by Robert Lee · 16/11/2017
Saturday 18th November 2017 (3pm), NWCFL Premier Division
1874 Northwich v West
St Luke’s Barton Stadium, CW7 3AE
£6 adults, £4 concessions, free for under-16s
West make the first of two successive visits to the St Luke’s Barton Stadium on Saturday. 1874 Northwich are the opponents as West look to halt a woeful run of form that has seen them slide into the bottom half of the Premier Division table for the first time this season.
The St Luke’s Barton Stadium was the venue for West’s last league win, against landlords Winsford United in October, but otherwise the omens are ominous against an 1874 side who have a hex on Steve Settle’s team. West have only managed a solitary draw in nine meetings between the sides and were knocked out of the FA Cup by 1874 earlier this season.
Settle is in the throes of an injury crisis, with Harold Hagon, Ben Steer and Aaron Ashley all unavailable for the midweek defeat to Barnton, which ended with Matty Kay donning the gloves following Conrad Betton’s withdrawal. However, he shouldn’t be short on firepower for the visit to Cheshire, with Ash Woods, Chappy Massamba and Tom Bailey all set to be available. Bailey scored 31 times for 1874 in 2016-17 before switching to West in the summer.
|Form (all competitions)
|Scott McGowan (16)
|Top scorer (all competitions)
|Tom Bailey (18)
|West v 1874 (NWCFL era): P9 W0 D1 L8 F9 A24
So far, the league has been a distraction for 1874 in a season dominated by cup exploits. They played nine games in an odyssey of an FA Cup run – taking out their nemesis Northwich Victoria in the extra preliminary round, followed by West, Mossley and North Ferriby United before eventually falling to Ossett Town on penalties, with the North Ferriby tie the only one not to go to a replay. The Wembley dream is still alive, though, thanks to a similarly extended run in the FA Vase – last Tuesday’s 5-1 hammering of Tow Law Town settled a bad-tempered affair and set up a third-round meeting with Ashton Athletic. Further progress has come in the Cheshire Senior Cup and the Macron Cup, and a Mid-Cheshire Senior Cup semi-final against Winsford United awaits in the new year.
All this means 1874 have only played ten games in the league – the fewest in the Premier Division – and they are currently hovering just above the relegation zone, although their points-per-game would have them challenging the top six if they had completed a full set of fixtures. It remains to be seen how 1874 handle the inevitable fixture congestion in the second half of the season, but they will be aiming to avoid continuing a pattern that has seen them finish a place lower every year since finishing 3rd in 2014-15.
The departure of a certain Tom Bailey in the close season robbed 1874 of last year’s top scorer, but Scott McGowan has filled the gap – after scoring 20 goals last season, the former Congleton Town hitman has 16 so far this campaign.
West bowed out of the FA Cup after 1874 claimed the spoils in this preliminary round replay. Tom Bailey cancelled out Sam Hind’s opener, but Jake Parker and Adam Whitlock put the visitors into the first qualifying round for the first time.
The quickest route from Chorlton is via the A556, and takes around 35 to 50 minutes. Please check travel news before you set off.
Winsford station is around a mile from the ground. There are two options – from Piccadilly / East Didsbury, change at Crewe, or from Deansgate, change at Liverpool South Parkway. Please check the National Rail website for times.