Friday, May 04, 2007

Review of local NWCL clubs' season

Source: This is Lancashire

By Liam Chronnell

Division One

FC United
Position: Champions
Manager: Karl Marginson
High: Winning the double.

Low: In a season when little went wrong for the Gigg Lane tenants, being knocked out of the FA Vase by Quorn with a possible Wembley final appearance up for grabs was a massive disappointment.

Star man: Stuart Rudd struck 45 goals in a prolific season for the Reds hitman.

Review: The Rebels romped to a second successive title in style, topping the table by 13 points after smashing a record 157 goals in 42 league matches, before completing the double with victory over Curzon Ashton in the League Challenge Cup last night.

Atherton Collieries
Position: 7th
Manager: Phil Brown
High: A brilliant 3-0 victory against FC United on their own turf was the shock result of the season.

Low: Colls suffered from after the Lord Mayor's Show' syndrome when they failed to win in 10 games following their triumph against FC.

Star man: Teenage striker Anthony Pilkington struck 12 times in 19 games, including a hat-trick against FC United, before being snapped up by Stockport County in December.

Review: The Alder House club enjoyed their best-ever season in this league. Never before have Colls finished higher than 12th, but Phil Brown took the side to seventh in the table - 16 points better off than their previous highest points haul - and finished the season on a real high, winning seven out of eight games in April.

Atherton LR
Position: 16th
Manager: Roy Sweeney
High: A 5-4 extra-time victory against UniBond Premier League side Radcliffe Borough in the Lancashire Trophy.

Low: A 9-1 defeat against Ramsbottom United on December 23 summed up a wretched run of form which saw Rovers flirt with relegation.

Star man: Rob Hope has been a rock in a turbulent season, though Ian Berry proved a revelation with 12 goals in 13 games after arriving under Sweeney.

Review: Rovers underwent a remarkable transformation under new boss Roy Sweeney. The former assistant took over Mark Cox's relegation-threatened side in March and led them away from danger, the turnaround highlighted best by the fact the Crilly Park outfit took 21 points from their last 13 games, the same number as they gained from their first 29.

Division Two

Daisy Hill
Position: 15th
Manager: Tommy Moore
High: A fantastic 3-2 victory against high-flying Padiham on the final day of the season was an indication of how much potential the young team have.

Low: The 7-1 away defeat to New Mills.

Star man: 19-year-old left winger Danny Williams has a bright future in the game.

Review: The young side suffered a difficult season. With the nucleus of the squad aged under 20, they found it tough going in a physical league. But they showed plenty of heart, character and skill to move out of the bottom two, where they were stuck for long periods, and provide encouragement for a more prosperous campaign next year.