Eccleshill United kick starts their league campaign against Staveley Miners Welfare in what should be a thrilling a game if last season's matches were anything to go by. The first meeting between the two sides last season came at the Mitton Group Stadium when Joe Pugh gave Staveley a first-half lead. This lead was doubled on the fifty-first minute by Matthew Davies, and when the Eagles looked down and out; they pulled a goal back late on through Jake Thompson, seven minutes from time. Staveley did well to hold onto the lead up until the last kick of the game, Eccleshill had a corner which bundled itself onto the ground in the box, and Sam Bradley had a sliding shot that beat Myles Wright in the Miners' goals.
If that wasn't enough late drama, the reverse fixture entailed even more! In the game, Staveley once again opened the scoring, this time through Matthew Parkin after four minutes. Just before the break, Khurram Shazad popped up to level the game, it was then Charlie Oglesby who again put Staveley ahead. Then three minutes later it was a case of anything you can do we can do as well, Lever equalising the game. Then when it got into stoppage time, it seemed the game would finish 2-2, however, a late counter-attack from the Eagles ended with Charlie Flaherty heading home and making the score 3-2 to Eccleshill. Then with a matter of seconds left for Staveley, they took kick-off smashed the ball to the other end of the pitch, the winger crossed the ball into the box for Parkin to dramatically head Staveley home! The game finishing 3-3, with two goals in stoppage time.
Eccleshill United come into the game off the back of a 3-0 home loss to Scarborough Athletic, whereas, Staveley's last outing was a 3-1 victory over Dunkirk - a Michael Burke hattrick helping them on their way to that victory. Staveley's highest-profile result in Pre-Season was their four-all draw with Chesterfield, in front of a crowd of 2,417. Chesterfield scored three penalties and ex-Doncaster Rovers striker Liam Mandeville also got on the scoresheet. The Eagles also played a high profile team in Pre-Season, losing 2-1 to Bradford City in front of a crowd of 650. Lewis Sugden equalised the proceedings for Eccy after Kelsey Mooney's opener, but a late Miracle Okafor goal won it for the Bantams.
The visitors have kept the bulk of their squad that did them proudly last season. With the additions of players such as Adam Lund, Lund is a highly rated centre-half who spent a bit of last season with Goole AFC, he scored against Eccleshill when the two teams met early in the last season. He has played for Barnsley at youth level, the same Barnsley Talent Ndlovu played for.
On the note of Ndlovu, he is one of many new signings at Eccleshill United who've hit the ground running. Brad Emmerson in goal made some spectacular saves last time out to assert himself as Lee Elam's first-choice goalkeeper. Additionally, Tyler Marsh and Danny Stimpson have slotted into the back four tremendously alongside skipper, Aran Basi and club stalwart, Matthew Stor. Elam has a number of options going forward, with the likes of Jonny Irving, Chris Lever and Ryan Hargreaves still at the club, added to new players such as Jacob Buchanan, Callum Charlton and Moise Kroma just to name a few.
Last season, Eccleshill United finished tenth in the league and Lee Elam has made it clear that his aims come the end of the season will be to fight for promotion, something that looks realistic with the number of strong performances against high-end teams in Pre-Season. Staveley finished three places and fourteen points better off than Eccleshill United. The Eagles did score more goals on the road than Staveley, which was the main stat that betters off compared to Staveley.
Admission: £5 Adults, £3 Concession
Match Programme: Digital Match Programme (if you would like a paper copy Match Programme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).