Football: Fixture backlog is growing

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Heavy snowfall caused further disruption with all but a couple of the weekend games in the Evo-Stik and Baris NCEL postponed creating a fixture headache.

FC United of Manchester came from behind to beat Blyth Spartans 2-1 in the only Evo-Stik NPL game to take place, while in the only game in the Baris NCEL Scarborough Athletic went top of Premier Division with a 2-0 home win over Tadcaster.

Alan Alcock, the Evo-Stik League’s Operations Manager, admitted the latest disruption is a blow with the league campaign set to finish on Saturday, April 27, and said: “The weather has created major problems in how to squeeze games in over the remaining weeks of the season.”

With little chance of an immediate thaw midweek games are also expected to be severely hit. Stocksbridge Park Steels are due to face FC United at Bracken Moor tomorrow with Sheffield FC at Brigg Town, while Parkgate and Hallam host Bridlington Town and Dinnington Town respectively.

Stocksbridge Chairman Allen Bethel said; “There was around 11 inches of snow in areas of pitch on Saturday morning. The chances of staging tomorrow’s game against United are virtually non-existent. We still have 12 matches to fit in, eight of them at home.”

Many clubs already facing the prospect of two midweek games. Steels have arranged their home Senior Cup semi-final for Thursday, April 11, two days after they face Stafford Rangers at Bracken Moor. The new date for the relegation showdown against Grantham Town, postponed on Saturday, is now Tuesday, April 23.

Sheffield FC face cramming in 13 games, eight of which are at Dronfield where over the Easter week they face a gruelling three games in six days.

There is at least some good news for the Northern Counties East League clubs after the Management Board announced it had been given approval to extend by a week up to Saturday May 4.

TUESDAY - Evo-Stik Premier Div: Stocksbridge PS v FC Utd of Manchester, Matlock Town v AFC Fylde.

Div One South: Brigg Town v Sheffield FC.

Baris NCEL - Premier Div: Parkgate v Bridlington Town.

Div One: Askern Villa v Albion Sp, Hallam v Dinnington Tn, Rossington Mn v Eccleshill Utd, Teversal v Worsbrough Bridge.

WEDNESDAY - Evo-Stik Premier Div: Worksop Tn v Rushall Olympic.

Baris NCEL League Cup Quarter-Final: Louth Town v Staveley MW.

Premier Div: Barton Town OB v Retford United.

THURSDAY - Baris NCEL Division One: AFC Emley v Bottesford Town.

FRIDAY - Baris NCEL Div One: Athersley Rec v Askern Villa.