Battle for Premier survival is heating up

In the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL, only eight points separate the Premier Division’s bottom side Shelf United and fifth placed Elland United.

The race to reach safety looks likely to go to the wire with none of the bottom seven looking secure.

Shelf, who won for the first time this season two weeks ago, host the side they beat that day, Copley United.

Shelf have been boosted by the return of Billy Grogan after a spell at Ryburn United and have an emerging talent in young Elliott Parkinson.

Danny Thornton is the heartbeat of the side and whilst he is playing his part Shelf will always believe they can escape the drop.

Copley know a win would be a massive boost to their survival hopes.

Warley Rangers registered their first win in five outings when they beat Greetland last week. They will hope to follow up when they host Holmfield.

Sowerby United were beaten last week and now face a relegation fight. They take on third-placed Ryburn United, whose defeat by Stump Cross last week was their first in seven outings.

Stump went second with that win and will be looking to cut Midgley’s lead to six points when they host Greetland.

With Red Star on Halifax FA Cup duty, Sowerby Bridge can move within one point in the first division. Mick Ellis’s men should beat Halifax Irish Centre.

Promotion outsiders Elland Allstars have a tricky game at Northowram and must win to stay in the hunt.

Denholme United could also be involved in the race for a promotion place. They visit Mixenden United who have lost their last seven games.

Next to bottom Ryburn United Reserves picked up an excellent point at Sowerby Bridge last week and will be in a confident mood for the game with Volunteer Arms.

Wadsworth United lost for the first time in seven outings last week but could get back to winning ways when they host Stainland United.

Sowerby Bridge Reserves are blazing the trail at the top of the second division with an eight point lead over Warley Rangers Reserves. A trip to Elland United Reserves could yield three more points.

Warley Rangers Reserves travel to Midgley United Reserves and face a tough test.

Shelf United Reserves lost last weekend but a win away to Greetland Reserves would keep their promotion hopes very much alive.

AFC Crossleys face a Sowerby United Reserves side that has won its last two games while trailing Halifax Irish Centre Reserves will hope to make home advantage tell against Halifax Athletic.

In Division Three, Denholme United Reserves can keep their title hopes alive with a win over Salem Reserves.

Three rescheduled Albert Crabtree Halifax FA Saturday Cup matches take place tomorrow. Huddersfield Amateurs are already through.

Holders Ovenden WR will start favourites against Hebden Royd Red Star; the Brighouse OB versus Midgley United contest should be close; and Calder’ 76 will be expected to end Spring Hall Celtic’ giantkilling run.

Elland United Reserves played an unregistered player in the 4-4 draw against Warley Rangers Reserves in Division Two on February 2. The points have been awarded to Warley.

Denholme Reserves have gained the points after Elland Allstars Reserves were unable to raise a team in Division Three on the same day.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves have been awarded the points from their game with Elland United Reserves on February 9. Elland did not fulfil the fixture due to a West Riding ban for an unpaid fine which has now been settled.