secretary Paul McLoughlin said “We specifically asked the UniBond League for this fixture on Boxing Day, we are the Welsh club’s local derby game and they are managed by one of our former players Peter Davenport who went from us to play for Nottingham Forest. This is the first time Peter has been back to Lairds in a competitive game and we wanted to do something a little special”. Colwyn Bay Vice Chairman Andy Owens said “We welcome this initiative from Lairds and we are more than happy to help promote it. Hopefully it will encourage more of our supporters to make the short journey and thus create a great atmosphere for what could prove to be a crucial game for both teams come next May”.

FRANCE GOES AT FERRIBY

Long serving North Ferriby United manager Brian France has become perhaps the biggest surprise casualty of the UniBond League managerial merry go round so far this season. His dismissal following last Saturday’s home defeat to Leek Town when the visitors ran in five goals in the first nineteen minutes takes the number of managerial changes within the League to a dozen with less than half the season gone. The surprise departure brings to an end a 23 year working relationship between France and Ferriby Chairman Les Hare that began in Hull Sunday League football with Deborah FC and B&A Scaffolding where they enjoyed some success together in the FA Sunday Cup with the latter reaching the competition’s Final in 1995 before the pair turned their attentions to the Saturday game.

Hare said “The move is not a knee jerk reaction to the Leek Town defeat. The feeling within the club was that the Leek result was probably an accident waiting to happen and our only position is that the forward momentum we have enjoyed in recent seasons has come to a halt. It was a difficult decision to make but we had to take in to account what was in the best interest of the club. After all, we are only stewards of the club taking over from the last generation and pushing forward until the next generation comes along and takes up the baton. What Brian has achieved over the last ten years has been incredible taking us from the Northern Counties League to the Premier Division of the UniBond League - something way beyond our dreams when he took over in 1997”. With France’s assistant Paul Olsson also leaving, former captain Rob Dewhurst has been appointed as caretaker manager. The ex-Blackburn Rovers, Exeter City, Scunthorpe United and Hull City defender retired from playing last season but has been working as a coach within Ferriby’s youth set up as he studies to attain his UEFA coaching licences. He made around two hundred first team appearances during his full time career.

CLITHEROE NAME REYNOLDS AND SMITH

Clitheroe have named Neil Reynolds and Peter Smith as their third management team of the season following the recent departure of Chris Stammers who himself had taken over the managerial reins of the Lancashire club earlier in the campaign when Mark Smitheringale sensationally quit on the eve of the opening day. Reynolds played five seasons with Clitheroe before leaving at the end of last season to further his playing career at Bamber Bridge but the former Clitheroe skipper recently returned to Shawbridge and is studying for his UEFA coaching badges. The Preston based Smith, meanwhile, spent four years as part of the management team at Kendal Town and has around twenty years playing experience in the UniBond League with a variety of clubs.

ASHTON HONOUR LEE

Ashton United have been indebted to the services of Ken Lee over many years and are to honour him now that he has stood down from running the club shop – a position he has held since 1992. Ken, who has been watching Ashton for around sixty years, generated around £17,000 from shop sales for the club culminating in the presentation of a cheque this month of £5,500. Fortunately for the club Ken has not severed his links entirely and will continue to produce the match day programme. The club will be making a presentation to Ken at a game over the festive period.

US SPONSORSHIP DOUBLES UP

Leek Town became the second UniBond League club this season to have a match sponsored from the USA when their fixture against Kendal Town today was covered by Mark Taylor who is the President of Atlantic FC who hail from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Leek’s new Commercial Manager Roger Thompson has worked for the past three years with Mr Taylor running summer soccer camps over in the States and called in the favour for Leek’s last home game before Christmas. As Mr Taylor was unable to attend the game he invited four children with special needs along with their parents to be his guests for the day. Earlier in the season Radcliffe Borough also had USA sponsorship from Lee Radcliffe a namesake fan based in Frederick, Maryland. Together with the Woodley Sports “arrow story” which hit the headlines in the States recently the UniBond League name is getting well known over the other side of the pond!

CUP TIE JINXED

The UniBond League Challenge Cup 2nd Round tie between Matlock Town and Gresley Rovers appears to be jinxed. The tie couldn’t be played when first scheduled on 21st November due to both clubs being on Derbyshire Senior Cup duty. It then fell foul of the weather on both 28th November and 5th December. Last Tuesday evening it did get underway only for one of the floodlight pylons to develop a fault causing the game to be abandoned at half-time. With both clubs scheduled to be playing in the Derbyshire Senior Cup again next week followed by Christmas and New Year the tie has now been rescheduled for Saturday 6th January when the rest of the surviving teams play their 3rd Round ties. Meanwhile Kidsgrove Athletic who have already played fourteen cup-ties this season wait patiently in the wings for the winners.

WARD MAKES FIVE

Gary Marrow’s signings of Mark Crossfield and Mark Ward for Grantham Town this week took the number of players who played under him at his former club Frickley Athletic to sign for the “Gingerbreads” to five. The pair join Alex Callery, Gary Ingham and Lee Stratford who had already moved to Grantham in order to link up again with their old boss. Frickley, meanwhile, despite the loss of the above players to Grantham and in particular the departure of leading goalscorer Rob Pell to Guiseley, have been making very steady progress under Marrow’s replacement Billy Heath to the extent they had crept up unnoticed to joint seventh place going in to today’s fixtures. Heath’s latest signings are versatile defender Carl Giblin from First Division strugglers Bridlington Town and Stalybridge Celtic striker Lee Morris who is no stranger to Athletic fans having been two seasons at the club until being sold to Harrogate Town at the end of the 2003/4 season.

GRANTHAM SET UP CHARITABLE COMPANY FOR YOUTH SET UP

Grantham Town, with backing from the Lincolnshire FA and the local council, have set up a completely separate charitable affiliated company to take their youth set up forward. A five year plan is under development to add a further seven teams to the four already playing under the Grantham banner. The scheme will establish opportunities for local young people who want careers in football as coaches, physios etc. By setting up a new company separate from the club Grantham hope more sponsors will be attracted as they will be able to see their money is being used solely for the youth development not only of players but training others in areas that could enable youngsters to spend a life time in the game.

League Review (09-12-06)
The respective leaders of both Divisions suffered home defeats on Saturday but whereas AFC TELFORD UNITED’s nearest challengers made the most of the “Bucks” defeat the First Division chasing pack failed to make much ground on BUXTON with the next five sides all drawing. Telford’s reverse was their first of the season in the league and the first time they had conceded more than one goal in a game as WHITBY TOWN lowered their colours. Telford are now joined on 48 points by HEDMESFORD TOWN who extended their own unbeaten run to 18 when coming from behind twice to win at GATESHEAD. At the opposite end of the table LEEK TOWN, who had scored just eleven times all season, went berserk with five in the opening 19 minutes at NORTH FERIBY UNITED and they are now just a point adrift of GRANTHAM TOWN who have still to win away this term after losing at PRESCOT CABLES. First Division leaders BUXTON lost their unbeaten home record to OSSETT ALBION who had never won at Silverlands in five previous attempts but they still hold a five point lead over STOCKSBRIDGE who could only draw at home to SKELMERSDALE UNITED. It was bad week for another play-off hopeful with CAMMELL LAIRD losing their unbeaten home record on Tuesday to ALSAGER TOWN whilst on Saturday they failed to score for the first time this term when held at home by WOODLEY SPORTS.

League News (week ending 9-12-06)
GREAT NEWS FOR LEAGUE AS UNIBOND EXTEND SPONSORSHIP DEAL

Christmas came early for the UniBond League and its member clubs on Wednesday when at their Xmas Luncheon they received some wonderful and most welcome news.

The music to the ears of UniBond League officials and their guests was an announcement by their long serving Sponsors, Henkel Ltd, that the company has agreed to extend their partnership under the UniBond League banner for a further two seasons until June 2009 taking the duration of the sponsorship by Henkel to a record breaking fifteen years. Both parties recognise the successful relationship they have shared since 1994 and this is reflected in the continuity of the partnership. Full details of the additional two season’s sponsorship will be finalised shortly taking in to account the changes of the constitution of the UniBond League which is due to expand to three Divisions from the start of season 2007/08.

League Chairman Peter Maude and Chief Executive Duncan Bayley are delighted with the news and on behalf of the League and its member clubs extend their thanks to Henkel Managing Director Steve Collins for the faith he has shown in continuing to support the UniBond League and also to Sponsorship Manager Rob Jenkins for his day to day commitment that ensures the efficient operation of the sponsorship for the mutual benefit of all concerned. They emphasised it will be a pleasure to continue to work in conjunction with Henkel for a further two years.

PALMER BLOW FOR GRANTHAM

Premier Division strugglers Grantham Town were stunned last Saturday when striker Jermaine Palmer didn’t turn up for the trip to Kendal Town. Instead he had apparently travelled with Hinckley United to Scarborough. Although Hinckley had given seven days notice of approach for the player this had not expired and Grantham have reported Hinckley for an illegal approach. Palmer had scored three times in five games since joining the Gingerbreads from Alfreton in October.

CALLAGHAN HAS DEBUT TO FORGET

Ian Callaghan had a debut to forget after his midweek switch from Chorley to Warrington Town. He was given two yellow cards in his first game for his new club at Kidsgrove on Wednesday evening with his dismissal coming in the 87th minute. To make matters worse Warrington lost 3-1.

HURST MAKES ELEVEN

After moving from Radcliffe Borough on a month’s loan Danny Hurst today became Chorley’s eleventh goalkeeper of the season!

League Review (02-12-06)

HEDNESFORD TOWN cut AFC TELFORD UNITED’s lead at the top of the Premier Division to three points when they came from behind to beat FLEETWOOD TOWN whilst the leaders were being held at home by lowly RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who earlier in the week had won for the first time in nine games when beating BURSCOUGH who lost again at the weekend to a LINCOLN UNITED side who hadn’t won in five. With three points now just the difference between the top two it is all building up nicely for the back to back Holiday games between them that are both expected to bring in crowds of more than 3,000. Third place MARINE lost ground when losing at GATESHEAD for whom it was first league win in five and WHITBY TOWN dropped out of the play off spots when finishing with nine men and losing at home to PRESCOT CABLES. The beneficiaries were MATLOCK TOWN for whom Kris Bowler was scoring his sixth goal in as many games as they beat MOSSLEY 4-1. First Division leaders BUXTON increased their lead to six points despite being held to a draw at WARRINGTON TOWN who had only shared the points for the first time this season on Tuesday at ALSAGER TOWN. The Peak District side’s nearest challengers STOCKSBRIDGE PS fared even worse, however, and their impressive run that had seen them win ten and draw two of their previous dozen games came to an end at OSSETT ALBION. At the other end of the table it was a good week for CHORLEY who beat SKELMERSDALE UNITED in midweek to register a first home win of the season and they then held CAMMELL LAIRD at the weekend. CLITHEROE also had occasion to celebrate on Saturday when after conceding 18 goals in their previous two games they won a point in a 2-2 draw at BRIDLINGTON


League News (week ending 02-12-06)

GATESHEAD TAKE TEAM OF ROUND AWARD

Gateshead’s excellent 4-2 win away at Conference North leaders Workington in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy has earned them the accolade of Team of the Round. They receive an engraved presentation plaque, twenty complimentary tickets for the Trophy Final and four cases of Carlsberg Lager. Runners-up to the North East club were another UniBond club Woodley Sports.

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARD

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for November have gone to MARINE and CHORLEY respectively. The “Mariners” took the top tier prize with five cautions in seven games just ahead of Leek Town who had three cautions in four games. Three cautions in five outings saw Chorley take the First Division honours just ahead of Bridlington Town who had three in four and Gresley Rovers, Shepshed Dynamo and Woodley Sports all of whom had four bookings in five games. In the season to date tables Guiseley still hold a narrow lead in the Premier Division from Prescot Cables and Matlock Town but in the First Division Kidsgrove Athletic are well clear and seem on course to pick up the lower tier’s first prize of £1,000.

NOW STAMMERS GOES AT CLITHEROE

Clitheroe’s Chris Stammers became the eleventh casualty of the UniBond League season to date when he quit following the Lancashire club’s catastrophic 10-1 defeat in last Saturday’s FA Trophy tie at Kettering Town. Assistant boss Ash Berry has taken over as caretaker along with Neil Reynolds who has been released by Bamber Bridge to help Berry.

KENDAL NAME ASHCROFT

Kendal Town have named 34 year old Lee Ashcroft as their new manager to take over from the recently departed Tony Hesketh. The striker had a distinguished playing record after starting off at Preston North End where his goals led to big money moves to West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic and Grimsby Town with his form at Preston earning him international recognition for England at Under 21 level. He had made around four hundred appearances in his full time career before moving into the semi-pro game with Southport from where Kendal signed him three years ago. As captain last season he led his side to promotion on the back of his 24 goals and Club Secretary Craig Campbell said “I am confident we have got the right man for the job. We were keen to maintain continuity within the club and were impressed with Lee’s positive outlook and natural enthusiasm. It’s a challenge for him but we are confident he can take the club forward”.

GUISELEY SIGN PELL ON CONTRACT

Guiseley have attempted to boost their strike rate with the signing of Frickley Athletic front runner Rob Pell. The 27 year old arrived at Frickley in September 2005 and he helped Athletic to achieve an unlikely Premier Division runners-up spot after several seasons of struggling to avoid the drop. This season he is already in double figures and Guiseley will be hoping that he brings a much needed boost to their goal power that had seen the Yorkshire side net only twice in their last seven games prior to Pell’s move. Pell has had a well travelled career making a handful of Football League appearances with his first club Rotherham United and in a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers. He played in the Conference with Northwich Victoria and Southport before moving to his first UniBond club Droylsden in 2001. He left the “Bloods” in 2002 for a first stint with Guiseley and has since played at various UniBond clubs including Harrogate Town, Worksop Town and Wakefield. For good measure he has also had a couple of periods playing in Scandinavia with Jaro in Finland and Norway’s Larvik.

FA TROPHY DRAW

Following Bradford Park Avenue’s narrow 2-1 defeat in their delayed FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round tie against Nuneaton Borough on Monday evening the UniBond League has three survivors going in to the First Round Proper – the stage at which the Conference National clubs enter the fray. The UniBond League will have at least one representative in the last 32 as two of its clubs, First Division Woodley Sports and Premier Division Witton Albion, have been drawn to meet one another with Woodley hosting the game whilst Gateshead have a tasty looking home draw against National Conference side Burton Albion who, less than twelve months ago, were holding Manchester United to a draw in the FA Cup.

MARINE RESCUE ACT

UniBond League club Marine have come to the rescue of a long established Table Tennis club whose future was looking bleak after it had lost its home when the Crosby Sports & Social Club closed. Bath St Table Tennis club was founded in 1948 and took its name from the street in Waterloo where it had its first base. Ironically Bath Street was right opposite the Marine Hotel in which Marine Football Club was founded in 1894. The table tennis team will now play in part of Marine FC’s clubrooms. The “Mariners” Chairman Paul Leary said “I am delighted that Marine FC has been able to help such a well established table tennis team that has served the community for almost sixty years. It would have been a great loss had it not been able to find a new base. This is another step in our work within the community and I trust both clubs will benefit from the new relationship”.

SMITH AND CHAMBERS WORK WONDERS

Although most followers of the UniBond scene will be aware that AFC Telford United went in to today’s fixture against Radcliffe Borough with an unbeaten start to the campaign many will not have realised that the “Bucks” are unbeaten in the league since Rob Smith and Leroy Chambers were hired in February. They inherited a side that had won only six of 27 games but of the remaining fifteen fixtures to the end of the 2005/6 season played under Smith and Chambers Telford won eight and drew seven conceding in the process just nine goals. Going in to today’s tussle against Radcliffe the league record of the dynamic duo was –

P34 W22 D12 L0 F 66 A18 Pts 78

All of which makes Telford’s record of exiting the FA Cup, FA Trophy and the League Challenge Cup at the very first hurdle this season all the more mystifying!

LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP DRAW

Midweek saw the completion of the 2nd Round of this season’s UniBond League Challenge Cup apart from the one tie between Matlock Town and Gresley Rovers that fell foul of a waterlogged pitch. Despite winning seven of their fifteen ties in the competition so far against higher tier opponents the First Division have only six representatives in the last sixteen although Gresley could boost that number if they are successful at 2005 winners Matlock next week. Midweek wins for Bamber Bridge and Kidsgrove Athletic (who have played thirteen cup games already this season) over Prescot Cables and Ilkeston Town respectively meant they join four other First Division survivors, Brigg Town, Goole AFC, Harrogate Railway Athletic and Woodley Sports, in the last sixteen. There are three all Premier Division ties with three times winners Marine at home to Leek Town, Kendal Town hosting Fleetwood Town and 2005 beaten Finalists Whitby Town travelling to North Ferriby United.

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARD

The UniBond “Club of the Month” awards for November have gone to WITTON ALBION and WOODLEY SPORTS who, ironically, meet one another in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Trophy on 16th December. Witton won six and drew one of their seven matches during the course of the month culminating in an 8-1 thrashing of Clitheroe in the League Challenge Cup on Tuesday. The only blemish on their record was a 1-1 draw at home to Gateshead and they just pipped league leaders AFC Telford United to the prize as the “Bucks” were also unbeaten but had played two games less in registering four wins and a draw. Woodley were clear winners in the lower tier with a 100% record in six games during November including FA Trophy victories against Whitby Town and Conference side Moor Green.

HAT-TRICK DEBUT FOR THORNLEY

Chorley moved off the bottom of the table on Tuesday thanks to a remarkable debut by England masseur Rod Thornley. The brother of Ben Thornley the ex-Manchester United and England Under 21 international bagged a hat-trick as the “Magpies” registered only their second league win of the campaign with Skelmersdale United the unlucky victims. The 29 year old has been a masseur with Manchester United for several seasons but is now also firmly established as part of the England back room set up. Thornley was signed from Altrincham along with Colin Potts who returns to Chorley for a second stint. Potts comes from a footballing background with his father Eric having been a Preston North End regular and he himself flirted with the full time game at Preston and Rochdale. But it was as a semi-pro that he made a name for himself at Morecambe, Stalybridge Celtic and Lancaster City who enjoyed one of their most successful times with him in their side. Like Thornley Potts made an immediate impact helping set up two of Thornley’s goals.

QUIRKY

By a quirky twist of fate Ashton United faced one of their former strikers in every UniBond League match they played during November. First up was Jamie Miller of Radcliffe Borough who served Ashton stoically from 1999-2004. It was then the turn of the Premier Division’s leading goalscorer Cieran Kilheeney who had already found the net nine times since the start of the season for Ashton before his transfer to Burscough at the end of September. Keeping the run going was Dean Thurston who faced Ashton for Prescot Cables after the Merseyside based player decided the demands of travelling to Tameside were too much. Completing the sequence was Miller’s long standing strike partner and British Universities International Phil Denney who is now with Fleetwood Town. Fortunately for Ashton only Kilheeney of the four was on target against them.

HEDNESFORD SIGN MOORE

Hednesford Town have signed striker Christian Moore from Hucknall Town. The 34 year old was with both Leicester City and Stockport County early in his career but since then has done the rounds of the top semi-pro clubs in the North Midlands area in the process of which in 2002 he became Burton Albion’s record signing at the time of £17,000 before moving to the now defunct Telford United in 2003 for £20,000.


League Review (Saturday 25-11-06)
AFC TELFORD UNITED march proudly on at the top of the Premier Division extending their unbeaten start to nineteen games with victory at third place MARINE. Separating those two clubs with a five point gap in both directions are HEDNESFORD TOWN who made it sixteen league outings without defeat when winning 2-1 at FLEETWOOD TOWN. Moving up towards the play-off spots are MATLOCK TOWN who won 2-0 at NORTH FERRIBY UNITED whilst at the bottom GRANTHAM TOWN, after previously only having one win all season, have enjoyed back to back victories following up last week’s win over MARINE with a 2-1 success over fellow strugglers KENDAL TOWN and they now have both RADCLIFFE BOROUGH and MOSSLEY very firmly in their sights as they attempt to escape the relegation slots. Borough’s point at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC put them level with MOSSLEY who were rained off but they are both now only two points clear of Grantham. Elsewhere in the top flight PRESCOT CABLES had a first win in ten games whilst GUISELEY’s poor run continued with defeat at OSSETT TOWN. The top two in the First Division BUXTON and STOCKSBRIDGE PS both had home wins and whilst BUXTON hold a five point advantage over the Steels there is now a further eight point gap to the chasing pack many of whom were not in action. Mark Reed scored four in Buxton’s 5-0 win and another player to hit four was GOOLE’s Andy Parton who the club have placed on contract after his scoring feats in the past month. In the FA Trophy there were away wins for GATESHEAD, WITTON ALBION and First Division WOODLEY SPORTS.
League News (week ending 25-11-06)
ANOTHER DIVISION COMES A STEP NEARER FOR THE UNIBOND LEAGUE

A meeting of the Football Association’s Leagues Committee held at Soho Square on Thursday agreed that there will be six Divisions at Step 4 of the game (the level at which the UniBond League First Division operates) from season 2007/8 and two of those Divisions will be administered by the UniBond League. It was also agreed that each of these two Divisions will consist of a minimum of 18 clubs. To achieve this, no more than three clubs from any league at Step 5 will be promoted except with the permission of the league concerned. In order to be promoted clubs must achieve Ground Grading Category E by 31st March 2007. The Leagues Committee will appraise the situation at its meeting on 21st February 2007. The decision is subject to approval by the FA Council.

BAMBER BRIDGE UNVEIL NEW CHAIRMAN

Bamber Bridge’s new Chairman taking over from Nigel Webster who resigned recently is 54 year old Terry Gammans who hails originally from London. He says “I want to see the club become the hub of the local community as we have some great facilities here whilst on the pitch I am confident we can push for promotion next season”.

HESKETH QUITS AT KENDAL

Kendal Town boss Tony Hesketh became the ninth managerial change barely three months in to the UniBond season when he resigned after his side’s 5-1 home defeat against Matlock Town on Saturday following an 8-2 reverse just four days previously at Burscough. Hesketh, who was in his second stint at the Lake District club, had proved to be one of Kendal’s most successful managers turning them from virtual “also rans” into promotion candidates and taking his side to successive play-off finals in the past two seasons. In the first of those Kendal lost out narrowly to AFC Telford United in front of a crowd in excess of 4,000 but not to be outdone they were back again in the play-offs last season. Indeed, had they won their last game of the season at home to Shepshed Dynamo they would have been automatically promoted as Champions but had to gain their promotion the hard way beating Stocksbridge PS on penalties in the play-off semi-final and then accounting for Gresley Rovers 2-1 in the Final.

Hesketh’s Midas touch appeared to have followed him in to the Premier Division when Kendal were unbeaten in their opening six games in the higher tier winning four of them but the beginning of September saw a downward turn and Kendal won only one of their next fourteen league outings culminating in the two heavy defeats in the last week of his tenure that had seen the club slump to 17th spot. Kendal Secretary Craig Campbell said “We fully respect and accept Tony’s decision for stepping down and he departs with the best wishes of everybody at the club. Through his leadership this club has reached a new level and we thank him for the tireless work he has put in whilst with us”. Taking over for the time being are Assistant Manager Barrie Stimpson and veteran player Pete Smith with Campbell adding “We believe the current squad of players that Tony has left us with is capable of turning things round and we are not in a rush to make an appointment”. Hesketh joins Mark Smitheringale (Clitheroe), Shaun Teale (Chorley), Lee Glover (Grantham Town), Gary Marrow (Frickley Athletic), Peter Smurthwaite (Bridlington Town), Mark Cartwright (Leek Town), Neil Parsley (Guiseley) and Paul Lodge (Chorley) all of whom for one reason or another have been involved in a managerial change this season.

