Tag Archives: Evo Stik

OPINION: Who Will Gain Promotion To The National League North; Ashton United, FC United or Radcliffe Borough

Ahead of every new season mountains of speculation appear as to who are the favourites for promotion the coming year.

Going into the 2019/20 season we took a look at which of the three Manchester sides could challenge for promotion to the National League North. Following Ashton United and FC United of Manchester getting relegated from the second tier of Non-League last year to the Evo-Stick League Premier Division and Radcliffe Borough getting promoted to that same division through the playoffs. The three clubs will have a host of derby games next year that we are sure will be exciting affairs for supporters and players alike.

Despite all three clubs being in the same division, there is nothing to say that any of the clubs will get promoted from what is a very strong division. With some big clubs such as beaten play-off finalists Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and South Shields.

Therefore, the clubs will all have to have good preseasons and especially for the two relegated sides, big squad rebuilding jobs will probably need to take place following relegation.

One of which at the first club we are going to look at is already well underway under manager Neil Reynolds…

FC United of Manchester

Following relegation from the National League North, FC United will be looking to bounce straight back up and, are in the process of having a major clear out under manager Neil Reynolds.

Only four players return from last seasons team including club captain Mike Potts. Meaning that the squad being assembled at Broadhurst Park will have a completely new look. Recruiting well and a lot of this has been based around Manchester signing a couple of players from their division rivals for next season including midfielder Ryan Shenton from Curzon Ashton, full back Mason Fallon from Radcliffe Borough and Paul Ennis from Ashton United.

Somewhat of an unknown quantity for FC United going into this season, so will they get promoted? Ask us again in a couple of weeks.

Ashton United

Another massive rebuild is well underway at Ashton, a number of key players from last year have committed to the robins though such as Liam Tomsett and midfielder Sam Sheridan.

Local players seem to have been a focus for this season, taking two from local rivals Curzon Ashton in the form of midfielder Chris Rowney and returning to Ashton United for a second spell John Pritchard.

The club has also brought in players who know this level very well, in Hyde United defender Kyle Harrison and former Bradford Park Avenue winger Nicky Clee.

The recruitment of players who know this level will only help Ashton United and holding on to a core of players will too, we can see them challenging this year.

Radcliffe Borough

Following their promotion, last term will a double promotion be on the cards?

Radcliffe are yet to strengthen their squad, although they can be forgiven only gaining promotion a couple of weeks ago. But keeping hold of the players who did so well for them will be key especially with their new rivals/neighbours sniffing round, having already lost Mason Fallon to FC United.

It completely depends on the aspirations for Radcliffe, they’ve shown the class they have through promotion last term a couple of additions could see them heading in the right direction up the table. With the strength of the other clubs in the league, however, we don’t think Radcliffe will go up again.

Is Radcliffe Borough’s Top Goal Scorer On The Move to Chester?

Rumours emerged last night from Non-League transfer account ‘non-league tittle-tattle’ that Radcliffe Borough’s 25 goal striker Tunde Owolabi was on his way to Chester Fc.

Chester are currently co-managed by Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, who gained fame from their successful spell at Salford which was documented on the BBC programme “Class of ’92: Out of Their League”

Joint Chester manager Bernard Morley noticed this tweet and replied tongue in cheek stating he had no idea about the potential signing and, jokingly suggested his Co-Manager Anthony Johnson might have done the deal behind his back.

‘Jonno’ who is seemingly still on his post-season holiday judging by the selfie he posted, simply said: “25 GOALS though, GET HIM IN…”. Current Radcliffe assistant manager Frank Sinclair even joined in the fun, correcting Johnson saying “26” Actually Jonno.”

Whether or not there is something to this rumour remains to be seen, however, Bernard Morley was actually at Radcliffe’s recent Play-Off final success against Leek Town. Something I wouldn’t read much into with Bernard being a Radcliffe local. This may allow him to perhaps have a better knowledge of the player, however.

Chester certainly needs firepower up front to fire them to the promotion they were so close to last season, so maybe another look at the 26 goal man isn’t the worst idea.

What do Chester fans think, would he be a good addition to the team, let us know in the comments below?

What Will The Sin Bin Rule Mean For The Non-League

Non-League Football will enter a new era of football with the introduction of the Sin-Bin rule, as football takes a leaf out of Rugby’s book concerning on the field action.

