Bamford settles top of table contest

Any thoughts that Stump Cross would run away with the title in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL were surely dispelled on Saturday.

Stump were on course to make it seven straight wins when they led 3-2 at second-placed Midgley United entering the closing stages.

However, Jason Cartlidge made it 3-3 and George Bamford showed his quality with a fine winner for United seven minutes from time.

It was a superb success for Midgley in their first season back in the Premier and they are now only one point behind Stump with a game in hand.

Midgley boss Craig Gee said: “It was a very big win. It was a cracking game for the neutral but nerve wracking for anyone involved.”

After an even first 15 minutes Midgley started to get on top, good work from Calum Rogers and James Adey paving the way for Tom Booth to break down the right, cut inside a defender and open the scoring.

Matthew Hoyle, Stump’s best player, equalised following a free kick from the left to make it 1-1 at the break.

Midgley had looked the stronger team but Stump had the upper hand in the early stages of the second half and took the lead from a set piece, Hoyle flicking on and Ben Hiley heading in at the back post.

Rogers headed Midgley level on 65 minutes but Stump pressed and although Steve Butterworth made a couple of fine saves he was beaten for a third time, the luckless Joe Gibson heading into his own goal.

Cartlidge made it 3-3 from Booth’s assist before Bamford came up trumps from a long pass, muscling his way through the Stump defence and hitting a cracking shot into the top corner.The only other unbeaten team in the top flight are Warley, who still find themselves next to bottom after a fourth successive draw.

The latest came at Holmfield, where Warley fought back repeatedly for a 3-3 scoreline.

David Heslop got the only goal of the first half for Holmfield with a left footed shot from outside the box after 20 minutes.

Warley, who brought on Richard Langley when their first choice keeper pulled a muscle, drew level after half time but when Jamie Keegan was bundled over Heslop restored the lead from the penalty spot.

Holmfield made it 2-2, cashing in after a poor defensive header, but Mick Palethorpe’s 20-yard free-kick around the wall, which left Langley rooted to the spot, looked as if it might have won it for Holmfield with 10 minutes left.

However, the never-say-day visitors grabbed a point three minutes from time when the unmarked Paul Kendall headed home at the back post.

Things are definitely looking up for slow starters Copley United, who stretched their unbeaten run to three games with a last kick of the game winner against Sowerby United, coming through 3-2 at home.

Copley made a bright start and took the lead after 15 minutes when Nathan Makie latched on to a corner and headed the ball against the keeper, James Murphy following up to nod the ball in.

This spurred Sowerby who were soon level when Corey Henderson rose between the home keeper and a defender to score with a brave header.

Henderson netted again for Sowerby with a stunning shot to put his side ahead.

Copley pressed hard in the final 20 minutes with the long throws of Jack Teasdale their big weapon. Speedy winger Lee Worrall made it 2-2 after being brought down in the box and Gary Devlin got a last-gasp winner from another Teasdale long throw.

Division One leaders Hebden Royd Red Star got back to winning ways but made hard work of a 4-3 home victory over bottom side Ryburn United Reserves.

They were pegged back in their own half for the opening quarter and had numerous scares before Ryan Thomas broke away down the left and clipped the ball to the back post where Eddy Harvey nodded home from eight yards out.

That settled Star’s nerves and Harvey doubled the lead shortly afterwards from Daniel Lumb’s perfect through ball.

Ryburn pulled a goal back just before half time but James Chadwick slid the ball through for right back Harry West, who curled a left footed finish beyond the ‘keeper from the edge of the area.

The visitors started the second period the stronger and a loose ball was brilliantly volleyed into the top corner.

The rest of the half was a scrappy affair, Harvey completing his hat-trick from Simon Leah’s low ball across the six yard box before a Ryburn forward nipped in to poke the ball home.

Sowerby Bridge stay one point behind Star after a 6-2 home win over Salem, running away with the contest in the last half hour.

Salem took the lead against the run of play when Nick Green flicked the ball on for Liam Huson to beat Bridge’s new keeper Danny Jennings.

Bridge scored a fortunate equaliser when Jimmy Sweeney’s cross was deflected into the top corner and Martyn Bates fed Lee Wood, who knocked the ball under the keeper to gave the home side a 2-1 interval lead.

