August Preview

Saturday 6th
Penistone Church (away)
FA Cup Extra-Preliminary Round

What a way to start the season: with an FA Cup match.

But we're not complaining. After being without FA Cup matches for the past two seasons we are delighted to have them back once more.

This year's draw has sent us halfway across the Pennines to pit our wits against Penistone Church FC of the Northern Counties East League Division One, which puts them at the same level of the footballing pyramid as us.

(Image: theunderdogblog.com)

(Image: theunderdogblog.com)

They are relative newcomers to football at this level. Formed as early as 1906 they spent their formative years in the Sheffield Amateur League before joining the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League.

They flitted inbetween the First and Premier Divisions in the 1990s before becoming more permanent residents of the Premier Division in the 2000s/10s.

They joined the Northern Counties East League in the 2014-15 season and finished a respectable 9th before finishing an even better 5th last season, enduring the same play-off heartbreak as us as AFC Emley defeated them in the semi-final.

The reward for the winners will be a trip to Northwich Victoria in the Preliminary Round on Saturday 20th.

Should the match be tied then the replay will be at Park Road on Wednesday 10th, taking the place of...

Wednesday 10th
Litherland REMYCA (home)
Hallmark Security League First Division

Assuming no replay is required then this will be our first Hallmark Security League Division One match of the season.

As you can see from the previous results this usually brings a hatful of goals, with last season's run-out coming right in the middle of our shocking run in new year; REMYCA caught us at the right time....

Previous five seasons at Park Road:
2015-16: lost 2-4
2014-15: won 4-3
2013-14: did not meet
2012-13: did not meet
2011-12: did not meet

Saturday 13th
St Helens Town (home)
Hallmark Security League First Division

St Helens were the team that we pipped to 6th spot last season; probably fair to say that St Helens will be up there again this season so this might end up being a crucial battle for three points very early doors.

...and also a chance for us to avenge the 1-2 reversal from last season, another defeat that came in that awful January slump.

Previous five seasons at Park Road:
2015-16: lost 1-2
2014-15: did not meet
2013-14: did not meet
2012-13: did not meet
2011-12: did not meet

Saturday 20th
Alsager Town (away)
Hallmark Security League First Division

Assuming that we are unsuccessful in our FA Cup tie vs Penistone Church then this will be our first league away match of the season...and also our first one against one of the newcomers to the First Division after 'The Bullets' were one of the three relegated teams.

We have faced Alsager at their ground in more recent history - a 0-6 reversal in the FA Cup Preliminary round back in 2006-07 when they were a Northern Premier League 1 side - but as is customary with any "new" team we face in these monthly previews, a spot of history....

Formed in 1968 they were members of the Mid Cheshire League in the 1970s and early 1980s - changing their name to Alsager United in the process - before gaining promotion from the Midland League and joining the North West Counties League in 2001-02...and changing their name back to Alsager Town.

They were promoted from Division Two (as it was back then) immediately and enjoyed top-half finishes in Division One before being promoted to the Northern Premier League for the 2006-07 season (when they faced Cheadle in the FA Cup).

They only stayed in the NPL for two seasons before rejoining the North West Counties League, remaining in the Premier Division before being relegated at the end of last season.

Wednesday 24th
Chadderton (home)
Hallmark Security League First Division

It's August so therefore we must be playing Chadderton at some point....

Chadderton's aim this season will be to improve on their 14th place last season and recapture the good form that saw them take a play-off berth two seasons ago (where they were ultimately defeated by AFC Darwen).

Previous five seasons at Park Road:
2015-16: drew 1-1
2014-15: drew 1-1
2013-14: won 2-0
2012-13: drew 0-0
2011-12: lost 1-2

Saturday 27th
Oswestry Town (home)
Hallmark Security League First Division

And it's a warm welcome to the first of our league newcomers to Park Road.

The original Oswestry Town were formed in 1860 and were members of the Shropshire League, Birmingham & District League, Cheshire County League (1960s and early 1970s), Southern League (late 1970s) and then the Northern Premier League before they folded in 1988.

They were reformed in 1993, joining the Welsh National League before becoming twice champions of the Cymru Alliance before becoming members of the League of Wales (later to become the Welsh Premier League) in the early 2000s.

In 2003 they were merged into Total Network Solutions FC (a name that will be familiar to Manchester City fans as they faced them in the UEFA Cup in 2003-04) and thus technically ceased to exist as a separate entity.

Until 2013, when FC Oswestry Town were formed (note the slight name change), joining the Mercian Regional League and wining the title last season before being admitted to the NWCFL for 2016-17. Their "link" with TNS still exists in that they share the Park Hall ground with them.

Tuesday 30th
Ashton Town (away)
Hallmark Security League First Division

It still grates. That 2-3 defeat at Edge Green Street last season, a match lost in the last ten minutes when coasting 2-0 up. Anyhow...

The last game of a busy August sees us given the chance of avenging that loss and to arrest a poor run of form at Edge Green Street; the only game we have won there in the past five seasons is a 2-0 win in a League Cup replay with our last league win there being at the start of the 2010-11 season.

Last five seasons at Edge Green Street:
2015-16: lost 2-3
2014-15: lost 0-1
2013-14: lost 1-4
2012-13: won 2-0 (League Cup 1 replay); drew 3-3
2011-12: drew 0-0