Bridge get off the mark at last

Elland v Volunteer Arms.Pete Noble and Luke Aldridge
Elland v Volunteer Arms.Pete Noble and Luke Aldridge

Sowerby Bridge belatedly got off the mark following their promotion to the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL’s Premier Division with a 4-3 home win over King Cross Warley on Saturday.

The bottom club’s victory at the 11th attempt came in one of only three top flight games to go ahead on a wet, grey day.

Dave Culpan and Adam Barlow were in charge in the absence of boss Mick Ellis and Bridge flew out of the traps, Barlow’s perfect through ball reaching Matthew Whitworth, who finished in style.

Bridge were rampant. Lee Wood’s brave header doubled their advantage and Whitworth’s sublime cross was bullet-headed home by Oliver Coates.

Bridge were dominating with Rick Taylor, Coates and Barlow bossing the midfield but the level of their performance dropped and Warley got right back in it with two well worked goals.

A minute before the interval Bridge were awarded a penalty but Whitworth insisted he had clipped himself and the referee reversed his decision.

Bridge rallied in the second half and Chris Doyle’s spectacular chip put them two goals clear.

Warley weathered the storm and came back into it after Danny Jennings’ mistake with 15 minutes remaining.

Warley sensed an equaliser but Jennings pulled off two top drawer saves and Bridge defended heroically.

Midgley United and Stump Cross won the other two top section contests to move up to second and third respectively behind Greetland.

Midgley are building up a head of steam after a poor spell and had no problems winning 5-0 away to Holmfield.

Ian Hudson gave them an early boost, tapping in from close range following Jason Cartlidge’s flick, and the former Ovenden WR man also hit the bar as Midgley bossed the opening 20 minutes.

The hosts then had a better spell, with Mick Palethorpe and Jamie Keegan catching the eye, but Midgley got back on top and Tom Booth added a second before half time from Andrew Wilkinson’s through ball.

Rob Stansfield made it 3-0 from a Booth cross after the break, to deal Holmfield’s comeback hopes a fatal blow, and Calum Rodgers extended the lead midway through the half after a run down the left.

Midgley completed the rout with a quality goal. Jamie Coward set up James Adey, who went through one-on-one with the keeper and finished really well.

Stump Cross beat Sowerby United 3-2 at Shroggs Park. They did most of the pressing but it was three Sowerby defensive howlers that gifted then victory.

Damian Watkins took advantage when Sowerby failed to make a simple clearance in their own box, but a minute later the visitors were level when Lee Barber caused confusion between the home ‘keeper and a defender before he cleverly slid the ball home.

Stump regained the lead just before the break when a mis-kick from a Sowerby man gifted Tom Hiley a goal.

A penalty from Watkins following a clumsy challenge made it 3-1 but Stump had to withstand a spirited Sowerby comeback in which Joe Swallow scored.

Andrew Wadsworth hit a post with a thundering shot from 25 yards for Sowerby but Stump hung on.

Elland Allstars shot up three places to second in Division One after they beat Volunteer Arms 5-3 in a thriller at Savile Park.

They made six changes to the side that had ended Denholme United’s unbeaten run.

The game got off to a slow start but Elland scored first after a one-two around the Volunteers defence between Connor Bell and Ash Smith had left Smith with the simple task of beating the keeper from close range.

Volunteers drew level through Jason Varley after calls for offside were ignored, then Greg Thomas put the hosts 2-1 up when his shot deflecting off Elland fullback Chris Turner and past keeper Josh Bailes.

This seemed to wake Elland up, and after some good football Tom Chappell equalised from 30 yards just before half time.

Elland took the lead for a second time through Sam Hemmingway, who then fizzed in a pass for Smith to control with one touch and lob the keeper to make it 4-2 to the visitors.

Much of the second half was played in the Volunteers half and Elland centre backs Foster and Malik neutralising the threat from strikers Whitehead and Thomas.

Volunteers did pull one back from a set piece via Aldridge’s glancing header but a brilliant solo goal by Conner Bell, who beat three men before finishing from a tight angle, ensured Allstars took the spoils.

Runaway leaders Northowram lost their way against a 10-man Wadsworth United side and after building a 3-1 interval lead were relieved to hold out for a 3-2 success.

