STUMP Cross and Warley Rangers blasted the title race wide open in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax & District AFL with convincing victories over the top two in the Premier Division.
Stump moved up to fourth with games in hand on the sides above them after sinking leaders Ryburn United 3-0 while third-placed Warley crushed second-placed Greetland 4-0.
Gareth Sherwood got the only goal of the first half for Stump at Shroggs Park, scoring at the back post after half an hour after good work down the left from Josh Hiley and Dan Crosland.
That was no more than Stump deserved because they were the better side in the first half.
Sherwood missed with a lob and was twice denied at his feet by the Ryburn ‘keeper before making it 2-0 on the hour.
Ryburn came back strongly with midfielder Simon Carter outstanding but missed opportunities to get back into the game, notably when Billy Grogan skied a penalty after ‘keeper Wayne Codman had brought down Christian Silkstone.
Stump completed victory - to the delight of their manager Tony Kniveton who had a spell in charge at Ryburn - when Hiley cashed in on good work from Oliver Smith to curl the ball in with five minutes left.
Warley’s win was as convincing as the scoreline suggests, getting on top after an even first 20 minutes against opponents they drew 1-1 away with recently.
The ball trickled over the line for Matthew Bodkin to open the score after 20 minutes and Brian Matthews doubled the lead five minutes before half time when he slid in to get on the end of a great ball from Andy Hudson.
Centre backs Jonathan Brownridge and Andy Zolly maintained their good form for Warley, who extended their lead when Bodkin cut in from the left and hit a good shot.
Paul Kendall’s left footed effort with 10 minutes left completed a fine afternoon’s work for Warley.
Hebden Royd Red Star were 6-5 home winners against AFC Crossleys in a thriller.
The visitors took the lead after 10 minutes, taking advantage of two weak challenges. They almost made it two from a corner, but right back Harry West cleared a header off the line.
Red Star equalised when Simon Leah slotted home at the second attempt and then went in front, Ryan Thomas using his pace to break down the right before squaring for left winger Jordan Dean to tap home.
Shortly before half time, Star struck a double blow. West scored with a deflected effort following a corner, then a counter attack put Thomas clean through and he finished unerringly.
Home complacency was severely punished as Crossleys mounted a stirring fightback at the start of the second half. A combination of soft challenges, lazy marking and good forward play allowed the away side to stun their hosts with a four goal blitz inside 15 minutes and take the lead once more.
Star boss David Whitehouse sent on Jamie Eaton, who launched a move which was completed when Eddie Harvey fired low beyond the keeper.
With 10 minutes left Daniel Lumb’s slide rule pass enabled Leah to finish high into the roof of the net.
Shelf moved further away from the bottom of the table with a hard fought 3-2 home win over strugglers Holmfield.
They elected to play up the slope against a strong wind and there were few chances in the first half.
Shelf held out until 10 minutes before the break when Gaukroger fired in from the edge of the box.
Shelf missed plenty of chances in the second half and their task became greater when Gaukroger got his second with a 30 yard volley.
The home side came to life and Jimmy Andrew made it 1-2 after a neat turn and shot in the penalty box.
Shelf pushed on for the equaliser and Craig Fletcher’s long range effort was going wide until Paul Andrew flicked out a leg to send the ball past the Holmfield keeper.
Both sides had chances to win the game but Andrew came up trumps for the home side with a wind-assisted corner.