MOSS TAKES IT IN TO DOUBLE FIGURES

Hard on the heels of Tony Hesketh’s decision to leave Kendal came news that Ernie Moss had stepped down at Belper Town following his side’s fifth defeat in their last six league games. Moss, who made more than 500 appearances for Chesterfield in his playing days and was a member of Mansfield Town’s Division Two championship winning side in 1977/8, held a meeting with the players after last Saturday’s home defeat by Clitheroe and took their views in to account. He said “We spent 45 minutes talking to the players and told them we wanted to know how they felt and to be fair half of them spoke up”. Moss, who has also managed Boston United, Gainsborough Trinity, Leek Town, Matlock Town and Hucknall Town, had been with Belper since January 2005 and in his first season steered the club clear of the relegation zone. Director of Football Andy Carter took charge of the team for Tuesday evening’s Derbyshire Senior Cup win over Glossop North End whilst goalkeeper Andy Carney and club skipper Danny Hudson took over team affairs for Saturday’s trip to Colwyn Bay.

WOODLEY CULPRIT HANDS HIMSELF IN

The publicity generated in the local and national press together with TV coverage by Channel M – the local TV company that covers the Greater Manchester area – and which was present with its cameras at the game plus an offer of a reward of £1,500 from Woodley Sports FC left the person who fired an arrow on to the ground causing last Saturday’s game between Woodley Sports and Alsager Town to be abandoned feeling the heat. He contacted the Police of his own volition saying he had not acted in malice and the 29 year old man was arrested on suspicion of affray on Tuesday but released on police bail until 2nd December pending further enquiries. The League, after consulting with the Police and the Football Association, had ordered the League Cup tie on Tuesday evening where Warrington Town were the visitors to go ahead but were never the less relieved to hear the news that the culprit had been identified. The League will now have to make a decision on what to do about the abandoned game which stood at 3-0 in Woodley’s favour with thirteen minutes left. The unwanted incident, ironically, has given the UniBond League First Division its most coverage ever around the world. The UniBond name was mentioned far and wide as even major American TV channels such as Fox News, ABC News and ESPN covered the story in detail whilst a host of North American newspapers including the likes of the Toronto Sun, Lexington Despatch and Boston Herald all had full details of the incident that occurred “during the UniBond League First Division match between Woodley Sports and Alsager Town in England”. Indeed, the Herald’s headline was “Sherwood Forest Revisited”.

NVQ SPECTATOR CONTROL AT MARINE

Premier Division club Marine this week announced that their stewards, Safety Officer and Club Chairman Paul Leary have all attained a NVQ qualification in Spectator Control. The NVQ Level 2 qualification covers the control of movement of spectators, managing emergencies and spectator problems, match preparation, emergency first aid and working as a team. Training for the eight modules involved was provided by Telford College at Everton’s Goodison Park home and was arranged with the help of Everton FC safety staff whilst individual assessments were completed at a number of Marine matches. Mr Leary said “As our ground is now licensed it is a requirement that our match day stewards receive the right level of safety training and I would like to thank Everton and Telford College for helping us to secure this important qualification for our match day staff”. Having been grateful to Everton for the Blues help in the above Marine now turn to the Red of Merseyside’s other Premiership giants Liverpool to boost the UniBond League club’s funds. The Anfield outfit are sending a Reserve team to play Marine at the Arriva Stadium next Tuesday 28th November with turnstiles opening at 7.00pm. The FA Cup will be on display both before and after the game in the College Suite and to encourage a bumper attendance the “Mariners” have reduced admission prices to £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. Paul Leary said “We are very grateful to Liverpool for agreeing to send a team and I hope some of the Liverpool fans who attend will adopt us as their second club and support us in our bid for promotion”.

FERRIBY VICE-PRESIDENT DIES

North Ferriby United were this week mourning the death of the club’s long serving Vice President Ken Foxon who passed away last Saturday. Ken first joined Ferriby in the mid-seventies and had served the club in numerous capacities including physio’, trainer, kitman and as a committee member prior to being made Vice President.

LEAGUE CUP MOVES TOWARDS LAST SIXTEEN

Midweek saw the UniBond League Challenge Cup move towards the last sixteen of this season’s competition with ten of the Second Round ties contested. The match between Bamber Bridge and Prescot Cables fell victim to the weather and will now take place next midweek along with the remaining five other ties with all six matches featuring First Division teams attempting to turn over Premier Division opposition. Having been thoroughly beaten 8-2 the previous Tuesday at Burscough the last place managerless Kendal Town wanted to be visiting this week in the League Cup was Burscough again. Neil Robinson, who put the Lake District side to the sword in the previous week’s encounter with four of his team’s goals, started off in the same vein putting the “Linnets” ahead in the 13th minute but became the villain of the piece when dismissed in the 51st minute four minutes after Kendal had equalised. The visitors took full advantage of their opponents being down to ten men to record, given the previous week’s score line, an unlikely 4-1 victory.

Indeed, there were a plethora of 4-1 wins with North Ferriby United taking revenge over Bradford Park Avenue on Monday for an FA Trophy knock out and Marine seeing off another First Division side in Skelmersdale United by the same score. Goole AFC, however, hit back for the lower tier to win 4-1 at Frickley Athletic with the latest UniBond League scoring sensation Andy Parton hitting a double. Although Parton had failed to score in nineteen Football League games in his time at Scunthorpe United his brace against Athletic took his tally since joining Goole at the end of October following his release from Glanford Park to an impressive nine in six games. The trend for 4-1 wins continued on Wednesday in the all First Division clash at Harrogate Railway Athletic although the home side required extra-time before managing to subdue lowly Wakefield FC. Another tie to go to extra-time was the Premier Division clash between 2005 Finalists Whitby Town and Ossett Town with the former taking the game in to penalties with a late, late equaliser which proved to be the winner as Whitby came out on top 5-4 in the shoot out. The 2006 beaten Finalists Stocksbridge PS went out at the hands of Briig Town whom they had led until the 86th minute by which time the “Steels” were down to nine men having had Mick Goddard, the scorer of their goal, sent off in the 75th minute for a second yellow whilst Steve Hawes shown a straight red in the 80th minute. Elsewhere Leek Town who can’t find the net in the league hit six at Eastwood Town and were joined in the last sixteen by Woodley Sports and Fleetwood Town who knocked out Warrington Town and Mossley respectively.

BUXTON SET CLUB RECORD

Buxton’s 9-0 win over Blackwell MW in Wednesday evening’s Derbyshire Senior Cup tie saw a club post-war record set when no fewer than eight different players featured on the goalsheet. Rob Ward, Mark Reed, Wes Milnes, Kyle Nix, Alvyn Riley and all three substitutes, Zach Law, Jordan Hall and Paul Walker found the net with Ward the only one to bag a brace.

BRADSHAW MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

After a slow start to the campaign following a close season hernia operation North Ferriby United hotshot Gary Bradshaw is certainly making up for lost time. His double in the League Cup tie at Bradford Park Avenue on Monday evening made it 14 goals in Ferriby’s last ten games after just three in the club’s opening fifteen matches! He is also closing in on becoming the fastest ever to a century of goals for Ferriby with his strikes at Bradford taking his tally to a very impressive 91 in only 118 games.

League Review (week ending 18-11-06)
Although ILKESTON TOWN ended Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED’s run of eight straight wins on Tuesday evening with a 1-1 draw it was business as usual for the “Bucks” on Saturday with Telford winning 1-0 at GUISELEY. Indeed, Saturday proved to be a good day all round for United as both their nearest rivals dropped points to leave them five points clear. Second place HEDNESFORD TOWN dominated their game at home to struggling MOSSLEY but the visitor’s dogged defence held out for a goalless draw. MARINE in third spot extended their winning sequence to five on Tuesday against PRESCOT CABLES but came unstuck in the shock of the day at the weekend when going down 2-1 at GRANTHAM TOWN who lifted themselves off the bottom rung with that victory. WHITBY TOWN’s seventh home win on the bounce as they put four past ILKESTON TOWN keeps them in fourth but Guiseley’s defeat sees them drop out of the play-off spots to be replaced by WITTON ALBION who are undefeated in nine after home victories over FLEETWOOD TOWN and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH. Moving up and in ominous form are BURSCOUGH who blasted eight past KENDAL TOWN in midweek and followed up with a 3-2 win against ASHTON UNITED at the weekend with the Division’s leading marksman Cieran Kilheeney scoring against his old club. Elsewhere, FLEETWOOD TOWN after failing to pick up a point in their last four away games did well to glean a draw at GATESHEAD who had won their last three at home whilst a Gary Bradshaw hat-trick was just enough to help NORTH FERRIBY UNITED account for FRICKLEY ATHLETIC. Replacing Grantham in bottom spot are LEEK TOWN who went down at home to OSSETT TOWN and it was an horrendous week for Kendal who, after Tuesday’s mauling, conceded another five on Saturday with MATLOCK TOWN being the beneficiaries. LINCOLN UNITED who had scored only four times at home all season managed two against PRESCOT CABLES on Saturday but it wasn’t enough to stop the Merseysiders taking a point thanks to a double from recent signing Eamonn Price.

As in the top tier Saturday proved to be a good day for the leaders with last week’s second place side BUXTON going five points clear at the head of affairs thanks to two away wins in the week whilst STOCKSBRIDGE PS, without a league game in midweek, were being held to a draw at HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC despite taking the lead three times. Buxton’s delight was compounded when third place CAMMELL LAIRD were soundly beaten 4-1 at GRESLEY ROVERS although fourth and fifth place sides BRADFORD PARK AVENUE and EASTWOOD TOWN both bounced back to win on Saturday after midweek set backs. ROSSENDALE UNITED added six points to their tally but relied heavily on Mark Drew who scored both goals in two 1-0 wins. On a sad note the game at WOODLEY SPORTS became the first UniBond game to abandoned due to morons when the referee took the players off after an arrow had been fired on to the pitch.

League News (week ending 18-11-06)
MATLOCK PENALISED

Whilst the penalty shoot out that ended 11-10 in Leek Town’s favour at the end of their recent League cup-tie against AFC Telford United spawned a great deal of conjecture in refereeing circles, Matlock Town fans are now having their own debate on penalty taking following Steve Warne’s spot kick miss on Tuesday evening against, of all teams, Leek Town. The “Gladiators” fans must be wondering when they will see their team actually score from the penalty mark as Warne’s miss was the fifth successive spot kick that Matlock have failed to convert!

OFFICIALS IN CROWD TALKS

Although Christmas and New Year is still a few weeks away officials of two of the leading protagonists for this season’s Premier Division title have been in talks over their two back to back games over the Festive season. AFC Telford United and Hednesford Town are both expecting crowds in excess of 3,000 for the Boxing Day and New Year Day fixtures that may well have a big bearing on where the title ends up although several other clubs such as Marine could also have something to say about that. One thing that has been agreed is that both games will see the two sets of supporters fully segregated.

ANNERSON MAKES ENGLAND DEBUT

Ilkeston Town’s young goalkeeper Jamie Annerson made his England Under 19 debut in Tuesday evening’s 3-2 win over Switzerland at Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road. The 18 year old, who is with Ilkeston on work experience from Sheffield United, came on as a second half substitute and although he did concede one of the Swiss goals it was no fault of his. Annerson’s appearance for England caused Ilkeston problems as they were visiting league leaders AFC Telford United the same evening but they solved their ‘keeper problem by turning to the other Sheffield club taking Wednesday’s Richard O’Donnell also on work experience terms.

CHORLEY APPROACH DOUBLE FIGURES IN ‘KEEPERS

Still on the subject of goalkeepers Mark Thornley became Chorley’s ninth ‘keeper of a troubled season this week. He follows in the footsteps of Mark Threlfall, Phil Priestley, Mike Allison, Ryan Platt, Dave Fish, Brett Walker and Mark Canning whilst outfield player James Quadrio also went between the sticks for 28 minutes against Buxton on 9th September after Phil Priestley had been carried off.

NORTH FERRIBY OUT

The UniBond League’s interest in this season’s FA Youth Cup came to an end last Sunday when sole survivors North Ferriby United went down 2-0 to a strong Morecambe Academy side. Ferriby took Morecambe to extra-time and although the “Shrimps” skipper Gary Bell scored both goals including a penalty two minutes from time it was his ‘keeper Tiernan Kelly who was Morecambe’s hero saving a penalty five minutes in to extra-time and then denying Ferriby again with a great save before the first goal was scored. Ferriby miss out on a trip to Crewe Alexandra.

SEMI-FINAL BOOST FOR ALBION

Witton Albion received a big boost in midweek when Northwich Victoria beat Stockport County in the quarter-finals of the UniBond sponsored Cheshire Senior Cup as they will now host their arch rivals from the Conference in the semi-final of the competition in January – a draw which should guarantee a good gate. Fellow UniBond club Cammell Laird are at home to Chester City in the other tie.

CROWN JEWEL FIRM SPONSORS MATLOCK GROUND

Matlock Town this week announced a major sponsorship link up with the company that protects the Crown Jewels. Under the deal their Causeway Lane ground has become the Geoquip Stadium after the local company of that name joined forces with the “Gladiators”. Like all good football teams Geoquip know a thing or two about a strong defence as they not only help protect the Crown Jewels but also supply high security systems for defence establishments, prisons, ports, government buildings, gas and nuclear plants, airports and cross country borders in addition to working for a range of blue chip companies. Their security systems also protect the rich and famous, including several well known Premiership and International footballers, in their VIP residences all over the world. Part of the sponsorship will see Geoquip help fund a variety of ground improvements at the newly named stadium.

MARCH ON THE WAY BACK

Hednesford Town defender Jamie March is on the way back after a career threatening injury. The “Pitmen” are allowing him to play for Sutton Coldfield Town to gain match fitness and this will be the full back’s first competitive action since having surgery to remove a blood clot from his calf sustained in a pre-season friendly against Chasetown. After that fixture March was in considerable pain and attended his local hospital but after being seen he was still not happy and sought a second opinion which turned out to be a very wise decision indeed. The second opinion was that if left much longer Jamie would have lost his leg and since then he has undergone three operations and a skin graft. Another player development has seen Hednesford place ‘keeper Ryan Young on contract as his performances have started to attract attention from a number of clubs with Northwich Victoria already having been turned down by the player. In yet another move Hednesford have accepted an invitation to enter a Reserve team into the League Cup competition of the Central Conference. The matches will be played in two groups on a home and away basis. The “Pitmen” can look forward to matches against Stafford Rangers and Burton Albion with Kidderminster Harriers, Bromsgrove Rovers, Halesowen Town, Worcester City and a second UniBond club, AFC Telford United, contesting the other group.

LAIRDS AND SKEM TO HOST ENGLAND PREPARATIONS

UniBond First Division clubs Cammell Laird and Skelmersdale United are to play host to the England Amateur side which is being represented in UEFA’s Regions Cup by the Isle Of Man who earned the right to swop the three legs of Man for the three Lions of England by winning the National League System Cup. The team are to play the two UniBond clubs along with a friendly against Liechtenstein as part of their preparations for the Regions Cup which takes place in the Czech Republic in April.

DYER COME BACK AT GATESHEAD

Former England player Kieran Dyer is likely to continue his road back by playing in a friendly at UniBond club Gateshead next Monday evening (20th November) for a Newcastle United Reserve team that is likely to include Olivier Bernard and Albert Luque from the start. Gateshead are also hoping to get Newcastle to send a full strength first team next summer as part of long serving Paul Thompson’s Testimonial

MARINE ENCOURAGE YOUTH

Richard Cross this week became one of the youngest persons to be elected to a UniBond League club committee when he took his place on Marine’s think tank. Despite being only 20 he has established himself at Marine being a member of the Marine Supporters Association, helping out in the club shop, providing regular website updates, undertaking the duties of deputy editor of the match day programme and maintaining the Marine social membership database. Surely a candidate for young official of the year if such a competition exists anywhere.

MOSSLEY GO FOR EXPERIENCE

Last season’s First Division champions Mossley have been struggling to come to terms with the higher level opposition this season and have hovered just above the relegation spots for most of the campaign. Manager Jason Beckford this week plumped for experience as tries to turn things round and has signed Mike Flynn on loan from Tameside neighbours Hyde United and Neil Brisco from Barrow. Flynn had more than seven hundred appearances under his belt in the full time game for the likes of Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Preston North End, Stockport County, Stoke City, Barnsley and Blackpool before playing for Accrington Stanley in their Conference winning side. Brisco started his career with Manchester City but dropped out of the full time game playing in the Conference for Northwich Victoria before making his debut in senior football for Port Vale where he went on to play over a century of matches before moving to Rochdale. All told the midfielder made around 150 appearances in the full time game.

DOLAN TURNS TO YOUTH

By contrast new Guiseley boss Terry Dolan has turned to youth following the departure of Tony Lennon, Chris Clarke, Kevin Sanasay and Kevin Sharp plus injuries to Matt Smithard, Marc Smith, Stuart Grey and Nathan Hay. When Guiseley won at Grantham Town last Saturday they finished the game with five of their young reserve team on the pitch in defenders Matt Larkins, Paul Collins, striker Doug McCance and midfielders Mark Trueman and Craig Hall. Other youngsters to have been given their chance by Dolan in the past couple of weeks are strikers Danny Forrest and Tom Marsden along with ‘keeper Chris Barnett whilst Dolan, the former Bradford City, Rochdale, Hull City and York City manager, reckons the club’s ex-Academy team skipper Chris Davey who is currently the Reserves leading goalscorer is also knocking on the first team door. Guiseley’s reserve team appears to augur well for the club’s future with a host of other youngsters such as Liam Tuck, who has been an unused substitute on the first team bench already this season, as well as 17 year old Liam Robinson, Portuguese left back Antonio dos Santos, midfielder Adam Gilroy and defender Ashley Jefferies who gained first team experience last term all featuring regularly.

HARROGATE PLAN NEW STAND IN MEMORY OF FORMER PLAYER

Harrogate Railway have announced that they have applied for planning permission to build a new stand between the dug-outs at their Station View ground. Although the new stand will only be for 38 seats it would accommodate more if the club hadn’t decided to introduce disabled bays in to it. The development, if passed, will be named after former player Shaun Glennon who died in January after a long and successful career and will increase the ground capacity to 3,538 including 338 seats.

League Review (week ending 11-11-06)
There was no change at the top of the Premier Division with AFC TELFORD UNITED extending their unbeaten start to the campaign to sixteen games with a comfortable 4-0 win over GATESHEAD but HEDNESFORD TOWN stayed on their tails in a much closer encounter at OSSETT TOWN where Darren Alexander’s strike was the only goal of the game that leaves the “Pitmen” unbeaten in fourteen league outings. MARINE moved in to third after two wins in the week going above WHITBY TOWN who had just the one game but won it 4-2 at third bottom RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who have only taken the full three points just once in their last eleven games. After only one point in four games and no goals in three GUISELEY needed to get their show back on the road at bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN but only just managed a 1-0 win with the goal coming three minutes from time to extend Grantham’s losing sequence to six. It was, however, enough to keep the Yorkshire club in the final play-off spot two points ahead of WITTON ALBION (only one defeat in eleven league games after their goalless encounter at ILKESTON TOWN today) and LINCOLN UNITED. Elsewhere BURSCOUGH scored three in a game for the fourth consecutive league match when winning at MATLOCK TOWN who haven’t won in their last five league games whilst KENDAL TOWN won for the first time in eleven games when successful at MOSSLEY.

Two home wins in the past week over BRIGG TOWN and BRIDLINGTON TOWN left BUXTON level on points at the top of the First Division with STOCKSBRIDGE PS who trailed for much of their game at home to WARRINGTON TOWN on Saturday before taking all three points with two late goals to make it 28 points from the last thirty on offer. Last week’s third place team EASTWOOD TOWN, however, came unstuck at BAMBER BRIDGE for whom Ryan Salmon scored a hat-trick in an exciting 4-3 win. With CAMMELL LAIRD and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE both winning Eastwood drop to fifth only a point ahead of Welsh side COLWYN BAY who hit GOOLE for five. After five home defeats on the bounce and five straight league defeats ALSAGER TOWN at last made home advantage count when they ended WAKEFIELD’s mini run of five games unbeaten and SKELMERSDALE UNITED also enjoyed a home win but, unlike Alsager, their win over BRIGG TOWN was their fifth successive home victory. After conceding 17 goals in their last four league outings CLITHEROE kept GRESLEY ROVERS down to just one goal but it was still enough to give the Derbyshire outfit the points. Two more home victories this week for WOODLEY SPORTS who can’t win away took them clear of the bottom six where there was little change with only KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC picking up a point with a draw at SHEPSHED DYNAMO. Finally UniBond interest in this season’s FA Cup came to an end when FLEETWOOD TOWN lost at Salisbury City in a tie which attracted a crowd approaching 3,000.

League News (week ending 11-11-06)
UNIBOND CLUBS DRAW THIN END OF THE WEDGE

Clitheroe’s excellent win over Southern Premier League club Halesowen Town in Tuesday evening’s FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round replay gave the UniBond League nine representatives in the 3rd and final Qualifying Round. But the survivors didn’t have a great deal of luck in the draw with no fewer than six of them on their travels. Clitheroe’s reward is a long trip to Kettering Town whilst Witton Albion also have some distance to cover to play Stamford. Elsewhere, Ilkeston Town are away to Hinckley United, Gateshead have a tasty looking encounter at former UniBond club Workington and 2003 FA Trophy winners Burscough have an attractive home tie against former Football League club Scarborough. The remaining four clubs are all from the First Division who, unusually, outnumber the top tier survivors by five to four. Cammell Laird, for whom this is a first stab at the competition, go to Leigh RMI and, after upsetting Premier Division high flyers Marine and Whitby Town on their artificial surface, Woodley Sports must now travel to Moor Green. The two other First Division clubs to survive, BRADFORD PARK AVENUE and SKELMERSDALE UNITED are both at home to Nuneaton Borough and Farsley Celtic respectively.

UNIBOND LEAGUE CHALLENGE CUP DRAW

The draw for the 2nd Round of the UniBond League Challenge Cup was made on Wednesday and it threw up three all Premier Division ties and the same number of all First Division games leaving ten matche where the lower tier can pit themselves against the higher echelons of the League. The First Division sides, however, are unlikely to be overawed at the prospect given the season’s statistics so far. In the FA Cup and FA Trophy there have been twenty encounters between the top and lower tiers with the First Division more than holding their own with eleven victories whilst in the 1st Round of the League Challenge Cup Bamber Bridge, Bradford Park Avenue, Harrogate Railway Athletic and Wakefield FC all came up trumps against Premier Division sides with only Ossett Town and Prescot Cables replying for the higher level.

After beating Guiseley on penalties in midweek to reach this stage Bradford Park Avenue can look forward to another close encounter with a Premier Division outfit as they recently beat their 2nd Round opponents North Ferriby United in the FA Trophy 3-2 but only after the first game had finished 2-2. Eastwood Town will host Leek Town after AFC Telford United’s appeal against the result of their 11-10 penalty shoot out defeat at Leek in the 1st Round was dismissed at an appeal hearing held on Thursday evening. The appeal had been made on technical grounds surrounding the procedure used in the shoot out due to Telford being down to ten men. Telford Chairman Lee Carter said on his club’s website “We always said the appeal was made as a point of principle and we certainly didn’t want the appeal to offend Leek Town, the match officials or the UniBond League. Indeed we wish Leek the very best of luck in the next round”.

ILKESTON ‘KEEPER CALLED UP FOR ENGLAND UNDER 19’s

Ilkeston Town goalkeeper James Annerson has been selected for the England Under 19 squad that meets Switzerland at Crewe Alexnadra’s ground next Tuesday, 14th November. The 18 year old is currently on Work Experience with Ilkeston from his parent club Sheffield United.

FERRIBY SOLE SURVIVORS

North Ferriby United are the UniBond League’s sole survivors in this season’s FA Youth Cup following the demise of Hednesford Town at Cambridge United during midweek. The young “Pitmen” went down 3-2 despite taking a 5th minute lead and UniBond hopes now rest firmly on the shoulders of North Ferriby who play their tie against Morecambe on Sunday.

