Category Archives: Non League

Stockport County should start these two wingers against Aldershot Town today

The Football Manc Cave are looking at Stockport County’s midfield and how they should go out against Aldershot today.

Stockport have been having a brilliant run in the National League. They currently sit 5th in the league on an impressive 17 points from 10 games. They face Aldershot Town this weekend who currently have 8 points from 9 games and sit down at 21st. Jim Gannon’s side will be looking to get 3 points this weekend as they lost 3-0 to Chorley in their last game.

With that in mind, we are taking a look at how their midfield could line up. Jim Gannon likes the 4-5-1 formation with two wingers, one upfront and 3 midfielders to back up the defence and attack. Here’s my prediction to how the midfield will sit this weekend…

Adam Thomas

Adam Thomas on the right-wing. He’s been brilliant so far at nabbing goals and assisting. His role on the right won’t be given to anyone else anytime soon. In the middle, Paul Turnbull, Elliot Osborne and Sam Walker have been making a nice trio so Gannon will probably want to stick with that.

Ben Jackson

Now we get to the left-hand side. Last time the Hatters played, 18-year-old loanee, Ben Jackson started in the left-wing position. He’s on loan from Huddersfield and doesn’t only play in this position, he also is comfortable as a full back.

Gannon may want to give him a chance again against Aldershot, however, he’s made it quite difficult for himself after signing another option. Joe Leesley has joined the Hatters on loan from Harrogate Town and also operates on the left.

Gannon has said that he’s a big fan of his 25 year old new player, so fans could see him start this weekend. Although, a sensible option may be to bring him on in the second half to see what he adds to the team. There’s also other options for Gannon on the bench such as Connor Dimaio.

The Hatters boss is lucky to have players who can operate in different positions, so he’s not too stuck when it comes to injuries or anything else that gets in the way.

‘Easy easy easy!!!’ Stockport County taking to life in the National league with ease

Stockport County managed to beat Fylde last night 2-1 at Edgeley Park. Making it 3 wins on the bounce for the Hatters.

They managed to beat Fylde for the first time at Edgeley Park last night and earn 3 points. That makes it 5 wins in 6 for County and fans are ecstatic.

The game was that good for fans that the club asked who they thought the man of the match should have been because there were so many options with such a great performance. Jim Gannon couldn’t help but keep praising his team and the belief they have to do well. The fans couldn’t help but praise their manager.

Here are your reactions…

Photo Credit: Stockport County

Radcliffe FC, FC United and Ashton United match previews

The Football Manc Cave are looking at the Northern Premier League to see who Radcliffe, FC United of Manchester and Ashton United are facing this weekend and how we think they’ll get on.

Radcliffe

The Boro’ are away to Basford United. I saw their last game against FC United of Manchester in which they drew 1-1 and they looked more promising than before. Elliot Rokka was a stand out performer for me as he was constantly in the right places at the right time, he found a lot of space and in the second half, I decided to go and sit with the FC United fans and even they picked up on how dangerous he looked. They didn’t like how he was finding areas and going unmarked.

Basford has taken 6 points from 4 games and is currently 9th. Radcliffe, on the other hand, have pushed up to 17th after winning their first point but they have only played 2 games so far due to games being shifted around. Their chances don’t look great in this fixture but with a combination of good players like Rick Smith and Ben Wharton, hopefully, Radcliffe will be able to try and win at least a point.

FC United Of Manchester

After watching them play Radcliffe at the weekend, I was impressed mostly by their fans. They were loud, proud and in their numbers. Unfortunately, they sit 19th in the league with only one point from 4.

They face Morpeth Town who are currently 10th in the league with 6 points from 3 games. It’s going to be tough and they obviously aren’t the favourites in this clash. Hopefully fan favourite, Patrick Wharton, their goalkeeper, can keep a clean sheet or at least make some more great saves to keep them in the game.

Ashton United

They face the toughest test this week in the Northern Premier League. They face Matlock who are top of the league after winning all 4 of their games to earn an impressive 12 points.

Ashton lost their last game to Stalybridge Celtic 2-0 and they sit bottom of the league. This game doesn’t look promising at all for Ashton and they’re facing a team who are great at keeping a clean sheet.

Stockport County & Curzon Ashton both looking for wins today

The Football Manc Cave are looking at the National League sides that we follow, Stockport County and Curzon Ashton as they both look for points this weekend.

Stockport County

The Hatters take on Wrexham away. Stockport won their last game against Chesterfield 2-0. They are sitting comfortably at 7th in the league after winning 3 of their 7 games, drawing 2 and losing the other 2. They’re on 11 points and are hungry for more but have beat expectations in this league and fans are happy.

