The competition season kicked off with the Saturday Challenge Trophy on 24th February 2023. This fixture saw Chadderton Reserves take on Manchester Central at Hyde United’s Project Polar Stadium. This exciting and competitive fixture set the tone for the competitions to follow. An even fight and result with the fixture concluding 2-2, this saw the competition’s first penalty shoot-out. The shoot-out proved just as close as the 90-minute game, with Chadderton Reserves edging the win with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory, crowning them Manchester FA Saturday Challenge Champions.
Our second final, held again at the Project Polar Stadium, took place on Friday 3rd March, which saw Dom Doyle FC face Rushford Park FC in the Manchester FA Sunday Challenge Shield. This was another tough matched fixture for both teams. Rushford Park headed into half-time with a 3-0 lead over their opponents, but Dom Doyle started their come back early scoring early on in the second half. Despite their efforts, the game ended in Rushford Park’s favour with a convincing 3-1 win. Rushford Park were crowned Sunday Shield County Cup Champions, alongside their league title, concluding a great 22/23 season.
On Friday 17th March, current Manchester FA Saturday Amateur Cup holders, AFC Middleton took on Village Manchester in the final of the 2023 Saturday Amateur Cup at the Project Polar Stadium. AFC Middleton took the lead early on, entering into half-time with a 1-0 lead. Village Manchester responded with an early goal in the second half levelling the scoring, but AFC Middleton came straight back out on top with two great goals. AFC Middleton claimed the victory with another 3-1 win in this Manchester FA competition, crowning them back-to-back Saturday Amateur Champions.
Concluding our fixture run at Hyde United, the Sunday Amateur Cup took place on Friday 24th March. Wythenshawe Juniors faced Radcliffe FC U21s in another exciting game which saw Wythenshawe Juniors score, what we believe to be, the fastest goal in this season’s Manchester FA Competition Finals. This first minute goal put Wythenshawe Juniors ahead but not for long, as Radcliffe very quickly levelled the score. However, Wythenshawe went into the break 2-1 up and prepared themselves for a tough second half. Radcliffe scored a stunning goal late into the second half to level the score once more, leading us into our second penalty shoot-out of the competitions. Radcliffe won the penalty shoot-out 4-2 and were crowned Sunday Amateur Champions.
Next, we moved onto our most senior men’s competition, the Manchester FA Frank Hannah Premier Cup, which took place on Tuesday 18th April at FC United of Manchester’s Broadhurst Park Stadium. This was our first RESPECT fixture of the competition run, with Wythenshawe Town taking on Radcliffe FC. This was the first time Wythenshawe Town reached the Premier Cup final with a tough run of draws and beating many times in higher divisions and leagues. Radcliffe took control in the first half leading 3-0 before the 40’ minute mark and with a professional second half performance, they secured the game holding onto their 3-0 lead to become Manchester FA Frank Hannah Premier Cup Champions.
The following competition saw a double header of both the girls and boys U18 fixtures on Sunday 23rd June, again at FC United of Manchester. Droylsden Youth Centre U18s and Ashton Pumas U17s kicked us off with the girls U18 competition. The first half was close but saw Droylsden take a 2-0 lead at the break. However, the second half turned out costly for Ashton Pumas, with Droylsden Youth Centre, who played brilliantly and taking full control, winning 7-1, crowning Droylsden Youth Centre our U18 Girls County Cup Champions. With a quick turnaround, it was time for the boys U18 competition to start with Trafford FC taking on Altrincham FC. Both teams fought very hard in this fixture but at half time Altrincham took a comfortable 4-1 lead over Trafford. In the second half, with only 10 men, Trafford put up a tough fight but it is Altrincham who come out on top, winning 6-3 becoming the Manchester FA U18 Boys County Cup Champions.
Continuing with our youth fixtures, our next competition was our U16 Boys cup. This fixture took place on Tuesday 25th April at Chadderton FC, with Irlam Juniors taking on local rivals Cadishead Sports. Another competitive fixture, Irlam took a 2-0 lead at the break before returning to the pitch for the second half and getting an early goal. Cadishead responded shortly after however Irlam took the game away from Cadishead and scored another goal. Irlam Juniors came out victorious with a 4-1 win over local rivals, becoming the U16 boys Manchester FA Champions. A few days later, on Thursday 27th April, we saw our U16 Girls competition take place. Again, held at Chadderton, Brendon Bees Juniors faced Crompton FC with Brendon Bees taking a comfortable 2-0 lead heading into the break. Brendon Bees scored again, putting themselves in a comfortable position for the remainder of the game. Crompton scored a late consolation goal, but it was not enough, and Brendon Bees came out on top with a 3-1 win before being named the Manchester FA U16 County Cup Girls Champions.
