Halifax Hammers hit top gear in the Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League Premier Division as third placed FC Barge were sunk without trace by 5-0.
The weather conditions dictated the pattern of the game with Hammers running out deserved winners despite being without a number of regular first-teamers.
Barge won the toss and chose to play into a strong wind. It took a while for both sides to adjust until Hammers took the lead with a fine headed goal by A. Hussain.
The second was courtesy of an accurate long shot by Wajid Nawaz after which Ahsan Farooq made it 3-0 by rifling in a fierce effort from the edge of the area.
Hammers went onto dominate the second half even with the conditions against them. The passing across the defence was clever and confident while wingers Kashif Akmal and 42 year old Nayim Akram, making his first appearance for six years, supported by their full backs linked well and broke fast.
Kashif Akmal then won a penalty and Ahsan Farooq sent the keeper the wrong way before a nice team movement was finished off by big defender Faisal Saghir. The ‘keeper got his hands to the powerful shot but was unable to keep it out.
There would appear to be no let up in the title race with chief rivals FC Bowling Green and Carrington FC picking up maximum points.
Leaders Green secured a 5-0 success at a Mount Tabor side who now need a miracle if they are to retain their top flight status.
Dan Taylor’s side started well and took the lead when Jow Swallow latched onto an excellent through ball from Oli Smith to slot home.
Smith was again the provider for the second with Gary Ash providing the finish, and it was 3-0 before the break when Ryan Brook and Tom Holroyde linked up on the right and the latter’s cross was struck home by Jonny Collins from 12 yards.
The second half didn’t quite live up to the first with Tabor adding to their woes with an own goal to make it 4-0.
Swallow then wrapped things up with his second following excellent approach play.
Green are four points clear of Carrington who maintained their push by beating Feathers 4-3 in a hard fought and entertaining game at Beechwood Park.
The visitors started well and took the lead early on but were soon pegged back thanks to a goal from Jordan Coduri
Feathers retook the lead but crucially Coduri netted his second before the break to even things up again.
Carrington enjoyed the wind advantage in the second half, spending a lot of time camped in Feathers half and they took the lead for the first time, Coduri sealing a superb hat-trick
Carrington continued to push forward but were frustrated by a combination of good defending and wasteful finishing until they finally got the fourth goal in bizarre circumstances. Receiving the ball from a throw in 25 yards out, Coduri turned and hit a speculative drive towards goal. It was a fairly tame effort but with Feathers’ keeper inexplicably looking the other way the ball found the net.
The home side were reduced to 10 men though injury in the last 20 minutes and Feathers pulled one back late on with a screamer from just outside the box.
That led to a nervous finish for Carrington but they were able to close the game out.
Oddfellow strengthened their title bid in Division One with an emphatic 5-0 success over Greetland Goldstars while Rastrick BC eased their plight at the other end of the table with a 3-1 home success over bottom side Royd Club.
The game between Ryburn United and Bradshaw was abandoned before half-time due to an incident which is likely to be reported to the league committee.
The score was 0-0 at the time the stand-in official called a halt.
Beehive & Cross Keys produced a near faultless performance as they ran out 6-2 winners over King Cross Park in Division Two.
Keys were the better side throughout, playing some fine football in difficult conditions.
They were always in front and even when Park pulled it back to 3-2 the home side were able to go on and secure the points.
Karl Smith and Tom Lamb both netted twice with Matthew Robinson and Nick Green making up the rest.
The only other game in the division saw Hen’s Face run out 3-2 winners over Hebden Bridge.
Queens Head booked their place in the next round of the Bridge Balti League Cup following a 2-0 success over division-lower Halifax Hammers Reserves.
A scrappy game played in awkward conditions saw Tom Atkinson head Queens in front at the back post. Luke Eastwood then doubled the advantage with a shot from outside the box five minutes ahead of the interval.
Hammers plugged away and made a game of it without really threatening the Division One isde’s lead.