Huddersfield Amateur made handsome amends for drawing a blank 12 months earlier when they played in their second successive Halifax FA Saturday Cup final at the Shay last night.
They crushed Warley Rangers 9-2 to erase any lingering hurt after being beaten by Christian Silkstone’s only goal of game for Ryburn in extra time last year.
The Elland side, firmly in the promotion hunt in Division One of the West Yorkshire League, were helped by a Warley side who left their frustrated ‘keeper Michael Hickinbottom hopelessly exposed.
Amateurs powered into a 3-0 interval lead and incredibly extended their advantage to 8-0 after 71 minutes before Halifax AFL Premier side Rangers saved a little face.
It was a cold night at the home of FC Halifax Town, no doubt in contrast to Cyprus where Amateurs’ management team of Mark Reid and Nigel Dare are on a golfing break.
Skipper Lee Thrush was left in charge and he had few anxious moments in a game which promised plenty of goals from the outset.
Mark Kelsey and Connor Bell might have netted for Warley while Amateurs centre forward Mike Hall, given acres of space, fired over before strolling unchallenged through the middle to open the scoring on 16 minutes.
Jacob Driver, who impressed on the right of midfield, extended the lead with a low 20-yard shot on 27 minutes and made it 3-0 via a deflection off a defender on 32 minutes.
Amateurs’ control strengthened as the game progressed. They cut open a Warley defence, which had looked shaky even before the loss of Adam Squire through injury, almost at will.
Three goals in eight minutes put the game to bed. Hall beat Hickinbottom at the second attempt on 52 minutes and was immediately replaced by rangy striker Jonathan Crowther, who announced his arrival with a decisive finish into the roof of the net.
Driver set up James Greenwood to lob Amateurs’ sixth and Warley’s embarrassment was growing when Crowther beat three defenders before slotting his second and Driver completed his hat-trick.
Substitute Martin Boom pulled a goal back with six minutes left and Mark Kelsey lashed home a second for Matthew Chapman’s side three minutes later.
Hickinbottom had punched away and blocked several Amateurs efforts but he was beaten for a final time in the closing seconds when substitute Curtis Cochrane rolled the ball past the prone keeper
AMATEURS: J Bailes, J Encell, P Speake, M Eastwood, M Oldfield, N Hudson, L Thrush, J Driver, M Hall, J Greenwood, S Barnes. Subs: J Crowther, C Cochrane, A Oldfield, D Hallitt, S Halstead.
WARLEY: M Hickinbottom, J Lamb, A Goldthorpe, A Squire, A James, B Gilling, D Kirman, A Campbell, C Balmer, M Kelsey, C Bell. Subs: M Boon, J Prestage, R Brady, M Norcliffe, V Boon.
Referee: P Crouch.