Northowram continued their impressive run of form in the Halifax AFL Premier Division with a 5-2 home win against a very useful-looking Warley Rangers side in a keenly-contested match.
The Rams had the boost of a soft goal after only five minutes when the keeper should have kept out Chris Dunne’s glancing header from Karl Amos’ cross. Minutes later the home side were denied a clear penalty when Danny Rushworth was pushed to the ground attempting to reach a long throw.
With neither side holding back in the tackle, the referee was kept busy in a high tempo game that saw Warley draw level after 25 minutes thanks to Carlton Balmer’s superb curling shot from close to the touchline.
Good work from Ollie Spencer freed Amos whose shot was tipped over and from the resulting corner Amos was not far off target with his header.
Two minutes later, Dunne restored the lead when he got the faintest of touches to Jake Baker’s deep free kick with the keeper again arguably at fault as he watched the ball bounce in front of him on its way in.
Clear-cut chances had been few in a very competitive opening 45 minutes in which both defences performed strongly and the game looked finely poised with Warley to play down the slope in the second half.
James Bunn was soon in action, tipping over a fiercely-struck long range effort but the Rams went two in front after 52 minutes. In a goalmouth scramble following a corner, Danny Rushworth’s shot was blocked but Matthew Rushworth was on hand to tuck in the rebound from close range.
This heralded a spell of pressure from the visitors, one long range shot bouncing back off the post, but when not let down by a poor final ball, they then found the Rams defensive organisation difficult to crack.
However, they made it 3-2 after 63 minutes with a looping header from a corner but did themselves no favours eight minutes later when Josh Prestidge got himself sent off for foul and abusive language.
As the game swung from end to end, substitute Alex O’Keefe’s shot was blocked and Dunne, from O’Keefe’s cross, was close to completing his hat-trick. Fifteen minutes from the end, the industrious Danny Rushworth scored an early contender for goal Of The season.
From a seemingly innocuous position he showed great technique as he got over an awkwardly bouncing ball and with the sweetest of strikes volleyed it into the top corner.
In the closing stages, the Rams exploited gaps in an otherwise tight Warley defence as O’Keefe’s long pass released Chris Conroy who went round the last defender and sidefooted past the advancing keeper to seal a most impressive win.
Stump continued their unbeaten start in the league with an 8-1 thumping of Elland United.
Stump were quick off the mark with Steve Fullard netting after five minutes which saw Elland on the back foot straight from the off.
A 40 yard stunner from Matthew Brennan caused the home side more upset after 20 minutes before excellent football from Tom Robinson, Tom Hiley and Adam Barlow led to further goals for ex Elland striker Dean Lawrence, who finished with a powerful header, and Kai Hadley’s cool finish.
The second half was much of the same with Stump playing some real quality football and it wasn’t long before Watkins set up Fullard for his second.
Damien Watkins then got in on the act with a sweet strike from the edge of the box, and also added another with a back post header. Watkins then completed his hat trick rounding two defenders and the Elland keeper to slot home after good work from Robinson and Hadley.
Sowerby United went down 3-1 to neighbours Ryburn United in a very tight game.
Former Sowerby player George Turner put Ryburn ahead with a powerful header after finding space. Andrew Wadsworth almost got Sowerby level when after a surging run hit a powerful shot into the side netting.
Ryburn doubled their lead when another Sowerby old boy, Jamie Milne slid in to force home following a low cross. Sowerby hit back when good work by Harvey Walsh set up Tom Fryer who finished in style.
The game went from end to end before Turner struck again to seal the win.
Calder 76 picked up another welcome three points from a hard-fought 4-3 win at Shelf United.
Jonathan Gibson set the ball rolling when he beat the keeper to a long clearance and took the ball around him before stroking home.
Paul Ashman then hit the bar with a cross cum shot as Calder looked the more likely to add to their lead.
However, Shelf responded through Danny Thornton’s screamer and then took the lead when Calder keeper Warren Clayton hesitated and Mark Hindle nipped in to score.
A half-time rollicking did the trick as Calder hit back to lead 4-2 at one stage.
Steve Jones and Gavin Fleming combined to set up Ricky Topham for the equaliser after which Jonathan Gibson’s pressure on the keeper paid off when the ball bounced in off his leg.
Topham was taken out by the home centre back and picked himself up to make it 4-2 from the spot and after Clayton had saved a penalty at the other end he was beaten when Lee Riley bundled home to set up a nervy final few minutes.
Midgley United maintained their three point lead at the top with a 1-0 win at Copley United.
The scoreline did not reflect the performance as Midgley had chances to add to their scoreline but were denied by four excellent saves from the Copley keeper.
In contrast the hosts were restricted to half chances with Gary Ash presented with the best of them.
The breakthough came in the second half when Toby Standring and George Bamford set up Rob Stansfield who finished smartly from 12 yards.
Copley never gave up but Midgley had enough talent on the field to see off any threat.
Denholme United continued their Jekyll and Hyde season in Division One with an astonishing 5-5 draw at Halifax Irish Centre.
Denholme have no problems banging them in, but are struggling to keep the opposition out having been hampered with injuries and the fact that their regular ‘keeper has been unavilable due to work commitments.
An end to end game saw both sides take the lead at various stages and it needed a last ditch goal to make sure Denholme came out of the game with a point.
Michael Midgley could have had 10 but had to settle for two, as did Neil Roberts.
Denholme’s other goal came from defender Richard Wear who headed in from a corner.
Wear doesn’t not score too many goals yet this was his second in as many season’s at Irish’s ground.
Matthew Thompson netted the winner as Midgley United Reserves edged to a deserved 2-1 win at Stainland United.
James Balmforth was the other Midgley player on target.
Joe Griffin scored four times as Illingworth St Marys secured maximum points from a 5-0 home thrashing of Shelf in Division Two while leaders Brighouse Sports marched on with an 8-2 success at West Central.
Ross Broadley was another man on target as he hit four in Shelf United Reserves’ 6-1 success at Sowerby Bridge Reserves.