Jennings was having little to do and Bridge powered 5-1 up with man of the match Adam Barlow and Danny Baxter controlling things. Richard Hirst beat two men and put the ball in the corner of the net; Danny Cook headed in from Jimmy Sweeney’s long throw; and fullback Lee Albon scored the goal of the game when he broke from half-way and rifled home from the edge of the box.

Nick Green made it 5-2 but Hirst had the final say with a tap in after Barlow had beaten two men.

Northowram’s best display of the season earned a 6-2 win over Halifax Irish Centre. Playing up the slope, they took the game to Irish and although Chris Conroy’s sidefoot volley was a whisker too high, Olly Spencer took advantage of a miskick and lashed home.

Forty minutes had elapsed by the time James Bunn made his only save and Northowram were already three up after a well-taken effort from Adam Ingham and Chris Conroy’s finish to a measured cross from James Fearnley.

It looked like being a long afternoon for the visitors when Danny Rushworth raced on to Brett Abson’s long pass, rounded the keeper and slotted in number four after 50 minutes.

However, the Rams had a flat spell during which a Matthew Rushworth handball gave Matthew Gee the chance to score Irish’s opener from the spot.

The home skipper made amends four minutes later when he met James Waggett’s corner and headed home.

Irish stuck to their task and made it 5-2 when Chris Norburn finished off a slick bout of passing but seven minutes from time, the Waggett/Matthew Rushworth combination struck again with a carbon copy of the fifth goal.

Stainland United maintained their progress with a 2-1 win at Mixenden United and Wadsworth United won on the road by 3-2 against Volunteer Arms.

Denholme United bounced back from a poor display against Volunteer with a 3-1 home win over Elland Allstars.

They hit the woodwork three times in the first five minutes and went in at half-time 1-0 up thanks to a Michael Midgley goal after 29 minutes.

Niall Callaghan equalised midway through the second half but substitutes Neil Roberts and Danny Moralee scored in the last 20 minutes for the home side.

Halifax Athletic won the basement battle in Division Two away to Sowerby United Reserves, a strong second half display earning them a 4-2 success.

Athletic started brightly and took a deserved lead when James Batley lobbed the Sowerby keeper from a difficult angle after racing on to a through ball.

However, Sowerby drew level through Joe Gregory’s free header to make it 1-1 at half time.

Richard Pearson put Athletic back in front but a George Turner penalty made it 2-2.

Halifax took the lead for the third time when Pearson raced clear of the Sowerby defence to stroke a neat finish passed the outcoming keeper.

The points were finally secured when Pearson grabbed his hat-trick goal with a cross-come-shot into the top corner.

Brighouse Sports were 5-0 winners away to Salem Reserves in Division Three, completing a double after scoring seven in the first meeting on the opening day of the season.

Salem were decimated with injuries but the game was goalless until approaching half time, the home side missing a golden chance when Dave Holcroft put CJ Waddington through but his weak effort was straight at keeper Mark Wilcock.

Brighouse then struck twice in quick succession. The pace of Chris Allen was too much for Salem’s defence and he found Shane Roberts, who made it 1-0. Allen then scored himself.

Salem became increasingly sloppy in the second half. Allen popped up in the box to force home his second and Brighouse centre back Mick Balmforth lashed a penalty well over the bar after Kev Crossley’s clumsy challenge.

Allen robbed Jimmy Tighe and completed his hat-trick goal before bagging his team’s fifth soon after but Salem kept out the visitors in the last 30 minutes with the help of last ditch tackles from Paul Crabtree and home man of the match Kallum Burnside.

Ryburn United beat Shelf United 7-1 in an all-Halifax AFL West Riding Challenge Cup match to earn a home date with Brighouse Old Boys in the first round on December 1.

However, it was far from plain sailing against a Shelf side who scored the only goal of the first half and used three goalkeepers during the course of the contest.

Matthew Lloyd suffered a cut head in the first half and his replacement in goal was dismissed for bringing down Christian Silkstone.

Ryburn, having missed numerous chance, levelled via Silkstone from a Nathan Hargreaves cross on 55 minutes and then ran away with it thanks to Silkstone again, Rob Gerrard (two), an Andrew Cross diving header and a Gary Hodgson penalty.