Fortunate winner for champs

Double winners Elland United are struggling to recapture last season’s form and were grateful for a freak winner at Shelf United on Saturday.

Paul Bradbury’s side came out on top 2-1 - their second win in five outings in the Haslem Sheppard AFL - thanks to Karl Amos’s cross which found the top corner of the net with 15 minutes left.

Elland started promisingly enough but Shelf scored a breakaway goal up the slope through Jake Griffin and then applied some pressure.

Amos rounded a defender and beat the ‘keeper to equalise from a narrow angle after half an hour but Shelf kept pressing and Elland had an escape when Michael Higginbotham tipped an effort onto the bar and the ball dropped on to the goalline.

The visitors had a Carlton Balmer goal chalked off for offside and were frustrated by other decisions but just came out on top with the help of good performances from first team debutant Ricky Thomas and Josh Prestige.

A relieved Bradbury said: “We’ve still not got a settled team at all but hopefully we will get there.”

Leaders Stump Cross and Calder ‘76 were other away winners in the Premier Division while Ryburn United are second after dominating the second half of their home clash with Holmfield.

Rob Gerrard set up Christian Silkstone to open the scoring but Holmfield, with Joe Dungworth impressive at the back and Danny Patchett showing his paces, surged into a 2-1 interval lead.

Patchett squared for Gareth Gaukroger to equalise and then bagged Holmfield’s second from Jamie Keegan’s ball in.

Ryburn came out for the second half with all guns blazing and although they scored five goals they could have had many more.

Silkstone and Rob Gerrard both went through one-on-one and beat the keeper and Gerrard added his second before Silkstone completed his hat-trick.

Substitute Andrew Cross’s diving header at the back post from a corner completed victory for Ryburn, who were best served by Siklkstone, Gerrard, skipper Adam Sharp and midfielder Simon Carter.

Stump romped to a 6-0 win at Greetland with another four goals from Damian Watkins while Calder won 4-0 at Copley United, who are still looking for their first point following promotion.

Stump created the better early chances, Matt Calland and Dan Crosland going close before Watkins opened the scoring with a right foot drive mid-way through the first half.

Good work from Lee Marsh and Lee Thomas in defence kept Greetland’s Mark Heppenstall in check.

Ash Ackroyd doubled the lead from six yards early in the second half, after Calland and Ben Hiley had combined well, and within five minutes full back Josh Hiley’s darting run and lob from 20 yards made it 3-0.

Greetland were now finding it hard to keep Stump out. A mix up in the Greetland defence presented Watkins with an easy chance and he added two penalties in the last 15 minutes to complete the rout.

Hebden Royd Red Star and Sowerby Bridge won by three-goal margins and have opened up a six-point lead at the top of Division One.

Red Star maintained their 100 per cent record with a 3-0 win at Mixenden United.

Midfielder James Chadwick fired over from close range and Danny Gilfillan headed straight at the goalkeeper before the visitors took the lead moments before half time when Eddie Harvey slid a short pass through for Ryan Thomas, who steered a low shot beyond the advancing ‘keeper.

Two goals in 10 minutes after the break put the game to bed.

A quickly taken long throw from Jack Earle caught the home defence napping and Jordan Dean nodded home from two yards out.

Thomas then beat numerous defenders on a mazy run to the byline before cutting the ball back to the penalty spot where Harvey was on hand to drive the ball home.

An acrobatic Chris Garbutt volley flashed just wide following Harry West’s first time cross as the visitors comfortably saw the game out.

Sowerby Bridge fired in five unanswered goals in the last half hour an hour to win 7-4 against a well drilled Denholme United side.

Bridge were in front after only a minute, Jamie Jepson’s neat through ball putting Richard Hirst clear and he rounded the ‘keeper to give them a flying start.

However, Denholme scored two quick goals and Bridge’s strong pressure failed to yield an equaliser until Martyn Bates’s wicked cross was bundled in at the back door by Daniel Cook.

Denholme regained control with Keith Lancaster and Michael Midgley causing Bridge problems and they stormed into a 4-2 interval lead.

Lancaster scored the goal of the game with an overhead kick from the edge of the area but he suffered a bad injury on the hour and the game had to be held up.

Both teams wanted to carry on but there was only one team in it once the Bridge pulled a goal back thanks to an unstoppable Adam Barlow header.

Man of the match Bates equalised and then headed home after Lee Wood had flicked on Jimmy Sweeney’s long throw.

The lethal Bates completed his hat-trick after another Sweeney delivery and a Barlow penalty completed the scoring.

Halifax Irish Centre scored five times in the second half to run out emphatic 6-3 home winners against Northowram.

The first half at West Vale was mundane, with neither keeper having a save to make, and it looked likely to be goalless until Alex O’Keefe gave the Rams the lead with a low finish via the foot of the post on 42 minutes.

Irish drew level a minute later when Mick Galloway headed home a free kick at the far post and two goals in two minutes shortly after half time from Ash Holmes and Craig Eastwood put the home side clear.

Ash Holmes forced home a rebound to make it 4-1 after 62 minutes and although O’Keefe’s corner was headed home by Matthew Rushworth, Luke Holmes slotted number five for Irish.

A quick break caught the Rams’ defence at sixes and sevens for Luke Holmes to convert a simple chance and O’Keefe’s firm low shot into the far corner with two minutes left was scant consolation for the visitors.

Stainland United beat Salem 4-3 with the help of a Hodgson hat-trick while Louey Kenny’s brace helped Volunteer Arms beat Ryburn United Reserves 3-2.

Wadsworth United were held 1-1 by Elland Allstars, the team they were promoted to Division One with at the end of last season.

Allstars collected only one point from last season’s two meetings but they have made the better start this time and took the lead against the run of play after 35 minutes on Saturday.

That was a blow to Wadsworth, who had started well, but they raised their game in the second half and Frank Howell eventually took one of the several chances that came their way.

Gibson, who provided the long ball for Howell’s goal, then had to go off with a shoulder injury and Wadsworth will be hoping the striker is not absent for long.

Central midfielders Howell and Jack Greenwood were best for Wadsworth, who are at home to divisional rivals Stainland United in the Halifax FA Cup tomorrow.

Paul Kendall scored twice as Warley Rangers Reserves won the big game in Division Two, coming out on top 3-1 at home to Sowerby Bridge Reserves.

Bridge started the day top but slipped to fourth with their conquerors, Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves and Elland United Reserves going above them.

Savile Arms crushed fellow Division Three strugglers Salem Reserves 9-0 in the first round of the Invitation Cup.

They took the lead after just one minute, Tom White’s shot deflecting off Sean Neary to beat ‘keeper Rod Brown.

Two minutes later a slip by Mark Atkinson let in Jordan Goldthorpe to double the lead and out-of-sorts Salem were grateful to reach the break only 2-0 down.

Manager Nick Locock, in his last game in charge, tried to rally his team but another howler in defence allowed Kerry Muncaster to score one minute into the second period.

Martin Neary shot weakly at visiting keeper Liam Hancock from Salem’s only real chance and Savile then went on the rampage with Ory Goldthorpe (two) and Richard Bentley netting along with sub Will Chapel, who helped himself to a hat-trick. Richard Boyle was best for the home side whilst Matty Russell took the visitors’ man of the match award.