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All Subject to Pitch Inspections

Written by on 10 March 2023

Local Non-League Weekend Matches

by Dave Johnson

“All Subject to Pitch Inspections”


Congleton Town v Bury AFC

There is no doubting the fact that the biggest game in our area this weekend is the Isuzu FA Vase quarter-final tie between Congleton and Bury.

Bury currently sit five places above Congleton, who are ninth in the table, but the Bears have won each of their last four games, while Bury have recorded two wins in six outings.

Having played Bury twice already in the league, Congleton are yet to come out on the winning side, losing 2-1 back in August, whilst in their more recent meeting the two sides couldn’t be separated.

The two sides met at the Cleric Stadium as recently as Valentines Day in what might be termed as a dress rehearsal for the big game this weekend.

The game finished all-square with the home side levelling the scores four minutes into stoppage time after Donnor Comber had given the visitors the lead with only 45 seconds on the clock

With the Bears flat out for a late, late equaliser, following a goalmouth scramble Jonathan Beaumont broke through and fired past Bury ‘keeper Atkinson.

Celebrating his goal, Beaumont, forgetting he had already been booked, removed his shirt, earning himself a second yellow and of course a sending off.

Newcastle Town v Macclesfield

The big news of the week was Robin van der Laan’s announcement that he and his assistant Paul Groves will be stepping down at the end of the season.

Robin will remain in his role as a director and will no doubt reflect on everything achieved since he joined the club, the latest of which is the 3G pitch which is due to be completed in the next few months.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture, there will be absolutely no pressure on the home side, despite their precarious league position – anything they may get from the game would be a bonus.

Seven points clear at the top of the table and with eight games remaining, three points from this fixture would go a long way to finishing where they want to be for the Silkmen.

Hanley Town v Kidsgrove Athletic

One point from their last four games is hardly the form that will save Hanley from the dreaded drop, but a win against local rivals Kidsgrove could take them out of the drop zone, if only temporarily.

Grove will have other ideas of course and with an outside chance of a play-off place still an achievable target, they will be quietly confident of taking three points from the game.

Following three consecutive defeats, Scott Dundas’ side are now unbeaten in four games, winning two of them – that has lifted spirits and given them the belief once again.

There is still plenty to do, Grove are six points shy of the play-offs and with eight games to make up the difference, all they can do is concentrate on getting as many points in the bag as possible and hope others slip up.

Leek Town v Mossley

Despite the gap between themselves and Macclesfield, Leek must press on and concentrate on finishing the season in good form with the play-offs the more likely route out of this league.

Neil Baker will be driving his players on and he knows there are teams waiting for his side to slip up, but Mossley will believe they can get something from Harrison Park.

They will have noted Leek’s recent slip-ups against basement strugglers Hanley Town and mid-table Trafford and will turn up in an up-bet mood, hoping to enhance their own play-off aspirations.

Mossley are four points off the play-off places with time gradually running out, but if their recent form is anything to go by they are about to go home empty-handed – they have picked up two points from their last six games.

Bamber Bridge v Stafford Rangers

While mathematically Stafford are not yet safe from the drop, it is fair to say it is looking more unlikely that they will have to scrap for their lives between now and the a=end of the season.

Rangers are handily placed in mid-table – 13th to be precise – and twelve points clear of the current bottom four, though should both Marske United and Liversedge win their games in hand they would make up nine of those points.

So Stafford still need a couple of good results to guarantee safety and this weekend they face a side who are in the play-offs and who are looking to cement that place.

Fin Sinclair-Smith will be looking to add to his 14 goals scored so far as Bamber Bridge arrive at Marston Road and Rangers clearly need to keep tabs on him if they are to get the result they are looking for.

Nantwich Town v Lancaster City

Time is running out for Nantwich as they struggle at the wrong end of the table and things are not looking good for the club who recently departed with their manager after a poor run of results.

A look at the league table reveals the Dabbers are five points from safety and the side directly above them, Morpeth Town, have a game in hand.

Nantwich have picked up a single point from their last five fixtures and they face a mid-table Lancaster City side who, despite having next to no chance of achieving  play-off place, are in a good run of form.

They have lost just one of their last six and come into this weekend’s game following a run of three consecutive victories. Things are not looking very good at all for Nantwich.