The act will aim to see football clean up on the disciplinary front with regards to dissent towards referees. The temporary banning of a player will aim to clean up the game and, cut out any ill-discipline that currently exists within the game.

Going up to step five of the National League, this decision taken by the Non-League clubs looks to be a popular one. Only a few years back, it seemed football was making a positive step forward bringing in yellow cards for swearing at officials.

Now football is going a step further, meaning a player can be suspended from playing for up to 10 minutes in a game. This will be for dissent and dissent only, whereas normal fouls will result in yellow and reds cards only still.

It seems very clear the ability to sin bin a player will cut out the ugly side of the game and clean up football. Although the new rule will not go as far as penalising players for physical fouls, individual player behaviour should only improve with this rule introduction.

Various matches at grassroots level saw the use of the sin bin in the 2018/19 season. Reaction given gives the FA enough reason to believe this new rule change can only be good for the game going forward. There was a reduction in dissent of 38% in the games trailed, with nearly three-quarters of players wanting to continue with the sin-bin as did the vast majority of managers.

Non-League football may not represent the best football in terms of quality, yet it is certainly setting fresh examples when it comes to off-field matters.

Two Things Brian Richardson Can Bring to FC United Next Season

This last season has been a rollercoaster of a season for FC United of Manchester, through having three managers and 57 players, it has been a season of constant change for the team in red.

In not having a stable squad throughout last season managed to contribute to the Red’s first relegation in their 14-year history. However, Neil Reynold will be hoping to put last season behind him and is already set up for the 2019/2020 season in the Evo-Stik North Premier, as the club announced on Friday that they have brought in a new Assistant Manager, ex-Prescot Cables manager Brian Richardson.

Richardson managed Prescot Cables for two and a half years, in that time he has brought great success to the club as Cables were just avoiding relegation before he took over. Since then, he got the Merseyside team into the playoffs where they just missed out after a late goal by Reynold’s former club, Bamber Bridge. Also under Richardson’s reign, he took them to three consecutive Liverpool Senior Cup Finals, in which they won the first two back to back but lost out to the last one to a penalty shootout. He managed Prescot for 137 matches, of those he won 68, which gives an incredible win percentage of 49.64!

Brian Richardson will be a great addition to Neil Reynold’s management team as he has much experience at this level, as he also worked at Skelmersdale United for ten years and was Assistant Manager. In FC United’s statement, Reynold’s stated “His knowledge at this level is exceptional and has a proven track record of recruiting and developing players” which is bound to get many FC United fans excited for the upcoming season after having such an unsettled squad for the majority of last season. The United faithful will be looking forward to seeing new faces enter Broadhurst Park, as well as seeing some familiar ones hopefully returning for another season at the club.

Since Richardson’s arrival, many FC fans are now looking forward to the season ahead. With having an experienced management team at this level will be a great asset for the club to have in trying to jump straight back up into the National League North, as well as attracting many players to potentially come and play for the team in red!

Radcliffe Passionate Fanbase Get Play-Off Win They Deserve

My first visit to the Neuven stadium as a neutral didn’t disappoint, with Radcliffe’s passionate fan base out in good voice in their Evo-Stick West Play-Off Final against Leek Town yesterday.

It was Boro’s first chance at promotion in 16 years, not since the 02/03 season have they been in contention for promotion to a higher level.

The game started at a fairly low tempo, with Radcliffe having most of the ball and creating all the chances. But it was Leek Town who made the breakthrough with an excellent ball into the box by former Liverpool academy man Dan Trickett-Smith, who found Rob Stevenson unmarked in the box and duly poked the ball home past Radcliffe keeper Ollie Martin to give Leek a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.

This was the high spot of a fairly tame first half. Radcliffe made one change in the break, Matty Crothers coming on for Lee Neville. The team clearly responded positively to Boro manager Jon Mackens half time pep talk, as they stepped up their gear and played with a greater sense of urgency than in the first half.

As Leek struggled to match their opponents, Radcliffe started to find joy down the left-hand side of the pitch. Getting almost instant second-half success when top scorer Tunde Owolabi tapped into the back of the Leek net from a couple of yards out, after a well-squared pass from the recently introduced Matty Crothers in the 46th minute.

