Calder ‘76 are on the brink of Halifax AFL title glory, after 40 years of trying.
They beat visitors Warley Rangers 3-1 on Saturday while long-time pursuers Ryburn United went down by the same score at nearby Midgley United.
It means Calder need only one point from their last two games, at Ryburn on Wednesday and Greetland on Saturday, to be certain of topping the Premier.
Calder started promisingly against Warley but fell behind when a free kick into the box took a couple of deflections before finding Reece Bray, who scored from six yards out.
The hosts looked flat and nervous for a while with Dan Kirman dominating the centre of the park for Warley.
However, Calder got a timely equaliser just before the break when Sam Taylor’s long throw was met with a flick header from Jon Gibson.
The home side hit the front early in the second half when Gibson’s first time ball was met on the half volley by Ricky Topham, whose peach of a shot looped over the ‘keeper.
The killer goal came midway through the second half when Sam Taylor drove forward from just inside the Warley half and hit a low left foot shot into the corner of the net.
Ryburn could have no complaints about their defeat to Midgley, who were the better side.
The visitors were without strike ace Christian Silkstone, the Triangle cricket captain, and didn’t ask too many questions of the how side’s stand-in ‘keeper Andrew Smith.
Midgley took the lead after five minutes when Gary Hodgson threaded the ball through to Ryan Jeffreys, who scored with a low strike off the inside of the far post.
The hosts, who defended well throughout a sometimes heated contest well handled by Ian Childs, doubled their lead on the hour when Sam Tattersall picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box and struck it into the top corner.
Ryburn got one back shortly after via Adam Barlow from the penalty spot but Jeffries cut in from the left and fired home the clincher.
Billy Grogan scored twice as Shelf United won their penultimate game 4-2 at Greetland while Hebden Royd Red Star won 7-1 at bottom side Holmfield with a brace from Tom Barclay.
Northowram dominated against Copley United at Shroggs Park but could only manage a 2-2 draw.
Lee Worrall scored twice in the space of five minutes during the first half for the hosts and a goal proved elusive for the visitors, Shaun Popek coming closest when his shot was palmed on to the bar by Phil McDonagh.
Copley might have added to their tally at the start of the second half before Popek tucked home Ash Ackroyd’s pass.
The Rams’ Matt Calland had a penalty saved but with two minutes left Matthew Rushworth climbed highest in the six-yard box and Popek expertly volleyed home the knock down.
Brighouse Sports go to Calder ‘76 Reserves on Monday evening looking to take another step towards clinching promotion to the Premier Division.
They remain favourites to finish runners-up behind Illingworth St Mary’s after a 3-0 win away to bottom side Halifax Irish Centre on Saturday with goals from Chris Allen, Josh Robinson and Connor Durkin.
Third-placed Sowerby United were comfortable 4-2 winners away to Ryburn United Reserves.
They played some outstanding football with man of the match Corey Henderson running riot against the Ryburn defence.
Sowerby’s opener had a touch of good luck to it when a long ball bounced over the advancing ‘keeper, leaving Henderson a tap in.
Sowerby spurned many chances and Ash Shaw drew Ryburn level with a stunning free kick.
However, Harvey Walsh replied within a minute, tucking the ball home in a crowded box.
The unstoppable Henderson added another two to complete his hat-trick before substitute Jake Gibson scored late on for the hosts.
AFC Crossleys finished their season with a flourish, Matthew Clark and Andrew Brunning scoring hat-tricks in a 9-2 win at Elland Allstars.
That may have been a surprise but it was very much business as usual for champs Illingworth who took their goal tally to an incredible 171 in 23 league games with an 11-0 win at Salem.
John Booth bagged another five to take his individual total to 60.
Next-to-bottom Calder ‘76 drew 2-2 away to Sowerby Bridge.
Shelf FC pipped St Columbas for second place in Division Two on goal difference with a 5-1 home win over Sowerby Bridge Reserves.
Ben Ireland was their goal hero, bagging four.
Shelf are also believed to have asked the league to investigate whether Denholme Reserves fielded an unregistered player in two games against them in eight days earlier this month.
Denholme won both matches and if Shelf were awarded the points, Greetland Reserves might need to win their last match on Saturday to be confirmed as champions. That fixtures is away to Denholme Reserves!
A Paul Glew hat-trick was the difference between the sides as Northowram Reserves beat Sowerby United Reserves.
Tonight - Division One: Calder 76 Res v Brighouse Sports AFC, Denholme United v Elland Allstars, Sowerby Bridge v Hx Irish Centre at West Vale, Sowerby United v Ryburn United Res.
Wednesday - Premier Division: Ryburn United v Calder 76. Division One: Hx Irish Centre v Denholme United, Sowerby Bridge v Midgley United Res at Midgley.