Ryburn United were made to fight hard for the three points they needed to keep their Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL title challenge on track at Sowerby United.
The home side made a bright start but fell behind to a hopeful effort from Oliver Brierley after 25 minutes.
Sowerby were well led by the outstanding Garry Boyd and midway through the second half he rose above everyone to power home a great header from Oliver Smith’s corner.
This rattled Ryburn and the game looked to be heading for a draw until substitute Reece Uttley pounced following a goalmouth melee.
Ryburn’s top scorer Christian Silkstone had been kept in check by the impressive Jake Allot but he finally got free to seal victory in the last minute.
John Wadsworth was impressive for the winners.
Ryburn United remain two points behind Stump Cross, with a game in hand, after Stump had a closer match than expected at home to Hebden Royd Red Star.
The Shroggs Park visitors, who haven’t won for a while, were only beaten 4-3.
Damian Watkins and Kai Hadley scored twice each for Stump while Ben Norman, Ed Harvey and Sam Talbot replied.
Copley United registered their second away win in four days to move clear of the bottom three.
They followed up a success against Holmfield with a 3-1 win away to Elland United, Gary Ash (two) and Chad Ogden doing the damage. Martin Boon got Elland’s goal.
Bottom side Holmfield picked up an unexpected point in a 1-1 draw away to third-placed Midgley United.
Midgley, with their title chance gone and lacking strikers Tom Booth and George Bamford, gave some youngsters a chance.
They had most of the play in a moderate contest but didn’t create much, although Joe Gibson headed them in front from a James Adey corner after 20 minutes.
Jamie Keegan did well in midfield for Holmfield, who equalised with 12 minutes left. Substitute Mick Palethorpe helped set up a raid down the flank and Dan Tyer scored with a low drive from 18 yards.
Next-to-bottom Sowerby Bridge’s improved run was ended by hosts King Cross Warley, who beat them 7-3 with the help of a hat-trick from Tom Hiley.
The other King Cross goals came from Kris Charnock (two), Dave Maguire and Jonny Burston while Raijko Jovanovic, Jonny Howard and Andy Pearson replied.
Burston ran the show from midfield for Cross, who fell behind to a penalty from Jovanovic before sweeping into a 3-1 interval lead.
A very heavy pitch did not stop the hosts from stretching 5-2 up and although Bates reduced the deficit, King Cross scored twice more.
Greetland followed up their 3-2 home win over Greetland last Wednesday with a runaway 6-1 success in the return game.
Midfielders Tom Wall and Jonny Crowther were soon in the thick of the action for a young visiting side, who took the lead when Matty Oldfield raced down the wing and brother Adam scored with a bullet header from his pin point cross.
Carl Ainley had a penalty saved but made amends moments later, heading home a looping cross from Matty Oldfield, who had been fed by Dave Walker’s through ball.
Calder always looked a threat and pulled one back on the stroke of half time. A cross took a couple of deflections before being smashed home by James Redmond.
Greetland started the second half the quicker and Dave Woffenden twice tested the ‘keeper from long range efforts.
It was his cross which led to Greetland’s third. Danny Dorward collided with the ‘keeper and Adam Oldfield side-footed into the empty net, much to the annoyance of the Calder crowd who felt the goal should have been disallowed.
Manager Mark Leonard sent on Scott McHale, who scored with his first touch.
Calder had Matty McCambridge dismissed for dissent and salt was rubbed into their wounds by a Matty Oldfield penalty and a Woffenden goal in the dying seconds from ‘keeper Craig Taylor’s long clearance.
Northowram and Shelf United both registered easy wins prior to their Division One title head-to-head at Shelf Park next Saturday.
Lacking match fitness after a three week lay-off, the Rams saw off bottom club Greetland Reserves at Goldfields with a lacklustre performance which was so untypical of their season to date.
They went ahead after 15 minutes, against the run of play, when Alex O’Keefe set up the position from which Danny King, after some adroit footwork, fired home.
Greetland played some tidy football but offered little by way of goal threats. However, they were unlucky to fall two behind after James Waggett converted a “soft” penalty on the half hour.
The game was effectively over four minutes after half-time when Mark Eade forced home Chris Conroy’s excellent cross.
The home defence was looking more and more vulnerable but the Rams could only add one more when Conroy’s inch perfect pass found Eade, whose finish was emphatic.
Chris Dunne spurned an easy chance in the last minute, the Spring sunshine adding to an end-of-season-feel, an odd situation considering both sides badly needed the points.
Shelf were 7-0 winners over an Elland Allstars side who had no substitutes, making short work of their foes after a nervy first 20 minutes.
Joe Griffin knocked the ball under the ‘keeper after Elliott Parkinson’s shot had rebounded off the bar. Danny Thornton’s free kick slipped through the ‘keeper’s hands and Griffin made it 3-0 at half time.
Griffin completed his hat-trick with a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area and a Mark Hindley double - a left-foot shot and a penalty after Griffin had been brought down - put more daylight between the teams.
A fine solo goal from Luke Prosser completed the scoring for Shelf, who will be promoted on Wednesday if they can avenge last week’s defeat at Denholme.
Denholme got an unexpected day off on Saturday when scheduled visitors Stainland United were unable to raise a team for their final game of the season.
Halifax Irish Centre are certain to finish in the bottom two after they lost 3-2 in their last match away to Salem.
Adam Gaze, Liam Huson and Martin Jenkins got the home goals
Ryburn United Reserves are safe after a 2-2 draw at home to mid-table Volunteer Arms.
Denholme United Reserves’ big finish to the season continued with a 4-0 win away to Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves in the only game in the bottom two sections on Saturday.
Lea Kelly, Jack Harrison, Joe Greenwood and Steve George struck and nine of Denholme’s 15 points have been picked up in their last three games.
Monday fixtures, Division One: Sowerby Bridge Reserves v Ryburn United Reserves (ref A.Williams).
Wednesday fixtures - Premier Division: Greetland AFC v Hebden Royd RS (P.Higgins), King Cross Warley v Copley United (S.Hoyle), Ryburn United v Holmfield (P.Bowe), Sowerby Bridge v Elland United (R.Varley), Sowerby United v Stump Cross (D.Wright).
Division One: Shelf United v Denholme United (W.Cotton).