Wrexham is currently 13th on 9 points so Stockport could be looking to steal some more points here if they are lucky. Elliot Osborne and Nyal Bell have performed great recently and will be two to watch.

Curzon Ashton

The Nash is playing Guiseley away. Curzon isn’t going too great at the minute as they lost their last game against King’s Lynn Town an unfortunate 4-1. They also lost the game before against Kidderminster, 1-0. They currently sit 12th in the league with 9 points after 2 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses.

Guiseley is currently higher at 5th on 13 points after taking 4 wins and 1 draw from their 7 games. It’s looking as if it could be another loss for the Nash, however, Callum Saunders has scored 2 in 2 and could keep up his tally so that the goal difference that Curzon Ashton build-up doesn’t gain too much of a negative difference.

This versatile player is the key to a Stockport County win today

Stockport County could be challenging for a high position this season if they can continue their winning streak against Harrogate at Wetherby Road.

The Hatters started their season in a disappointing manner, losing to Maidenhead Utd on the bounce of winning the league and getting promoted the National League. However, in the four games since, Stockport have not lost one. They have drawn twice, though, against the experienced and well-versed opponents Notts County and Yeovil Town.

One or two successive wins for Stockport could see them in the top five of the table. Harrogate and Chesterfield stand in their way, being their next two features. With both sides around the bottom end of the table, Stockport would be naive to consider themselves underdogs in the fixtures.

After Stockport stormed their way into a higher division many wondered if they could they follow suit of their neighbours Salford City, whether the comparison is fair or not. With the results gained so far and the football being played on the pitch, it may not be such a long shot.

Fellow recently promoted Chorley, have not had the same sort of start to the season. Sitting second to last on 3 points, the difference in quality between themselves and Stockport indicate that County will survive this season comfortably. But it looks as though The Hatters will be disappointed with the campaign should they finish in the bottom half of the table.

Player to watch

Most Stockport County fans will agree that one name springs to mind when thinking about who is one to watch in their ever-improving squad. Adam Thomas has 7 goals and 4 assists in his last 13 appearances. In those games, he has featured at right-back, right-wing back, right-wing and centre forward.

Curzon Ashton looking to bounce back with these few changes to the starting 11

Curzon Ashton could overtake Kings Lynn if they come away with three points at The Walks Stadium. But after last weeks defeat, they might need to take a new approach to the game…

Matchday six of the National League North sees Curzon Ashton playing away from home against Kings Lynn Town. Both teams have lost only one game so far this season, but Kings Lynn sit two points ahead of sixth place Curzon Ashton.

The Northerners suffered a 1-0 defeat at home in the Tameside Stadium last week against Kidderminster. The home side failed to control the game in most aspects, despite being expected to on their own soil.

Curzon Ashton escaped relegation by 14 points last season. Therefore the Greater Manchester side should definitely be upping their game this season in order to reach greater heights. The recently promoted sides such as Kings Lynn themselves, could offer greater competition than the four teams who finished below them last season.

What needs to be different from last week’s performance?

In Curzon’s first defeat of the season, they were lucky to only receive a 1-0 scoreline. But the introduction of substitutes Michael Elstone, Luke Wall and Liam David breathed a new intensity into the side. Nearly allowing the well-beaten Curzon Ashton to come away with a point.

In the game against Kings Lynn away from home they must be prepared to perform with a high intensity. Should they have a passive and lacklustre performance against the newly-promoted side, they will likely go home empty-handed.

20 year-old Michael Elstone is far too dangerous to leave on the bench, particularly against a side that they should be beating on paper. Giving him a run off the bounce of having a big impact off the bench, in a game where senior members disappointed could be what he needs to kick start an impressive campaign.

With 9 goals for and 3 goals against them so far this season, Curzon Ashton could be well on their way to having an impressive season. Squad fitness and rotation could be the key in a high table finish for a team with the potential to do so.

Radcliffe, Ashton United & FC United of Manchester all look to get some points on the table this weekend

The football season is underway in all English Leagues now and the Football Manc Cave are looking at the Northern Premier Division to see how Radcliffe, Ashton United and FC United of Manchester could all go on this weekend.

Radcliffe Vs Runcorn – FA Cup

The Boro’ have two games this weekend, FA Cup tie on Saturday and a league game on bank holiday Monday. With this in mind, some second choice players like Lanre Olapade, Elliot Rokka and Riley O’Sullivan May get chances to start to keep some other players rested.