We headed back to FC United of Manchester on Wednesday 3rd May, for another one of our RESPECT fixtures, our Women’s Challenge Cup. This fixture saw Curzon Ashton Women take on current cup holders, Cheadle Town Stingers. Curzon Ashton conceded 2 penalties and went down to 10 players within the first half, heading into the break 3-0 down and giving themselves a hard task to come back from. Cheadle Town went on to score 2 more goals in the second half, taking the final score to 5-0. A great game and thoroughly deserved victory for Cheadle Town Stingers but a big shout out to Curzon Ashton for continuing to fight until the final whistle. Congratulations to Cheadle Town Stringers on becoming back-to-back Manchester FA Women Challenge Cup Champions.
Our final adult competition, which was re-scheduled, took place on Tuesday 9th May. The Veterans Cup witnessed Salford Victoria Vets take on AFC Monton Veterans at Irlam FC’s, Silver Street Stadium. AFC Monton took a 1-0 lead after a very close first half performance and the game ended in their favour with a 2-0 win over Salford Victoria, making them your new Manchester FA Veterans County Cup Champions.
And finally, we moved onto our youth cup final fixtures. We started the finals off on 13th May at Avro FC’s Vestacare Stadium, who hosted our U12 girls and boy’s competition, as well as our U13 girls and U15 boys. The first fixture of the day, our U12 girls competition, saw FC Bluestar face Cheadle & Gatley. It was a cracking effort from both, but FC Bluestar just had the edge winning 2-0. The next fixture concluded the U12 boys competition in which Irlam Juniors, in another Manchester FA final, take on Elite FC. Irlam Juniors came out on top again for this final, winning 5-1. The penultimate game was our U13 girls competition with Curzon Ashton, another club who had teams make two finals, taking on Fletcher Moss Rangers. Fletcher Moss went into half time with a small lead but ended the game as winners, with a 4-0 lead. Lastly, Ladybridge United took on Trafford FC U15s, in the boys U15 competition which saw yet another club reach their second final. Trafford secured their place on top this time with a 3-0 victory.
Our concluding day of Manchester FA County Cup finals took place again at Avro FC’s Vestacare Stadium on 20th May where we saw action from the U13 boys, U14 girls, U14 boys and U15 girls County Cup competitions. We started the day off with the boys U13 cup, in which Reddish North End took on Delamere Rangers, yet another close contest. Reddish North End clinched the victory with a 2-1 win. The next fixture saw our U14 girls take to the stage with AFC Urmston Meadowside facing Mossley Juniors. AFC Urmston Meadowside appeared the stronger of the teams and rightly ended the game victorious with a comfortable 5-1 win. Our U14 boys final took place shortly after, with Moston Juniors taking part in their first final of the season and Trafford FC (youth) in their third Manchester FA County Cup final this season. A thrilling final, and the closest of games for this competition season, this was a season favourite for the Manchester FA team. A last-minute screamer from Moston Juniors brought heartache to Trafford FC but pure delight for the goal-scoring team as they are crowned winners. Last but my no means least, our U15 Girls County Cup final saw Irlam Juniors, taking part in their first girls final and their third Manchester FA County Cup final of the 22/23 season. They took on Crompton FC who were taking part in their second Manchester FA County Cup final of the season. Another great final and competitive game to close the season. Crompton took an early lead with Irlam managing to pull the score level. With less than a minute on the clock, Crompton scored their winning goal from a well worked free-kick, ending the Manchester FA 22/23 Competition Season.
Manchester FA would like to thank all teams and clubs who have been involved in our competitions this season. We hope to see you all back next season, ready for another jam-packed competition run.
Frank Hannah Premier Cup – Radcliffe FC
Women’s Challenge Cup – Cheadle Town Stingers
Saturday Challenge Trophy – Chadderton Reserve FC
Sunday Challenge Shield – Rushford Park FC
Saturday Amateur Cup – AFC Middleton
Sunday Amateur Cup – Radcliffe FC U21
Veterans Cup – AFC Monton Veterans
U18 Boys – Altrincham FC
U18 Girls – Droylsden Youth Centre
U16 Boys – Irlam Juniors
U16 Girls – Brendon Bees
U15 Boys – Trafford FC Youth
U15 Girls – Crompton FC
U14 Boys – Moston Juniors
U14 Girls – AFC Urmston Meadowside
U13 Boys – Reddish North End
U13 Girls – Fletcher Moss Rangers
U12 Boys – Irlam Juniors
U12 Girls – FC Bluestar