Bowling Green beat Waiters Arms 3-2 in the big match in the Ziggy’s Metro Cars Halifax Sunday League, Chris Dennison’s superb late free-kick settling matters.
The contest between the second and third-placed teams in the Premier Division was as close as expected, Green shading it to stamp themselves as Carrington’s main rivals for honours.
The festive excesses appeared to have left their mark as both teams started slowly at Trinity Academy.
Waiters’ midfield pair of Lee Wood and Billy Grogan were well matched against Joe Swallow and Ollie Smith.
Green were first to test stand-in home ‘keeper Ashton Richardson when Gary Ash’s shot was well saved. At the other end Kev Talbot should have done better when put through by Grogan.
Both teams had a succession of corners which were defended well by the imposing defensive figures of Gordon Brierley and James Waggett of Waiters and Adam Sharp and Matty Parker of Green.
Things stayed tight until the break but changed a minute after the restart when Waiters’ mercurial winger Marco Romano attempted a cross which evaded everyone and sailed over Green ‘keeper Craig Lobley’s head and into the net.
Green were soon level when Swallow’s mishit was diverted into his own net by the hapless Dean Park.
Green then took an undeserved lead when Sam Taylor prodded home after a scramble despite looking yards offside.
Waiters changed things around and pinned Green back with Dave Chappell twice hitting the post before Carl Maguire missed an empty net and Grogan fired over from two yards out.
They got their deserved equaliser when Maguire’s corner was headed emphatically home by Reece Uttley, who was scoring his first goal for the club.
Uttley missed a glorious chance to put Waiters ahead and the game was decided by a moment of magic from full back Dennison with three minutes left. He curled home a beauty of a free kick from 25 yards into the top corner.
Waiters manager Adam Fenton wasn’t too downbeat: “Although I’m disappointed with the result the performance was very good and hopefully we can push on in the cup competitions now.
“Some of the lads must have got an alarm clock for Christmas because we had a full squad.”
Ryburn United picked up only their fifth Premier Division point of the season in a 3-3 draw away to Mount Tabor.
Feathers are 13 points clear in Division One after making short work of Ryburn Valley.
The visitors had a better than even record but were put to the sword, losing 10-0.
Beehive & Crosskeys climbed back into second place with a 4-1 win away to Hens Face in the middle section’s other game.
The bottom two met in the only game in Division Two and Ovenden Phoenix won by the odd goal in seven to leave North Bridge FC Reserves isolated at the bottom.