Non-league Matters: Stockport County on hunt for honours as they host Southport in FA Trophy

By Matt Davies

The FA Trophy returns this weekend and sees Stockport County drawn at home in their second round tie, while there is plenty more non-league action for Manchester’s clubs.

FA Trophy Second Round

Stockport County v Southport

Stockport host Southport at Edgeley Park in the next round of the FA Trophy, just two weeks after the sides played out a thriller in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Southport won that encounter 4-3 thanks to an 89th minute own goal, and were on the score sheet three times within the first 33 minutes on that occasion.

County currently sit 19th in the league, a place above The Sandgrounders although the two sides have both amassed 24 points so far this campaign.

However Jim Gannon’s County have failed to win a league game since defeating Barrow at the start of November.

Last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Woking made it four defeats on the bounce for his side.

The Hatters have not fared well against Southport in the recent past either, losing three of the last four meetings between the sides and conceding 11 in the process.

Liam Watson’s side are without loanees Godfrey Poku and Andy Owens, due to suspension and injury, while defender Steve Akrigg is also missing after dislocating his shoulder last weekend.

Southport spread their goals throughout their team, with Chris Almond, Chris Lever and Steven Tames all having five strikes to their name so far this season.

Blue Square Bet North

Brackley Town v Altrincham

Altrincham travel to high-flying Brackley looking to avenge their opening day defeat to the Saints back in August.

Alty went down 1-0 to Gainsborough Trinity last weekend, and their clash in midweek with Droylsden was postponed due to the weather.

Lee Sinnott gave a debut to his son, Huddersfield loanee Jordan Sinnott in that defeat, and the Alty manager has confirmed only Simon Richman is unavailable for this clash.

His side sit in tenth place in the BSB North, seven places and 16 points behind their hosts, who trail leaders Chester by four points having won 12 of 17 games this season.

Jon Brady’s side lost 3-2 to Chester last weekend, but it was only the Saints first home defeat of the season, and ended a run of three straight league wins.

Top-scorer Stephen Diggin has five in his last four league games, and eight for the season, while Owen Story and Glenn Walker both have seven goals to their name.

Boston United v Droylsden

Droylsden travel to Boston United, with both sides struggling for form in the BSB North.

The Bloods are without a win in five matches, including a 2-1 defeat to Bishops Stortford last time out whereas Boston are on a seven match winless run stretching back to November 10.

Droylsden have three wins from 17 games so far this season, and can close the gap on Colwyn Bay and Gloucester, both four points ahead of them.

Dave Pace’s side have picked up just two points from a possible 27 on the road this season, and have lost 2-0 and 2-1 on their last visits to the Jakeman’s Stadium.

Marc Newsham’s header secured a 1-0 victory for the Pilgrims against Droylsden on the opening day of the season.

United lost 4-0 to Vauxhall last weekend in the first game since manager Jason Lee’s departure, and caretaker boss Graham Hyde will take charge again for this encounter.

Goalkeeper Dan Haystead and vice-captain Ian Ross are doubtful for the game and face fitness tests before kick-off.

Stalybridge Celtic v Workington

Stalybridge welcome Workington to Bowerfold, looking to find the back of the net for the first time in three games.

Celtic have lost 1-0 in their previous two games, including in last week’s trip to Solihull Moors, and are looking to add to their total of 23 league goals so far this season.

Stalybridge are 15th in the BSB North, with 21 points from 17 games, three points fewer than their visitors.

Workington have won seven and lost seven from 17 games this season, winning three out of nine on their travels.

A 1-0 win against Gloucester last weekend moved the club up to ninth, and positive turn around after going down 6-1 to Bradford Park Avenue the week before.

Workington won this encounter 4-1 when the sides met on the opening day of the season, and will be hoping striker Gareth Arnison can add to his tally of ten goals this season.

The best of the rest

FC United of Manchester face Grantham Town this weekend as Karl Marginson’s Red Rebels prepare for an assault on the promotion places.

FC United could take advantage of dropped points by teams above them, particularly as fifth-placed Ashton United head to seventh-placed Worksop Town.

In Evo-Stik League Division One (North), Mossley are clinging to top-spot despite Skelmersdale United edging ever closer as they play their games in hand.

The Lilywhites travel to face Neil Crowe’s Bamber Bridge at Irongate having been without a league game for three weeks due bad weather.

Trafford, who secured a useful point at Curzon Ashton on Monday evening, await the arrival of Ossett Albion with Garry Vaughan’s men now up to third.

Ramsbottom United are at Cammell Laird while Curzon Ashton host mid-table Salford City with in-form striker Kristian Dennis eager to add to his season’s tally off 22 league goals.

New Mills play host to Harrogate Railway Athletic at Church Lane while Radcliffe Borough and Prescot Cables come head to head at Stainton Park.

Image courtesy of Stockport County, vuia YouTube, with thanks. 

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