Non-league Matters: Weather the winner as Greater Manchester fixtures decimated

By John McDougall & Ross McLean

Dreadful weather across Greater Manchester and beyond caused a series as postponements in the non-league this weekend.

In the Blue Square Bet Premier,Stockport County’s clash away at Gateshead was called off following a pitch inspection.

A new date for the fixture is yet to be announced, as the Hatters sit in 20th place and out of the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Next up for Jim Gannon’s men is a clash at Edgeley Park against Greater Manchester rivals Hyde FC on Boxing Day.

As for the Tigers, their game against Mansfield at Ewen Fields was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

They will head into their clash with County in 16th place, two points ahead of their Greater Manchester counterparts.

The Blue Square Bet North had only one fixture that went ahead, as Stalybridge Celtic came from a goal behind to beat Gainsborough Trinity 2-1 at the Northolme.

Trinity took a fourth minute lead through Greg Young, but a 50th minute goal from Mitchell Austin and a 63rd minute winner from Kelvin Bleau gave Celtic victory.

The three points won in Lincolnshiremean Celtic leap into 13th place, and face a home Boxing Day clash against Altrincham.

For the Robins, their game against Boston United atMoss Lanewas postponed following heavy rain, like many others were.

Altrincham will go into Boxing Day fixture against Stalybridge in tenth place, two points ahead of their Greater Manchester rivals.

Droylsden’s home fixture against Worcester City will need to be re-arranged after the game was called off following a pitch inspection this morning.

The Bloods currently sit in 20th position, six points from safety and nearest club Bishop Stortford.

Next up for Droylsden is a tricky away trip to the Cheshire club and top of the league Chester FC on Boxing Day.

The rain continued to cause havoc throughout the football pyramid with all but two fixtures in the Evo-Stik League falling foul to the elements.

There was not a single game played in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, with FC United of Manchester’s game at Matlock Town called off.

In Evo-Stik League Division One (North), Mossley beat Ossett Town at Seel Park to extend their lead at the summit of the table to five points.

Second-half strikes from Connor Loftus and 12-goal Kayde Coppin gave the Lilywhites a commanding lead before a late Shane Kelsey consolation halved the arrears for the Yorkshiremen.

The only other match to survive the weather was at the Giant Axe whereLancasterCitybeat John Flanagan’s Curzon Ashton 3-2.

Curzon twice took the lead through Tony Evans and Jonathan Hunt, either side of a Darren Green strike for the Dolly Blues.

Second-half goals from Tom Kilifin and Ryan Elderton meant the Blues returned home empty-handed.

Thoughts now turn to Boxing Day and the bumper festive crowds which are a feature of non-league football and there are a couple of real Christmas crackers in store.

At the Weaver Stadium Nantwich Town entertain Ashton United while FC United host Witton Albion, with all teams currently in the top eight.

The excitement does not stop there, with the Evo-Stik League Division (One) North fixture list throwing up some enticing encounters.

Management duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley make a return to Shawbridge as Ramsbottom United head to high-flying Clitheroe.

At the Tameside Stadium there is an all-Greater Mandhester tie as Curzon Ashton play host to Mossley.

Elsewhere, Radcliffe Borough go head to head with Salford City, New Mills entertain Ossett Albion while Trafford host Warrington Town.

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

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