Next season’s Evo-Stik League is all but confirmed following the release of the league set-ups by the FA, the divisions will be ratified at the Evo-Stik League AGM on 17 June and are subject to late changes with any issues that may arise beforehand in other feeder leagues.
There are four new sides in the First Division North as we welcome Frickley Athletic and Skelmersdale United who were both relegated from the Premier Division last season, whilst on the up, are Atherton Collieries and South Shields two sides that we have not come up against in our previous 80 seasons in existence.
We met Frickley Athletic last pre-season as the sides shared a 2-2 draw at Ingfield, the last competitive meetings were in the Premier Division in the 2010/11 season, and both games were within 11 February Days.
Frickley took the points at Ingfield, winning 2-1, while The Reds returned the favour at The Westfield Lane Stadium. Jamie Hopcutt with the only goal of the game, one of two he scored that season from 16 appearances.
Atherton Collieries won the North West Counties League in impressive style amassing 100 points and scoring 103 goals, winning 32 of their 42 games. They will be looking to replicate the previous Champions Colne, who in their first Evo-Stik season achieved a place on the end of season play-offs.
Coming up from the Northern League, South Shields were even more impressive with 108 points won and a goal difference of plus 92.
Both sides are expected to make an impact on the division, and along with Scarborough Athletic who have returned to Scarborough and both Hyde United and Colwyn Bay having found their feet in the division once again the league looks like being a very competitive and closely fought affair.
Updated 12:20 - 15 May 2017 by Neil Spofforth
FIRST DIVISION NORTH
Glossop North End