Calder maintain title drive

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Halifax AFL title hopefuls Calder ‘76 made it six wins on the bounce since the start of the year with a 5-0 success away to next-to-bottom Copley United at Shroggs Park.

Rob Kenworthy’s side, who have scored 28 goals and conceded only four in 2016, have opened up a nine-point lead over Ryburn United at the top.

Rick Topham had an early goal disallowed for offside but Calder struck after 20 minutes when Paul Ashman, Steve Jones and Jon Gibson combined superbly and Ashman crossed for the other fullback, Gav Fleming, to finish.

That settled the visitors and although they lost Zac Greenwood through injury, a nice solo goal from Steve Jones doubled the lead before half time.

Remi Allen was now dictating in central midfield and he got the ball away to Gibson, who crossed for Rick Topham to score with a superb diving header.

Topham played in Allen, who rounded the ‘keeper and made it 4-0, before Allen was brought down and Topham sent the ‘keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Second-placed Ryburn were on cup duty while a Chris Woodhouse hat-trick helped third-placed Mixenden United get the better of visitors Warley Rangers by 4-3.

Travis Allison got Mixenden’s other goal while Tom Hiley, Dean Lawrence and Danny Kirman netted for the visitors.

Bottom side Holmfield are yet to win in 12 outings but picked up their fourth point in a 2-2 draw away to Midgley United.

Holmfield had only 10 men but went 2-0 up with a couple of goals in quick succession approaching the mid-point of the first half.

Paul Drake struck with a good shot from 18 yards and Jason Pettifor added a good header.

Midgley, who had dominated up to that point, hit back through Jake Shaw from an acute angle.

Andrew Butterworth struck the bar with a penalty and hit the woodwork with a free-kick early in the second half but had better luck with a header from Greg Spink’s cross on the hour.

The last half hour was even with Midgley also down to 10, having used both substitutes before losing Marvin Bonny to injury.

Hebden Royd Red Star were 3-1 home winners against Shelf United.

James Chadwick shot into the bottom corner to give Star the lead but Danny Thornton equalised with a speculative effort from long range which went into the roof of the net past Joe Kidder.

Some good play down the right paved the way for Mark Bradbury to chest the ball down and restore the home side’s lead in the second half.

James Speechley’s good strike on the half-volley with 10 minutes left sealed victory.

Four matches were postponed because of a shortage of referees with the Greetland versus Northowram game in the Premier the most high profile of them.

Salem are the latest side to suffer at the hands of Division One title favourites Illingworth St Mary’s, who beat them 11-1 and are averaging more than seven goals per game.

Gareth Gaukroger scored a hat-trick and there were two each for Scott Hamilton and Brandon Field with Martin Jenkins providing the visitors with a brief celebration.

Brighouse Sports were run much closer than expected by bottom club Halifax Irish Centre, who they beat 3-2.

Sowerby United, their rivals for second place, won by the same score against visitors Elland Allstars thanks to Dan Boyd’s late winner.

Sowerby started strongly and hit the bar twice as well as having a rocket of a volley from James Clegg superbly tipped over by ‘keeper Brandon Sweeney.

Play was dire after that but the game came to life just after the hour mark with the introduction of Corey Henderson, whose direct running caused problems for the Allstars defence.

He went past four defenders before slotting the opener.

Minutes later Allstars struck out of the blue when a long throw caught out Sowerby and Scott Broadbent headed home.

Sowerby hit back within minutes with Henderson once again proving unstoppable.

Matt Hields raced clear to level for Allstars but good play from Andrew Wadsworth picked out Boyd, who slotted home.

Denholme United maintained their excellent away form with a 3-1 success away to Ryburn Reserves while Sowerby Bridge are also rising through the ranks and won 5-2 at home to AFC Crossleys on Saturday.

Shelf FC maintained their title drive in Division Two with a hard fought 2-1 win over fellow top four side Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves.

The young Saints side matched the hosts for long periods but the more experienced Shelf side just had the upper hand.

Shelf take the lead when Gary Bouldy pounced on a loose ball and finished well.

Saints dominated for long spells in the second half with Jamie Randall and Josh Langan battling hard in midfield but couldn’t find a leveller.

Against the run of play Saints keeps Tony Clarke was dispossessed and Sam Henderson finished well.

Moments later substitute Robbie Sinclair broke down the left and crossed for Nathan Field, 16, to drill home at the back post.

This set up a tense finish with Illingworth denied a penalty when Dale Cartwight went down in the box.

Two goals from Daniel Johnson helped Sowerby Bridge win 5-1 away to Crossleys Reserves in the only other match in the section to go ahead.

Calder ‘76 Reserves earned an Invitation Cup semi-final with Ryburn Reserves when they won 4-2 away to Denholme Reserves.

They were 2-0 down at Foster Park but Adam Brown got them back in the hunt with a peach of a goal and the first of Nathan Dempsey’s two made it 2-2.

Teenage fullback Ben Oldfield’s first ever goal for the team gave Calder the lead and Dempsey’s second put daylight between the teams before Denholme missed a late penalty.