Non-league Matters: Weather ruins fixtures, but Stockport County claim last-gasp leveller

By John McDougall & Ross McLean

Rainy weather again took its toll and caused more postponements throughout Greater Manchester’s non-league football pyramid, with only sporadic games going ahead.

In the Blue Square Bet Premier, Stockport County had Craig Hobson’s 93rd minute equaliser to thank for their 2-2 draw with AFC Telford United at Edgeley Park.

The Hatters went behind due to Phil Trainer’s 68th minute strike, but drew themselves level two minutes later through Scunthorpe United loanee Connor Jennings.

The Bucks took the lead once more through Luke Hubbins’s 79th minute effort, before Dobson struck in injury time to salvage a point for County.

Next up for Hatters in the New Years Day round of fixtures is a Greater Manchester derby against Hyde, a repeat of their Boxing Day clash.

For the game at Ewen Fields, Jim Gannon’s men will go into the game in 21st place, seven points behind the resurgent Tigers in ninth place.

Hyde find themselves in the top ten following their 1-0 victory over Southportat the Merseyrail Community Stadium.

Tigers captain Adam Griffin sealed all three points for his side with a 21st minute goal, as Hyde’s march up the table continues.

The Blue Square Bet North however was nearly a complete washout with Altrincham’s away clash at Histon postponed following a pitch inspection.

Next up for the ninth placed Robins is a clash against Stalybridge Celtic on New Years Day at Moss Lane.

As for Celtic, their game against Bradford Park Avenue at Bower Fold went ahead and ended in a 2-0 victory.

Jamie Mullan gave Celtic a dream start with a goal inside three minutes, before Tom Buckley’s 62nd minute effort sealed the victory for the hosts.

The Avenue’s day went from bad to worse as they ended the game with ten men following Richard Marshall’s 72nd minute dismissal.

Celtic will go into their New Year clash against Altrincham in tenth place, just a point ahead of their Greater Manchester rivals.

Droylsden meanwhile saw their game against Harrogate Town in North Yorkshire also fall foul of the poor weather.

Next up for the struggling Bloods is a home clash against table topping Chester FC and will go into the game just one place above the foot of the table.

The Evo-Stik League fixture programme was also left in tatters by heavy rainfall and a sea of waterlogged pitches.

In the Premier Division, unlike Boxing Day no chances were taken at Gigg Lane as FC United of Manchester’s game with Ilkeston was postponed in advance of kick-off.

Ashton United’s match in the North East against Blyth Spartans also fell foul to the elements.

In Evo-Stik League Division One (North), only one match involving a Greater Manchester side survived the inclement weather.

AFC Goole’s Victoria Pleasure Ground was deemed playable and Salford City played out a goalless draw as the Ammies remain 13th in the league standings.

Mossley, Curzon Ashton, New Mills, Radcliffe Borough and Ramsbottom United were all left kicking their heels as the weather accounted for their respective games.

While today has been disappointing for supporters, non-league fans do not have long to wait for their football fix as New Year’s Day sees a full round of fixtures.

A number of Greater Manchester teams will hope to get 2013 off to a winning start, and hope momentum can be gained as the season gallops towards its business end.

In the Premier Division, Ashton United host Stafford Rangers at Hurst Cross while FC United of Manchester head to lowly Stocksbridge Park Steels.

In Evo-Stik League Division One (North), there are a number of all-Greater Manchester clashes as league leaders Mossley entertain New Mills and Ramsbottom United host Radcliffe Borough.

Darren Sheridan’s Salford City will have less recovery time than their opponents Trafford, who will not have played since Boxing Day, when the two meet atMoor Lane.

Eighth-placed Curzon Ashton complete the fixture programme with an away trip to West Yorkshire where Wakefield lie in wait.

Image courtesy of Stockport County, with thanks

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