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» One Touch Football - Archive » Football » The 'I'm not sure I can take the excitement' NPL Div1 North run in thread (Page 1)

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Don Malhumorado
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Just like the Shepherd's pie currently sitting on the middle shelf of my oven, things are hotting up nicely at the top of the NPL div 1 north. Five teams are battling it out for the one automatic promotion place, and all of them seem to be trying desperately to avoid it. Perhaps they like play offs? Who knows. But the top four sides keep dropping points, while FC United of Manchester, lurking dangerously in fifth due to their outrageous number of games in hand, have their fin breaking the water.

Yesterday saw top side Skelmersdale United lose one nil at home to fellow promotion chasers Bradford Park Avenue. This gave Greggs sponsored fancy-dans Curzon Ashton the chance to close the gap to one point at the top. But they lost by a single goal too, away to Garforth. Bamber Bridge were 2-1 down to bottom side Radcliffe Borough with two minutes left, yet ended up winning 2-1 to remain in fourth place.

All of which left FC United with another great chance to reel in the teams above them. Newcastle Blue Star travelled to Le Stade de Gigg and looked to be on the end of a right shoeing, finding themselves two down within 20 minutes. But Newcastle, unlike their loftily placed namesakes, didn't collapse like a poorly constructed house built on sand in a biblical parable, and pulled it back to 2-2 with goals in the 77th and 83rd minutes. It looked like two points tossed away by our red shirted hero until Jerome Wright, with white boots all a blur, chased down a lost cause and managed to feed the ball to Adam Carden who slotted home in the 90th minute. Huzzah.

Which leaves the table looking a lot like this:

1. Skelmersdale P33 Pts64
2. Curzon Ashton P32 Pts60
3. Bradford PA P30 Pts59
4. Bamber Bridge P30 Pts57
5. FC United P28 Pts55

Curzon and BPA are both back in action on Monday, playing Harrogate Railways Athletic and Newcastle Blue Star respectively. While Bamber Bridge play Rossendale on Tuesday.

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The 7th Baron Bartok
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Good luck with the chase for top spot EIM.

What on earth is the system in that division, though? With 18 clubs in it this year, you'd expect each side to play 34 matches so that all teams met each other twice in the usual home & away routine. But a quick glance at the remainder of this season's fixture list makes it obvious that each club is going to play a good few games more than that. How on earth is it determined who has to play who, and where?

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Don Malhumorado
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The NPL decided that 34 games didn't constitute a full season.

The division is split in to two conferences, East and West. The teams in the East conference play an extra game against each other, as do those in the West. Meaning, of course, you play some teams three times and other two.

This could prove important at the end of the season as it will mean that Bradford Park Avenue will have played each of the top four teams one less time as they are in the eastern group. Skem, Bamber Bridge, my lot and Curzon Ashton are all in the Eastern group. It's fucked up in a way the Premier League might be soon.

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The 7th Baron Bartok
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Cheers EIM
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Don Malhumorado
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Oh Tony Kempster, why must you bring me news like this?

Bradford Park Avenue 2-0 Newcastle Blue Star
Curzon Ashton 1-0 Harrogate Railway

Next league fixtures are on Friday, apart from ours, we play Saturday.

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Gangster Octopus
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The new Bradford PA manager said in the NLP that they've got the biggest budget outside of the Conference. That should put them up.
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boris
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quote:
Bamber Bridge were 2-1 down to bottom side Radcliffe Borough with two minutes left, yet ended up winning 2-1 to remain in fourth place.
Neat trick - how'd they manage that?
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Don Malhumorado
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I'm a fucking idiot, boris, what more can I say?

GO - They're minted, and at the start of the season they were flying. I tipped them as favourites to go up on this very board, in yet another thread no one read. They're planning on building a 20,000 capacity stadium as well. I don't think it's impossible that in the near future they'll be Bradford's bigger team.

Our run in is pretty tough. We play ten away games compared to five at home. This, coupled with the fact that Bradford are in the 'easier' conference makes me think they'll probably get top spot. BUT BUT BUT. We've just come through a rough patch of games where we played Skem, Bamber Bridge (twice) and Curzon Ashton all in a row. And we emerged undefeated. We've got BPA on 7/4, the team who wins that, I think, will win the League.

We've been dealt a HAMMER BLOW. In fact, a bigger blow than that. What's the next tool up from hammer? Mallet, I suppose. A MALLET BLOW then with the news that Aaron Grundy is to return to Bury. I'm not sure if Sam Ashton is fully fit yet either. Grundy was just awarded with our player of the month award, and won the Unibond Safe Hands award for last month too.

