While the spotlight shines on women’s football off the back of another history-defining tournament for the Lionesses at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The FAWNL 23/24 season is well and truly underway for the teams competing in Tier 3 and 4 of the pyramid and from a northern perspective, things look more competitive than ever. So, with this being said let’s recap some of the highlights since the season’s launch.
After being locked in a three-way battle for the title last year Burnley, Wolves and Nottingham Forest have all unsurprisingly made a strong start to the campaign, with Burnley currently sitting top of the table after picking up their second win of the season: coming out 3-0 victors in local derby against AFC Fylde midweek, their only points dropped respectively against Wolves.
Wolves were back to winning ways as they beat Northern Premier newcomers Stourbridge 3-0 in their midweek fixture, who proved to be a valiant test keeping the encounter close until the 65th minute the game started to run away from them- plenty of positives to take after a tough opening set of fixtures for the newly promoted side.
Forest, having played a game less than their counterparts will be looking to keep their 100% record intact as they face off against Fylde at the weekend. They’ve wasted no time bouncing back from a bitterly disappointing final which saw them edged out of promotion by Watford, as Forest have bagged an impressive 11 goals in 2 games.
Arguably, the biggest surprise so far has come in the form of Liverpool Feds. Fresh off their Hollywood documentary debut, which highlighted their struggles competing in the third tier against some heavily backed clubs. Feds have proven the doubters wrong once again securing back to back wins against Derby County and Stoke City after falling narrowly short against Burnley on the opening day of the season and losing their starting GK in the process. Although there’s a long way to go, Feds can be proud of the incredible start they’ve made as they look to continue defying the odds and make it 3/3 as they play host to WBA on Sunday.
Stourbridge, Derby and AFC Fylde will be looking to turn their fortunes around as they chase their first wins of the season. Newcastle United and Halifax will be looking to build on their steady starts they have made. As well as Stoke, WBA and Huddersfield looking to bounce back after suffering defeats in midweek/over the weekend respectively.
Now to turn the attention to Division 1 North…
With all teams in the Division playing out three games – it’s the White Roses of Barnsley, Hull City and Leeds United who have got off to strong starts ensuring a maximum of 9 points out of 9 to kickstart their campaigns.
Current table toppers Barnsley picked up their third successive victory midweek overcoming a fresh faced Stockport side 1-0 in a tentative encounter which saw them without their number one and manager for the evening, who will have undoubtedly been delighted with the outcome. Stockport having finished strongly last season and adding some fresh attacking fire in the summer will be looking to add to their points tally in quick succession if they want to pick up where they left off from the last campaign.
Hull City ladies, who have seemingly gone under the radar for large parts of last season have come out firing and have asserted early momentum notching eleven goals and seeing off Doncaster Rovers Belles, Middlesborough and York City in the process in their opening 3. Make no mistake Hull will prove to be a Thorne in anyone’s side.
Leeds United who are currently managerless make up the top three, as they don’t look to be phased by the current transition they find themselves in. Could a blend of experience and young talent prove to be what kicks them on? after an inconsistent 22/23 season saw them finish 6th.
Outside of the top 3 – there will be no team more pleased than Chorley who sit 4th in the pecking order having picked up back to back wins immediately after a difficult opening day away at Barnsley. Chorley managed to wrestle themselves out of a relegation battle last season and will be hoping for more of a stress-free year, a task in itself as they remain one of the few clubs without much financial backing – credit where credit due.
Meanwhile, down at the bottom – York City, FC United and Norton & Stockton will all be itching to get more points on the board as they all go winless in 3 – while some may feel begrudged that results haven’t reflected performances, Div 1 North takes no prisoners.
Durham Cestria who took the title challenge with Newcastle all the way to the final day of the 22/23 season, will be looking to bounce back quickly as they have suffered back to back defeats. While Middlesbrough, Doncaster Rovers Belles and Chester Le Street will all be looking to build on the first wins of the season in which they have secured.
There will be plenty more twists and turns along the way but Tiers 3 and 4 in the North proving once more that the standard is growing year on year and if anything, we are in for yet another exciting season!
To check out all things Northern in Tiers 3 and 4 – head to the link below: https://fulltime.thefa.com/index.html?league=872938