WITTON’S WHALLEY FIZZES IN TO THE COCA COLA LEAGUE

Witton Albion have sold winger Shaun Whalley to Coca Cola League Two side Accrington Stanley for an undisclosed fee. The twenty year old had been training full time at Crewe Alexandra for the past six weeks and they made the player an offer. However, Whalley was happier with the terms of a counter bid from current Nationwide Conference National champions Accrington Stanley who take him on loan until 1st January when the transfer window reopens. Witton have not divulged details of the deal but it is understood to include a lucrative sell-on clause.

Albion boss Jim Vance said “There is a message here for all young players and that is Witton Albion can provide them with a platform if they are good enough. Shaun has been with us less than twelve months but has improved his game so much in his time with us that he has stepped in to the Football League”. It is all very different from twelve months ago when Whalley was playing for Runcorn FC Halton who were in their death throes and who eventually became defunct at the end of last season after a monumental battle to complete their fixture obligations.

PRESCOT YOUTH TEAM BOOSTED BY £1,000 GRANT

Prescot Cables youth set up was boosted this week by a grant of £1,000 from the Knowsley Council Community Chest. Club Chairman Tony Zeverona said “I would like to thank Knowsley Council for the award. The money will be used to provide training kit for our youth team which has been together for three years and which has now stepped up to the North West Alliance Premier Division. It costs us about £3,000 a year to run the youth team so this award is very much appreciated.

FORMER LEEK PLAYER GETS INTERNATIONAL CALL UP

Former Leek Town full back Adam Yates has received a call up to the National Game X1 squad – effectively the England non-league side - that takes on Holland in a European Challenge Trophy decider at Burton Albion on 29th November. Yates left Leek on the eve of the current season for Conference National side Morecambe and has done remarkably well to make it in to the 22 man squad in such a short time.

MARROW RETURNS FOR CALLERY

Grantham Town’s new boss Gary Marrow has returned to his former club Frickley Athletic to sign the talented winger Alex Callery for an undisclosed fee. The 23 year old Callery began his career with his home town club Sheffield Wednesday before moving into the UniBond League with Worksop Town, Ossett Town and Frickley.

The FA Youth Cup

Preliminary Round Results
Ossett Town 5-4 Spennymoor Town; Warrington Town 1-1 (4-5 P) Prescot Cables; Stocksbridge Park Steels 1-1 (1-4 P) Stalybridge Celtic; Eastwood Town 2-3 Gresley Rovers; Burscough 6-0 Lancaster City; Colne HW Radcliffe Borough; Northwich Victoria 2-3 Witton Albion; Kendal Town HW Skelmersdale United.

First Round Qualifying Results
Grantham Town 1-1 (4-3 P) Stowmarket Town; Witton Albion 1-3 Burscough; Bradford (Park Avenue) 1-4 Dunston Federation Brewery; Eccleshill United 4-0 Ossett Albion;
Curzon Ashton 2-1 Prescot Cables; Matlock Town 0-4 Stratford Town; Retford United 0-4 Hednesford Town; AFC Telford United 2-1 Alfreton Town;
Belper Town 1-2 Coventry Sphinx; North Ferriby United 4-0 Goole AFC; Gresley Rovers 1-8 Leek Town; Brigg Town 3-2 Consett; Farsley Celtic 5-1 Guiseley AFC;
Marine 3-0 Ashton Town AFC; Kendal Town 2-1 Trafford; Ossett Town 1-5 Chester-Le-Street Town; Thackley HW Gateshead.

Second Round Qualifying Results
Thackley 0-2 North Ferriby United; Bootle 2-0 Kendal Town; Hednesford Town 4-0 Nuneaton Borough; Curzon Ashton 2-1 Burscough; AFC Telford United 1-5 Gornal Athletic;
Glossop North End 0-4 Leek Town; Lowestoft Town 1-0 Grantham Town; Farsley Celtic 3-1 Brigg Town; Colne 0-1 Marine.

Third Round Qualifying Results
Arnold Town 7-2 Leek Town; Hednesford Town 0-0 (5-4 P) Worcester City; Eccleshill United 0-3 North Ferriby United; Curzon Ashton 3-1 Marine.

First Round Proper Results
Cambridge United 3-2 Hednesford Town.North Ferriby United 0-2 Morecambe.

(HW = Home Win, P = Penalties)


League Review (04-11-06)

AFC TELFORD UNITED continue to lead the Premier Division after they made it seven league wins on the bounce when winning 4-0 at LINCOLN UNITED who had conceded only ten goals prior to Saturday’s defeat. HEDNESFORD TOWN remain second after winning with the only goal at MATLOCK TOWN who were failing to score in the league for the first time and there is now a six point gap now between the top two and WHITBY TOWN in third. Two wins in the week for MARINE have pushed them up to fourth with their midweek victims being FLEETWOOD TOWN who were another side failing to score in the league for the first time. Fleetwood, however, made amends at the weekend when hitting four past NORTH FERRIBY UNITED whilst at the other end of the table FRICKLEY ATHLETIC and PRESCOT CABLES fought out a 1-1 draw that saw Athletic remain a point ahead of Cables who now have picked up all three points just once in their last eleven attempts. STOCKSBRIDGE PS have gone three points clear of BUXTON at the head of the First Division but after winning at WOODLEY SPORTS in midweek they were held 1-1 on Saturday by a resurgent WAKEFIELD who have now gone five games without defeat after preventing the Steels making it nine wins in as many games. BUXTON were two up at GOOLE so will consider it two points dropped after the Vikings fought back to grab a point whilst other First Division highlights saw GRESLEY ROVERS win at OSSETT ALBION with goals from two debutants and SHEPSHED DYNAMO’s Daryll Thomas hit a hat-trick in his side’s 3-1 win at WARRINGTON TOWN.

This week saw a lot of cup action and in the League Challenge Cup First Division teams performed well with three of the four clubs facing Premier Division opponents coming up trumps. HARROGATE RAILWAY, BAMBER BRIDGE and WAKEFIELD all beat top flight opposition with only PRESCOT CABLES replying when they won a tricky encounter at CAMMELL LAIRD. The trend continued in the FA Trophy at the weekend with CAMMELL LAIRD, WOODLEY SPORTS and CAMMELL LAIRDS all accounting for Premier Division sides whilst BRADFORD PARK AVENUE’S Neil Redfearn saw the special day of his 1,000th senior appearance marked with a win over Solihull Borough.


League News (week ending 04-11-06)

DREAM COME TRUE FOR HEDNESFORD ‘KEEPER

Fifteen year old Hednesford Town youth team goalkeeper James Fryer must have been pinching himself to see if it really was true that he was being plucked from relative obscurity on Friday morning to making a debut for Manchester United against Liverpool on Saturday. Fryer, who was the hero of Hednesford Town’s FA Youth Cup penalty shoot out victory over Worcester City on Monday, has been attracting scouts all season with his performances and after injuries to Manchester United’s Under 16 and Under 17 ‘keepers, both of whom are England internationals, the Premiership club turned to Fryer who will be with the Reds for six weeks although he will still be able to play in the FA Youth Cup for Hednesford.

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARDS

The UniBond “Club of the Month” awards for October have gone to BURSCOUGH and STOCKSBRIDGE PS respectively. The Lancashire club scooped the Premier Division prize with an unbeaten record in the month of four wins and two draws. The lower tier award went the way of Stocksbridge who enjoyed a 100% league record of seven wins during October with their only defeat coming in the FA Trophy at Alsager Town. Their nearest rivals were Cammell Laird who were also unbeaten until the last day of the month when they lost at home in the League Cup to Prescot Cables but, in addition, had drawn one of their earlier league games at Shepshed Dynamo.

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARDS

The October UniBond “Fair Play” awards have been won by PRESCOT CABLES and BRIGG TOWN respectively. Cables picked up the Premier Division accolade despite having an unusually high figure for a monthly winner of seven cautions in the month from as many games. Brigg took the First Division prize with three cautions in six games. Prescot’s October achievement sees them move up from joint third place to lead the overall season to date Premier Division table narrowly from Guiseley and Matlock Town whilst the bad boys continue to be Ossett Town despite the club taking stern action against their players. The First Division season to date table also has a new leader with Kidsgrove Athletic up from last month’s second place and they hold a clear advantage over Colwyn Bay who replace Athletic in second. Last month’s leaders Alsager Town have dropped to fourth after having ten cautions plus a dismissal in October. September’s bottom club Clitheroe failed to improve their poor record and had no fewer than nineteen cautions and two dismissals in the past month leaving them as the only club in either Division with an average of three disciplinary points (based on one point for a caution and three points for a dismissal) per game. The sponsors are putting up £5,000 in prize money at the end of the season with both Divisional winners receiving £1,000, the runners-up £750, third place teams £500 with fourth spot worth £250. 

PARTON SETS CLUB RECORD ON GOOLE DEBUT

Former Scunthorpe United player Andy Parton set a club record when he made his debut for Goole AFC on Tuesday evening against Belper Town as he became the first Goole player either in the current club or the previous now defunct outfit to score a hat-trick on his debut. The 23 year old was a professional for five seasons with Scunthorpe but made only around twenty appearances and this season has been in the Conference North with both Worksop Town and Stalybridge Celtic.

TELFORD LODGE APPEAL AGAINST PENALTY SHOOT OUT

The extraordinary penalty shoot out in Tuesday evening’s UniBond League Challenge Cup First Round tie that ended 11-10 (all twenty players taking their first kicks scored) in Leek Town’s favour against Premier Division leaders AFC Telford United has become the subject of a protest from Telford on a technical issue regarding the procedure adopted in the taking of the penalty kicks. The appeal will be heard on Thursday evening.

WITTON IN SIGNING MODE

Witton Albion were one of the busiest clubs in the signings market this week and amongst the new faces were two who have experienced the full time game. ‘Keeper Jon Kennedy fetched the then UniBond League club Worksop Town a sizeable five figure fee when Sunderland signed him in 2000 but he never made the first team with them although he did play in the Football League on loan at Blackpool before being released in 2004. Striker Dean Crowe was ten years in the full time game starting his career with Stoke City as a junior and graduating to make some sixty appearances for the Potteries side. Loan spells at Northampton Town, Bury and Plymouth Argyle followed before a permanent move to Luton Town for whom he played around seventy games. Other clubs to feature on his CV are York City and Oldham Athletic with Stockport County being his last Football League club.

JEMSON BRINGS IN SMITH

Ilkeston Town boss Nigel Jemson has brought in the vastly experienced Mark Smith as his number two. Smith started his career as an apprentice at Sheffield Wednesday in the late seventies becoming a full time pro for the “Owls” before moving to Plymouth Argyle in 1987. After staying on the South Coast for three years he moved back to South Yorkshire playing for Barnsley for another three seasons before finishing off his playing career at Notts County and finally Lincoln City. He became youth team coach at the latter club before joining Ilkeston this week as coach and assistant manager.

FLEETWOOD LOOKING TO MAKE CLUB HISTORY

Fleetwood Town are looking to make club history by reaching the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time when they travel to Salisbury City next Saturday. As the current club was only formed in 1997 it is technically the first time they have reached the 1st Round Proper but the club’s forebears under various names made four 1st Round Proper appearances and lost the lot although, in chronological order, the scorelines have improved dramatically. The first occasion the club appeared in the competition proper was in 1949/50 when they were soundly whipped 9-0 by Bradford City and although they drew 2-2 at home to Rochdale in 1965/6 they lost the replay 5-0. In 1980/81 they got their dream draw with a home tie against Blackpool but the match was switched to Bloomfield Road on Police advice and Fleetwood went down 4-0. The last time they made it through to the 1st Round Proper was in 1990/91 when they lost away to Atherstone United 3-1. Fleetwood will be taking around five hundred supporters to shout them on at Salisbury who have advised the UniBond club they expect a crowd of “well in excess of 2,000” for the game.

MOSSLEY ROCKED BY THACKERAY RETIREMENT

Mossley have been rocked by the news that Andy Thackeray, who was the “Supporters Player of the Year” as well as the “Players Player of the Year” in last season’s First Division championship winning side, has announced his retirement from the game with immediate effect at the age of 38. His Football League career took in Manchester City, Newport County, Wrexham and Rochdale whilst he also helped Halifax Town win the Conference title in 1997/98.

TWO THROUGH TO FA YOUTH CUP 1st ROUND PROPER

A 5-4 penalty shoot out victory over Worcester City on Tuesday evening saw Hednesford Town join North Ferriby United in the 1st Round Proper of this season’s FA Youth Cup. But Leek Town’s bid to make it three UniBond clubs collapsed in dramatic style during extra-time in their tie at Arnold Town who won 7-2. Unfortunately neither Ferriby or Hednesford have drawn Football League opposition with the latter due to travel to Cambridge United who beat Histon 3-0 in another delayed tie. Ferriby, who had won through the previous week, are at home on Sunday 12th November to Morecambe who comfortably disposed of Worksop Town 6-0 last weekend.

CHORLEY APPEAL FOR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

This month is the 20th Anniversary of Chorley’s famous victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup and to mark the occasion the “Magpies” are holding a Dinner at their Social Club on Friday 17th November. The club want everybody connected with the win to attend but are struggling to contact the club’s then President Dr P.Wren and two players Charlie Cooper and Wayne Roberts. The club is appealing to anyone who may know the current whereabouts of any of the three people concerned to get in touch with Chorley FC Supporters Club Chairman Mr G.Haslam on 01257 416247 (home) or 07761 581538 (mobile).

LIVERPOOL HELP MARINE WITH FRIENDLY

Liverpool are to send a team to play Marine on Tuesday 28th November to honour a commitment made by the club when they pulled out of the semi-final of the Liverpool Senior Cup against the “Mariners” towards the backend of last season due to a fixture backlog. The game will be a financial boost to the Crosby club who in the last week or so have exited from both the lucrative FA Cup and FA Trophy competitions. Adding further interest on the night is the fact that Liverpool, managed by reserve team boss Gary Ablett, will bring the FA Cup with them to display in the College Suite before and after the game. Marine Chairman Paul Leary said “This is a tremendous gesture by Liverpol and we are delighted with their offer to send a team” whilst Liverpool Assistant Secretary Ian Silvester added “We are pleased to honour our commitment made to Marine in the wake our withdrawal from last season’s Liverpool Senior Cup and the support we received from both Marine and the County FA at that time was commendable and much appreciated”.

MOORE BRINGS IN RATCLIFFE

New Leek Town boss Paul Moore has turned to his former club Congleton Town in naming Andy Ratcliffe as his number two. Ratcliffe was reserve team manager at Congleton and the former ‘keeper, who holds a UEFA “B” coaching licence has previously coached at Kidsgrove Athletic, Nantwich Town and Alsager Town. Amongst the new signings to arrive at Harrison Park since Moore’s appointment are two former England youth internationals Steve Everett and Tim Lees with the latter a ball juggling champion who has also represented England at 6 a-side level.


League Review (28-10-06)

FLEETWOOD TOWN were the heroes of the week as they marched in to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Wisbech Town. Unfortunately they didn’t get the reward their efforts deserved when they were drawn away to Salisbury City. The League’s other survivors MARINE fought back from three down at Conference North Barrow but were still a goal adrift when the final whistle blew. Back on the domestic scene Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED extended their unbeaten start to the campaign to fourteen when beating PRESCOT CABLES with a stoppage time winner and they stay two points clear of HEDNESFORD TOWN who overcame FRICKLEY ATHLETIC 2-1. Last week’s third place team GUISELEY dispensed with manager Neil Parsley on Monday and promptly lost to FRICKLEY ATHLETIC and went down again at the weekend at ASHTON UNITED to drop to fourth but with both WITTON ALBION and LINCOLN UNITED level on points with them. The latter took their “goals for” column in to double figures when winning at KENDAL TOWN and it is quite remarkable they are in sixth spot with such a goal tally. WHITBY TOWN moved in to third after disposing of bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN.

There are new leaders in the First Division as CLITHEROE collapsed in the second half to concede five goals to STOCKSBRIDGE PS who were recording their seventh win on the bounce to take over top spot after last week’s top three BUXTON, BRADFORD PARK AVENUE and EASTWOOD TOWN were all held to draws with the Derbyshire side finishing all square at home to WAKEFIELD who proved their recent renaissance was no flash in the pan with an excellent point. The two bottom clubs CHORLEY and BRIDLINGTON TOWN battled out a draw whilst GOOLE AFC ended a nine game sequence without a win when winning 4-1 at GRESLEY ROVERS.


League News (week ending 28-10-06)

CHORLEY NAME NEW MANAGEMENT TEAM

Chorley’s third manager of the campaign will be Gerry Luzcka who follows in the footsteps of Shaun Teale and Paul Lodge who have both resigned from the hot seat since the start of the season. Luzka has never managed before in his own right in the UniBond League but has been Assistant boss at several clubs including Leigh RMI and Stalybridge Celtic. He brings with him as his number two 36 year old midfielder Kenny Mayers who needs no introduction to followers of the UniBond League scene having been an integral part of the Bamber Bridge side that won the League Challenge Cup and finished First Division runners-up in 1994/5. He went on to also play for Morecambe, Lancaster City, Barrow, Kendal Town, Fleetwood Town and most recently Mossley. He also won League representative honours and had a spell as assistant manager at Padiham in the North West Counties League last season.

GUISELEY PART COMPANY WITH PARSLEY

Despite his side riding high in the Premier Division Guiseley manager for the past five years Neil Parsley has had his position with the Yorkshire club terminated as the club has decided to take on somebody who can not only run the first team but also oversee the needs and aspirations of the club’s very considerable community programme that sees some 350 juniors in Guiseley colours each weekend. A club statement said that Mr Parsley had been in post during five of the club’s most difficult years and despite severe budgetary constraints had kept Guiseley in the top half of the Premier Division. Director Steve Parkin who is also one of the club’s major financial backers said “I would like to stress that the decision is absolutely no reflection on Neil’s ability as a manager and myself and the Board would like to thank him for all his efforts whilst he has been in charge”. Taking over is the very experienced former Football League manager Terry Dolan who managed Bradford City (1987-89), Rochdale (1989-91), Hull City (1991-97) and York City (2000-3).

REDFEARN NEARS 1,000th GAME

Bradford Park Avenue’s Neil Redfearn is fast approaching his 1,000th game in senior football with today’s game against Rossendale United expected to see him take his career total to 999. Although Avenue have a County Cup game against Yorkshire Amateurs on Monday evening it is thought the 41 year old is likely to be given a break in view of Bradford’s FA Trophy tie against Solihull Borough on 4th November which should be the day that sees him reach the magical four figure mark. Redfearn currently stands in fifth place in the all time list of Football League appearances with his 790 appearances headed by only Peter Shilton (1005), Tony Forde (938), Terry Paine (824) and Tommy Hutchinson (794). He began his professional career at Bolton Wanderers in 1982 after an apprenticeship at Nottingham Forest but although Crystal Palace paid £100,000 for him he spent his prime years at Barnsley for whom he made 338 appearances scoring 84 goals and he was captain when they were promoted to the Premiership in 1997.

On their immediate relegation the following season Charlton Athletic paid £1,000,000 to keep Redfearn in the Premiership at the ripe old age of 33 but in 1999 the Dewsbury born midfielder jumped at the chance to return to Yorkshire with Bradford City who paid £250,000 for his services. He also played in the Football League for Lincoln City, Doncaster Rovers, Watford, Oldham Athletic, Wigan Athletic, Halifax Town, Boston United and Rochdale. Whilst at Halifax he got his first chance at management twice taking over as caretaker but left in 2002 when again passed over for the permanent post. He became player-manager at Scarborough in 2004 and remained with the “Seadogs” until earlier this year when he resigned his position and agreed to join Avenue for whom his father Brian was a long serving player in the club’s Football League days during the 1950’s. His father is often amongst the spectators watching his son who scored his 200th career goal in Avenue’s recent 7-3 victory against Clitheroe. As always when a remarkable achievement is made within the League our sponsors Henkel, the parent company of Unibond, have acted spontaneously and will mark the occasion of Redfearn’s 1,000th senior competitive game with a special framed certificate.

NINETEEN STILL STANDING

The UniBond League has nineteen clubs still standing after the midweek replays in the FA Trophy although one of them, Ossett Albion, have to try again next week as their game at Willenhall Town on Tuesday fell victim to the weather. In the draw for the Second Qualifying Round which will be played next Saturday UniBond clubs have been drawn against outside opposition in five of the ties. But, for once, the draw has been kind with four of the clubs, including Ossett Albion if successful, being drawn at home with only Clitheroe on their travels to Halesowen Town conquerors of Hednesford Town in one of Tuesday’s replays. There are two all Premier Division ties at Ashton United and Ilkeston Town where Gateshead and Ilkeston Town are the visitors. In the remaining five ties involving the UniBond League Premier Division clubs take on First Division clubs and Mossley, Kendal Town and Whitby Town are unlikely to be relishing the thoughts of their trips to Cammell Laird, Kendal Town and Woodley Sports respectively. Witton Albion are at home to Alsager Town whilst Eastwood Town travel to the 2003 winners Burscough. Both First Division clubs, however, will not be without hope as Alsager’s away record is far superior to their home record where they have suffered six defeats in seven league outings whilst Eastwood beat Premier Division leaders AFC Telford United over two games in the last Round.

FERRIBY THROUGH

North Ferriby United won through to the 1st Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup with a 3-0 success over Eccleshill United on Thursday evening and will now be at home to either Worksop Town or Morecambe who have still to play their tie. Unfortunately Marine missed out on a trip to Football League club Macclesfield Town when they went down at this season’s surprise packet Curzon Ashton who had previously also removed one of the North’s best youth set ups when beating Burscough, a club who have reached the 1st Round Proper on numerous occasions in the past eight or nine years. Elsewhere both Leek Town and Hednesford Town were held up in their attempts to progress by the weather which caused the postponements of their ties against Arnold Town and Worcester City respectively. Should Leek be successful they will visit Shrewsbury Town whilst Hednesford Town will travel to either Cambridge United or Histon should they overcome Worcester.

NORTH WEST SIDE STORIES

Nice to be able to give a plug to a publication from a fellow League with the North West Counties League new on-line magazine “North West Side Stories” a very good read. It will be published every two or three months and will feature stories from around the North West Counties League. It can be found at nwsidestories.co.uk prefaced of course by www.

RICKERS SWITCH

Former Oldham Athletic midfielder Paul Rickers switched this week from Ossett Town to Frickley Athletic as the latter club’s new boss Billy Heath continues to rebuild his side. Rickers made around three hundred appearances in the full time game mainly for Oldham Athletic where he came through the junior ranks to become a first team regular from 1995 until 2002 with further spells at Northampton Town and Bury before a move in to the UniBond League last season with Farsley Celtic. 

RADCLIFFE OPEN NEW COMPLEX

Radcliffe Borough may be struggling on the field this season but they are making huge strides off it and next week sees the opening of their new all weather sports complex which comprises six-a-side courts, sports bar, sports shop and sports injury clinic. The development is the only one of its kind in the borough of Bury and surrounding areas and will provide everything needed for football from equipment to the treatment of injuries all on the one site. The cost of the development takes the recent investment in the club to some £375,000 with a quarter of a million of that being spent on the impressive changing room and office block opened a couple of years ago. The club already has plans for a third phase of building having submitted plans to the Local Authority for two / three grass junior floodlit pitches and a specialised all weather goalkeeper’s training area. The scheme has the backing of Bury MBC and due to its community nature has been able to attract sponsorship and involvement from many local businesses.