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Nathan HelenaHandcart
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Why do you have such a backlog - cups and postponements?
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Don Malhumorado
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Yeah. We've only played twelve games in twelve weeks since Christmas/New Year.

The Gigg Lane pitch was pretty much unusable for most of the winter period. Well, it was unusable for us anyway. The North West got completely battered in Jan/Feb - I think we went five weeks without a league game, and three weeks without a game of any kind. The Unibond are meant to be really struggling to find a date for our Cup Final. Which is going to make it interesting if we beat Radcliffe tonight in yet another Cup semi-final.

We seem to have a squad strong enough to cope with the hectic programme, and two players, who fucked off to join New Mills Athletic a few weeks back, have come back, tails between their legs, claiming they made a mistake, and could they kindly play for us again. So we have strengthened there. But I'm just worried that having to fit a third of the season's games in to a six week period is asking a little too much.

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Don Malhumorado
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Bamber Bridge 2 - 4 Rossendale United

But I'm not feeling too smug as Radcliffe, the team Bamber Bridge beat on Saturday, have just spannered us 3-1 in the semi of the Manchester Premier Cup. I think we play them in the league on Saturday. We'd best win that.

Apparently the three goals came from defensive mistakes. Our skipper and centre back was rested, and Sam Ashton returned between the sticks. Fucking sort it out soon, lads.

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Cavalry Trouser Tips
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Bradford could easily support another football team and I've definitely got a bit of a soft spot for BPA.
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Don Malhumorado
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While I'm thrilled that there is a tribute thread to this, which seems alarmingly more popular, I need to make it clear that this thread remains the original, best, and most exciting.

And to prove this, I bring today's results. And boy are you lot in for a treat. Here's a little taster of what's to come: Goals galore, gale-force winds, and goodbye to glory. Yes, that's right, all of that and more. I'm shaking with excitement RIGHT NOW. Though come to think of it, I was shaking a couple of minutes ago when I toasted my hot-cross buns. I just thought I was dead excited about that too, after all I really love my hot-cross buns. But maybe (just maybe) I've got the DTs or summat,

Anyway. On with the show.

Bamber Bridge seemingly dropped out of the Championship race after a second consecutive defeat. They conceded four goals for the second consecutive match, losing four nil at home to Skelmersdale. Skelmersdale look like they're going to take some beating, and are many experts' (mine included) tip for the title.

One thing that could scupper their chances in the suspension of 24 goal top-scorer George Donnelly. Already on a three game suspension, Donnelly apparently got himself sent off today as well, which should see him missing at least six games, including the April 1st Super Grand Slam Tuesday Title Shoot Out Show Down with FC United of Manchester.

Uber-rich West Yorkshire playboys and apparent OTF faves, Bradford Park Avenue, smashed up Mossley 4-1. They remain in second, only kept of top spot by the weight of all their money pressing heavily down on them. Rumour has it that BPA owner Bob Blackburn keeps all his change in a hollowed out sky scraper, just like Scrooge McDuck. He regularly tries to goes swimming in his masses of loose change, and last year broke his jaw attempting to dive in.

Curzon Ashton's game with Newcastle Blue Star - who must be thoroughly pissed off with their recent run of games, was called off after 15 minutes due to high winds. The rearranged game takes place on the 23rd April.

FC United play Radcliffe Borough tomorrow in a dress rehearsal for next month's all important Copa Del Presidente final. Despite being bottom of the league, Radcliffe beat us 3-1 on Monday in the Manchester Premier Cup semifinal in a game that had FC United Manager Karl Marginson furious. "What a bunch of dicks my players were." Margy didn't say but should have done. "They need to learn to keep the fucking ball on the deck and stop hoofing it aimlessly forward. The dicks."

I'll post an updated league table tomorrow evening when the result is in. Bate those breaths, folks.

[ 22.03.2008, 03:44: Message edited by: Don Malhumorado ]

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Don Malhumorado
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And for our BPA fans, and ultra culture experts, here's a terrifying picture taken from the BPA fansite Mark 'Em Tighter of the South Bradford Suicide Squad - Avenue Ultras. This sort of tifo makes the Horsfall Stadium an intimidating cauldron of hate and fury, so much so it would send the Ali Semi Yen Stadium scuttling home with its tail between its legs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I URGE you to sit down before you view this picture. If you are already seated, I URGE you to stand up, then sit down so you feel the benefit. Ready...?

 -

Oooooh... scary.

[ 22.03.2008, 03:43: Message edited by: Don Malhumorado ]

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twohundredpercent
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Oh, for fuck's sake.
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