Gibson spurs Wadsworth to success

Only five out of 15 fixtures took place in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL on Saturday with Wadsworth United winners of the sole game in the top two divisions.

All five Premier Division games perished, with snow remaining on pitches for more than a week, but Wadsworth improved their slim hopes of snatching a promotion place in Division One courtesy of a 5-3 home success against fading Denholme United.

Conditions were surprisingly good at Calder Holmes, where Wadsworth’s top scorer Johnny Gibson scored three times to lift his side to fifth in the table.

Denholme had the better of the first quarter and could have been a couple of goals to the good but they then presented Wadsworth with two goals in quick succession, Gibson and Max Crossley scoring.

Paul Armitage got one back before the break with an excellent strike.

Wadsworth went 3-1 up from the penalty spot on the hour through Gibson but top scorer Michael Midgley kept Denholme in the hunt.

However, Wadsworth put the game to bed with a couple more goals from substitute Matthew Marsden and Gibson before Armitage scored his second.

There was more action down the Calder Valley at Midgley Road, Mytholmroyd, where Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves beat derby rivals Midgley United Reserves 4-1 in Division Two.

Jake Balmforth scored a stunning opener for the visitors, collecting a long kick from his ‘keeper, controlling the ball and striking it home from 25 yards.

However, Jake Grannon got the home side on terms with a decent shot and Richard Laycock made it 2-1 to Star just before half time.

Grannon and James Rawlinson scored in the second half as Red Star went third and retained an outside chance of promotion.

In the same section, Sowerby Bridge Reserves took another stride towards the title with a 7-4 home victory over AFC Crossleys Reserves, the prolific Michael Rigby bagging another three goals.

The only two games in Halifax took place at Savile Park where there were a couple of contrasting contests.

Spring Hall Celtic are hoping for a late dash for honours and the goals flowed in their contest on the bottom pitch against Volunteer Arms Reserves, Celtic winning 10-3. Terriq Pervez scored a hat-trick for the winners.

One goal was enough to settle matters in the Salem Reserves versus Denholme United Reserves game with Jamie Jackson getting it for the visitors in the second half.

Salem are set for botton place but they again gave promotion-gunning Denholme a real battle, having been denied victory by the last kick of the game in the first meeting a month earlier.

Although there was still plenty of snow on Savile Park, Salem’s pitch was in perfect condition.

Denholme set off on the front foot and in the opening half hour only wayward finishing and several good saves from man of the match Charlie Holdsworth kept them out.

As the visitors became more frustrated Matty Stones’s patched up side came more into the equation and they comfortably saw out the first half at 0-0 with the back three of Foy, Neary and Atkinson foiling everything thrown at them. Herbert and Manning also shone in midfield.

In the second half Salem’s CJ Waddington went through one on one with the keeper but shot just went wide. Immediately, when Salem’s Kev Crossley lost out in a tackle in midfield a swift counter attack led to Jackson finishing neatly.

Both sides cancelled each other out after that until Salem forced a couple of late corners and Louis Halstead shot straight at the keeper. The game was well controlled by referee Joe Hallos.

The AFL’s evening games start with eight matches on Wednesday.

Much interest will focus on Stump Cross, chasing Midgley United in the Premier Division title race, who have been inactive for some time but will be expected to beat Copley United.

Sowerby United and Calder ‘76 seek away points in their battles against relegation.

Division One promotion rivals Sowerby Bridge and Wadsworth United are in action while there is a big match in Division Three with two of the contenders for honours, Spring Hall Celtic and Shelf FC, in opposition.

Wednesday’s fixtures - Premier Division: Copley United v Stump Cross, Elland United v Sowerby United, Warley Rangers v Calder ‘76.

Division One: Ryburn United Res v Wadsworth United, Sowerby Bridge v Mixenden United, Volunteer Arms v Salem.

Division Two: Halifax Athletic v Hebden Royd Red Star Res.

Division Three: Spring Hall Celtic v Shelf FC.