MARINE DOCTOR MOVES UP THE LADDER

Marine’s former Club Doctor Steve McNally has certainly moved up football’s ladder in recent years and can now be seen regularly on television as part of the Manchester United backroom team having become their doctor during the summer. Whilst a GP with his own practice McNally wanted to become involved in sports medicine and joined Marine’s legendary long serving backroom team of Roly Howard, Roger Patience and John Bradshaw working with them for several years until Liverpool took up his services for their Academy. Last summer he was recommended to United when the club had issues over Wayne Rooney’s famous metatarsal injury. Not to be outdone, Marine’s current Club Doctor Nigel Jones is also making rapid strides within sports medicine and is the England Under 19’s Rugby Union doctor.

MARINE LINK UP WITH LOCAL POLICE

Already heavily involved in the local community Marine have increased their participation within it by setting up an independent charity called Marine Youth and Community Ltd. Last Saturday the club, via the newly formed charity and Marine Supporters Association, linked up with Merseyside Police to fund 24 places on a trip for the club’s away FA Trophy tie at Woodley Sports. The Police funded the day out for the youngsters but neither the long arm of the law nor the newly found support could help the “Mariners” who surprisingly crashed 6-1 to the First Division side. Police Officer Andy Coppell who accompanied the group said “Merseyside Police supported the trip as part of our youth divisionary activities scheme and the day out gave me a great opportunity to build bridges with the youngsters”. Marine Supporters Association Chairman John Wilkinson added “It was a pleasure to have so many young people travel with us to the FA Trophy game and I just hope they were not put off by the score line. We hope, with the help of the Police, to be able to run another similar away day later in the season”.

COLLINGE ON THE MOVE AGAIN

Clitheroe ‘keeper Peter Collinge has certainly had a moving season so far. He left the Lancashire club before a ball was kicked to sign a month’s contract at Bury as cover for Northern Ireland international Alan Fettis. That deal, however, wasn’t extended due to the arrival of Manchester City’s Kaspar Schmeichel and he returned to Clitheroe. This week he was on his travels again as new Leek Town boss Paul Moore signed him and his team mate Michael Oates as he continues his rebuilding to get Leek away from the danger zone.


League Review (21-10-06)

With neither AFC TELFORD UNITED nor HEDNESFORD TOWN involved in league action this week it was a big opportunity for nearest challengers GUISELEY and WHITBY TOWN to close the gap on the two leaders. GUISELEY, however, fell foul of the LINCOLN UNITED mean machine that has kept more clean sheets than any other Premier Division side this season with a goalless draw the outcome whilst WHITBY TOWN were held to a 2-2 draw at a resurgent OSSETT TOWN. One team though to make considerable progress was NORTH FERRIBY UNITED who, after occupying ninth place last Saturday, found themselves in a play-off berth after a 3-1 success at ASHTON UNITED. Thanks to their defence LINCOLN UNITED are in sixth with 23 points despite scoring just nine goals. At the opposite end of the table FRICKLEY ATHLETIC enjoyed their first win in nine games when winning at ILKESTON TOWN to move out of the bottom three but only three points separate them from KENDAL TOWN in 14th. After a bright start Kendal are having a tough time and Tuesday’s defeat at FLEETWOOD TOWN means they have picked up only three points from their last eight games and in the same period have suffered FA Cup demise.

EASTWOOD TOWN continue to lead the First Division after denting 2nd place BUXTON’s 100% home record with a 1-1 draw on Wednesday. That result enabled BRADFORD PARK AVENUE to close up on the top two thanks to a stoppage time winner against BAMBER BRIDGE on Monday. After picking up just one point from their opening four games ROSSENDALE UNITED have moved quietly up the table and their latest win left WOODLEY SPORTS still searching for their first away win. ALSAGER TOWN have the opposite problem to Woodley and their midweek loss to GRESLEY ROVERS leaves them with five home defeats in six games. CHORLEY took only their fourth point of the campaign when drawing with CLITHEROE but it wasn’t enough to stop them slumping to the bottom of the table as WAKEFIELD enjoyed their first three pointer of the campaign at the fourteenth attempt when successful at BRIGG TOWN and on Saturday followed up with a win at GOOLE AFC to drop BRIDLINGTON TOWN in to the bottom two

There was plenty of cup action this week but no joy for UniBond clubs in FA Cup replay action with OSSETT ALBION. WITTON ALBION and MATLOCK TOWN all going out – the latter after missing two penalties in a 3-2 defeat. Saturday saw eyes turn to the FA Trophy where the two Divisional leaders, AFC TELFORD UNITED and EASTWOOD TOWN, met with honours finishing all square as the lower tier dished out some shocks none more so than WOODLEY SPORTS 6-1 win over MARINE. Hard on the heels of that one came CAMMELL LAIRD’s 4-0 success at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC whilst SKELMERSDALE UNITED disposed of PRESCOT CABLES 3-0. BRADFORD PARK AVENUE had NORTH FERRIBY UNITED in trouble too only to lose a two goal advantage in stoppage time


League News (week ending 21-10-06)

LODGE RESIGNS AT CHORLEY

Chorley are looking for their third manager of the season after Paul Lodge quit following last Saturday’s 6-1 away defeat at Harrogate Railway Athletic. He had been in charge for just seven weeks following the resignation of former Aston Villa legend Shaun Teale. Chairman Ken Wright said that Lodge had inherited a difficult situation and added “Paul resigned after Saturday’s match feeling that following a sequence of indifferent results his position had become untenable. He had taken over just four games in to the season and in an effort to turn things round had brought in a lot of young players. The UniBond League is a physical arena and players have to be strong to meet the demands of it but unfortunately many of the newcomers weren’t able to meet those demands. Nobody hurts more than the manager when the side is losing games but nobody can wave a magic wand and put matters right. We now have to steady the ship and I am pleased that we have been able to call on two dedicated clubmen in defender Martin Clark and goalkeeper Phil Priestley who are both well respected figures in the dressing room”. Clark, who held the fort for two games when Teale resigned in August, will again take charge of team affairs assisted by Priestley and the duo got off to a good start with a point against Clitheroe on Tuesday evening. Just two months in to the campaign Lodge becomes the sixth manager to depart the UniBond scene.

BRIDLINGTON APPOINT MARSHALL

Struggling First Division side Bridlington Town have appointed Paul Marshall as manager relieving Chairman Peter Smurthwaite of the job. Earlier in the campaign Mr Smurthwaite had announced that he wished to relinquish the responsibility of team affairs which he had been forced to take on board after the resignation of previous manager Billy Heath towards the end of the last campaign. Marshall began his playing days as a youngster at York City and although he didn’t make it at Football League level he embarked on a very successful semi-pro career playing and managing Harrogate Town before moving across the town to manage Harrogate Railway who he took to a televised 2nd Round Proper FA Cup tie against Bristol Rovers which netted the club around £100,000 a couple of seasons ago. He moved on to Goole and gained them promotion to the UniBond League before parting company with them half way through last season. He then went on to be Assistant Manager to Clitheroe’s Mark Smitheringale who, in turn, had been Marshall’s number two at both Harrogate Railway and Goole.

LEEK LOSE SKIPPER

Struggling Leek Town have lost skipper Ashley Woolliscroft who left the club after handing in a second transfer request of the season. The former Stoke City and Telford United player had submitted a request earlier in the campaign resulting in his contract being re-negotiated and the player agreeing to stay but following talks with new Leek boss Paul Moore the 26 year old put in another written request and has now signed for First Division Kidsgrove Athletic for whom he made his debut on Tuesday evening in a 5-4 defeat at Belper Town. Woolliscroft, who made first team appearances for Stoke, arrived at Leek from League of Wales club Newtown in September 2003 and had made 150 appearances for the Harrison Park club.

FERRIBY MAKE MAJOR BEHIND THE SCENES SIGNING

North Ferriby United Chairman Les Hare this week announced he had persuaded Cosi Basile to join the club in the role of Director of Youth Football as replacement for Dave Frisby who was recently forced to stand down due to work commitments. Basile certainly has impressive credentials and is seen as a major coup having first taken up coaching with Hull Schools in 1983 taking them to the semi-final of the National Schools Cup in 1990 when his side included two of the current Ferriby squad in Adam Lowthorpe and John Eyre. He also worked for both Stan Ternant and Brian Horton at Hull City having under his wings current England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and, in addition, worked for the Football Association under Howard Wilkinson where one of his highlights was taking a team to Paris for a pre- World Cup youth tournament and winning with a side that included Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant. The list of football luminaries who have passed through his hands makes impressive reading with Nicky Barmby, Jermaine Defoe, Joe Cole, Michael Owen and Ryan Giggs amongst the household names to have worked under him at some stage in their development. But he has also worked with a number of current Ferriby players including Gary Bradshaw, Antoni Pecora, Neil Allison and Chris Bolder in addition to Lowthorpe and Eyre. Ferriby’s youth team, incidentally, beat Thackley 2-0 on Wednesday evening to progress to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup and give the UniBond League four participants in the final games before the Football League clubs enter the fray. They will now travel to Eccleshill United whilst both Leek Town and Marine are also on their travels with the former going to Arnold Town and the latter visiting Curzon Ashton. Hednesford Town are the only UniBond club drawn at home with Worcester City being the visitors when the ties are played next midweek.

WOODLEY PLAYERS IN CAR CRASH

On arriving at Rossendale United on Tuesday evening Woodley Sports were rocked by the news that that three of their players who had been travelling by car to the fixture had been involved in a road traffic accident in the City Centre of Manchester en route to the game. Danny Queeley, Daniel Douglas-Pringle and Mario-Sergio Daniel, who between them had contributed eleven goals to the Woodley cause this term, were unable to continue their journey when their vehicle was a write-off after being hit by an uninsured driver driving through a red light. Daniel suffered an injured arm and all three were left badly shaken and were very lucky their injuries weren’t more serious. All three were expected to be available for consideration for Woodley’s FA Trophy tie at the weekend.

NOW’T LIKE BRASS

Mossley might not have struck gold with their results in their first season back in the Premier Division but they have pulled off a scoop in the Brass Band stakes that is very popular in that part of the world. The club will be playing hosts to the world famous Black Dyke Brass Band on Saturday, 4th November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in nearby Oldham. Tickets priced £12-50 (concessions £11-50) are available from 0161 911 4083 or 01457 831250 or at the club office on matchdays.

CHANNEL M FEATURE UNIBOND CLUBS

Manchester’s own local TV station Channel M is giving regular coverage to the UniBond League’s Manchester based sides Ashton United, Mossley, Radcliffe Borough and Woodley Sports in their Friday evening sports news slots. The station is available on Sky Channel 203 or NTL channel 878 with the bulletins going out approx 17.20, 17.50, 18.20 and 18.50 and between 21.30 and 22.00.


League Review (14-10-06)

It was no unlucky thirteen for AFC TELFORD UNITED on Saturday as they stretched their unbeaten start to that number of games with a 1-0 win at PRESCOT CABLES which sent them two points clear at the top of the Premier Division as closest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN were held to a draw at MOSSLEY. Third place GUISELEY lost ground when they were surprisingly beaten in midweek at home to OSSETT TOWN and to complete a bad week for the Yorkshire club they were knocked out of the FA Cup on Saturday by Northern League outfit Newcastle Benfield. WHITBY TOWN could have overhauled Guiseley but remain fourth after losing at LINCOLN UNITED to the only goal of the game which left United with an astonishing 22 points despite not yet reaching double figures in the “goals for” column! At the opposite end of the table LEEK TOWN lifted themselves off the bottom rung thanks to taking four points in new manager Paul Moore’s first two games in charge. Two other strugglers FRICKLEY ATHLETIC and GRANTHAM TOWN finished with honours even when recently appointed Grantham boss Gary Marrow returned with to his old stamping ground in midweek but both lost on Saturday with the Lincolnshire side the victims of a Cieran Kilheeney hat-trick for BURSCOUGH and they drop to bottom place two points adrift of Leek. Athletic, meanwhile, were supplying ASHTON UNITED with a first clean sheet of the season. After taking sixteen points from the first six games KENDAL TOWN have slumped and a 4-1 defeat at NORTH FERRIBY UNITED leaves them seven games without picking up all three points.

In the First Division EASTWOOD TOWN have gone two points clear after walloping BRIGG TOWN in midweek by six goals and then coming from behind to put a dent in ALSAGER TOWN’s impressive away record at the weekend. Indeed there were goals galore this week in the lower tier and nowhere was that more true than at BRADFORD PARK AVENUE on Saturday where a 7-3 win over CLITHEROE enabled Avenue to close to within two points of second place BUXTON who, after hitting four in midweek, were involved in the First Division’s only goalless game of the week at GRESLEY ROVERS. Ronnie Morgan hit a four timer for fourth placed CAMMELL LAIRD in midweek and was again on the mark in a 1-1 draw at SHEPSHED DYNAMO at the weekend whilst COLWYN BAY occupy the final play-off berth thanks to narrow away wins at the bottom two clubs. It was a good week for HARROGATE RAILWAY who picked up six points including a 6-1 win over struggling CHORLEY who stay next to bottom after their tenth defeat in eleven games but one club celebrating a draw were WAKEFIELD FC in midweek as their point at CLITHEROE on Tuesday was their first of the campaign.

In the FA Cup there were wins for MARINE and FLEETWOOD TOWN but MATLOCK TOWN, WITTON ALBION and sole First Division survivors OSSETT ALBION must all try again after draws.


League News (week ending 14-10-06)

LEEK LOOKING FOR MOORE OF THE SAME

After their poor start to the season Leek Town will be hoping for “Moore” of the same after appointing Paul Moore this week to replace the recently departed Mark Cartwright and then seeing him immediately get off to a winning start. The 27 year old Moore resigned his position at North West Counties side Congleton Town to take on the Leek post and then inspired his new charges to a 1-0 win over Ashton United in his first game in charge just 24 hours after meeting the players for the first time on Monday evening. Still only aged 27 Moore has led an action packed life starting off as a junior at Hull City where he remained until he was sixteen before moving to his home town club Portsmouth for two seasons only to suffer a serious knee injury that finished his career at that level. Moore then followed his father in to the Royal Navy serving a number of years as a sub mariner but on leaving the Navy he turned to semi-pro football and was the subject of a £5,000 transfer fee when moving from Gosport Borough to Fareham Town. Coaching has always featured highly on Moore’s list of priorities and in addition to running his own coaching school he holds a UEFA “B” badge. He has been boosted by the decision of 24 year old midfielder Anthony Danylyk to stay put after Leek had received no fewer than three seven day notices of approach for the player from fellow UniBond clubs. Moore, however, will have to do without the services of former Stoke City midfielder Mark Devlin who has quit after just eight games for Leek. Devlin had hung up his boots after playing for Northwich Victoria last season but previous Leek boss Mark Cartwright persuaded him to give it another go. However after further injuries Devlin has called it a day. Leek’s 1-0 win on Tuesday against Ashton United was secured incidentally by their first goal from open play in 15 hours and 33 minutes and it was also their first home clean sheet of the campaign.

ALBION GET WARLOW FOR THE SEASON

Witton Albion were delighted this week to get the services of Crewe Alexandra striker Adam Warlow for the rest of the season. With his loan due to expire in November Albion have been able to negotiate with Crewe a deal converting the short term loan in to a long term loan. Warlow had already found the net eleven times going in to today’s FA Cup tie at home to Farsley Celtic. With Warlow’s loan converted Albion manager Jim Vince has now been able to bring in the maximum allowed two short term loan players taking another Crewe youngster Rob Lloyd plus Stockport County’s Michael Bowler on month long deals.

ILKESTON STRENGTHEN UP

Ilkeston Town made two major moves in the transfer market this week signing Grantham Town’s sought after striker Dougie Wade and midfielder Lee Featherstone who made more than thirty appearances for Scunthorpe United in the full time game after starting his career with Sheffield United.

MARINE SUPPORTERS REACH £50,000 LANDMARK

Marine Supporters Association recently presented a cheque for £500 to Club Chairman Paul Leary which was significant not so much for the amount but for the fact that it took the Supporters Association donations since its formation in 1991 to the club past the £50,000 mark.

FOUR LEFT STANDING IN FA YOUTH CUP

Midweek defeats for Brigg Town, Kendal Town, AFC Telford United and Burscough have left the UniBond League with four clubs still in with a chance of meeting Football League opposition in this year’s FA Youth Cup. Burscough’s defeat at Curzon Ashton was a particular surprise as the West Lancashire club have a phenomenal record in the competition reaching the First Round Proper on almost an annual basis in recent seasons. Balancing the books up were Hednesford Town and Leek Town who both had 4-0 wins over Nuneaton Borough and Glossop North End respectively whilst Marine overcame Colne. Still to play are North Ferriby United whose tie at Thackley was postponed until next Wednesday. Marine now tackle Burscough’s conqurerors Curzon Ashton with the draw as it effects the UniBond survivors for the 3rd Qualifying Round (the stage prior to the Football League clubs entering the fray) as follows – Eccleshill United or Liversedge v NORTH FERRIBY UNITED or Thackley. Hinckley Utd or Arnold Town v LEEK TOWN. HEDNESFORD TOWN v Worcester City. Curzon Ashton v MARINE. Ties to be played week commencing 23rd October.

LINCOLN SUPPORT BOBBY MOORE FUND

Lincoln United have been supporting the Bobby Moore Cancer Fund by selling pin badges prior to home games and have raised more than a £100 for the cause. Any other clubs who would like to help the fund should visit the funds website which can be found at www.cancerresearchuk.org/bobbymoorefund/

BUSY MOSSLEY

No doubt about who was the busiest club in the transfer comings and goings this week with Mossley releasing two players and signing five. Leaving Seel Park are striker Anthony Bingham who links up with First Division title chasing Buxton after scoring half a dozen goals in 21 appearances and defender Terry Bowker who will be with numerous former Mossley team mates over at neighbouring Ashton United. Amongst the incoming players is striker Chris Ward who in 2000 was the subject of a big money move to Birmingham City after setting the UniBond League on fire with a hatful of goals for Lancaster City. Another striker to sign is former Manchester City reserve team player Adie Orr who holds the distinction of scoring fledgling club FC United of Manchester’s first ever hat-trick amongst his eighteen goals in 32 outings during that club’s first ever campaign. Given the recent signing of striker Peter Wright from Chorley it is perhaps surprising that yet another striker, James Turley, also arrived at Seel Park this week from Stalybridge Celtic. The 25 year old began his career with York City for whom he made more than twenty Football League appearances and then Scarborough. Veteran midfielder David Eyres aged 42 made well over six hundred appearances in the full time game for the likes of Blackpool, Burnley, Preston North End and Oldham Athletic. More recently he has been playing for Hyde United whilst the final signing was that of Leigh RMI’S Len Shillito.

WHITBY BEWARE OF SMITH

European Gymnastic Gold Medal winner Glenn Smith has been the talk of the Northern League recently with his 70 yard throws obtained by a somersault action but now UniBond League club Whitby Town are about to experience the phenomenon at first hand. Whitby have been drawn to play Smith’s club Stokeley in the North Riding County Cup in November. 


League Review (07-10-06)

Two more wins in the week left AFC TELFORD UNITED not only still top of the Premier Division but also the only unbeaten team in the top tier. A frustrating goalless draw in midweek for nearest rivals HEDNESFORD TOWN also enabled Telford to increase their lead to three points despite Town bouncing back at the weekend to beat KENDAL TOWN who, after a bright start to life in the top flight, have now gone five games without a win. Going well in third are GUISELEY who made it five successive wins with two 2-0 victories over NORTH FERRIBY UNITED and GRANTHAM TOWN whilst two wins for ILKESTON TOWN saw them shoot up to sixth from last Saturday’s12th place as MATLOCK TOWN, WHITBY TOWN, WITTON ALBION, NORTH FERRIBY UNITED, LINCOLN UNITED, KENDAL TOWN and FLEETWOOD TOWN who were all above Ilkeston last Saturday dropped points in one form or another during the past week. Saturday was an amazing day for home teams in the Premier Division with only WITTON ALBION, who drew with BURSCOUGH, failing to win. At the bottom of the table LEEK TOWN’s goal drought continued and they have found the net just once in their last nine games. It was a good week for RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who moved out of the bottom three up to 16th slot with four points in the week whilst their Saturday victims FRICKLEY ATHLETIC made exactly the reverse trip.

In the First Division it was bad week for last week’s joint leaders EASTWOOD TOWN and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE. At least the former had a point to show for their efforts at WOODLEY SPORTS on Saturday after losing at home to HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC in midweek but Avenue also surprisingly lost at home to GRESLEY ROVERS on Monday and went down again in Saturday’s top of the table clash at BUXTON who now go joint top with Eastwood to relegate Bradford to third. Newcomers CAMMELL LAIRD remain unbeaten after despatching ALSAGER TOWN 4-1 on Tuesday and occupy fourth whilst the final play-off spot belongs to SHPESHED DYNAMO who have won five and drawn one of their last six games. At the opposite end, struggling BRIDLINGTON TOWN recovered from their 9-1 midweek mauling at the hands of STOCKSBRIDGE PS to keep a more respectable scoreline in a 2-1 defeat against Shepshed but despite another two defeats stay out of the relegation places as CHORLEY didn’t play this week whilst WAKEFIELD FC remain without a point after losing at home to Shepshed on Tuesday.

Half of the First Division clubs were in FA Trophy action with the games between BELPER TOWN and SKELMERSDALE  UNITED along with GOOLE AFC and KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC ending up all square. Elsewhere ALSAGER TOWN and CAMMELL LAIRD both won their first ever ventures in the competition but spare a thought for WAKEFIELD FC for whom nothing is going right. Without a point in the league they lost their Trophy tie at WARRINGTON TOWN to a last minute penalty!


League News (week ending 07-10-06)

FA CUP DRAW

Defeats for Belper Town and Frickley Athletic in midweek replays mean that the UniBond League will have ten representatives in the 3rd Qualifying Round of this year’s FA Cup competition – exactly the same number as last season. Unlike last season, however, when Rossendale United were the only First Division team still standing the lower tier has been remarkably successful this time around and will supply half of the UniBond clubs still hoping to progress further. Warrington Town’s dramatic extra-time win over Premier Division Kendal Town on Tuesday after being two down sees them take their place alongside Ossett Albion, Woodley Sports (both of whom knocked out Conference North clubs to reach this stage), Skelmersdale United and Kidsgrove Athletic. Warrington now feature in the only all UniBond tie of the Round when they will travel to Fleetwood Town. Six of the remaining eight clubs face Conference opposition with Matlock Town having to travel to opponents from that level of the game for the second round running whilst Woodley Sports have agreed to reverse the venue for their fixture against Gainsborough Trinity after they failed to obtain Hyde United’s Ewan Field ground due to Hyde being allocated a fixture by the Conference. Trinity, however, offered to pay Woodley’s travelling expenses if they would switch the game to Gainsborough. Woodley, of course, at the moment are not allowed to play home ties in the FA Cup on their artificial surface. Elsewhere, Guiseley will be at home to Newcastle Benfield of the Northern League whilst Kidsgrove Athletic make the trip to Haverhill Rovers from the Eastern Counties League. The full draw for the ties as they effect UniBond clubs can be found on the fixtures page with the matches to be played on Saturday, 14th October.

TORONCZAK NOMINATED FOR “PLAYER OF THE ROUND”

Ossett Albion’s Danny Toronczak is one of five players nominated by the FA for consideration of “Player of the Round” for the 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Cup thanks to his two goals in two minutes that saw his side knock fourth placed Conference North club Workington out of the competition last Saturday. The “Player of the Round” award is made throughout the FA Cup competition with the winning players from each Round being invited pitchside at the Cup Final to receive their awards. Unfortunately Danny, with Albion’s dedicated fan base being so small in numbers, may not achieve the reward his sharp shooting last weekend deserves as the competition is website based. UniBond fans are encouraged to support him in the nomination made by the Daily Telegraph’s Ricky George by voting on the FA’s website.

BROTHERLY LOVE

When Graeme Mitchell came on as substitute for Warrington Town in Tuesday evening’s FA Cup replay he may have set some sort of FA Cup record as his appearance meant there were no fewer than three sets of brothers on the pitch playing at the same time. Whilst he was partnering his brother Phil the visitors, Kendal Town, already had Paul and John Osbourne and a second pair of brothers in Scott and Paul Redhead on the pitch.

