PREVIEW: Macron Cup Quarter Finals

Thu 13th February 2020 | Match Previews
By Martin Fallon

Its Quarter Finals day in the Macron Cup, with four Premier Division teams and two each from the First Division's North and South vying for a place the Semi Finals.

All games kick off at 3 PM and we will start with the only all Premier Division fixture as Ashton Athletic host Runcorn Town. Ashton are having a fine season, sitting in 5th place in the Premier Division, and they come into the game on the back of a 1-0 loss at Padiham last Saturday. That brought to an end a run of six consecutive wins and an unbeaten run that stretched back to Boxing Day.

Runcorn Town are proving tricky to beat lately, and like Ashton have lost just once in 2020 from the ten games they have played. They sit two places behind Ashton in 7th place, but have drawn three of their last four games.

Ashton won this trophy back in 2013/14 when they beat Maine Road 1-0 in the Final. This is their third Quarter Final in five seasons, the last coming in 2016/17 when they lost 5-2 to Bootle. This is Runcorn Town's fifth Quarter Final appearance in the ten years they have been in the league, but they have yet to reach the Final, two Semi Finals being their best.

Its a Merseyside Derby in one of the two Premier versus First Division games as Litherland REMYCA host AFC Liverpool. REMYCA have not had a great deal to cheer for this season, sitting bottom of the Premier Division with just four wins. However the Macron Cup run has showcased what they can do as they have seen off three sides who are firmly chasing promotion in Stone Old Alleynians, Bootle and Vauxhall Motors. REMYCA come into this game low in the form guide, with two wins and four defeats in the last six games.

As for AFC Liverpool, they sit in 3rd place in the First Division North, 11 points behind the leaders but 11 points clear of fifth place Ashton Town. They come into this game unbeaten in six games, with five wins and a draw coming in their last six games.

This is Litherland REMYCA's best ever run in the Macron Cup, indeed they had only ever won one match prevously in the competition, that coming at home to Holker Old Boys in September 2015. As for AFC Liverpool, they have reached this stage once back in the 2012/13 season, losing at Cheadle Town.

The holders of the trophy are 1874 Northwich, and they travel to First Division South side Maine Road on Saturday. 1874 are in a commanding position at the top of the Premier Division, and have lost just once since the start of November. They showed their fighting spirit this week as they came from 3-0 down in the Northwich Derby to claim a 3-3 draw.

As for Maine Road, they have lost just once in their last six First Division South games, and that a narrow defeat to leaders Vauxhall Motors. They are though without a win in their last four games, three of which have ended in score draws.

This is the 38th season that the competition is being run since starting in 1982, and 1874 Northwich are looking to become the first ever side to retain the trophy. As for Maine Road though, they are also previous winners having lifted the trophy in 2007/08, and this is their first Quarter Final since 2013/14 when they went on to reach the Final before losing to Ashton Athletic.

Our final Macron Cup game sees an all-First Division affair as North side Shelley host South side Ellesmere Rangers. Shelley are having a great season, and have crept up into the fourth promotion spot in the First Division North after losing just one of their last eleven games. Eight of those were wins, and they sit nine points clear of Ashton Town who are immediately below them.

Ellesmere Rangers have been having a torrid season in the league with just six wins from 26 games seeing them in one of the two 'liable to be relegated' spots. They have won just one of their last seven games, and lost three of their last four. They have though beaten three First Division North sides in the Macron Cup so far in Cleator Moor Celtic, Emley and AFC Blackpool.

Both of these sides are creating history in the Macron Cup, with both entering for the first time last season and failing to win a game. Shelley lost in the First Round at Padiham, and Ellesmere Rangers lost in the First Round at Stockport Town.

Good luck to all teams.

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