Halifax’s big finish foils the title contenders

Halifax Ladies 3

Chapeltown 2

Halifax finished their North Two SE season a real high, sealing their place in the section for next season and denying Chapeltown the point they needed to win the league.

The early stages were even with both teams playing good hockey. The breakthrough came after 12 minutes when Chapeltown’s Eve Bradshaw capitalised on a moment’s hesitation in the Halifax defence and stroked the ball home.

Halifax pressed Chapeltown deep in their own half. Steph Jones and Emma Bedford were causing problems down the flanks and excellent work by Emily Wilkinson enabled Zoe Hartley to break through and slot past the Chapeltown keeper.

Halifax attacked in waves and the ball broke to Jones, who made it 2-1.

Chapeltown are not top of the league without good reason and came back strongly. The Halifax defence held firm but seconds before half time Chloe Maxwell’s firm shot made it 2-2.

Halifax were aware that the last 35 minutes would define their season as a win would take them sixth but any other result could leave them facing relegation.

Halifax started the second half strongly, winning a number of penalty corners, and on 50 minutes Emma Crawford’s sweetly struck shot put them in front.

Halifax didn’t sit back and continued to play fine hockey while Chapeltown responded in a pulsating final 20 minutes.

The Halifax defence, superbly marshalled by captain Jane Greenwood, held firm, and Halifax played with real commitment and drive to prevent an excellent Chapeltown team from scoring.

In the last seconds, Chapeltown won a penalty corner. Although the initial shot was blocked the ball fell to a Chapeltown player who flicked the ball superbly towards the top corner, only for Sharon Crawshaw to make one of the best saves of the season.

Horsforth 2

Halifax IV 2

Halifax were winners on paper for this match, but short on attacking players and with some not 100 per cent they went 1-0 down inside 10 minutes.

Linda Clarkson and Linda Marshall switched positions and the visitors gained more control.

There were some great runs on the right by Harriet Wood, well supported by Helen Chadwick-Marshall, who prodeuced a great cross for Angela Riley to put away the equaliser.

Halifax had much of the play in the second half with some strong defending by Amber Pennyward at right back.

Horsforth had a couple of shots well saved by Sasha Pennywardand sneaked a second goal from a rebound.

However, Halifax came straight back and Chadwick-Marshall and Riley combined for almost a carbon copy of their first goal.

Halifax II 3

Horsforth 1

Halifax notched their first win of the weekend in a scrappy encounter.

Goals from Dani Parker and Michaela Holroyd (2) gave them victory.

Acomb I 0

Halifax II 1

Halifax climbed to the summit of Yorkshire Two with victory in Sunday’s top of the table clash with Acomb, who were only a few points behind them.

The visitors pressed from the first whistle with great play from the midfielders Margaret Bottomley, Adele Cocker, Ruth Prosser, Ellen Campsall and Claire Waldron.

They earned several penalty corners and from one of them, after 20 minutes, Bottomley slipped the ball to Cocker, who fired home.

The constant pressure continued throughout the second half and the defence of Alison McManus, Jess Speight, Ruth Bury and Tracey Helliwell dealt with any danger from the home side.

Up front, Dani Parker, Michaela Holroyd and Rachel Hoyle all went close as Halifax took the points ahead of this weekend’s title decider against City of York III.

Halifax IV 1

Pickering 8

Halifax were expecting a tough game against top of the league Pickering on Sunday but didn’t deserve to lose so heavily.

They quickly went a goal down to a strong attacking team and were ecstatic when Molly Midgley scored a fantastic goal from a cross into the D from Linda Marshall.

Player of the match Becka Kendall made some really great runs and showed lovely skill and pace, but lacked support.

Leigh Hirst on the left worked well with Midgley while Sasha Pennyward made some great saves to ensure Pickering didn’t get into double figures in a game played in a good spirit.