Five Things We Learned 2023/24 - Gameweek 27

Wed 31st January 2024 | Five Things
By Jay Cooper

1. Macron Cup quarters are upon us

It has been touch and go for weeks on weeks as to whether or not cup and league games have been able to take place for NWCFL teams. But, with the heavy snow and rain of recent times finally beginning to consistently ease off, we are finally able to bank on the continuation of our cup competitions, including the Macron Cup.

With the last 8 being the next stage of the competition, there are still 9 teams in the running, with both Stockport Georgians and Ashville yet to play for the final available spot in the quarters - the winner will face Droylsden away. In other matches, Charnock Richard and Barnoldswick Town, and Kendal Town and Chadderton will face off in all-NWCFL Prem clashes; and First Division South Alsager Town will host Prem Prestwich Heys.


2. Bury bury Skem

I simply couldn't not talk about this now, could I? Bury FC played host to Skelmersdale United in the NWCFL Premier Division, and whilst the smart bet would have probably been on the Shakers managing to pick up the win going into this one, absolutely no-one expected the final result.

A dream day for Jacob Holland-Wilkinson saw the PNE Youth Academy graduate bag a hat-trick, alongside goals from (*deep breath*) Andrew briggs, Connor Comber, Andrew Scarisbrick, Declan Daniels, Arthur Lomax-Jones, Benito Lowe, and Sam Burns resulted in a record-breaking 10-1 win for the hosts.


3. Not the only goal-fest of the weekend

Whilst nothing came all to close to the 11-goal game that played out at Gigg Lane this weekend, that's not to say that a few other teams from the NWCFL prem didn't give it the old college try - Squires Gate and Glossop North End, especially. These two sides played out a topsy-turvy 5-3 game that finished in favour of the latter.

Elsewhere, table-topping Wythenshawe Town also did their best to batter Cheadle Town, and looked as though they were on their way to a rout similar to Bury's over Skem when they went 3-0 up in 20 minutes, but they took their foot off the gas and took a very comfortable 4-0 win as enough to keep them solid atop the tree.


4. AFC Blackpool are ready to battle

The last couple of weeks have been fantastic ones for First Division North stragglers AFC Blackpool - perhaps the best few of their entire season so far. The team that are currently 2nd-bottom of the table have been right in the middle of the relegation dogfight for as long as it’s been going on this season, but 3 wins from their last 6 has seen them pick up valuable points.

Their most recent conquest was of last season’s Edward Case Cup winners Bacup Borough in league action, which has come immediately after their 6-pointer victory over Nelson. It's the first time this season that they've strung together consecutive victories, and they have the 4th best form in the entire division from their recent fixtures. if they keep this up, the teams that are too close to the dotted line for comfort will really have to start watching out.


5. Brocton are beatable

From a quick glance at the NWCFL First Division South table, you might assume that Brocton are rolling over essentially everyone else from the league - they are 8 points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand on the 2 teams directly below them, and their goal difference is astoundingly better than their contemporaries'. They have a +54 GD, in comparison to the leagues runners-up in that respect, Stockport Town, with +22.

However, I’ve spoken to enough managers at this level to know that anyone really can beat anyone at this level. A few weeks ago, Brocton suffered their first away defeat of the season against Stockport Town, and they were bitten again this past weekend by play-off hunting Droylsden. They're still the odds-on favourites to take the league title as of now, but to bet on them every week would be foolish given their competition.

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