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARDS

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for September have gone to MOSSLEY and CAMMELL LAIRD respectively. The Premier Division winners had five cautions in seven games during September and took the accolade for the second month in succession whilst Lairds showed you can be competitive but fair as they finished the month as the only unbeaten side in the First Division but still lifted the Fair Play prize with four cautions in six games. Mossley’s double success leaves them already well clear in the season to date tables but in the First Division a really bad month for August “Fair Play” winners Colwyn Bay sees the Welsh side drop out of the top six. New leaders in the season to date table are Alsager Town just ahead of Kidsgrove Athletic. There is a prize of £1,000 for the overall season Fair Play winners in each Division with £750 for the runners-up, £500 for the third place club and £250 for the fourth place club making a total of £5,000 prize money courtesy of UniBond over and above their sponsorship of the League. The season to date tables can be found elsewhere in this Press Release.

CARTWRIGHT QUITS AT LEEK

Leek Town became the fifth UniBond League club of the season to lose their manager when Mark Cartwright resigned immediately after Tuesday evening’s defeat in the top versus bottom clash at home to AFC Telford United. His decision came after his side had lost for the seventh consecutive game whilst in addition they had been knocked out of the FA Cup during the same period at the first time of asking. Adding to Cartwright’s woes was the fact that in his last eight matches in charge his side had only found the net once. It was all a far change from last season when he took charge with the team rock bottom and facing a seemingly impossible task to avoid relegation. Yet under Cartwright Leek not only escaped the drop but positively flourished to finish in a highly respectable 12th place. He wouldn’t discuss the reasons for his departure other than to say “We played well tonight but I felt the club needed a change”. Chairman Paul Burston said “The Board has accepted Mark’s resignation with some regret. We are indebted to him for maintaining Leek’s Premier Division status last season after all seemed lost. The Board would like to thank Mark for all his efforts and wish him well for the future. He will always be welcome back at Harrison Park in the future”. Taking charge of team affairs on a temporary basis are senior players Ashley Woolliscroft and Dave MacPherson.  

GRANTHAM ‘KEEPER WALKS OUT

Premier Division strugglers Grantham Town were rocked on Tuesday evening an hour before the kick off of their fixture against Ilkeston Town when goalkeeper Leigh Walker apparently refused to play after hearing from a third party that new manager Gary Marrow had approached another goalkeeper. Marrow said “We had to put outfield player Shaun Popple in goal after a quick coaching session and he did well but I am disappointed in Walker”. One player Marrow has brought in is former England schools and youth international Adam Oldham from Worksop Town. The 21 year old has had spells in the UniBond League previously on “unofficial” loans with Bradford Park Avenue and under Marrow at Frickley Athletic whilst this season he has played a few games with Wakefield FC.

FRICKLEY NAME HEATH AS NEW BOSS

Just nine days after being shocked by the departure of manager Gary Marrow to Grantham Town, last season’s Premier Division runners-up Frickley Athletic have named Billy Heath as his replacement. Heath brings with him Mark Carroll as his assistant. After a successful playing career at senior semi-pro level 36 year old Heath enjoyed five successful seasons as manager of Bridlington Town leading them to three promotions. Although Bridlington were then relegated from the UniBond League Premier Division Heath again had them riding high in the First Division until the club was hit by financial problems resulting in his resignation in March of this year. Carroll was Heath’s assistant at Bridlington after the pair had first met up as trainees with Hull City. Heath will be boosted by the return to the club of former England Youth international Ashley Scothern after the 22 year old was recently released by Ossett Town.

GUISELEY SHARPEN UP

Guiseley are hoping to consolidate on their good start with the signing this week of former England schools and youth international Kevin Sharp on his release from Shrewsbury Town. The 32 year old defender began his career with Leeds United and made several Premiership appearances for them before switching to Wigan Athletic for whom he played around two hundred games. Sharp then moved on to Wrexham, Huddersfield Town, Scunthorpe United and Shrewsbury taking his total career appearances in the full time game to more than 350. However, Guiseley’s delight at signing Sharp was tempered a few hours later when close season capture from Oxford United Steve Gray broke his leg during Tuesday evening’s fixture at North Ferriby United. Gray, a Scottish Under 21 International, has around two hundred appearances under his belt in the full time game including having played for the giants of Scottish football, Celtic.

BUXTON SIGN SIMPKINS

Another former Football League player to move in to the UniBond League this week was Michael Simpkins who signed for First Division title hopefuls Buxton. The 27 year old defender has made almost a century of appearances in the full time game after starting off as a trainee with his home town club Sheffield Wednesday. Whilst he did not break in to the first team at Wednesday he saw Football League action with Chesterfield, Cardiff City and Rochdale plus loan spells with Exeter City and Cheltenham Town.

STOCKSBRIDGE SET FIRST DIVISION RECORD

Whilst Stocksbridge PS’ 9-1 win at Bridlington Town on Tuesday evening was not a League record away victory it did set a new record for the First Division overhauling Caernarfon Town’s 8-1 demolition job when the Welsh club travelled to Great Harwood Town in season 1994/95. It was also a club record defeat for Bridlington as they had never previously conceded more than six in a competitive game and it was also the first occasion they had been involved in a match that saw ten goals. It wasn’t, however, Stocksbridge’s biggest win as that came in an FA Cup tie in 2002/3 when they hit seventeen past Oldham Town. The League record for an away win is still held by Matlock Town who overwhelmed Lancaster City 10-0 in 1974/5. Contributing to Bridlington Town’s heavy reverse on Tuesday was the fact that central defender Carl Giblin was dismissed as early as the 18th minute whilst goalkeeper Gavin Kelly also saw red before the half way stage had been reached.


League Review (30-09-06)

The Premier Division had yet another leader when HEDNESFORD TOWN went to the head of affairs on Monday with a solitary goal against struggling LEEK TOWN. Ironically the strike was from former Leek player Dave Whittaker who was injured in the act of scoring and had to receive stitches for his efforts before being later substituted. But on Saturday it was the turn of AFC TELFORD UNITED to return to top spot when they beat LEEK TOWN 5-1 whilst Hednesford were being held to a home draw by lowly OSSETT TOWN. With most of the top half of the table on FA Cup duty WHITBY TOWN took advantage with their fifth win on the bounce to claim the final play-off spot. At the opposite end of the table two draws in the week enabled GRANTHAM TOWN to climb off the bottom rung to be replaced by Leek.

Last Saturday’s First Division leaders EASTWOOD TOWN lost at STOCKSBRIDGE on Tuesday but kept top spot as nearest challengers BUXTON also went down in midweek despite scoring three times at HARROGATE RAILWAY. That defeat not only cost the Derbyshire top place but also their unbeaten record leaving newcomers CAMMELL LAIRD as the only team in the lower tier not to have lost. The Birkenhead side, however, needed a last gasp equaliser at home on Tuesday to deny BAMBER BRIDGE a first success in five and they will also have been disappointed to be held to a draw on Saturday when leading struggling BRIDLINGTON TOWN 2-0 with only five minutes left. Eastwood recovered from their midweek blip with victory at CLITHEROE but are joined at the top by BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who picked up six points in the week. ALSAGER TOWN were another side to claim six points and their reward was to climb in to the play-off places.

In the FA Cup it was virtually honours even in the games against outside opposition with six wins for UniBond clubs against seven defeats with two draws. First Division sides did particularly well with OSSETT ALBION and WOODLEY SPORTS overcoming Conference opposition as did Premier Division WITTON ALBION and MATLOCK TOWN with the latter perhaps being the performance of the day as they beat high flying Histon. Other notable First Division efforts came from KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC who hit six and WARRINGTON TOWN who drew at Premier Division KENDAL TOWN whilst SKELMERSDALE UNITED won at Marske United who had previously dealt out blows to higher ranking opposition.


League News (week ending 30-09-06)

BUXTON HIT BY HUTCHINSON BLOW

First Division title challengers Buxton have been hit by the news that right back Sean Hutchinson will be out for the rest of the season after the injury he received at Stocksbridge earlier in the month was diagnosed as cruciate ligament damage.

UNIBOND “CLUB OF THE MONTH” AWARDS

It was a Yorkshire double in the UniBond “Club of the Month” awards with GUISELEY taking the top tier award and OSSETT ALBION the First Division prize.  The Premier Division winners were undefeated in eight games during the month winning six of them to pip North Ferriby United who had won five out of seven and Marine who had won five out of eight. Both the “Mariners” and Ferriby had lost one game. The First Division accolade was a closer affair with Ossett and Skelmersdale United winning six games and losing one. However, the panel went with Albion who could claim Workington of the Conference North amongst their victims in an excellent FA Cup victory.

MARROW IN SHOCK SWITCH TO GRANTHAM

Frickley Athletic manager Gary Marrow this week quit the Yorkshire club to take on the task of rejuvenating Grantham Town who have struggled at the wrong end of the Premier Division all season since their switch from the Southern League during the summer. Marrow said “I felt I had taken the Frickley job as far as I could and when I heard the Grantham position was available I went straight on the phone to the Chairman who invited me down for an interview. I liked what I heard and am pleased to take the task on. Grantham have a great facility and one that deserves to be higher up the league. I am looking forward to the challenge of taking Grantham away from the relegation zone”.

Chairman Roger Booth said “We had over twenty applications in a very short space of time but Gary’s application was head and shoulders above the rest. The Board want to see the club at least in the top ten and we feel Gary and his backroom team will take us there and hopefully further still”. Marrow takes with him his Frickley Assistant Manager Mark Ogley, goalkeeping coach Alan Ogley and ‘physio Mick Gilbert. Marrow said “We have worked together not only at Frickley but also at Belper Town and Matlock Town as well. I know and trust them and we work very well together. Everyone who is here now will get the chance to prove to me and my team that they are good enough but something has to be changed somewhere as a side is bottom of the league for a reason”.

Marrow, however, will be hoping that his “form” in his last visit to Grantham isn’t repeated. When taking Frickley there for an FA Trophy game his involvement lasted just 26 minutes before he was ordered from the dug out by the referee after Grantham’s first goal. He said “I remember that and the reaction I got from the crowd. I hope I last longer in the dugout this time and that the fans take to me a bit more than they did that day!” Frickley, still reeling from the blow, went down 5-1 at Guiseley on Tuesday evening although they were grateful for physio’ Mick Gilbert taking charge of team affairs at short notice. For their FA Trophy trip to Stalybridge Celtic they arranged for Simon Collins and Shaun Selby to take over from Gilbert. Collins is an experienced midfield player who has had two spells with Athletic including last season when he was involved in most of the campaign which ended with Frickley taking runners-up spot. However, injuries have prevented him playing this term and he will be alongside Selby who is the current Frickley reserve team manager and who also ran the club’s Under 19’s last season. Applications for the vacant Frickley position are invited either in writing to the Secretary, Steve Pennock or by ‘phone on 07985 291074.

LEEK FANS CAN DROWN THEIR SORROWS

With their club facing extinction in the summer and now dropping down the Premier Division table as a shortage of goals hits home, Leek Town supporters can at least drown their sorrows. And by all accounts they are doing just that. The club is celebrating its 60th birthday by commissioning a commemorative beer. It is a premium, bottle conditioned ale with an ABV of 5% and is available through the club shop or the Blues Bar at £2-50 per bottle and it sold out on its debut at the home game last week against Gateshead despite another defeat on the field. But connoisseurs of the golden nectar will not be disappointed as further cases have been ordered and will be available throughout the season.

KIDSGROVE SHORT ON HOT SHOTS

Just two players have managed to find their way to goal in league games this season for Kidsgrove Athletic. Only Michael Lennon and Matt Rhead have found the back of the net in seven league games.

LINCOLN MAKE GOALS COUNT BIG FOR POINTS

Lincoln United are another club who are not hitting the net very often in the league but their seven goals this term have netted them a points tally out of all proportion to the number of successful strikes. The seven goals they have so far managed have seen them pocket an amazing seventeen points!

GUISELEY MOURNING LOSS OF STALWART

Guiseley have been saddened by the passing of Life Member Lucy Wood who was aged 92 and had been a fanatical life long supporter of the club and a tireless helper well in to her eighties. One of her two sons, Barry, was also involved with the club as Secretary although he is better known these days in his role as Secretary of the Northern Counties East League.

FA YOUTH CUP

The UniBond League will have nine clubs in the 2nd Qualifying Round of this season’s FA Youth Cup but were disappointed to lose seven clubs to outside opposition in this week’s 1st Qualifying Round ties. Balancing the deficit, however, were Brigg Town, Marine, Kendal Town, Grantham Town, Hednesford Town and AFC Telford United whose Under 18’s all marched on. In the all UniBond games Burscough won 3-1 at Witton Albion thanks to two late goals whilst North Ferriby United beat Goole 4-0 and Leek Town showed their seniors how to find the net with an impressive away 8-1 thrashing of Gresley Rovers. The draw, however, for the 2nd Qualifying Round has been very unkind to the surviving UniBond clubs with no fewer than seven of the nine drawn away. The ties involving UniBond clubs is as follows with the games to be played in week commencing 9th October –

Thackley v NORTH FERRIBY UNITED, Farsley Celtic v BRIGG TOWN, Curzon Ashton v BURSCOUGH, Bootle v KENDAL TOWN, Colne v MARINE, Glossop North End v LEEK TOWN, HEDNESFORD TOWN v Nuneaton Borough, AFC TELFORD UNITED v Gornal Athletic, Lowestoft Town v GRANTHAM TOWN

KILHEENEY TRANSFERS TO BURSCOUGH

In a shock move one of the League’s top strikers Cieran Kilheeney was transferred this week from Premier Division strugglers Ashton United to Burscough who themselves have not had the best of starts culminating in a 2-1 defeat on Monday evening at, of all places, Ashton.  22 year old Kilheeney began his career with Manchester City but never made the first team but did go on to play for Exeter City in the Football League. He returned north to appear for Droylsden where he quickly made a name for himself before suffering a broken leg six months later. A switch to Radcliffe didn’t really work out and he was bought by Ashton at the start of last season. He scored 29 goals in just 44 games for Ashton who pocket an undisclosed fee in the deal. The “Linnets” were also boosted this week by the return of one of the fan’s favourites from recent seasons Matt Boswell. The 29 year old goalkeeper retired at the end of last term due to a worsening knee condition but has spent the summer playing cricket as a professional in his native Staffordshire and feels his knee is in better shape than when he finished the last football campaign. Whilst the knee injury would be a problem if he played a full season’s football he believes a few appearances will not cause further damage and was only too willing to help out when Burscough’s new custodian Tony McMillan was injured leaving him out of action for a few weeks.

BRIDLINGTON TO BECOME NUMBER FIVE?

Following the managerial changes at Clitheroe, Chorley, Grantham and Frickley Athletic already this season it seems that Bridlington Town could be the next club to see a change in occupancy of the hot seat. The current incumbent is Chairman and owner Peter Smurthwaite is struggling to combine all of his football duties with that of running his own business and has decided to reduce the titles on his job description by one – that of manager. He said after Monday’s 2-0 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue “I have decided to advertise for a manager to take over from myself as soon as possible. Obviously results have been disappointing and I was particularly unhappy with the performances at home against Harrogate Railway and Gresley Rovers. We need to strengthen the side and I am finding the time taken up looking for players, speaking to contacts and other clubs on top of organising two first team games a week is just too much. However, the financial side of the club is now better after four years of chaos and we have the situation under control. Another plus is that I have been pleased with the attendances so far at home but to find out we only had two cars to take players and kit to Bradford when I had spent four hours making 26 phone calls the day before on football business makes me wonder why I am still at the club in any capacity”

BAMBER BRIDGE SUPPORT LANCS POLICE ANTI-YOB SCHEME

Along with Premiership referee Mark Halsey, First Division Bamber Bridge are giving their full support to a “Pub Watch” Red card scheme introduced in the South Ribble area by Lancashire Police. Mark is the face of the new poster campaign “Behave or be Banned” which emphasises unruly behaviour in pubs and other licensed premises is not acceptable and those who indulge in such behaviour are likely to be banned from entering licensed premises in and around the Bamber Bridge area. The Red Card scheme operates in a similar way to football’s red and yellow card system. Foul and abusive language or disorderly conduct will be dealt with by a yellow card or warning and a repeat will see the person banned. People who commit violence or damage property in and around licensed premises will be banned from all pubs etc in the area participating in the scheme.

UNIBOND LEAGUE ON LINE STORE

The UniBond League On Line Store opened its doors via the UniBond League website a few days before the start of the season and already orders have exceeded all expectations. The On Line Store was set up in partnership with Italian Sportswear manufacturer Macron and their UK Distributor Branded Sportswear of Eastwood, Nottinghamshire to enable supporters to purchase club replica kit and other club branded garments with all profits going back to the appropriate team. The On Line Store was the second phase in the UniBond League/Macron/Branded partnership that initially gave clubs the opportunity to purchase high quality kit for the 2006/2007 season at a competitive price. The involvement of clubs taking up that opportunity exceeded initial expectations and those same clubs now have access to e-commerce through the UniBond League website On Line Store. Feedback so far from clubs, players and supporters has been extremely positive and with reported high sales of Macron replicas in the club shops the On Line Store will enable fans who perhaps cannot get to their club on match days to also buy their replica shirt knowing that all profits from the sale will go to their favourite club. The UniBond League/Macron/Branded partnership was set up by the UniBond Leagues Marketing Group who are now investigating further partnerships with commerce to enable member clubs to have the advantage of preferred rates due to a centrally negotiated agreement. A central deal for club insurance has already been implemented with further lucrative partnerships in the pipeline. Any company wishing to discuss any league wide promotion can do so by contacting Mark Harris on 07850 072166 or Alan Allcock on 01565 634111.

GRESLEY TAKE FIRST STEPS TO NEW HOME

Gresley Rovers this week were delighted to receive news that the South Derbyshire District Council had accepted the club’s bid for a grant to enable them to purchase the Moat Ground which is a big step to their long awaited move to a new stadium. The Moat Ground has been the club’s home since 1909 but it has been the club’s dream to move to a new home for the past sixteen years. Club Chairman Mark Evans said “ I am delighted and really appreciate the local council accepting our application and awarding the grant. I will be meeting with the council early next week to progress the matter and the project team who have been tasked with managing the re-location to a new stadium will be meeting in the near future. Several interested parties have already been in touch with the club regarding the purchase of the Moat Ground and further meetings have been arranged over the next few weeks. This is a very important milestone for the club and although there remains a lot of work to do it is a big step towards the club’s dream of moving in to a new stadium”. Gresley have also ensured their local newspaper’s appeal for “Boots 4 Africa” has got off to a flying start. The Burton Mail launched the appeal after their deputy editor Andy Parker, who also helps out at Rovers, visited Gambia and saw at first hand how hundreds of youngsters play football in their bare feet due to the prohibitive cost of buying boots in the impoverished nation. Rovers’ Chairman Mark Evans said “Manager Gary Norton and the players thought it was great idea to back the appeal. Lots of boots end up in the skip each season and this is a much better way of disposing of them”. 


League Review (Saturday 23-09-06)

The lead at the top of the Premier Division changes weekly and a narrow 3-2 win for MATLOCK TOWN over struggling RADCLIFFE BOROUGH this Saturday saw the “Gladiators” move back to the head of affairs. Moving quietly up the table lately have been HEDNESFORD TOWN and NORTH FERRIBY UNITED and further wins for the pair of them at the weekend left them sharing second spot two points adrift of Matlock. The only unbeaten team in the top tier continue to be AFC TELFORD UNITED but their draw at BURSCOUGH was their fourth in eight games and they lie in fourth having conceded a miserly four goals in those eight outings. GUISELEY’s 3-1 win at MOSSLEY leaves them unbeaten since the second game of the campaign and they occupy the last play-off place after KENDAL TOWN were held at home to a goalless draw by lowly OSSETT TOWN and FLEETWOOD TOWN crashed 4-1 at Ferriby.  WHITBY TOWN’s success at PRESCOT CABLES came courtesy of a goal from player-manager Lee Nogan and was the “Seasiders” third win on the bounce whilst GATESHEAD’s victory at LEEK TOWN was the first time they had picked up all three points since the opening day of the campaign. Leek have now failed to find the net in almost nine hours and it’s nearly ten hours since they scored from open play. Compounding matters for the Staffordshire outfit it is the fact that it is more than eleven hours since anybody scored for them apart from Simon Eldershaw! The 1-1 draw between the two bottom teams GRANTHAM TOWN and ASHTON UNITED ensured that neither have yet kept a clean sheet and FRICKLEY ATHLETIC’s home reverse against HEDNESFORD TOWN left them too looking for a first shut out of the season. WITTON ALBION failed to score for the first time and paid the penalty quite literally when Jon Hawley converted from the spot to give LINCOLN UNITED the points whilst MARINE’s winner at home to ILKESTON TOWN was a stoppage time own goal!

EASTWOOD TOWN went top of the First Division on Tuesday evening when they came from behind to beat GRESLEY ROVERS and they made it five wins on the bounce at the weekend when beating KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC. They are two points clear of BUXTON who are now the Division’s only unbeaten team after CAMMELL LAIRD went down 3-1 at BRADFORD PARK AVENUE despite scoring first. That win puts Avenue up to third just ahead of CLITHEROE who continued their fine start to the season with a win at ALSAGER TOWN. At the opposite end of the table WAKEFIELD remain without a point in nine games after two home defeats in the week but CHORLEY took their first points of the campaign with a 2-0 success at OSSETT ALBION who had won six and drawn two of their previous eight league and cup games to once again confirm there are no easy games in this Division. SHEPSHED DYNAMO sprinted away from the bottom end of the table with two away wins in the week whilst WARRINGTON TOWN secured their second league victory at the expense of STOCKSBRIDGE and GRESLEY ROVERS took their first away points with success at BRIDLINGTON TOWN.


League News (week ending Saturday 23-09-06)

GLOVER GOES AT GRANTHAM

Premier Division strugglers Grantham Town relieved manager Lee Glover of his duties immediately following the “Gingerbreads” exit from the FA Cup last Saturday at the hands of Midland Alliance outfit Oadby. The former Scottish Under 21 International who appeared in the 1991 FA Cup Final for Nottingham Forest against Spurs had been at Grantham since the 2004/5 season and becomes the third managerial change of the UniBond season in the first month of the campaign following the decisions of Shaun Teale and Mark Smitheringale to step down at Chorley and Clitheroe respectively. Taking over in a caretaker capacity is club captain Ian Robinson who Club Chairman Roger Booth expected to be in charge for at least a couple of games. Mr Booth said “The Board will take as long as necessary to find the right applicant. We still have ambitions of reaching a play-off place at the end of the season and that is not unachievable with the right person to take us there. We are looking for a manager with experience at this level of the game ideally gained in Northern based leagues”. Robinson was immediately hit by two defenders Richard Weale and Steve Julian quitting. Left back Weale said he was hanging up his boots as he could no longer combine his football with his studies whilst central defender Julian, who has been the subject of a seven day approach from Stamford, said he wasn’t enjoying his football at The Meres. Both had made over eighty appearances since joining Grantham in late 2004.

STAMMERS MAKES CLITHEROE JOB HIS OWN

On the back of a good run of results since he became caretaker boss at Clitheroe former Burscough number two Chris Stammers has landed a contract that will see him at the Lancashire club until the end of the 2007/8 season. Having parted company with Burscough when their manager Derek Goulding left in May, Stammers had only just been appointed Assistant Manager to Mark Smitheringale at Clitheroe when the latter quit suddenly on the eve of the new campaign. At the time of being awarded the contract Stammers had guided Clitheroe in to the top three of the First Division. Club Secretary Colin Wilson said “The decision to award Chris a contract until the end of the 2007/8 season was an easy one to take based on results alone. However, we also recognised his great coaching ability, tactical awareness and his ability to get the best from our young players through his unique motivational skills. He also has great awareness of the northern youth football scene and has already put in place a scouting network that should unearth good young players for Clitheroe FC”.

