By Casey Evans
Tomorrow marks not just the first game in the Lancashire and Cheshire League since the lockdown put a stop to all grassroots football, but also the first ever competitive fixture for Stretford Paddock FC as they play Bury Amateur AFC away from home.
After months of preparation and hard work, everyone from the players to the backroom staff will be raring to get going and kick off their maiden campaign with a win.
Stretford Paddock faced a difficult preseason; restrictions had left a limited amount of time for the team to gel. This meant they faced defeats at the hands of Dukinfield Town, Jolly Carter FC and a 1-1 draw against Urmston Town, who they will also be facing in the league this season. They did manage a 2-0 victory against Chorlton FC showing promising signs from Stephen Howson’s side, however their first competitive fixture will offer a whole new challenge.
A stand out moment from the preseason was definitely Ronaldo Brown scoring Paddock’s first ever goal, after winning then converting a penalty against Jolly Carter FC. However, he and players like Adam Ashton, Louis Fitzpatrick and Cameron Watters, will be queueing up to be the first name on the scoresheet when it comes to their first competitive fixture.
Bury Amateur AFC , will be wanting to improve on their previous season where they finished 10th with 12 point and a minus 27 goal difference. Despite this underachievement, they will still be hoping that they can use their experience to their advantage against the fledgling Paddock side and cause them difficulties.
Manager Stephen Howson is not concerned, saying: “I’m very much looking forward to our first competitive game, it’s been a long time coming, and it’s now the moment of truth. We’ve trained fantastically well the last couple of weeks, added some great additions to the squad and I feel we are almost coming to the boil.
There’s still a lot to do in terms of patterns of play and set piece work, but I think we are going to be a force. Can’t wait to see the lads in action.”
Stretford Paddock will be without some players due to them still working up to match fitness, however some are having to self-isolate after being exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Luckily these players avoided any contact with the rest of the team.
The match will kick off at 2pm tomorrow and you attend the game by coming down to Rainsough Brow, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 9XW.
We’d like to remind anyone who is planning to come down, that if they or anyone in their household are displaying COVID-19 symptoms could they please refrain from attending the game so we can keep the spectators safe.
For those not able to attend, highlights will be available on the Paddock FC Youtube site after the game.