The North West Counties League season has begun - and Greater Manchester’s teams had contrasting fortunes on the opening day.
Avro got their campaign off to a brilliant start, with joint managers Lee O’Brien and James Hampson leading their side to a 3-0 win over Padiham at the Vestacare Stadium.
Kane Wallwork scored the opener on 32 minutes, with Louis Potts netting a second-half brace to wrap up a comfortable win.
The Oldham side have impressed in preseason, beating the likes of Mossley and Llandudno, and appear to have carried this form into the opening game.
Wythenshawe overcome the odds
It’s been an emotional week for Wythenshawe Town following the untimely death of striker Sam Jones.
Manager James Kinsey held a team meeting ahead of their away game against Ashton Athletic, where a decision was made to play the game.
In the circumstances, it’s perhaps fitting that Town took a 1-0 victory, with Brad Byrne’s late penalty sealing all three points in a close game between two well-matched sides.
Wythenshawe also had a headed goal from Matty Roberts ruled out for a foul in the buildup just before half time.
Penalty seals it for Irlam
Irlam also began with a 1-0 win, beating Litherland REMYCA at home thanks to a John Main penalty.
Player-manager Main’s first half goal was enough to seal the three points, but it could have been more with the home side having several near misses.
Irlam have shown promise in the past couple of years, and will hope to build on last season, with the team fourth in the league before the competition was abandoned due to the pandemic.
Tough debut for Prestwich
Prestwich Heys’ first game at this level proved a difficult one for Matt Barnes’ team, who lost 4-0 to Northwich Victoria at Adie Moran Park.
The home side conceded early in both halves, with Matthew Birchall opening the score for the visitors within five minutes.
Brad Lynch scored within 30 seconds after half time, catching Heys cold and he went on to score a hat-trick in a game where Northwich were in charge for large periods.
Heys are now playing at the highest level in their history, having been promoted from Division One North in the pyramid restructure thanks to their record over the last two seasons.
Games are coming thick and fast now the season is underway. Prestwich are back in action on Monday night, taking on Lancaster City in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy final. Heys have never won the competition before, and have the opportunity to kickstart their season with silverware.
On Tuesday night, Irlam host Congleton Town, who made an eye-catching signing in former Port Vale striker Tom Pope over the summer. Wythenshawe will look to build on their opening day win in their home match against Padiham, and Ashton Athletic travel to Burscough.
Avro are back in action on Wednesday, travelling to Northwich Victoria in an early-season top of the table clash after both recorded strong wins on Saturday.