I could be completely wrong but you would think that the league games would be more important to Radcliffe, therefore, some important players should only come on as subs in this game or keep them rested.

Radcliffe and Runcorn have never met before so it should be an interesting game at the Neuven Stadium. Boro reaches the second qualifying round last season and lost 1-0 at home to National League side, Curzon Ashton. Radcliffe’s best run in the FA Cup was in the first round in 2000. They’ll be looking to take something from this game either way.

Bamber Bridge vs Ashton United

Ashton United played South Shields in their last league game and lost 3-0 unfortunately. They had to cope with a last-minute line-up change as Aaron Chalmers had to replace Kyle Harrison. Harrison was on the bench for the game so he could be back in action this week. In this game, United gave away a penalty in the first 5 minutes so will need to try and refrain from those mistakes and be careful at the back.

Ashton is currently 18th in the league with 1 point after 2 games. Bamber Bridge is 20th with 0 points so far so this clash could be close. Ashton will definitely be looking to get 3 points but it will be disappointing if they fail to take away nothing.

FC United vs Scarborough

FC United are currently bottom of the Northern Premier Division with 0 points after 2 games. Scarborough is on 1 point after the 2 games and is currently 19th in the league. However, Scarborough will be on the bounce back after they lost 5-1 to Stalybridge on Tuesday.

The FC United fans are still excited after Paddy Wharton’s double save this week. They may have lost 2-1 to Hyde at home, however, it wasn’t the score sheet that took centre stage, it was Wharton’s penalty save that saw him save the rebound as well. You can watch this yourself here. Regan Linney also scored in the game for FC United so he will be another player on Form this week feeling motivated.

Will VAR drive Premier League fans to the EFL and Non-League for a real football fix

The introduction of VAR to the Premier League has caused as much controversy as expected. With money as the motive in every aspect of a business, it might not last much longer as fans are preferring lower-tier competitions in order to see some real football being played…

Football fans across England see VAR as a destructive tool of the game. The human error of referees had always been part of the sport, judging the performance of the referee came second to judging the performance of the players.

VAR, which stands for Virtual Assistant Referee, has killed the buzz of seeing your team score a goal, as you tend to have to wait for VAR to check the legitimacy of the goal.

With the billions and billions of pounds floating around the Premier League, fans fear that football is beginning to come second to the ‘Reality TV-like’ aspect to the modern game. VAR certainly adds to this.

As a result, lovers of the sport are preferring to watch lower-tier football. The EFL and non-league competitions have not had VAR introduced, and also have more of a focus on the football being played on the pitch as opposed to what happens off it, who took a penalty or what Pogba’s hair colour is etc.

In essence, it is a form of boycotting.

So what is bad about VAR?

Of course, and myself is no exception to this, VAR is only ever good when it favours the side you support. It is part of the natural biases and delusions of a football fan.

However, many European folks criticise American Football for its stop/start nature and claim that the sport isn’t gripping or exciting. This may well be the case for European football in the coming years as VAR takes over.

As it stands, VAR is necessary for decisions that are not absolutely clear to human referees. With arguments that VAR cannot be completely accurate, it completely avoids the need for it.

3 players stand out as FC United suffer second defeat to Hyde

FC United suffered their second defeat in the Northern Premier League in a 2-1 defeat at home to Hyde United. Today, The Football Manc Cave will take a look at the key events of the game and what players to keep an eye on for the rest of the season…

A home defeat would leave you thinking that manager Neil Reynolds would be giving the players the hairdryer treatment in the dressing room post-match. However, I was fortunate enough to see a high-quality performance from FC Utd which proved that this side has the potential to challenge in this division.

First Half

The beginning of the game saw FC Utd take total control. The Reds were pinging passes from left to right. James Joyce had acres of space out on the left, where the likes of Tom Dean and Luke Griffiths were picking him out for fun. But FC Utd was unable to capitalise despite dominance.

A mistaken pass in their own half saw Hyde take advantage and Danny O’Brien scores a tap in from a yard out.

In a baffling event, Hyde was awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, until the referee changed his mind and awarded a penalty. Imminently, the referee became the most disliked man in the stadium. However, goalkeeper Patrick Wharton pulled off a fantastic double save to stop the penalty as well as the rebound. It was one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen in live football.

Despite FC Utd’s control of the game, Hyde was vicious on the odd occasion they had a counter-attack. On one of the very rare occasions that Hyde played some good football was down the left, where they completely undid the FC Utd defence. Liam Tongue slotted it away nicely leaving Hyde Utd 2-0 ahead.

