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21.01.23 – Weekend Non League Football

Written by on 20 January 2023

Weekend Non League Football – Saturday 21st January

Pre-match Reports by Dave Johnson

Newcastle Town v Macclesfield

Newcastle face a mammoth task if they are to get something from their fixture against league leaders Macclesfield this weekend.

Although there is still a long way to go, it seems like the Cheshire outfit will be running away with the title, whilst Newcastle’s recent win against basement outfit Belper Town was their first since Bonfire Night.

The Silkmen have already rattled in 61 goals this season and with fifteen games remaining could quite possibly hit the ton – they have scored 19 in their last five fixtures.

Robin van der Laan’s side will need to keep tabs on Macclesfield’s James Berry, who has 25 goals to his name, and Nicky Maynard, who has bagged a creditable 16 so far.

To put that into perspective, as a team, Newcastle have scored 24 goals in their 22 league games going into their biggest home fixture of the season.

Hanley Town v Kidsgrove Athletic

Unbelievably still in search of their first home win of the season, Hanley have the worse home record in the league, though they are unbeaten in their last three home games.

Sitting too close to the foot of the table for comfort, the odds are against Ryan Shotton’s side finally breaking their duck at their Potteries Park ground when they face Kidsgrove Athletic in a big derby game.

The Grove have just suffered a home defeat to Macclesfield, but they will see that as a one off against a side who are running away with things and they will be keen to get back to winning ways.

Without a win in three outings, Kidsgrove still believe they can break into the top five by the end of the season – three points on Saturday wouldn’t go amiss.

Leek Town v Mossley

Mossley will arrive at Harrison Park on Saturday afternoon determined to give a good account of themselves, as a club with realistic play-off aspirations.

Leek on the other hand won’t be taking their collective foot off the gas after consolidating their place in the table with a midweek win at Skelmersdale.

Tim Grice bagged himself all four of Leek’s goals in that game and he will be keen to add more, but Mossley will no doubt have other ideas after winning their last two away fixtures, beating Glossop North End and Runcorn Linnets.

Leek have won eight of their last nine games played at Harrison Park and despite Mossley’s lofty league position, it is the home side who will be favourites in this one.

Congleton Town v Lower Breck

It’s perhaps fair to say Lower Breck had the better of things when the two sides met in the league at the Cleric Stadium back in October, but the Bears ran out 2-1 winners.

The Bears are back on home soil, where they have won ten and drawn one of their eleven league games this season, but this time they face Lower Breck in the third round of the Macron Cup.

In the previous round the Bears were 2-1 winners at Brocton thanks to goals from Darren Chadwick and Richard Duffy – Lower Breck went through due to a 4-0 home win over Wythenshawe Amateurs.

Home advantage could well prove to be pivotal in the one, though boss Duffy will remember their last meeting at the Cleric Stadium when there was very little between the two sides. Congleton will need to be at their best to make progress in the competition.

Hyde United v Stafford Rangers

After three successive defeats, Stafford pit their wits against a Hyde United side currently sitting in second place, knowing that they need to put their previous game firmly behind them.

Rangers will take heart from the fact that Hyde, despite their league position, have failed to win any of their last three fixtures, taking a point in each of them.

Stafford boss Matty Hill will point out that Hyde are far from invincible on home soil having won seven of their fourteen home games, but losing four of them.

One the other Stafford could improve on their three away wins so far – one thing is for certain, after their recent defeats they will take anything they can get at the Ewen Fields on Saturday.

Nantwich Town v Stalybridge Celtic

After three games without a victory, Nantwich got back to winning ways last weekend, getting a positive result against basement outfit Belper Town, and they now have another big game.

With Stalybridge level on points with the Dabbers, it’s fair to say this one can be described as a ‘six-pointer’, with a lot at stake for both sides.

Saturday’s visitors are unbeaten in their last four league fixtures, but it is their recent away form that is particularly impressive – they have won three and drawn three of their last six on their travels.

Because of financial difficulties, Stalybridge have recently been forced to let players go in order to reduce the playing budget by 20%, but make no bones about it, the remaining players will be giving 100% at the Swansway Stadium and will put the Dabbers to the test.