Holmfield’s hopes of beating the drop from the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL’s top flight took another blow when they were unable to build on a tremendous start at Northowram,
The visitors, still seeking their first league win of the season, were boosted by a superb sixth minute long-distance strike from Aiden Gee, which was destined for the net from the moment it left his boot.
However, that was as good as it got for the bottom side who eventually went down 5-1.
In a first half of few goalmouth incidents, the Rams played the percentages well with Matthew Rushworth outstanding in defence and they scored a well-deserved equaliser after Ash Ackroyd set up Ryan Barkham.
The Holmfield ‘keeper did well to keep out Barkham’s free kick and blocked Ackroyd’s close range shot as the Rams finished the half on top.
The Rams dominated down the slope and once Ackroyd had turned in Chris Conroy’s corner with a smart flick after 55 minutes, there looked to be only one winner.
Five minutes later Rushworth got the slightest of touches to Conroy’s shot to make it 3-1.
Substitute Archie Griffiths missed the best chance of the game but made amends after good work from Conroy, who then set up Ackroyd to roll the ball past the advancing keeper.
The fourth-from-bottom Rams pulled further clear of Greetland, who lost 2-1 at Hebden Royd Red Star, and Copley, who crashed 7-1 away to Warley Rangers, for whom Tom Hiley and Carlton Balmer scored hat-tricks.
At the other end of the Premier, Calder ‘76 went 12 points clear with a hard-fought 2-1 home derby win over Midgley United.
Relieived home boss Rob Kenworthy admitted Midgley had been unlucky not to get anything from a nervy, rather flat derby.
Rob Stansfield, whose numerous flick-ons went to waste for Midgley, forced an excellent save from Warren Clayton after 15 minutes.
Calder took the lead in fortuitous fashion after 25 minutes when Max Crossley fed the ball in to Steve Jones, whose effort from 18 yards out bobbled wickedly and the ball bounced over Steve Butterworth.
Midgley drew level before half time through Stansfield’s header from an equally good Toby Standring cross.
The visitors were relying on the long ball and Calder started to try and match them in a scrappy second half.
The winner came from Ricky Topham after Butterworth had parried a Remi Allen effort.
Third-placed Mixenden United followed up a fine comeback win over against Warley Rangers the previous week with a 3-0 success at Shelf United.
Their stand-in ‘keeper Matty Horsfall saved a penalty from Billy Grogan in the first half and Mixenden moved clear down the slope after the break.
Martin Woodhouse came on and scored and brother Chris netted with a fine lob from well outside the box which dipped under the bar.
Damien Randall, who dropped back into midfield in the second half, got the visitors’ other goal.
Division One promotion contenders Illingworth St Mary’s and Sowerby United warmed up for their Wednesday meeting with contrasting wins.
Hot title favourites Saints made short work of visitors Calder ‘76 Reserves, winning 8-1 with the help of doubles from John Booth and Gareth Gaukroger.
Sowerby had a tricky looking game away to Elland United and won 3-2 with manager Garry Boyd in goal after a last minute withdrawal.
With the wind at their backs Elland did the early pressing and a low effort was heading into the corner of the net before Boyd tipped it round the post.
Sowerby broke the deadlock when Dan Boyd drilled home from 18 yards but Elland were level five minutes later when Mark Kelsey reacted the quickest and fired home.
The home side went ahead when the wind got hold of Jake Bradbury’s corner kick and the ball flew into the net.
Sowerby mounted strong pressure in the second half with man of the match Ben Broadbent a key figure.
They levelled when Elland failed to clear a corner and Dan Crossland pounced.
Oliver Smith’s thundering drive rattled the post before James Clegg curled in a super goal from 20 yards to give Sowerby the points.
Second-placed Brighouse Sports, who go to Sowerby on Saturday, made it 14 wins from 16 outings when they beat Ryburn United Reserves 6-1 at Lane Head.
Three goals in each half did the trick.
Connor Durkin opened the scoring from Josh Robinson’s cross on 10 minutes; Chris Allan showed good control before chipping the keeper on 18 minutes; and Borhan Doski scrambled a third five minutes before half time.
Doski got his second when the ‘keeper fumbled on the hour and Sam Durkin’s fine shot from range into the corner made it 5-0 on 75 minutes.
Ryburn got one back from the penalty spot three minutes later after ‘keeper Dominic Nolan had collided with an attacker but Ashley Johnson had the last word with a free kick around the wall.
Sowerby Bridge are only one point behind Elland Allstars, from four games fewer, after Lee Wood scored twice in a 3-3 draw between the pair.
Salem won by 4-3 away to bototm side Halifax Irish Centre.
Division Two leaders St Columba’s ran out 5-2 winners at home to Denholme United Reserves in a game switched from Foster Park.
They were 3-0 up within 10 minutes through Vinny O’Shea, Frank Odion and Kutubo Touray. Touray’s goal was particularly special, cutting in from the left flank and curling the ball into the top corner.
Denholme had a strong wind at their backs and they fought back to 3-2 with a wickedly struck free kick and a headed goal from a corner.
However, Odion smashed the ball into the top corner from just inside the area to make it 4-2 at half time.
The second half was a one sided affair as Denholme struggled against the wind but Saints only added one more goal to their tally when centre back Pete Connell brought down the ball on the edge of the six yard box and finished smartly.
Decond-placed Greetland Reserves made hard work of beating bottom side AFC Crossleys Reserves, coming through 2-1 thanks to goals from Andy Hurcombe and Oliver Hirst.
The top two received a tonic when in-form Sowerby United Reserves turned over third-placed visitors Shelf FC with two more goals from Rory Thickett.
Ryburn United earned a Challenge Cup semi-final date with Illingworth St Mary’s when their game away to Denholme United finally took place.
Goals from Joe Swallow (two), Christian Silkstone and Alex Coburn saw the treble-bidding visitors to a 4-0 success.
Wednesday fixtures - Division One: Calder 76 Res v Salem, Denholme United v AFC Crossleys, Elland Allstars v Brighouse Sports, Halifax Irish Centre v Ryburn United Res, Midgley United Res v Sowerby Bridge, Sowerby United v Illingworth St Mary’s