Second half

Hyde Utd started the second half the way FC Utd started the first. Hyde was holding possession and switching play until FC Utd found their groove again.

Niall Rodney and Regan Linney looked to be the two most threatening players for the Reds. Linney regularly cutting inside from the left for the shot or Rodney playing off the last man and attempting to get on the end of some fairly wayward long balls.

FC Utd gained more and more momentum as the clock ticked down. The introduction of Chris Sharp gave the Reds more threat and options, adding to the attack v defence display.

Regan Linney’s favoured technique of cutting inside and shooting finally paid off, as a slight deflection sent the keeper the opposite way.

The remainder of the game saw FC Utd try to prod and pick away at the sturdy and compact Hyde. By the way, Hyde was hoofing the ball up and taking time on dead-ball situations, it was clear the side was holding out for the result they had.

It worked. Despite piling on the pressure in the final stages of the game, FC Utd undeservedly missed the mark on several goal-scoring opportunities.

The game had some fantastic moments and displays of good football. But the highlight has to be manager Neil Reynolds’ yellow card for descent towards the assistant referee over a throw-in awarded to Hyde where the ball hadn’t completely crossed the line. From my position, Reynolds was correct, but he must remain composed and focused in order to set a good example for his team.

Scout report: Who stood out?

Luke Griffiths

Griffiths played in the centre of the park and made everything tick for the Reds. Without him, it’s hard to see how they could dominate possession. His ball control, passing accuracy and footballing IQ set him apart from every other player on the pitch.

Craig Carney

Carney is a joy to watch. Finding acres of space on the right side of the field allowed him to be one of FC Utd’s most dangerous players. His ability to storm down the wing, whether defenders are there to stop him or not, makes him one of the best full-backs to watch live. He found himself in both crossing and shooting opportunities and was unfortunate to not come away with more. For myself, he was Man of the Match.

Patrick Wharton

The FC Utd goalkeeper deserves a special mention for his double save after the Reds conceded a very suspect penalty. He also pulled off the odd good save in a game where he wasn’t entirely busy.

Overall

In my opinion, FC Utd deserved to win this game. They played some amazing football, looked good as a squad and challenged Hyde Utd throughout the 90 minutes. It looks as though they need an imposing striker who can be an aerial threat and well as a hold-up player to slide the ball into the wingers.

Radcliffe FC will do well if their discipline record improves

It was Radcliffe’s first league game of the season and I had done a match preview here at the Football Manc Cave before it took place.

The line up I predicted wasn’t too different to the starting eleven that came out to face the first home game this season.

In my match preview, I stated that some of the Radcliffe players needed to calm a little and stay away from red cards going forward. Both the friendlies I saw them in saw little fights or arguments with the referees.

Inside the first ten minutes of the game, there were chances for both sides, however nothing enough to take any goals from their efforts. At the ten minute mark, Nathan Lowe received a yellow card for a late challenge on Kingsley Williams. After this, South Shields got a chance that was cleared by Boro’.

20 minutes in and just as both teams looked to be settling into the game, Harry Winter ended up getting booked for a silly challenge. This led to a very competitive period of football. The first half an hour of the game was tight.

34 minutes went by and this time, it wasn’t a Boro’ player seeing red, it was Jason Gilchrist of South Shields. There was an altercation in midfield which led to this. It was nice to see the Boro players not be on the receiving end of a disciplinary for once.

Danny Mitchley and Ben Wharton played ok, the fact that they were playing against 10 men and put some good work in together. They went for goal but unfortunately, it went just wide.

At half time, it was still 0-0. A competitive first half that got a little heated. The interval came at the right time allowing both teams to cool down and compose themselves.

Second half

The second half got underway and there were some clear chances from Radcliffe. A corner won by Danny Mitchley saw Rick Smith, Ben Wharton and Scott Metcalfe’s efforts fall short. Unfortunately for the Boro’, at the 51-minute mark, Robert Briggs of South Shields hit the ball into the top corner to put them up 1-0.

This was very disappointing as Boro’ had done brilliantly to stay in the game. Things got too much for the lads as 70 minutes in, Harry Winter was given his second yellow card and sent off for another silly challenge. This was the attitude I talked about in my match preview.

There were five minutes added on at the end of the second half and to be honest, South Shields should have been 2-0 up. It was a disappointing first game for the Boro’, although only a 1-0 loss isn’t as bad as what it could and probably should have been. They look promising for the rest of the season, however, and if they can refrain from red cards, they should be able to improve.

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