The Rams had the better of the opening half hour with Danny King showing some neat touches in midfield and they went ahead after six minutes with a superb individual goal from Chris Conroy.

James Fearnley and Jake Baker combined before the Rams’ leading scorer, just inside his own half, turned and left his marker standing, raced clear and lofted the ball over the ‘keeper from a tricky angle.

Wadsworth missed with free header inside the six-yard box shortly after.

Conroy set up the second goal after 20 minutes when he gained space 40 yards out with a neat dummy. With defenders trailing in his wake, his fierce drive proved too hot for the ‘keeper to hold and Chris Dunne knocked in the rebound. When James Waggett smashed home his eighth penalty of the season after Dunne had been brought down, the visitors were sitting pretty but Wadsworth asserted themselves in the final 15 minutes of the half.

The home side had an effort against the bar and Ross Risdon headed off the line before, from a corner a minute from the break, Nathan Sim bundled the ball home.

Wadsworth had a player sent off three minutes after the restart for a senseless kick on Archie Griffiths but they took the game to opponents who had lost playmakers Waggett and King to injuries either side of half-time,

Wadsworth were quicker to the ball and looked the more determined. Risdon should have calmed the nerves but he missed the simplest of chances and Wadsworth persistence paid off after 70 minutes when Adam Brown fired in a left foot volley from the edge of the area.

Horrible mis-kicks from Griffiths and Dunne might have let Wadsworth in Rams could have extended their lead late on when Eade hit the inside and Danny Rushworth uncharacteristically put his free header over the top from close range.

Sowerby Bridge’s reserves completed a good day for their club with a 2-1 win away to Halifax Irish Centre. Dominic Wilson and Dean Fulton got their goals for a side showing improved form with Adam Fenton helping out behind the scenes.

AFC Crossleys and Mixenden United boosted their promotion hopes by winning the two games to go ahead in Division Two.

Crossleys were locked at 2-2 at half time with Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves but hit four goals without reply in the second half.

Dave Mlodecki and Chris Woodhouse were on target for the hosts in an even first period at muddy Mason Green with Jake Grannon and Aiden Clegg keeping Red Star firmly in the hunt.

Crossleys upped their game after the break and Andy mellard and Craig Gladwin took them clear but Kev Crossley tipped a Star effort over the bar.

Scott Cartman made it 5-2 after the ‘keeper had been unable to hold Gladwin’s shot and Luke Horsfall completed the scoring with a bullet header.

Mixenden led through a Travis Allinson cross shot at half time away to Sowerby United Reserves.

The home side drew level with a terrific shot from Jordan Trowell but Mixenden laid seige to the home goal and missed four one-on-ones with the in-form home keeper.

However, Martin Woodhouse combined with Danny Johnson before rifling home the winner with 10 minutes left.

Mixenden still needed one great save from Anthony Fenwick to clinch their 2-1 victory.

Savile Arms and leaders Brighouse Sports were in free-scoring form at home in Division Three.

Savile moved above West Central into third place with a 6-2 battering of Salem Reserves while Brighouse extended their unbeaten league run to 10 games this season with a 5-1 eclipse of St Columbas.

Spring Hall Celtic have been left to fly the flag for the Halifax AFL in the county competitions.

They were handsome 6-0 home winners over Bramley Athletic Reserves in the West Riding Challenge Trophy with the help of four goals from Terriq Pervez.

Greetland Reserves exited the same competition when they lost 6-3 at home to Mount St Mary’s from the West Yorkshire League while Shelf United bowed out of the Challenge Cup by 3-1 at home to Goole United.

Shelf were far from disgraced, going down to two goals in the last 10 minutes against highly-rated foes after a battle on a heavy pitch.

The visiting keeper saved well after Joe Griffin had gone through one-on-one in the early stages but Goole pressed down the slope and Shelf were grateful to keeper Daniel Gill for some good stops.

Just when it appeared Shelf would go in at 0-0, Goole took the lead.

Much of the play was in midfield in the second half but Shelf got on terms after 70 minutes when Mark Hindle’s shot from the edge of the area went under the ‘keeper.

Lee Williams was strong in the middle of the back four for Shelf, who were undone late on with Goole’s second goal seemingly missing an offside.