Calder ‘76 boss Rob Kenworthy believes his side’s extra fitness and the finishing power of Remi Allen were decisive in a 3-2 win away to Hebden Royd Red Star in Saturday’s Halifax AFL derby.
Both sides were playing for the first time in more than a month on a White Lee Rec pitch described by Kenworthy as “worse than a cow field.”
Calder have at least trained recently and the manager thought that had paid off.
Red Star scored twice from crosses by Lewis Cockroft in the first half, Aaron Linsky striking early on and Jack Gormley getting the second with the help of a deflection off Sam Cartwright.
In between those goals, Ricky Topham converted a penalty for hand ball, meaning Star turned round with a 2-1 advantage.
Rival keepers Brendan Barclay (Star) and Joe Kidder were in good form but the hosts ran out of steam in the final quarter and Allen, pushed up front, took advantage to move to 29 goals for the season.
He beat Barclay to Steve Jones’s ball over the top and his bobbling shot defeated home player-boss Chris Garbutt’s efforts to keep it out of the net.
Allen grabbed the winner with 15 minutes left following Cartwright’s cross, producing a good first touch and passing the ball into the net.
Greetland upset second-placed Northowram with a 2-1 win on a bobbly pitch at Greetland.
The hosts had conceded 14 goals in their previous two games but their level of commitment could not be faulted.
The first half was a tedious and fragmented affair with the only goal, an Aaron Dorward’s header, coming after 23 minutes.
Greetland had started positively forcing James Bunn into a one-handed save after two minutes and when the keeper spilled a cross, Matthew Rushworth made a goal-saving clearance.
Good link-up play between Matt Calland and Josh Baines sent Lewis Oldridge clear but he could only hit the side netting from a narrow angle. Calland hit a post and Oldridge put the rebound wide.
The Rams had the better of the second half but could not capitalise on a succession of corners.
They fell two goals behind after 55 minutes. Bunn dropped a high ball and despite a gallant recovery effort by Rushworth, Chris Green tapped in.
The lead lasted only a minute as Oldridge, quickly on to Chris Gent’s raking pass, controlled the ball without breaking stride and added an accomplished finish.
Calland put two headers wide, Ash Smee could not find the target and Gent’s free kick was palmed over by Kyle Hancock while Green perpetrated the miss of the match, firing well over from four yards out.
League leaders Illingworth St Mary’s were made to fight hard to win 3-1 at Sowerby United and maintain their 100 per cent record.
A length of the field passing move from Sowerby brought them a corner in the first five minutes and Ryan Allen volleyed them ahead.
Sowerby had their tails up and pressed hard whilst Illingworth struggled to get going.
The odd threat was stuffed out by good defending from Sowerby, with Liam Senior outstanding.
The home side were rocked five minutes before the break when a Dec Rothery effort drew Illingworth level.
Rory Thickett and Harvey Walsh were a constant threat for Sowerby, who benefited from the promptings of Connor Ashworth.
John Booth was the main threat for Illingworth and he put them ahead with 15 minutes left.
Sowerby spurned a good chance to equalise before Booth sealed victory two minutes from time.
Warley Rangers, without a win in five league games, arrested the slump by edging out third place Midgley United 3-2 at Shroggs Park.
With several Rangers players suspended, resources were stretched but those that stepped in acquitted themselves well.
Warley dominated from the off with some close offside calls denying them on several occasions.
The opening goal took 30 minutes to arrive but was worth waiting for as centre half Adam Goldthorpe strode forward from half way and let fly with a thunderbolt from 35 yards. The ball nestled into the bottom corner.
With their tails up, Warley soon grabbed a second as man of the match Connor Bell broke the last line of defence before rounding the keeper and slotting in from an acute angle.
Rangers’ front four caused more problems after the break and Macauley Norcliffe slipped past three challengers and squared for Bell to lash into the roof of the net for 3-0.
Midgley threw caution to the wind, changed to a three man defence, and added an extra striker.
Chris Woodhouse found space for the first time in the match to slot past Lee Goodall and hesitant defending allowed the excellent Euan Davies time to fire through a sea of bodies low into the net.
George Bamford almost grabbed an equaliser two minutes later but Goodall denied him with a smart save.
Ryburn United ran out the most emphatic winners in the Premier, beating relegated victors Copley United 8-0
It was another excellent day for Shelf FC, who not only progressed to the West Riding Trophy semi-finals with a 3-2 win at Wortley but then learned that AFL Division One title rivals Sowerby Bridge had lost.
Salem’s Iain King ruled with a hat-trick as his side sprung a 3-2 shock.
Chris Punda and Tom Hiley replied for Bridge, who were suffered a first league defeat of the season in their 17th outing.
Brighouse Sports had a thumping 7-1 win over relegated Greetland Reserves while Calder 76 Reserves stayed two points head of visitors AFC Crossleys in mid-table after a 1-1 draw.
Crossleys, who had notched a fine win against Brighouse Sports the previous week, took the lead through Nathan Sloane but Nathan Dempsey equalised.
The visitors had a chance to win it in the last minute but Matty McCambridge, who has played in numerous positions for Calder, saved a spot kick.
Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, Ivy House and Junction Inn all won in their three-cornered fight for Division Two honours.
Illingworth stayed top with a 5-3 home win over a St Columbas side who had done them a favour by beating Ivy House last month. Clinical finishing was the difference.
Columbas started the brighter and Scott Holmes and Ryan O’Neill missed good chances in the opening 20 minutes, ‘keeper Tony Clarke making good saves.
The home side took the lead when a long throw by Jack Pullen caused panic and Josh Langan scored from close range.
Tom Holroyd then made it 2-0 from Pullen’s long through ball.
After some end to end play, Columbas got a deserved goal through the impressive Scott Holmes but a Holroyd flick on enabled Brandon Field to make it 3-1.
Illingworth were getting on top and Robbie Sinclair netted after a great run down the left, only for replacement Vinnie O’Shea to reply.
Man of the match Langan hit a 30-yarder into the top corner and O’Shea got his second late on.
Jordan Powell scored twice in Ivy House’s 6-0 win away to Shelf United Reserves.
Junction won by the odd goal in seven away to Plummet Line.
Lee Walker took the scoring honours with a hat-trick as Crossley’s Reserves beat Sowerby bridge Reserves 5-2.