VILLA USE BRIGG FACILITIES TO GOOD EFFECT

Aston Villa prepared for their Wednesday evening Carling Cup tie at Scunthorpe with an hour’s training session at UniBond First Division club Brigg Town. Brigg Secretary John Martin said “It’s not very often that around £100 million pounds worth of players are put through their paces at our Hawthorns home but Martin O’Neil was a gentleman remembering his first steps in to management came at non-league level. He and his players all signed autographs and presented Brigg with a signed Villa shirt”.

CLITHEROE GET THEIR KEEPER BACK

Having lost goalkeeper Peter Collinge pre-season when Bury signed him on a month’s contract as cover for Northern Ireland ‘keeper Alan Fettis, Clitheroe this week signed him back after Bury had sorted out their goalkeeping problems by taking Kaspar Schmeichel on loan from Manchester City. However Bury may now be turning back to the youngster as City refused to allow Schmeichel to become cup-tied in the Carling Cup and whilst standing in for him on Tuesday at Sheffield United Fettis broke his arm!

LAIRDS OFFER GROUND HOPPERS FREE ACCESS

UniBond League highflying newcomers Cammell Laird are sending out an invitation to ground hoppers to put Laird’s Birkenhead ground on their “been to” list for free. The initiative has come about by the growing number of football fans from far and wide who have been curious about the success of the club following their three successive promotions during which time Lairds have scored more than five hundred goals. Club Secretary Paul McLoughlin said “We have had people this season coming from as far away as London and Essex to see what we are about and from the feedback we have received they all seem to have had a very enjoyable day out with us. We are now offering free tickets to our game against Bridlington Town on 30th September when people can apply for up to five tickets to maximise car sharing and we have also negotiated a discount at one of our sponsor’s restaurants for anybody who wants to make a weekend of it and pop over to Liverpool for the evening”. McLoughlin also learned this week about the power of the internet. Having been ground graded by the Football Association a fortnight ago Lairds were aware that they were some 100 seats short of Conference North standard. McLoughlin had just started searching the internet for seating when within a minute his computer pinged with a message from League IT manager Alan Allcock informing all UniBond clubs that Lancaster City were offering “Seats free to a good home”. Lancaster had a hundred of the seats they themselves had obtained from Leicester City left over and had contacted the UniBond League to see if any club might be interested. McLoughlin said “It was really spooky. I’ve heard of intelligent internet marketing but this takes the biscuit. With both Lancaster and Leicester playing in blue the seats were even the colour we needed!”

FA CUP SUCCESS

Midweek FA Cup replay wins for Ilkeston Town, Lincoln United and First Division Buxton gave the UniBond League fifteen wins against outside opposition whilst suffering just eight defeats in the 1st Qualifying Round of the game’s most prestigious knock out competition. So far in this season’s competition UniBond clubs have now won thirty and lost thirteen ties against teams from other leagues. Fourteen Premier Division and nine First Division clubs are still standing going in to next Saturday’s 2nd Qualifying Round when the Conference North and South enter the fray. UniBond clubs have been drawn against Conference outfits in no fewer than nine of the ties with Frickley Athletic, Matlock Town, Wakefield FC and Woodley Sports all getting the thin end of the wedge with away trips. There are four all UniBond ties including two all Premier Division encounters at Guiseley where Gateshead will be the visitors and Prescot Cables who will host Marine. High flying Premier Division sides Fleetwood Town and Kendal Town will also hold ground advantage as well as status when they entertain First Division hopefuls Goole AFC and Warrington Town respectively. However both Goole and Warrington will take heart from the fact that in the First Qualifying Round the lower tier held their own against their higher ranked counterparts with three wins in the six ties played between the two Divisions. The full 2nd Qualifying Round draw as it effects UniBond clubs can be found on the fixtures page. The total amount of FA Cup prize money won to date this season by UniBond clubs stands at £68,750 a figure that is a slight increase on the same stage last term when the amount was £62,250.

WARLOW EXTENDS WITTON LOAN

Witton Albion have extended the loan of Crewe Alexandra striker Adam Warlow who has been amongst the Premier Division’s leading hotshots since the opening day of the campaign. Albion will be hoping that Warlow emulates another player who Crewe sent in to the UniBond League to hone his goalscoring skills a few years back. Rob Hulse now, of course, is a Premiership player. Albion winger Shaun Whalley could be heading in the opposite direction with the 20 year old going on trial at Crewe this week. His pace and first touch have seen him attract attention from several Football League clubs and Wednesday evening’s visitors Tranmere Rovers could not have failed to be impressed by him as they went down 5-1 to a vibrant Witton team in the UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup. Manager Jim Vance said “I have no idea whether Crewe will be interested in him further but from my perspective the trial can only do him good. It gives him a chance and lets Crewe see one of the best young talents around”. Whilst Warlow keeps popping goals in for Albion the club’s FA Cup tie at home to Sheffield last Saturday was held up for five minutes when a rabbit popped up out of the blue from a hole in the penalty area. Once the rabbit had been caught ground staff then had to fill the newly created hole in before the game could recommence!

CHORLEY RELEASE GOALSCORERS

Chorley this week released FA Trophy winner Peter Wright along with Adam Roscoe leaving themselves with just John Bluck who has found the net this season. Roscoe, who has joined Skelmersdale United, and the Mossley bound Wright had scored four of Chorley’s five league and cup goals going in to today’s game at Ossett Albion. New Chorley manager Paul Lodge admitted that releasing Wright was a really tough decision. He said “Peter is a top drawer player with a proven goalscoring record and a wonderful attitude but because of our financial situation we can’t afford to keep him. He had already taken a pay cut last season and we appreciate everything he has done for Chorley”. 24 year old Wright joined the “Magpies” fourteen months ago and netted 22 times for them in his first season. He signed off by converting a penalty in his farewell appearance in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Skelmersdale United on Tuesday evening.

BOOTH FOR BURSCOUGH

Burscough boss Liam Watson has again turned to his former club Southport signing 20 year old Robbie Booth. The midfielder made eleven Football League appearances for Chester City in 2004/5 scoring one goal.

ASHTON LOOK TO BRACEY

Having seen his side concede an average of three goals per game before today’s bottom of table clash at Grantham Town, Ashton United manager Scott Green has signed veteran goalkeeper Lee Bracey from neighbours Mossley. The 28 year old made around three hundred appearances in the full time game with Swansea City, Halifax Town, Bury, Ipswich Town and Hull City after starting off as a youngster with West Ham United.

MARKETING INITIATIVE

The Marketing Committee of the UniBond League, in association with Sports Marketing Network, has arranged a commercial / sales & marketing seminar for mainly, but not exclusively, UniBond clubs to be held at Witton Albion FC on Thursday 19th October 2006. The theme is “Grow your UniBond club – How to make your football club vibrant, visible and viable”. The UniBond League appreciates it is tougher than ever for clubs to survive and grow in an increasingly competitive and demanding market for time and finance from supporters, local businesses and the wider community. How clubs can increase gates, grow sponsorship revenue, improve the social standing of the club, increase media coverage, benefit from new technology, engage with the local community and introduce new streams of revenue including public funding will all be covered by expert marketing consultant Svend Elkjaer who will be providing literally dozens of proven ways that clubs can be become vibrant, visible and viable. There is no boring theory – just exciting, positive and proven action points drawn from best practice amongst sports clubs at all levels across the UK and abroad. Although the seminar is mainly for UniBond clubs there is a very limited number of places available for any other club who feel they could benefit from the acknowledged expert guidance of someone like Svend Elkjaer. Anyone from outside the League who is interested should contact the Committee’s Chairman Mark Harris on 07850 072166. This is another exciting initiative implemented by the Marketing arm of the UniBond League who, under the guidance of Mr Harris, has already implemented a kit deal for member clubs with the additional bonus of e-commerce for club sales of replica kits and club branded sports wear via the UniBond League On-Line store.

MOSSLEY STRENGTHEN SQUAD

After releasing goalkeeper Lee Bracey to join Ashton, Mossley manager Jason Beckford looked to strengthen all areas of his squad as the “Lilywhites” attempt to adjust to life in the higher sphere following their First Division title success last season. They have signed 6ft 4ins central defender Gary Furnival from Witton Albion, striker Peter Wright from Chorley and Irishman Conor Lynch. 23 year old Furnival began his career as a junior with Liverpool, Everton and Manchester City before going on to make around two hundred appearances for Witton whilst Wright, who played in the Football League with Halifax Town and has been on the books of both Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers, was in the Burscough side that surprised everybody to lift the FA Trophy in 2003. Lynch, meanwhile, arrives from Irish League football where he has played for Coleraine, Omagh Town, Limavady United and, latterly, Larne.

MODEL SUPPORTER

Model Laura Livesey recently took time out from her hectic schedule to drop by Colwyn Bay’s Llanelian Road to model the club’s new kit and catch up on the latest news about her favourite team. Laura, who is from Old Colwyn will be in the Philippines shortly representing Wales in the Miss Earth contest.

MARINE COLLECT FOR GADSBY

Marine and Kendal Town supporters chipped in to a bucket collection at their game last Saturday in memory of Matt Gadsby the Hinckley United player who collapsed and died during a game a few days earlier. A cheque for £100 was sent to Hinckley United.


League Review (Saturday 16-09-06)

Last week’s Premier Division leaders AFC TELFORD UNITED maintained their unbeaten record but will have been disappointed to lose top spot when they were held to a 1-1 draw on Tuesday at RADCLIFFE BOROUGH who have scored fewer goals than any other top flight club. Taking over at the head of affairs are newly promoted FLEETWOOD TOWN thanks to a 1-0 success at home to BURSCOUGH but they are top only on goal difference from MATLOCK TOWN who, having won 3-0 at MOSSLEY, have played a game more than both the leaders and Telford who slip to third. KENDAL TOWN showed their good start to life in the top tier is no fluke with an impressive 1-1 result at MARINE and are joint third with Telford a point ahead of four clubs headed by WITTON ALBION who went on the rampage against ASHTON UNITED to register a 5-1 victory. Only the top six clubs have scored more goals than Ashton but the Hurst Cross outfit are leaking goals badly and the latest reverse left them with 24 in the goals against column after just eight games. Joining Albion on 14 points are ILKESTON TOWN, whose win against bottom club GRANTHAM TOWN was their third on the bounce, NORTH FERRIBY UNITED, who have only dropped two points in their last five games after picking up a solitary point in their first three, and HEDNESFORD TOWN who needed substitute Tom Franklin to give them victory with an 87th minute strike against PRESCOT CABLES. Another substitute to come on and score a late winner was GUISELEY’s Chris Clarke at GATESHEAD who are now without a win since the opening day of the campaign.

In the First Division BRADFORD PARK AVENUE had the opportunity to go top with a home fixture on Saturday but it was their visitors EASTWOOD TOWN who moved in to second with a 3-1 win that left them just a point behind the leaders BUXTON who were on FA Cup duty after overcoming WARRINGTON TOWN by the odd goal in five on Tuesday. Eastwood had hit five without reply in midweek against SHEPSHED DYNAMO and their 3-1 success on Saturday at Avenue suggests they are running in to some serious form. Four points in the week for COLWYN BAY sees the Welsh club climb to sixth. In the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round on Saturday the League had a dozen successes and drew four of the 23 ties against outside opposition. Where First Division clubs took on the top tier both OSSETT ALBION and SKELMERSDALE UNITED achieved away wins against OSSETT TOWN and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH respectively whilst KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC held LEEK TOWN. Hitting back for the big boys, however, were GATESHEAD, NORTH FERRIBY UNITED and MARINE who disposed of ROSSENDALE UNITED, CHORLEY and CLITHEROE. The two all Premier Division ties saw FRICKLEY ATHLETIC win at WHITBY TOWN thanks to a Remo Nesa treble whilst GUISELEY edged out MOSSLEY. Finally a word for WAKEFIELD FC who can’t win a point in the League but who claimed their second FA Cup win when beating Chester Le Street.


League News (week ending Saturday 16-09-06)

 UNIBOND CLUBS PROGRESS IN FA YOUTH CUP

Three of the four UniBond League clubs taking on outside opposition in this week’s Preliminary Round of the FA Youth Cup made progress with the only losers, Stocksbridge PS, taking Stalybridge Celtic to extra-time and penalties before bowing out. Burscough, who have a fantastic record of reaching the 1st Round Proper of this competition in recent seasons, made a good start this time demolishing Lancaster City 6-0 whilst Ossett Town overcame Spennymoor Town by the odd goal in nine and Witton Albion won their local derby against Northwich Victoria 3-2. In the all UniBond ties Gresley Rovers 3-2 won at Eastwood Town and Prescot Cables were also successful on their travels but needed a penalty shoot out to oust Warrington Town. The five winners are now joined in the 1st Qualifying Round by fourteen other UniBond League clubs with Burscough and Witton Albion’s rewards for beating Conference opposition being a meeting between themselves at Witton. There are two other all UniBond ties with Gresley Rovers hosting Leek Town and Goole AFC travelling to North Ferriby United. The full draw as it effects UniBond clubs is as follows with the ties to be played week commencing 25th September –

Thackley v GATESHEAD, NORTH FERRIBY UTD v GOOLE AFC, BRIGG TOWN v Consett, OSSETT TOWN v Chester Le Street, BRADFORD PARK AVENUE v Dunston FB, Eccleshill United v OSSETT ALBION, Farsley Celtic v GUISELEY, MARINE v Ashton Town, KENDAL TOWN v Trafford, WITTON ALBION v BURSCOUGH, Curzon Ashton v PRESCOT CABLES, MATLOCK TOWN v Stratford Town, Retford United v HEDNESFORD TOWN, AFC TELFORD UTD v Alfreton Town, GRESLEY ROVERS v LEEK TOWN, BELPER TOWN v Alvechurch or Coventry Sphinx

RIMMER AT THE DOUBLE

Skelmersdale United’s Steve Rimmer had a trip to the seaside he would rather forget on Tuesday when his side drew 3-3 at Colwyn Bay. The 27 year old managed the unusual feat of scoring twice in his own net and to compound his anguish he took only eighteen minutes to complete the double once he had put through his own goal as early as the seventh minute!

LEEK IN PROFFIT

Leek Town spent most of the summer battling to avoid being wound up but they could now be in Proffit after signing 21 year old England youth international Dorryll Proffitt. The striker was good enough to win a three year contract with Manchester City in his teens and made half a dozen England Under 19 appearances including a game when he was a year young. In England’s win over Russia in Moscow Proffitt scored the only goal of the game whilst in six Under 18 games for his country he scored against Tunisia, Burkia-Faso and Mali. He made a further ten international appearances at Under 17 level scoring against Italy and replacing Wayne Rooney in the matches against Holland and Spain.

SPEED GOES AT GRANTHAM

The extent of the changes Grantham Town boss Lee Glover is making in his attempts to end the poor start to his club’s season has seen him part company with his Assistant and long serving club stalwart Adrian Speed. Glover said “It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make and not a nice one but I felt I needed to get a new voice in the dressing room”. Speed joined Grantham in 1980 and went on to set a club record of 654 appearances. To replace him Glover has turned to former Kettering Town manager Dominic Genovese. The 45 year old works for both the PFA and the Football Association on the coaching side of the game and holds the UEFA “A” coaching badge. 


League Review (Saturday 09-09-06)

With only AFC TELFORD UNITED remaining unbeaten the Premier Division title race even at this early stage of the season looks like being one of the tightest for years with just three points separating the top half of the table! Telford were held to a goalless draw at home in midweek by MOSSLEY but hit four on Saturday against OSSETT TOWN who are leaking goals galore to go top on goal difference from last season’s First Division play-off winners KENDAL TOWN.

The Lake District side had inflicted a first reverse of the campaign on FLEETWOOD TOWN in some style during midweek but then had their own unbeaten record shattered at home by ILKESTON TOWN at the weekend. Fleetwood, meanwhile, recovered to win at FRICKLEY ATHLETIC to move up a place from last week’s fourth spot which now belongs to MATLOCK TOWN who only picked up one point from home games against WITTON ALBION and MARINE. After their goalless midweek draw against the “Mariners” BURSCOUGH beat LEEK TOWN on Saturday to move in to the final play-off place on goal difference from no fewer than six other clubs that include HEDNESFORD TOWN who, after edging out ASHTON UNITED in a seven goal thriller on Monday, grabbed a point at GUISELEY on Saturday.

For Guiseley fans it was case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for their side had run in five without reply against WHITBY TOWN in midweek. The latter, however, came back from that mauling to win at ASHTON UNITED at the weekend. The last top tier club without a win GRANTHAM TOWN broke their duck on Tuesday when they overcame Leek but it was business as usual for them on Saturday when they lost 3-2 at home to WITTON ALBION after having come back from two down to level terms. For Albion Kevin Sanasay scored on his debut. GATESHEAD are without a win since the opening day of the season but must have thought they were back on track on Saturday until Karl Connolly popped up with a stoppage time equaliser for PRESCOT CABLES whilst elsewhere there were wins for NORTH FERRIBY UNITED, who had also tasted victory in midweek, and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH.

Three newly promoted clubs occupy the top three berths in the First Division with CAMMELL LAIRD and BUXTON only separated by goal difference. Both have fourteen points which in the case of the Derbyshire side is a remarkable feat considering they have only found the net six times in as many games! A point behind are ALSAGER TOWN whilst CLITHEROE bounced back from two defeats to win against GRESLEY ROVERS and take fourth ahead of BRADFORD PARK AVENUE who are enjoying things much better than in the past two seasons when they were relegated. Still no joy, however, for either CHORLEY or WAKEFIELD FC both of whom are still pointless having both only scored one goal whilst WARRINGTON TOWN have lost four in five following their 4-2 home reverse at the hands of EASTWOOD TOWN. ROSSENDALE UNITED, though, did break their duck beating BELPER TOWN.


League News (week ending Saturday 09-09-06)

STREETS AHEAD AT WARRINGTON

Ian Street has taken over as Assistant Manager to Glen Walker at First Division Warrington Town in succession to Nick Armitage who has had to step down due to work commitments. Street has played at Bamber Bridge and Curzon Ashton under Warrington’s current Director of Football Derek Brownbill and has managed teams at both St Helens Town and Atherton LR.

ROBINS RAID NEIGHBOURS

Ashton United boss Scott Green has boosted his squad with the signings of defender Paul Challinor and striker Garry Kharas. The experienced Challinor is the second player to arrive at Hurst Cross this season from Mossley with marksman Jordan Goodeve already having made the move reversing the recent trend that has seen Mossley take no fewer than six former Ashton players on to their staff in the past eighteen months. The German born Kharas switches to the UniBond League from Conference North side Stalybridge Celtic and made his mark immediately scoring on his debut at Gateshead last Saturday and again in midweek. He was a prolific scorer in the North West Counties League netting no fewer than 75 goals in two and a half seasons for Glossop North End before being signed by Stalybridge in January 2006.

GLOVER ACTS

Lee Glover, manager of Grantham Town who after last Saturday’s wins for Ashton United and Radcliffe Borough were the only Premier Division team still to register a victory, has acted to try and reverse the Lincolnshire club’s fortunes. He has brought in 18 year old full back Phil Watt on loan from Lincoln City, 19 year old Lewis Brook and the much more experienced Sean McClare. And his efforts seem to have paid off with the Lincolnshire club registering their first success with their midweek victory over Leek after being a goal down early on. Watt is no stranger to Grantham having made two appearances last season whilst on Work Experience since when he has landed a contract with the Football League club although he has yet to make his first team bow. Brook made two Football League appearances for Boston United in the 2004/5 season and featured in pre-season friendlies for the “Pilgrims” scoring against Bradford City. He spent a spell last season at Alfreton Town on work experience in the Conference North making five appearances and was considered good enough to earn two England Under 18 caps scoring against Northern Ireland. McClare made well over 150 appearances in the full time game for Barnsley, Rochdale and Port Vale before moving in to the Conference with former Football League sides Halifax Town and Scarborough.

WAIT OVER FOR GUISELEY FANS

Prior to Tuesday evening’s 5-0 demolition of Whitby Town thanks to a hat-trick from Gavin Knight, fans of Guiseley had not seen their side score five times at home in a match since October 2004 when they beat Bishop Auckland 5-2. That win saw David Cooke also register the last hat-trick by a Guiseley player prior to Knight’s Tuesday treble. Ironically Cooke this week joined neighbours Bradford Park Avenue on a short term basis agreed between Guiseley boss Neil Parsley and his Avenue counterpart Phil Sharpe. Guiseley’s win against Whitby was the first time that they had taken all three points against the “Seasiders” at their ninth attempt!

75% SUCCESS IN FA CUP

With Chorley, who were without a win this season, and Skelmersdale United both winning their delayed FA Cup Preliminary Round matches on Tuesday evening and Belper Town, Rossendale United and Gresley Rovers all successful in their replays the UniBond League enjoyed fifteen wins in their twenty ties against outside opposition at this season’s first hurdle. Ossett Albion came from behind to beat Colwyn Bay in Wednesday’s replay against fellow UniBond First Division side Colwyn Bay to set up a tasty local derby at Ossett Town in the next Round at which stage all the UniBond Premier Division sides enter the fray. Albion had also been in arrears to the Welsh club in the first game before salvaging the replay. The Ossett “derby” tie will be the second time the two clubs have met in the FA Cup in the last three seasons after missing one another for the previous fifty! The last occasion they met was in 2003/4 season when it was Albion who progressed at the second time of asking following a goalless first effort. The tie brought in crowds of over 500 for both games and the two clubs will be hoping for a repeat when they meet next Saturday as both have been struggling with attendances in the league. In the First Qualifying Round which takes place next Saturday the UniBond League take on outside opposition in 23 ties with eight all UniBond ties including two all Premier Division matches. These are at Guiseley where Mossley will be the visitors whilst Whitby Town entertain Frickley Athletic. There are no fewer than six ties pitting First Division clubs against the higher tier with Kidsgrove Athletic and Leek Town involved in a particularly interesting all Staffotdshire “derby” tie. In the games against outside opposition UniBond clubs hold home advantage in fourteen of the games although Woodley Sports have had to cede that in view of their artificial pitch not yet being accepted for FA Cup fixtures and they will stage their game against Bishop Auckland at Cheadle Town.

GOULD RETIREMENT ROCKS EASTWOOD

Eastwood Town have been rocked by their long standing club skipper Paul Gould announcing his retirement. After nine seasons in which he only missed a handful of games the 34 year old struggled last season with a succession of injuries that limited his appearances to just ten outings. However, he looked good during pre-season but work commitments and limited access to his children have brought about a decision that has shocked the Eastwood camp. Manager Paul Cox is very disappointed and hopes Gould will change his mind but if not he is determined to ensure the player is given a well deserved Testimonial. Following his side’s FA Cup exit Cox has begun to make cuts and as a prelude to signing new faces has let Adie Francis and Phil Bignall go. Cox is also warning of other impending departures to clear the way for the recruitment of “the three players I need to sign in order to make promotion a realistic aim”. Gresley Rovers seem favourites to sign Francis whilst Bignall is understood to have joined Sutton Town. Another blow to Cox’s plans is an injury to young centre-back Marc Stevenson who, despite only turning 18 in August, made fifty first team appearances last season. He suffered injury to his ankle ligaments during pre-season but was then stretchered off during the Bank Holiday Monday clash with Belper Town with an identical problem in his other ankle. To make matters worse when he was at hospital for treatment they discovered evidence of an internal head injury and the youngster is now awaiting a scan and specialist advice.

