March Preview

Only nine games to go this season; the "run-in" has well and truly begun. A key month lies ahead with most of March's matches seeing the First XI facing sides that are in the play-off mix.

Saturday 5th
Barnton (home)
NWCFL Division One

And here is the first one.

Barnton - there or thereabouts at the top of the pile since day one of the season - will be looking for revenge after we claimed a 2-1 win at the start of December.

Barnton's manager at the time, Leon Knight, said that win for us wouldn't alter the final outcome of the table come April. Maybe not, but what it does do is give us a slight psychological advantage. Barnton are beatable and, at the time of writing, are experiencing a bit of a wobble form-wise in the league: no wins in their last three league matches.

Last five seasons at Park Road:
2014-2015: lost 0-3
2013-2014: did not meet
2012-2013: did not meet
2011-2012: did not meet
2010-2011: did not meet

Wednesday 16th
Eccleshall (away)
NWCFL Division One

Once more the fixture Gods have decreed that we travel to deepest Staffordshire on a midweek evening (our third consecutive midweek visit).

Club development officer Brian Lindon can never get enough of the oatcakes at Pershall Park

Club development officer Brian Lindon can never get enough of the oatcakes at Pershall Park

Not that it has been a problem: the previous two visits saw wins for Cheadle Town, as did the two prior to that, making for an impressive away record at Pershall Park in recent years.

At the time of writing Eccleshall's form has picked up somewhat, seeing them gradually haul themselves away from the foot of the table.

Last five seasons at Pershall Park:
2014-2015: won 1-0
2013-2014: won 3-1
2012-2013: won 2-0
2011-2012: won 5-0
2010-2011: lost 2-3

Saturday 26th
Holker Old Boys (away)
NWCFL Division One

...or in other words, the longest-living hoodoo in Cheadle Town FC history.

I defy any club to have an away record at one particular ground as pitiful as ours at Rakesmoor Lane. No win there since a 4-2 one in the latter half of the 1998-99 season which makes it 17 years of travelling the 100 miles back down the M6 without anything significant to show for it.

The 3-3 draw back in 2011-12 felt like a win, mind. With the clock well into injury time Matt German hooked in an equaliser to send the bench into raptures. Let's hope we can go one better this time.

Because it's about time we did.

Last five seasons at Rakesmoor Lane:
2014-2015: lost 2-4
2013-2014: lost 1-4
2012-2013: lost 0-3
2011-2012: drew 3-3
2010-2011: lost 1-2

Wednesday 30th
Irlam (home)
NWCFL Division One

Another of the sides that are hanging around the play-off picture.

With games-in-hand to use, Irlam are in a strong position to mount a play-off challenge. They have yet to play us both home and away, so a win in both may be vital for us to keep them at bay, so to speak.

Irlam will be relying on their half-decent record at Park Road. Only one defeat in their seven visits since they re-entered the league back in 2008-2009.

Last five seasons at Park Road:
2014-2015: lost 0-3
2013-2014: won 4-2
2012-2013: drew 2-2
2011-2012: drew 2-2
2010-2011: lost 1-2