Sport

Non-league Matters: ‘Snow’ chance of games this weekend as weather wipes out fixtures

By Matt Simpson & Ross McLean

For the second week in a row, winter weather put pay to many lower league fixtures across the country, including in Greater Manchester.

New Stockport County manager Darije Kalezić will have to wait another week to take charge of his first Blue Square Premier game – against Nuneaton at Edgeley Park.

County were scheduled to play Gateshead on Tuesday but that game has been postponed as the Tyneside club will play their rearranged FA Trophy match with Barrow instead.

The Hatters – two places above Nuneaton – will be looking to build on last week’s win over Forest Green Rovers and pull further away from trouble.

The snow has also robbed Hyde of the chance to break a run of three straight defeats as their match at home to Ebbsfleet was postponed.

The next game is on Tuesday away to Vauxhall Motors in the Cheshire Senior Cup and the Tigers will be hoping to fare better than in their last midweek game – a 2-0 defeat at Grimsby Town.

Despite an army of helpers clearing the snow at Bower Fold, Stalybridge Celtic’s Blue Square North match with Oxford City was still called off.

Currently seventh in the league, Celtic will travel to eighteenth placed Bishop’s Stortford on February 2 in their next fixture.

Droylsden’s crucial match against the Blue Square North’s bottom club Hinckley United did not survive the weather and they will now play away at Histon – one place above them – next Saturday.

After being postponed twice already, Altrincham will be hoping to finally play their Blue Square North match with Boston United on Tuesday night.

For the second weekend running the Evo-Stik programme involving Greater Manchester clubs was completely wiped out by the snow.

The winter months are difficult times for non-league clubs, particularly at this level, where postponements have greater impact than higher up the football pyramid.

Cancellations deny clubs a regular source of revenue which is needed to satisfy a whole host of financial commitments simply to keep things ticking over.

In addition, teams can ill-afford to build-up any sort of fixture pile-up in the second half of the season.

Title challenges and promotion charges can be stopped in their tracks due to fixture congestion with clubs sometimes expected to play up to four games in seven days.

Non-league clubs can also be victims of their own success as a good early season FA Cup or FA Trophy runs accentuate this problem.

Chairmen and committee members across the city will be hoping the promised thaw comes in time for next week’s full programme of fixtures.

Although there are a few midweek games which club officials will hoping beat the weather.

On Tuesday evening, Ramsbottom United host Salford City in Evo-Stik League Division One (North) knowing a win will place them in touching distance of a play-off place.

Radcliffe Borough are also scheduled to be in action and set to hit the M62 before facing Wakefield.

On Wednesday night, there is an intriguing all-Manchester tie in the Doodson Sport Cup third round as Ashton United entertain FC United of Manchester.

Image courtesy of zoominnl via YouTube, with thanks.

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