FLEETWOOD TO OPEN NEW STAND IN NOVEMBER

Completion of Fleetwood Town’s new stand is expected in October after which the club will have to obtain a Safety Certificate from the Lancashire County Council before they can use the facility. The new stand is expected to be used for the first time on 14th November for the visit of Grantham Town although Chairman Andy Pilley is hoping for an alternative fixture as that date is also the First Round Proper of the FA Cup! The stand is to be named after Percy Ronson who played more than 400 games for the club and then became its groundsman. Percy, who died two years ago, had a Testimonial in 1961 in which Tom Finney guested and the club are delighted that Sir Tom has agreed to officially open the new stand.

CLARK TAKES TEN YEARS TO REACH HIS CENTURY

Ossett Albion goalkeeper Mick Clark chalked up his 100th appearance for the club in Wednesday evening’s FA Cup win over Colwyn Bay but it has taken him exactly ten years to achieve the goal. The 32 year old joined Albion in 1996 from local football and made his first team debut in September of that year. But unable to hold down a regular first team spot he switched to neighbours Ossett Town who he served with some distinction until his return to Dimple Wells in March 2005 since when he has been Albion’s first choice ‘keeper.

ALBION LOOK TO SANASAY

Witton Albion, for whom the goals have dried up after hitting seven in their opening two games, have turned to 21 year old Yorkshire based striker Kevin Sanasay to boost their goal output. Sanasay was with Bradford City before joining Farsley Celtic half way through last season and making a big impression with eighteen goals that helped the Celts to the UniBond Premier Division play-offs and, ultimately, promotion to the Conference North.

BOOKIES HAVE TELFORD AS FAVOURITES

After their midweek win over Fleetwood Town, Kendal Town went to the top of the Premier Division with an unbeaten record in six games but were not the bookies favourites to take the title next April going in to today’s fixture. Indeed there are no fewer than eight clubs in front of the Lake District with the only other unbeaten team AFC Telford United heading the betting at 4/1 whilst Kendal are out at 16/1. The rest of the betting as supplied by Bet365 which can be accessed through the UniBond League website is 6/1 Fleetwood Town and Burscough, 15/2 Guiseley, 10/1 Marine, 12/1Frickley Athletic, Matlock Town and, somewhat surprisingly with only one win in their first six games Gateshead, 20/1 North Ferriby United and Witton Albion, 22/1Hednesford Town, 28/1Ilkeston Town, 33/1Prescot Cables, 40/1 Whitby Town, 66/1, Lincoln United, Mossley and Ossett Town, 80/1 Ashton United and Grantham Town with Leek Town and Radcliffe Borough the outsiders at 100/1. Bet365 are not publishing odds for the First Division title but rivals Skybet have installed the newly promoted Wirral based outfit Cammell Laird as 3/1 favourites with another newly promoted club Buxton next in the betting at 7/1 and last season’s relegated Bradford Park Avenue on 9/1. The word on the street is that Belper Town have quietly assembled a strong side and are priced at 12/1 whilst Gresley Rovers made last season’s play-offs despite a slow start and if they again last the distance could be each way value at 20/1.  The rest of the betting is 10/1 Woodley Sports, 14/1 Stocksbridge PS and Colwyn Bay, 16/1 Alsager Town and Eastwood Town, 25/1 Clitheroe, Goole, Ossett Albion and Shepshed Dynamo, 33/1 Bamber Bridge and Skelmersdale United, 40/1 Warrington Town, 50/1 Bridlington Town, Brigg Town and Rossendale United, 66/1 Chorley and Harrogate Railway and 100/1 Wakefield. 


League Review (Saturday 02-09-06)

With the day’s big clash between FLEETWOOD TOWN and AFC TELFORD UNITED a late victim of the weather MATLOCK TOWN moved to the top of the Premier Division when they came from behind to win at WHITBY TOWN. Last season’s First Division play-off winners also took advantage with an impressive 3-1 result at WITTON ALBION to take second whilst FRICKLEY ATHLETIC’S 2-1 success at MARINE sees last season’s runners-up fill the final play-off spot three points clear of no fewer than six clubs. Elsewhere there were first wins of the campaign for both ASHTON UNITED and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH with the latter’s victory over GRANTHAM TOWN now leaving the Lincolnshire side as the only top tier outfit still without a win.

It was FA Cup day for the First Division clubs with
BRIDLINGTON TOWN the only UniBond club to lose at home. There were, however, set backs for BAMBER BRIDGE, BRIGG TOWN and STOCKSBRIDGE PS on their travels but overall the 18 games against outside opposition produced ten wins and four draws including an amazing 5-5 result at EASTWOOD TOWN. In the two all UniBond ties GOOLE AFC overcame BRADFORD PARK AVENUE in another high scoring affair that ended 5-3 whilst COLWYN BAY and OSSETT ALBION drew.


League News (week ending 02-09-06)

UNIBOND “FAIR PLAY” AWARDS

The UniBond “Fair Play” awards for August have gone to MOSSLEY and COLWYN BAY respectively. The “Lilywhites” took the Premier Division award as they didn’t pick up a single caution whilst the Welsh outfit had just one yellow. The full tables will appear in next week’s Press Release.

NEWS IN BRIEF

CHORLEY have appointed Paul Lodge as manager in place of the recently departed Shaun Teale. An England schoolboy international, Lodge made 24 first team appearances for Everton before loan spells with Wigan Athletic and Rotherham United. He went on to play for Preston, Bolton and Stockport County before moving in to the semi-pro game with Southport, Morecambe, Lancaster City and Macclesfield Town plus a spell at Chorley. On the managerial front he has been Assistant Manager at Southport, in charge in his own right at St Helens Town and more recently has been reserve team boss at Accrington Stanley. FRICKLEY ATHLETIC’s exciting 20 year old winger Martyn Woolford has been signed by York City in a deal described as a five figure fee with a percentage of any future transfer.  FLEETWOOD TOWN have signed Stuart Barlow from Morecambe. The 38 year old made around four hundred appearances in the full time game for Everton, Oldham Athletic, Wigan Athletic, Tranmere Rovers and Stockport County with one of his moves involving a £350,000 fee.


League Review (Monday 28-08-06)
No club has a 100% record after just four games of the season with FLEETWOOD TOWN being the last Premier Division side to surrender their record when they were held at GUISELEY on Bank Holiday Monday. They also lost top spot with that draw but are separated from AFC TELFORD UNITED only by goal difference and the two clash next Saturday in what will surely produce a bumper gate for the newly promoted Fleetwood.

Right on their heels a point adrift are MATLOCK TOWN for whom Ian Holmes has scored in all four games as the Gladiators made it three wins on the bounce when beating HEDNESFORD TOWN on Monday. Play-Off winners KENDAL TOWN are next and along with the two top teams are the only other unbeaten side but they owe much to former England Under 21 international Lee Ashcroft who, like Holmes, has scored in all four of his side's games to date.

Both WITTON ALBION and MARINE suffered their first defeats of the season on the Bank Holiday and are locked on seven points along with Marine's conquerors PRESCOT CABLES and FRICKLEY ATHLETIC. At the bottom RADCLIFFE BOROUGH, GRANTHAM TOWN and ASHTON UNITED are all still searching for an elusive first victory.

BUXTON went top of the First Division on Monday when they dented CLITHEROE'S previously unblemished record with the only goal of a tight game and the latter are joined in second place by ALSAGER TOWN and BRADFORD PARK AVENUE. With CAMMELL LAIRD and HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC occupying fifth and sixth spots four of the five newly promoted clubs are in the top six. Even the odd ones out, SKELMERSDALE UNITED, enjoyed their Bank Holiday with their first win of the campaign coming at the expense of BAMBER BRIDGE who had been undefeated.

Other teams in the lower tier to secure their first success of the season on Monday were BRIDLINGTON TOWN, GRESLEY ROVERS and BRIGG TOWN. Both CHORLEY and WAKEFIELD FC, however, are still looking for a first point whilst ROSSENDALE UNITED are still seeking a first win although things did improve over the weekend for Rossy with two draws after losing their two openers.

League News (28-08-06)

UNIBOND CLUB OF THE MONTH AWARDS

The Club of the Month awards for August have gone to AFC TELFORD UNITED and BUXTON respectively. Whilst Telford only head the top tier on goal difference from Fleetwood Town the panel took in to account the fact that the Shropshire club had played two sides in the top seven whilst their rivals had played nobody in the top seven. BUXTON clinched the First Division prize when they beat Clitheroe on Monday to end the Lancashire clubs 100% start to the campaign leaving them and the other newcomers Cammell Laird as the only two sides still unbeaten in the lower Division.

NOW TEALE GOES

The UniBond League playing season was only in to its fourth day when Chorley boss Shaun Teale became the second casualty of the campaign following the departure of Mark Smitheringale from Clitheroe on the eve of the opening matches. The former Aston Villa player said he could no longer combine the dual role of running his pub/restaurant which he had purchased in the summer with that of managing a semi-professional club. In the absence of Club Chairman Ken Wright who is currently indisposed, former England international and the club’s acting Chairman Brian Pilkington said ?Shaun has informed us that he has been finding it increasingly difficult to run his business and carry out his duties with the football club. We understand that his livelihood must come first and we wish him well. We appreciate everything that Shaun has done for the club - playing and managing in extremely difficult times for Chorley FC?. The 42 year old Teale, who steered Burscough to FA Trophy victory three years ago after a long career including Premiership action when with Villa as well as playing in the Football League with Bournemouth and Tranmere Rovers, made more than fifty appearances for Chorley since joining them as player-manager in January 2005. He said ?I have done my best on a tight budget to bring success to Chorley and even carried on playing to help ease the club’s financial burden. But since taking on the Farmers Arms in Burscough I have found that the long hours at the pub and the time taken up playing, training and managing the football club have made it impossible for me to keep up both jobs?.

Taking charge for this weekend’s games was his Assistant Ray Stafford.

SMITH BAN REDUCED

AFC Telford United were delighted this week to hear that Manager Rob Smith’s three month ban from all football activity had been reduced to a six match touchline ban. On appeal the FA dismissed the first charge relating to damaging the dressing room door at his former club Willenhall Town and then reduced the punishment relating to a second charge of using abusive and threatening behaviour to a six match touchline ban commencing 1st September. Bucks Chairman Lee Carter said we are absolutely delighted and we can now move on. The decisions fully justify our support of Rob and the Appeal which was lodged?.

YORK LATEST TO SHOW INTEREST IN WOOLFORD

Frickley Athletic are bracing themselves for the possibility of losing one of their crop of impressive young players with York City the latest club to show a keen interest in left winger Martyn Woolford. The Minstermen are expected to make a significant offer for the 20 year old who terrorised defences scoring fourteen goals last season as Athletic narrowly missed out on the UniBond Premier Division title. During the summer Woolford spent a week in Ibiza on trial with Stockport County and he has also recently attracted the attention of Hartlepool United. Tuesday evening saw him open his account for the current campaign as he notched the equaliser when Frickley came back from 2-1 down to beat Whitby Town 3-2.

MUTTON OFF THE MENU AT KEYS PARK

After only visiting the Keys Park home of Hednesford Town to complete a UniBond League registration form Tommy Mutton has returned to Welsh League football. Mutton signed for Hednesford from Connah’s Quay Nomads during the summer but new work commitments meant that travelling to the Midlands from his North Wales base was proving more difficult than he first envisaged. Meanwhile Manager Phil Starbuck has signed 21 year old full back Tom Groves from Hucknall Town and striker Darren Alexander from Chasetown who waived the seven day notice of approach put in for the player. Alexander has played in the UniBond League previously with Rocester and AFC Telford United.

CHANGES AFOOT AT LEEK AFTER TORRID SUMMER

It was certainly a hectic summer for Leek Town as they fought for their very existence to stave off a winding up order lodged by the Inland Revenue over an outstanding tax bill of £37,000. However, a deal hammered out between the club and its ground sharers Leek CSOB saw the Blues thwart the threat of liquidation to kick off the new season with renewed optimism. Manager Mark Cartwright though has lost five players who helped him get Leek away from the bottom of the table last season in his very first attempt at management. Leek have sold full back Adam Yates, who made more than a century of appearances after joining Leek in the summer of 2004 following his release from Crewe Alexandra, to Conference National outfit Morecambe for an undisclosed fee. Also leaving Harrison Park is Ryan Brown who has linked up with Northwich Victoria whilst both Carl Frost and Alex Brown have opted for UniBond rivals Witton Albion. Another blow to Cartwright was simply not hearing during the close season from ex- Port Vale ?keeper Adam Wilkes, who spent most of the last campaign with the ?Blues?, despite him being invited back for pre-season training. Cartwright, however, now has goalkeeping cover having signed former Spennymoor United and Whitby Town custodian Martin Kearney who has competition for his place from nineteen year old former Barnet ?keeper Neil Thompson. His most experienced signing is in midfield where 33 year old Mark Devlin will operate after a full time career that saw him make around a century of appearances for Stoke City and Exeter City before moving to Northwich Victoria in 1999.

SCHMEICHEL MOVE HITS COLLINGE

Peter Collinge who was released by Clitheroe just before the start of the season so he could sign a one month contract with Bury to act as cover for first team ?keeper Alan Fettis has had his immediate future placed in doubt this week by Bury’s loan signing of Manchester City’s Kasper Schmeichel. The son of Manchester United goalkeeping legend Peter was widely acclaimed as the man most responsible for keeping Bury in the Football League last season when he was also with the Shakers on loan for fifteen games at the end of the campaign. Clitheroe had originally signed Collinge when he was released by Bury at the end of the 2004/5 season as a cost cutting measure. Clitheroe, meanwhile, have placed Chris Stammers in charge of team affairs for at least a month following Mark Smitheringale’s departure on the eve of the new season. Stammers was number two at Burscough last season under Derek Goulding and had just been brought in under the same capacity at Clitheroe by Smitheringale when club and manager parted company.

DEBUTS TO REMEMBER AND FORGET

Dene Whittall-Williams put through his own goal just 52 minutes in to his debut for Rossendale United on Tuesday night as his new club went down 0-5 at home to Bradford Park Avenue. By contrast Fleetwood Town’s Paul Lloyd scored on his debut the same evening as his side won 4-0 against Prescot Cables. Lloyd is on loan from Morecambe.

HALF OF MEMBER CLUBS ENTER FA YOUTH CUP

Just over half of the League's member clubs have entered sides in this season's FA Youth Cup with nine of them setting off on the trail in the Preliminary Round due to be played week commencing 11th September 2006. The early starters are Burscough, Ossett Town, Radcliffe Borough, Stocksbridge PS, and Witton Albion all of whom meet outside opposition whilst First Division Warrington Town are drawn at home to UniBond Premier Division club Prescot Cables with Eastwood Town playing host to fellow First Division side Gresley Rovers. The successful clubs from the above Preliminary Round ties will be joined in the 1st Qualifying Round by AFC Telford United, Bradford Park Avenue, Brigg Town, Belper Town, Gateshead, Guiseley, Goole AFC, Grantham Town, Hednesford Town, Kendal Town, Leek Town, Marine, Matlock Town, North Ferriby United, and Ossett Albion. The 1st Qualifying Round ties are to be played week commencing 25th September.

FIRST DIVISION CLUBS SET OUT ON THE FA CUP ROAD

Next Saturday sees all the UniBond League’s First Division clubs set out on what used to be known as the Road to Wembley with the odds slightly against them as only nine of the clubs drawn against outside opposition have home advantage compared to eleven on their travels. There are two all UniBond ties with Colwyn Bay playing host to Ossett Albion whilst Goole AFC are at home to Bradford Park Avenue. The Premier Division clubs join the fray on 16th September.

GLADIATORS UNEARTH STRIKER

Matlock Town appear to have unearthed a striker of some quality with Ian Holmes seemingly taking the step up from University football to the UniBond League Premier Division in his stride. The 21 year old scored in all of his side’s opening three games going in to their Bank Holiday fixture despite never having played at this level previously.

ROSSENDALE SHELTER LOCAL TEENAGERS

Although they have found it difficult to score points in the league so far First Division Rossendale United have proved to be a hit with the local teenagers as the club has provided a new place for the youths to hang out. The gathering of the teenagers on street corners had provoked complaints from local residents and the club donated land for a shelter to be built that could be used by the teenagers. With funding secured from Rossendale’s Community Safety Partnership, Lancashire Partnership against Crime and the High Sherriff of Lancashire’s Crimebeat Fund the shelter was recently opened by the High Sheriff at the rear of Rossendale’s Dark Lane home. Club Director Steve Hobson said we always aim to be good neighbours and it is hoped that by providing a safe place for the young people of the area to gather that any problems linked to anti-social behaviour will reduce.

UNIBOND FORGES LINKS WITH CHANNEL M

The UniBond League is looking to forge links with TV Company Channel M who were regular visitors last season to Woodley Sports where they covered the club’s pioneering decision to install a third generation artificial surface. In the first of what is hoped to become a regular feature on Channel M the station are sending a crew to Mossley on 21st September to film manager Jason Beckford putting his team through training and also tactic sessions prior to their UniBond League Premier Division game against Guiseley two days later. With sound bites from Jason and his squad Mossley fans in particular and followers of semi-professional football in general will have an insight in to how professional the game is at this level. Channel M is available through an existing TV aerial via Freeview in the Manchester area. It can also be viewed on Sky Channel 203 or ntl digital cable on channel 26. In addition Channel M has a website with TV feeds which is available throughout the country.

 KEEPER SCORES WITH HEADER

Witton Albion goalkeeper Jon Worsnop scored his side’s equaliser on Saturday as the Cheshire side came back to draw 2-2 with Guiseley after being two goals down. He came up for a corner in the 88th minute and headed home in to the top corner. It was the first occasion in the club’s existence that an Albion ?keeper had scored from open play and was the second bit of club history written inside a week. On Tuesday against Ossett Town Chris Gahgan’s powerful strike was timed at just fourteen seconds to become the fastest goal ever scored by a Witton player.

RADCLIFFE BUILDING FAN BASE IN USA

Radcliffe Borough is building a fan base in Frederick, a town in Maryland, USA thanks to a Frederick based businessman Lee Radcliffe who had been using the internet to research namesake places. The 51 year old, who owns a Real Estate Company (Radcliffe Realty Group) in Frederick, is now planning to sponsor Borough. Lee, who lives with football fan fiancée Gail Mann, said we couldn’t fail to become fans of the team with whom we share a name and I have spread the news to other members of the family as well as friends who have an interest in football. People over here find it strange that we follow a team that isn’t in the Premiership but I think we have more fun than they do. Fun is contagious and I think that has helped our recruitment drive. Our group has now grown to around thirty?. He plans to visit Radcliffe next year for a second time having made his first trip in 1984 to what he says he assumes is his ?ancestral hometown?. Borough Director Dave Murgatroyd said ?It’s unbelievable we struggle to get supporters from Radcliffe never mind America. I don’t suppose they will be able to get every home match but we would love to have them over here. If their supporters group gets to 250 they will double our attendance!?

WARRINGTON SET UP HOSPITAL PARTNERSHIP

Warrington Town have set up a partnership with the local hospital radio service that will enable patients to listen to pre-match interviews together with 20 minute updates throughout Saturday home matches with the broadcast completed by a full match report once the game has ended.


League News Week Ending (26-08-06)

Starbuck Starts to Shuffle Hednesford Pack

Hednesford Manager Phil Starbuck has started to fine tune his squad with the signing of Tom Groves a 21-year-old left back who was on Hucknall Town's books last season. Tom will join the team for their journey to Grantham on Tuesday evening.

On the way out from Keys Park is Fabian Smith who has been released and Danny McGhee, Tony Brown along with Craig Marshall have all been told that they can sign for another local club in an attempt to keep them match fit. Hednesford Town will continue to hold their UniBond registrations unless they wish to sign for another club playing UniBond League football.

After a seven day notice was served on local rivals Chasetown, which The Scholars have kindly waived Darren Alexander has put pen to paper, also signing is Craig Marshall who has signed non contract forms so that he can also play for clubs in other leagues to gain valuable match experience. Darren can play in the back or as a centre forward so will be a useful addition the squad especially as only three subs are only allowed in the UniBond League. Craig Marshall needs no introduction having come through the ranks at Keys Park. A bright future is still expected for the player and he will only get better with regular football, which hopefully the club can arrange for him. The third player to sign is Luis Claudio Sebastio De Melo who is another Portuguese player who has lived in the UK for the last two years. He has been on the books of Farsley Celtic and lists Benfica as on of his previous clubs along with Casa Pia AC.

New Sponsors' for Grantham Town

Grantham Town unveiled their new home and way sponsors at Tuesday nights Unibond Premier Division opener with Hednesford Town. Local solicitors Chattertons have kindly agreed to sponsor this seasons home shirts, with tiling suppliers Marren Tiles taking the away strip, both were welcomed to the club by Chairman Roger Booth.

Locally based Partner Richard Ludlow and Assistant Solicitor Emma Clarke from Chattertons were at the game against Hednesford. “We saw the article in the local paper a few weeks ago by the club appealing for sponsors and thought we could get involved.” Said Mr Ludlow. “We felt it was a fantastic opportunity to involve ourselves more in the local community and made a couple of calls to Roger Booth and it went from there.” Despite being established as a firm over 200 years ago and now one of the largest firms of solicitors in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, it is the first time Chattertons have got involved in football sponsorship.

Richard Ludlow admitted that while he is not an avid football fan, he has been to various clubs over the years. Emma Clarke owned up to being York City through and through. “When you are born there, it is in your blood!” She said. Mr Ludlow added “We would like to remain involved at Grantham for a good few years. We have signed up to one year and hope to take things further than that.

Grantham Town Chairman Roger Booth welcomed both Chattertons and Marren Tiles to the club. “It is great to have Chattertons on board.” Said Mr Booth. “I was very pleased to hear from them after our cry for help through the Grantham Journal. The article brought a bit of additional interest and I was pleased to get the main sponsorship with Chattertons agreed to quickly.”

“It is also nice to see Marren Tiles more involved with the club.” Added Mr Booth. “They have helped us out for a number of years now and we discussed at the end of last season how they could help and they came forward with a very generous offer. Marren Tiles are a family firm offering a full tiling supply service to trade and individual customers alike. Karen and Mark Dilloway have been supporting Grantham for the last 12 years, as long as their family run business has been going. “We love football as a family.” Said Nottingham Forest season ticket holders Mark and Karen. “Seeing the hard work Roger and everyone does here at the club, we wanted to get more involved. We have been season ticket holders at the City Ground as a family for 8 years, but always try to see our local team whenever we can.” Mark added, “I watched Lee Glover as a player from the terraces, but never dreamed I would be sponsoring a team managed by him.”


League Review (23-08-06)

Witton Albion’s Chris Gahgan was quick off the blocks in lasts nights home encounter with Ossett Town. Chris’s goal was times at 14 seconds, which gave the Cheshire outfit the springboard to see off their Yorkshire rivals 3-1. Marine's Lee Mulvaney came off the bench for the second consecutive game to score the only goal in a close encounter with last seasons First Division Champions Mossley. Hednesford Town managed their first win of the campaign at Grantham despite having Steve Brannan sent off after 64 minutes and Marlon Walters in the 74th minute.

There were also a couple of red cards at Matlock Town where the home side and opponents Lincoln United finish up with ten men as the "Gladiators" beat United 2-0 with Jason Minett missing a penalty for the visitors Newly promoted Fleetwood Town scored four for the second successive game this time seeing off Prescot Cables 4-0 at home which takes them to the top of the division, although early days the bookies odds must start to tumble for the Lancashire coast outfit.

In the First Division its a bad night for Rossendale United for whom Dene Whittall-Williams put through his own net on his debut and they also have Kyle Ingham sent off as they slump 5-0 at home to Bradford Park Avenue. The Avenue are beginning to look impressive with reports that they are showing good team work and have a strong will for victory.