The vocal support from the Radcliffe faithful grew as they could sense a real chance of promotion unfolding on the pitch in front of them. Boro continued to turn the screw and apply pressure with an Owolabi effort firing just wide, and a goalmouth scramble in the Leek town box seeing many efforts blocked.

The pressure ultimately told. In the 62nd minute, Kyle Harrison did well to jink his way into the box from the left wing once again, where Leek left-back Lewis Short lunged in and brought Harrison down. Ben Wharton stepped up and fired home the resulting penalty to complete the second half turnaround.

Leek Town was to have a late penalty shout of their own turned down in the 75th minute when Rob Stevenson went down to a sliding Boro challenge in the box. The referee immediately waved it away to the relief of the home supporters, who were becoming more jubilant as the final whistle approached.

Five tense minutes of added time ticked away and as the full-time whistle was blown. Joyful scenes ensued. Large sections of the fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate with their heroes in what was not only a huge win for the club but, a huge win for the town of Radcliffe. Such passion for teams representing their community is often lost at higher levels of the game.

Radcliffe were very gracious hosts and look to be operating in the right way and hopefully, have more success coming their way in the future. Today’s promotion was for their loyal fan base and for their former club photographer Pete Lee, who sadly passed away in a road traffic accident earlier this season.

Today’s performance and result would have made him very proud.

Photo Cred: Radcliffe Boro/ Robert Duckworth 

Ramsbottom Eye Up Potential Cupset as Part of an Incredible FA Trophy Run

If ever a conversation crops up when discussing football clubs in and around the Greater Manchester area, the automatic assumption is ‘so your talking about Manchester United and City then aren’t you’.

By five o’clock tomorrow night, people could well be discussing another ‘United’. The biggest hint in deciding which club I’m talking about is this:  They’re located on The Lancashire/Greater Manchester border and play their home matches by The River Irwell.

On Saturday Evo-Stik West division side Ramsbottom United will play their biggest cup game in their history against Weymouth in The FA Trophy second round. Having never got this far in this Non-League competition, Rammy are certainly not in it to make up the numbers.

Having already played eight games which have seen them have to contend with a few replays along the way, while at the same time juggling a promotion battle in their own domestic league, it’s been a busy yet exciting time for those connected with the club.

Officials from Ramsbottom have been promoting the tie all week in preparation for the game on local Radio. Club manager Chris Willcock was in good spirits ahead of Weymouth visit to The Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.

‘Our League form has been going well alongside this game and we can’t wait for Saturday to come We try to emphasise on winning every game. Full credit to the players as they’ve always done the job on the second occasions we’ve played having not won at the first attempt’.

‘The players have to juggle so many things in their lives in which involves work commitments and family lives. The way Weymouth have been operating is completely different to ours over the past 10 years. But at present, we are very much on the up and we don’t want this run to end’.

Having seen season-high attendances over the Christmas period in a thrilling 2-1 victory over Radcliffe on Boxing Day, Ramsbottom fans are clearly enjoying the football that has been played since Willcock took over in October.

Gate numbers are crucial in Non-League and recent attendances can only be good financially for the club. Club secretary Tony Cunningham plays a major part in running the club alongside Chairman Harry Williams and stated that Rammy’s game against Weymouth is certainly their biggest ever cup fixture, and one of the most important at any point since the club was formed in 1966.

The attendances obviously crucial for a Non-League Club but there are not the only thing on the clubs mind at present. The fact that due the club are only a handful of games off a Wembley final in The FA Trophy says something for their efforts in the competition.

Cunningham was thrilled for the clubs current progress. ‘For a club like Rammy to be in the last 32 is tremendous, we’re one of the minnows in the competition that’s for sure. Saturday will be our ninth game in the competition which is almost a quarter of a season’. With Wembley, do Rammy have a chance of making it? ‘There is a chance but of course, but we know it’s a very hard ask’.

Ramsbottom take on a Weymouth side going great guns in their own league, currently lying second in the Evo-Stik Premier South division. But with the beauty of cup football, just anything can happen, as results in all knockout competitions show.

‘Look at some of the FA Cup games last weekend’ said Cunningham. ‘Barnet beating Sheffield United and Newport beating Leicester, they are complete one-offs. Hopefully, if we can get some good support for our lads tomorrow, then you just never know’.