You may remember that, back in June, we wrote about Stockport Sports FC, the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) team managed by Peter Withe. Their season is now underway, and we'll be trying to bring you periodic reports. Why do this on an Aston Villa blog? Well, there's the Peter Withe connection, for one. Also, it seems like everyone who writes for this blog has a secondary team they follow. And a tertiary... and so on. So why not feature a non-league team and try to follow them as the season progresses. If they can secure promotion, they'll move from the 9th to the 8th tier of the English football pyramid.
With three matches under their belts, the Saxons - the official mascot of SSFC - the club has secured 4 points. They began the campaign with a convincing 0-4 win over Ashton Athletic. Making the lopsided scoreline even more impressive was the fact that SSFC scored all four goals before the half. Goals came from John Marsden and Gomez Dali, who netted a hat trick to give the Saxons an auspicious start to the season.
In the second league match of the season, the Saxons traveled to Wellbeing Park to face the Stone Dominoes. Gomez Dali opened the scoring with a 42nd minute strike, his fourth in fewer than 150 minutes of play. John Marsden may have scored the team's second goal in the 52nd minute, though the official account (and, for the love of all that is good, if you have any interest in this team, read the official match reports. The webmaster does not hold back and is willing to lambaste his team if they deserve it) mentions that it might have been an own goal from the Dominoes:
It was not clear whether the ball had struck Marsden on its way in, but his team mates seemed to believe so as they congratulated him for the goal.
The Dominoes struck back moments later to come within one and then added another "just minutes later." The match ended at 2-2, and the Saxons had 4 points in two away matches. Not a bad start at all.
Since that beginning, though, things have gone a bit sour. Any hope we had of seeing Peter Withe take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup was dashed when the Saxons were knocked from the competition by Ashton Athletic. The team they had beaten by four goals only seven days earlier came back to hold the Saxons to a 0-0 draw at Seel Park (home of SSFC). In the replay three days later, Ashton gutted out a 2-1 win that seemingly came at the hands of poor conversion from SSFC. They were down by two at the half, and Gomez Dali's fifth goal of the season (!) wasn't enough to secure the win.
This weekend, the Saxons continued their week-long run of poor form when they were soundly beaten 2-0 by the Merseyside team Bootle FC at Delta Taxis Stadium. SSFC were playing without their captain Raphale Evans, a central defender, and it showed. Fullback Josh Symons noted that without Evans, "there was no communication on the field."
The next four matches for the club are all away, at Glossop North End on Tuesday the 21st, AFC Blackpool on Saturday the 25th, Winsford United on Tuesday the 28th, and Runcorn Linnets on Tuesday the 4th of September. As of now, there is no way to follow SSFC live except through their twitter feed (which is pretty entertaining).
We'll check back in with the team before too long. If you make it to one of their matches, let us know. We'd love to get a report!