Gresley Rovers missed a penalty in their 1-0 defeat at Stocksbridge Park Steels which coupled with only a home draw last Saturday leaves last seasons play off finalists with some work to do to find that all important early season form. Chorley went down 3-0 at Clitheroe in what transpires to be Shaun Teale's last game in charge. The ex Burscough favourite deciding that the pressure of combining the running of his Burscough pub and steering Chorley through a UniBond campaign was just going to be too much. The statement from Chorley FC is reported elsewhere on the website.


Weekly Review (19-08-06)

Two of the newly promoted clubs scored opening day wins in the Premier Division with FLEETWOOD TOWN winning 4-2 at OSSETT TOWN and KENDAL TOWN overcoming RADCLIFFE BOROUGH. Fleetwood’s success, however, was marred as they finished with only nine men whilst Ossett also had a man dismissed. The other promoted club MOSSLEY went down 3-2 at home to ILKESTON TOWN. The biggest win of the day in the top tier belonged to WITTON ALBION who won 4-0 at NORTH FERRIBY UNITED who last term made the play-offs whilst two of the fancied sides for this year’s title MARINE and GUISELEY secured wins away at HEDNESFORD TOWN and at home to MATLOCK TOWN respectively. Perennial strugglers GATESHEAD got off to a winning start under their new regime at home to BURSCOUGH but the remaining four games finished all square.

In the First Division, new kids on the block ALSAGER TOWN got off to a dream start winning 4-0 at BRIDLINGTON TOWN and in what was generally a good day for the new clubs CAMMELL LAIRD and BUXTON secured home wins. HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC secured a draw against BAMBER BRIDGE with the only first timers to lose being SKELMERSDALE UNITED who went down at home to the only goal of the game from EASTWOOD TOWN’s Peter Knox. The relegated clubs had mixed fortunes with BRADFORD PARK AVENUE coming from behind to beat WARRINGTON TOWN whilst WAKEFIELD went down at COLWYN BAY and also had a man sent off. GOOLE AFC beat SHEPSHED DYNAMO with virtually a new team as only two of last season’s squad started the game but they were helped by the visitors going down to ten men in the 67th minute. Despite losing their manager on Friday CLITHEROE shrugged their problems to one side to record a 3-1 win at KIDSGROVE ATHLETIC. Elsewhere STOCKSBRIDGE PS came out on top at CHORLEY whilst BELPER TOWN and GRESLEY ROVERS drew at home to BRIGG TOWN and WOODLEY SPORTS respectively.


League News Week Ending (19-08-06)

Bradshaw Contract First Ever at Ferriby

History was made and new ground broken at North Ferriby United this week with the announcement that Gary Bradshaw had become the first player in the club’s 72year history to sign as a contracted player. “Having reached the level we now have, stability is crucial if we are to cement out position and continue our progress,” stated chairman Les Hare, “A crucial part of that process is to secure our assets on the field and nothing represents that better than Gary Bradshaw.”

“We have a young and talented squad which is being eyed enviously by a number of other clubs, with particular interest falling on Gary, and this contract protects our interests. When Gary joined Cheltenham last season, we got no fiscal reward from it and that is a situation that I don’t want to happen again.” “There is no doubt that the prolific exploits of the former Hull City hitman will again arouse interest from clubs higher up the food chain, so the club’s position is not only understandable but, surprisingly, in total tune with that of Bradshaw.”

“Signing a contract with the club makes no real difference to me but I felt badly for the club when I moved to Cheltenham as they got nothing back for all that they have done for me over the last couple of seasons,” commented Bradshaw. “If I am lucky enough to get another shot at the pro game, I want to make sure that Ferriby don’t miss out.” “When I came back here in March on loan it was like coming home. My family and friends were delighted and I settled in straight away. I’d missed Ferriby, especially the people, and they’d missed me, so it suited us all.”

Cables Ready for New Season

Prescot Cables rounded of their pre-season friendlies with a 2-1 win at Bamber Bridge. An early penalty from Mark Duffy after Carl Rendell had been brought down was cancelled out before the break when a mistake from the usually reliable Adam Flynn provided an opportunity for the home side. Dean Thurston got the winner six minutes from time when he followed up Gary Jensen’s shot which the keeper could only parry.

The game allowed manager Andy Gray to assess the form of Karl Bell, recently from Buscough, as well as providing a run out for Steve O’Hara and Mark Duffy, who have been put on contract supported by finance from BELVOIR! Lettings Liverpool (Prescot), whose co-owner Chris O’Hara is a member of the Management Committee of Prescot Cables. BELVOIR! are Prescot Cables’ main sponsors for 2006/07. Prescot Cables are also sponsored by Knowsley MBC.

Wilson Surprise Show at Grantham

Grantham Town manager Lee Glover is looking to build on the exceptional performance from his side against Kings’ Lynn. “The result probably gave a boost to everyone at the club,” said Lee. “We performed very well against a good side. The addition of Leigh Walker, Douggie Wade and Mark Wilson gave us a better look.” Wilson was a surprise name in the side against the Linnets. “I had been talking to him all week, but kept my cards close to my chest as I don’t want to look silly if a player doesn’t come. Saturday was the first time he had seen the set-up and we will sit down on Tuesday night to sort out terms, as I will with one or two others.”

Worksop Town surprisingly released Wilson last Monday. The winger was a fans’ favourite at the Conference North club and was voted away player of the season last year. A strong performance on Saturday got the Grantham fans excited for the season. Glovers’ team building may not be at an end. “We can’t say that’s it,” he said, “There is always room for improvement and no room for complacency.”

AFC Telford BBC Live Coverage Throughout The Season

AFC Telford United supporters who are unable to get to the game are now able to listen to full match commentary for every match this season. BBC Radio Shropshire will be providing the service on 96FM for supporters in the Shropshire area, but in addition a live feed service will be available over the internet by logging in to http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/realmedia/live/localradio/shropshire.ram

The live feed service will commence five minutes before kick off and will continue until five minutes after the final whistle. Radio Shropshire is obviously providing a brilliant service to Bucks supporters but other clubs fans need to note for whenever their favourites are playing AFC Telford United.

Wilson Impresses Grantham

Lee Glover added his final piece to the Grantham Town squad ahead of Saturdays’ UniBond League Premier Division opener. Mark Wilson put in an impressive performance in Granthams last pre-season friendly and Glover signed him at training this week. “Mark gave us an extra option on the left.” Said Glover. “I had spoken to a few people about Mark and he will give us a lot of quality. The delivery into the front two from him and Douggie Wade on the other flank will create good chances for our front two.”

Wilson came available when he was surprisingly released by Worksop Town at the start of last week. Wilson had been with the Tigers for two seasons since joining them from Wakefield & Emley. He also had spells at Harrogate Town and Ossett Town. The energetic midfielder was a favourite with the fans at Worksop. And with performances like the one against Kings’ Lynn, will surely endear himself to fans at the Meres.

Ashton Stregthen Up for New Campaign

Scott Green has significantly strengthened his Ashton United squad in the run-up to the start of their UniBond Premier Division campaign. Green had been chasing the signatures of a number of triallists who had appeared in Ashton's pre-season games and after a comprehensive win in a practice match on Tuesday (15/08/06) he concluded deals with no less than six of his targets to send The Robins into their opening game at Lincoln United in good heart.

Former Northwich Vics full-back Chris Royle has re-signed after an excellent spell at Hurst Cross last season. He'll be competing for a place in defence alongside Russell Hitchen, who was in Bury's first team squad last season and Michael Murray, a former Rochdale trainee who is currently studying to be a physiotherapist at university.

Competition for mid-field places has also been strengthened with the signings of Greg Traynor, who has first team experience with Wigan Athletic and Danny Forde the former Oldham Athletic trainee recently released by Barrow. Former Macclesfield and Mossley livewire Jordan Goodeve will be looking for a place alongside Ciaran Kilheeney in the Ashton front-line but he will face stiff competition from another former Wigan Athletic youngster, David Moores. Moores, who has turned out for local rivals Stalybridge Celtic and Curzon Ashton over recent seasons, also has league experience in Bury's first team.

Testimonial for Gateshead's "Thommo"

With the big kick-off to the new season just 24-hours away Gateshead are ready to congratulate one of our long serving players with a testimonial. Paul Thompson has been granted a testimonial season for his service to Gateshead Football Club. Thompson has played 358 times in a Gateshead shirt scoring 117 goals to date.

'Thommo', as he is affectionately known, joined Gateshead back in 1995 from Hartlepool United and became an instant hit with fans. It came as a shock to supporters when he left in 1997 to join Stevenage Borough. Injury hampered his time there though and Thompson returned to Gateshead initially on loan 1998 and then join on a free transfer in the summer.

Thompson then stayed until the end of the 2003/04 season when he joined Bishop Auckland. Brief spells at Blyth Spartans and Whitley Bay saw Thompson return in February 2005 he scored 7 goals in 14 appearances, which helped save Gateshead from relegation. Last season Thompson had a productive season scoring 11 goals in 43 appearances.

Praising Paul Thompson, Chief Executive Derek Bell said, “If ever a person deserves a testimonial for services and loyalty to any club then it is Paul Thompson, over recent years he has stood by the club in difficult circumstances. Paul is a very influential person not only in his attributes to the team but his persona in and around the club. He has given many years of inspiration to others as well as being highly respected within the non league set up countrywide. I hope this season he goes on to break the all time goal scoring record of 129 goals for Gateshead FC of which he needs 13 goals this season.”

UniBond League Online Shop Opens

18 UniBond Clubs will take to the field this season wearing new kit bearing the Macron emblem. All 18 clubs took advantage of the preferential kit deals set up via the UniBond League Marketing Group though Nottinghamshire based Branded Sportswear and Italian producers Macron. In addition to the buying price of the kit all 18 clubs will now have the advantage of being able to supply their fans worldwide with full replica shirts and club sportswear via the UniBond League Online Store.

Clubs wearing Macron kit are Bradford Park Avenue, Bridlington Town, Brigg Town, Eastwood Town, Gateshead, Goole, Hednesford Town, Ilkeston Town, Marine, North Ferriby United, Ossett Albion, Prescot Cables, Wakefield, Warrington Town, Witton Albion and Woodley Sports. The UniBond League Online Store, which is accessed via the link on this website, top righthand corner, is another innovative initiative set up by the leagues Marketing Group.

The league decided to create its marketing arm prior to the last round of sponsorship negotiations with UniBond with the aim of keeping existing commercial links as well as investigating new areas whereby clubs are able to capitalize on their collective bargaining power as members of the UniBond League.

Other initiatives such as Broadband TV have been trialled but at the moment the commercial value of such a service needs to be fully investigated before entering into further coverage. The idea is still very much alive but may take some time to ensure that the service is right for everyone. In addition to investigating other commercial partnerships, top of the agenda is the renewal of sponsorship by UniBond which is in its final season. The league has been privileged to have been linked with UniBond for over 13 years and have no doubts that a continuation of sponsorship is the preferred option and have already discussed new ways in which the sponsorship can be profiled higher for mutual benefits.

Clitheroe Shock Manager Departure on Eve of Season

Just hours before the start of the new season First Division Clitheroe have been rocked by the departure of manager Mark Smitheringale. Full details of the departure have still to come from the club but a statement has said that newly appointed Assistant Manager Chris Stammers will take charge of team affairs for the opening two games.

Before the shock announcement things were looking positive for the Shawbridge outfit as they have agreed that Ladies Premiership club Blackburn Rovers Ladies football team are to play at Clitheroe this season. This is a major boost for the club’s finances and will also raise the clubs profile in the community. Rovers won promotion to the Ladies Premiership last season and will join the likes of Arsenal Everton and Charlton. The first game is at home to champions Arsenal on Sunday August 20th. In addition Accrington Stanley Youths will be using Shawbridge on Saturday mornings when Clitheroe first team are away.


League News Week Ending (12-08-06)

Woodley Link to Rainbow Family Trust

Woodley Sports Football Club and The Rainbow Family Trust are pleased to announce that following lengthy discussions agreement has been reached for the Francis House logo to be worn on all three Woodley Sports FC kits for the 2006 – 2007 season to promote both parties through sport whilst utilising the fantastic developing facilities at Woodley Sports Lambeth Grove Stadium and its new £400k third generation field turf pitch.

Woodley Sports desire to break away from the traditional sponsorship deals and to ‘put a little back’ into the community led them to turning down several offers of club sponsorship and instead offer Francis House the opportunity to utilise the UniBond Division One team along with its reserve and youth team as a vehicle to further create interest and raise awareness and funds for their worthy cause without any cost to Francis House.

The association is also keen to raise further funds for Francis House through celebrity games, sports auctions and other fund raising activities at the Lambeth Grove Stadium. It is hoped that the partnership can develop along with the stadium which is currently awaiting planning approval for a circa £3m development which will enhance the Stadiums ability to offer not only Francis House but the surrounding community much needed sports and recreational facilities.

Jeff Mills, Woodley Sports FC Director commented “this is a fantastic opportunity for football to contribute to a very, very worthy cause by simply playing football!! The audience that the three teams reach each week along with its press coverage can only serve to increase the awareness of the fantastic job of work that the people at Francis House do and hopefully with it will come donations to assist in that work”.

Pie, Peas and Snails

You will be forgiven for thinking that the headline above is leading you to an article on extreme gastronomic pleasures! Instead it the most apt way to introduce cameraderie of the highest order between two football clubs from either side of the Pennines.

UniBond new boys Cammell Lairds and Silsden from the North West Counties first division first crossed paths when both clubs entered the North West Counties League in 2004 from local minor leagues. That season saw both clubs win promotion to the higher division, but with great respect for each other as opposed to friction that can occur when competing clubs vie for their own successes.

Toward the end of last season a fundraising racenight was held at Lairds' Kirklands ground after the league encounter between the sides. This proved to be a great success and the Cobbydalers were all too complimentary of the big pans of scouse that were laid on afterwards.

On Saturday the favour was returned at Silsdens temporary home of Keighley RFC's Cougar Park stadium. The pre-season friendly had to be staged at Silsdens own ground which they hope to return to once floodlights are erected. The largly uneventful match was won by the hosts with a second half strike from Andy Holden. Then the Lairds contingent boarded their coach for the short trip to Cougar Park. In an hilarious slant to the 'racenight' theme, Silsden had organised cartoon snail racing!! The packed function room was in fits of laughter as the runaway leading snail was squished by a huge cartoon boot, although it has to be said that no actual snails were hurt in the making of this fundraiser!!!

Lairds skipper Derek Ward and stablemate Lee Atherton won the auction race and were instructed to 'get the ale in' for the players pre-season party that ensued! Rounding off the night were tasty plates of pie and peas and everyone went home happy, with much needed revenue being raised for Silsden to help in their quest to return to their own ground.

Grantham 'Keeper Blow

Grantham Town manager Lee Glover was given an unwanted problem over the weekend. Just two weeks before the season starts, goalkeeper Mario Ziccardi has walked out of the club. “It has left me with a massive headache.” Said Glover. “Although I am looking at a number of options already, it may be that we have to take a short term solution. I want a long term one quickly.”

Ziccardi has decided to re-join ex-gingerbreads manager John Wilkinson at league rivals Lincoln United. A decision that disappointed Glover. “Maz has got his reasons for the move, maybe he feels he needs a new challenge. I didn’t want him to go, but in the end, it was his choice.” Wilkinson signed Ziccardi for the Gingerbreads from the Lincoln club in January 2000. Grantham paid a fee of around £2,500 for the keeper who had played at Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe and attracted interest from Fulham.

Over eight seasons, Ziccardi made 315 appearances for Grantham. His time at The Meres was not without its’ problems. Ziccardi was sent off six times for Grantham, including three red cards in one season in 2000-2001. “He has been an excellent goalkeeper for the club.” Glover said. “He is very very good and I am disappointed to lose him, but want to thank him for everything he has done for Grantham.” As well as now searching for a goalkeeper, Glover is acutely aware his squad needs strengthening, “I have been waiting patiently for the right players to come available. I hope to tie a deal up with one or two this week, but need to look at some others now.”

Grantham Close To Sponsorship Deal

Grantham Towns’ decision to go public with their hunt for new sponsors has paid dividends. Since The Gingerbreads announced that they had no main sponsor for next season, Chairman Roger Booth has been in negotiations with local companies. “The publicity worked.” Said the Unibond Premier League sides’ Chairman. “From a position of no sponsor for home or away shirts, I am putting the final touches on deals for both at the moment.”

Both companies are locally based and are expected to be involved with the club for some time to come. Mr Booth expects to be able to announce the full detail of both deals in the next couple of weeks. “It has been a long hard summer of labour for this.” Added Mr Both, “But our efforts have finally borne fruit.”

McGuire Stays at Lairds

First Division new boys Cammell Laird have announced that high scoring midfielder Jamie McGuire has rejected the offer of a contract from League 2 Stockport County, opting to stay with his hometown club. Ex Tranmere Rovers pro McGuire was trialled at County and played in 4 games for the Hatters. During this time he suitably impressed the League side with his combative midfield style to the point that they wanted him to stay.

In a statement, 22 year old Jamie said, “I was pleased with my performances at Stockport and enjoyed playing against my old club Tranmere Rovers in a friendly last week. I was chuffed to be offered a contract but after weighing everything up I feel I've made the right decision in staying with Lairds.”

Cammell Laird assistant manager Paul Conboy said, "We are delighted that Jamie has decided to stay with the squad. He went to the trial with our blessings and good luck; we obviously didn't want to lose him but couldn't stand in his way. He's scored 74 goals from midfield in the last two seasons and has been with us since we were in the West Cheshire League three years ago. We hope that with Jamie back on board we can continue our climb up the Pyramid. McGuire quickly jumped back into the fold on Tuesday, scoring the first goal in Lairds 2-1 win against Burscough from the UniBond Premier.

Grantham Add Quality

Lee Glover has added some quality to his squad ahead of the last pre-season friendly before the season starts. Leigh Walker, Dougie Wade and Alex Rodman all join a Gingerbreads side looking to round off their preparation with a win. Walker has trained with the club all week. The 25 year-old started his career at Sheffield United and Barnsley before joining Stalybridge Celtic, then Scarborough. While at the McCain stadium, he made 123 appearances and played in goal against Chelsea in the FA Cup in 2004. Walker only left the McCain at the end of last season playing 29 times in the campaign.

Despite turning out for the Seadogs in a pre-season friendly, Walker has chosen Grantham over league rivals Guiseley. “His experience marks him out as an outstanding ‘keeper.” Said Grantham manager Lee Glover. “He will be a great signing for the club.” Grantham fans know about Wade, as the wide man made 4 appearances on loan from Hinckley United last season. Wade has made 25 appearances for the Knitters and trained with them again this pre-season, but Hinckley manager Dean Thomas has allowed him to come to Grantham on a long term loan.

“The arrangement is a bit more for us than last season.” Said Glover. “Dougie will train with us and be available to us. He remains on Hinckley’s books, but to all intents and purposes is our player.”

The final addition to the squad this week is 6-foot midfielder Alex Rodman. Rodman has been training with Alfreton Town, playing against Sutton Town but was released by Gary Mills this week. Rodman was with the successful Leamington side that reached the first round of the FA cup last season. Rodman was voted player of the round in the third qualifier scoring both goals in their defeat of Woodford United. He made 41 appearances for the Brakes last season, scoring 5 goals. “He has looked the part in training.” Said Glover. “We’ll see how he goes in the match and take it from there.”


League News Week Ending (05-08-06)

Warrington Town Tie Up Arkle Sponsorship

Warrington Town have secured sponsorship from a local company with connections more to horse racing than football. Warrington based Arkle Properties Ltd who have a large portfolio of property for sale or rent in the UK and abroad have agreed to the sponsorship of their local team. Recently Arkle Property owners Ron and Richard Sutton discovered that racing legend and six-times Derby winner Steve Donoghue’s headstone in Warrington Cemetery had fallen into disrepair. Steve Donoghue had a glittering career throughout the 1920’s and 30’s and members of the racing fraternity visit his grave regularly. The two horse-loving businessmen from Arkle Properties rode to the rescue and paid for the restoration of the site in Warrington Cemetery.

Burston Rings the Changes

Leek Town Chairman elect, Paul Burston, revealed his vision for a more transparent organisation at a packed meeting of supporters on Monday and called for the supporters to take a bigger role in the structure of the club. Burston wants supporters to take a more pro-active role in the day to day running of the club as well as on match days. The Blues' chief called for the supporters to form an operations committee to be responsible for all aspects of running a club at UniBond level including sponsorship and advertising, promoting the Blues Bar, developing a fundraising strategy and of course, taking responsibility for matchday organisation. A meeting of all parties interested in joining this committee is to be held in the Blues Bar on Monday 7 August commencing at 7.30pm.

All Change at Gateshead

It has been a time for massive change at Gateshead FC before the start of the new season. There have been changes from top to bottom with a new chairman in Graham Wood, with former chairman Derek Bell moving to the role of Chief Executive. Wood, a former vice-chairman of Sunderland, said the alternatives were to let the club find its natural level of self-sufficiency, which was probably the Northern League, or to invest time and money in trying to restore it to its former standing. "I've chosen the latter," he said, "but I wish to stress that I haven't got bottomless pockets and I'll be looking for all the help I can get in funding these ambitions." Also changing behind the scenes is the position of Match Secretary and Programme Editor with Dean Ranyard standing down from both positions with work commitments stopping him devoting more time to the club. On the playing side of things Colin Richardson resigned and Tony Lee became Gateshead manager for the second time, bringing in former Newcastle player Ian Bogie as his assistant. Only seven players from last seasons campaign are still with the club with a massive intact of 14 players coming into the club with the possibility of more on the way. The latest signing was David Southern from Newcastle Blue Star from an undisclosed fee. Gateshead also have former Barrow keeper Simon Bishop, former Darlington keeper Michael Price, Hartlepools Steven Istead and Scarborough trio Chris Hughes, Ian Clark and new Tynesider Captain Steve Baker joining the ranks.

Lee is said to be chasing Hartlepool striker Andy Appleby. Lee said: "The squad is strong but I am still looking to add a couple of new faces before the season starts at home to Burscough on August 19." The club have also launched a competition for people to send in their designs for a new club crest. The closing date is August 5th. If anyone is interested in the positions of Match Secretary or Programme Editor you can contact Chief Executive Derek Bell on 07791089613 to discuss the roles in more detail.

Belper European Debut

Belper Town Football Club will create a slice of history on Saturday, 12 August when they stage their first ever match against international opposition. As part of the Nailers pre-season preparations, the club will entertain Dutch non-league side DVV Duiven to Christchurch Meadow. DVV are based in Duiven, a town of similar size to Belper that is located close to the Dutch city of Arnhem. Like the Nailers, DVV operate a large number of teams and their own sports complex comprises seven full size football pitches. They were founded just after World War II and have adopted the name DVV (Door Vriendschap Vooruit) meaning “Forward with Friendship” The team and officials will arrive in England on Friday, 11 August and have been offered a conducted tour of Derby County’s Pride Park Stadium. The match itself will take place at Christchurch Meadow, Belper at 3.00 pm on Saturday, 12 August. Belper Town FC secretary, Dave Laughlin has been the driving force behind the plan to bring the Dutch side to Belper. He said, “DVV are a similar club to Belper Town in so many ways. They have a good infrastructure, linking with their junior and youth teams and they also have excellent facilities similar to those at Christchurch Meadow.” “I’d like to think that if the event is successful this year, we could make it an annual event with Belper Town travelling to Holland in 2007”.

The clubs will compete for “the Caroline Melbourne Memorial Cup”, which has been commissioned by Belper Town FC Supporters Club in memory of Caroline, who tragically passed away earlier this year. Caroline was a popular supporter of the club and was nicknamed “Mrs Co-op” by the club fanzine as a reference to her job in the local supermarket. Belper Town FC are hoping that the match will attract a huge amount of interest, not only from their own supporters but from many people within the local community and from the whole family of non-league football supporters across the country. As an added attraction, UniBond League sponsors, Henkel, have generously donated a portable television as the main prize in a free raffle draw, which one lucky spectator will take away at the end of the game.