Fans to blame for abandonment, claim Mixenden

There is likely to be an investigation by the West Riding County FA into events surrounding the abandonment of the Wadsworth versus Mixenden contest in Division One of the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL on Saturday.

Play was halted after 72 minutes at Calder Holmes with the home side leading 3-2.

Nobody from the Wadsworth club could be contacted today but Mixenden official Dave Lake was blaming a pitch invasion by home fans for the abandonment.

He said a flare-up between two rival players near the touchline had led to spectators coming on to the pitch and “all hell breaking loose.”

“All our lads did was defend themselves,” said Lake, who claimed bottles had been thrown.

It is believed that police and ambulance attended but nobody required hospital treatment.

Halifax AFL fixture secretary David Rattigan said the league would get a report from the referee and the matter was likely to be referred to the county body.

Earlier, Wadsworth had scored twice in the first seven minutes. Chris Woodhouse’s double made it 2-2 but Wadsworth had regained the lead before play was halted.

Hebden Royd Red Star survived a second half onslaught from Northowram, coming away from White Lee with an invaluable 2-1 success in their title quest.

Goals from Ryan Thomas and Tom Garland secured victory but the leaders were made to work incredibly hard for the result which maintains their one point advantage at the top of Division One.

Red Star had much the better of the first half. Chris Garbutt, James Chadwick and Danny Lumb might have scored with headers but after half an hour Lumb flicked on a long clearance from goalkeeper Glynn Claxton and Thomas rounded the

Rams ‘keeper before slotting home.

Star were lucky to go into the break in front as a Northowram attacker was blocked off by Harry West inside the area, but the referee awarded only a goal kick.

As has been the case so often this season, Star struggled to get going again in the second half and the Rams dominated possession, Claxton coming off his line on a number of occasions to catch or punch dangerous crosses.

The ball was cleared off the line at both ends before Thomas got a faint flick onto a Jamie Eaton free kick, which rebounded off the ‘keeper to the feet of Tom Garland, who tucked the ball away from 10 yards.

Northowram set up a tense finale when Chris Dunne’s sweet strike from the edge of the area crashed in off the underside of the bar with two minutes remaining, but the hosts stood up to a late barrage of corners and long throws.

Red Star’s title rivals Sowerby Bridge also won 2-1 but left it late away to Halifax Irish, Raijko Jovanovic grabbing a winner four minutes into added time.

The visitors had a frustrating first 70 minutes, Jovanovic and Martin Bates having goals ruled out before Irish, growing in confidence, took the lead when Craig Eastwood scored from a cross to the far post.

Richard Hirst hit a post in the second half before Bridge finally opened their account in the 70th minute, Dean Park outpacing the defence and crossing for Bates to finish.

Irish defended solidly and missed a good chance on 80 minutes before Jovanovic settled in after Bridge had forced a string of corners.

Elland Allstars were 4-1 home winners against Denholme United, who are in danger of fading after a good first half to the season.

Allstars took the lead inside two minutes. Michael Midgley equalised with an overhead kick five minutes before half time but a defender accidentally stood on him and he had to go off with a split nose which required stitches.

Elland dominated after the break and added three more goals.

Paul Friend scored a hat-trick as Stainland United blitzed visitors Volunteer Arms 7-2 while Craig Skinner hit the target twice for Salem in their 5-2 win away to relegation-threatened Ryburn United Reserves.

Midgley United’s 11-game winning run in the Premier Division was ended by visitors Elland United, who deserved their 2-2 draw.

Champions Elland are unpredictable this season but they had knocked Midgley out of the Challenge Cup and stormed into a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes of Saturday’s contest.

Midgley, already below strength before Jason Cartlidge ricked his back getting his bag out of the car boot, fell behind to a fine goal.

Elland took play from one end to the other and Vaughan Boon finished well after a nice ball to the edge of the box.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Jake Bradbury doubled the lead at the back post.

Midgley got one back when Elland’s defence allowed the ball to bounce, Tom Booth’s persistence enabling him to score.

The hosts had most of the possession after the break but a final ball was lacking and they needed an Andrew Butterworth penalty following a foul on 65 minutes to drew level.

Midgley went looking for a winner but it was Elland who finished the stronger.

Midgley remain seven points clear of Stump Cross, who were 5-3 winners at home to Copley United and have a game in hand on the leaders.

Copley have the leakiest defence in the top flight and they defended modestly again, Chris Gent, Dan Crosland, Matt Calland, Ash Ackroyd and Damian Watkins taking advantage.

Will Shaw (two) and Lee Worrall replied for the visitors.

The good news for Copley was that the other three teams in the bottom four were all beaten at home.

Shelf’s winning run was brought to an end by third-placed Ryburn United, who came out on top by 2-1.

Ryburn have a big squad but were down to the bare 22 players for their two teams on Saturday and that included ‘flu hit first team boss Craig Walker, who had to play in goal.

Fortunately for him it wasn’t too taxing an afternoon as his defenders Oliver Brearley, Joe Akroyd, Gary Hodgson and Nat Powell stepped up to the mark.

Ryburn took the lead down the Shelf Park slope when Craig Peckover won the ball in the middle of the park and Hodgson sent a ball in from the right which was met by the head of Christian Silkstone.

Shelf equalised before half time with a penalty from ex-Ryburn player Billy Grogan, who was ruled to have been fouled, although Ryburn thought Brearley had got the ball.

The winner came after 70 minutes. Ash Raynor’s long throw into the box was met by a glancing header from Joe Ackroyd and the ball went into the top corner.

Calder ‘76 went down to the only goal of the game at home to Warley Rangers, scored by Matthew Bodkin.

The home side had plenty of possession but unusually lacked creativity, although Simon Jones and Irfan Afzal had efforts ruled out for offside.

Third choice ‘keeper Ken Bills made one good save with his legs but was beaten 10 minutes from time when Warley broke with acres of space down the left and Bodkin’s scuffed shot trickled into the far corner of the net.

Holmfield are fourth from bottom after losing 4-1 at home to Greetland.

There was not much between the sides in a scrappy opening 25 minutes with the best chance falling to Greetland’s Jonny Crowther, whose shot from the edge of the area was cleared off the line.

However, Greetland took control with two goals in two minutes. A great cross from Nathan Wallace was expertly finished via a diving header by Mark Heppenstall, when then combined well with Dorward for Adam Oldfield to pounce from six yards.

Holmfield started the second half better. A Dave Heslop penalty made it 1-2 and the home side would have equalised but for a finger tip save from Craig Taylor.

Greetland’s back four then started to snuff out any Holmfield threat and visit boss Mark Leonard’s gamble of making three attacking substitutions paid off.

Hepponstall missed a penalty but when he was brought down, Andy Hurcombe made the game safe from the spot.

Holmfield were reduced to nine men after the two key incidents and a quick Greetland break caught them out, Tom Wall completing the scoring.

Sowerby Bridge Reserves stretched into a six-point lead at the top of Division Two when they hit back to beat Midgley United Reserves 4-3 and Warley Rangers Reserves and Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves drew 2-2 in the battle of the second and third-placed teams.

Martin Rigby gave Bridge the lead but they were 2-1 down at half time and trailed 3-2 with five minutes to go.

Cameron Tait made it 3-3 and Rigby scored a winner in added time.

The other two games in the section resulted in narrow home wins for AFC Crossleys Reserves (5-4 against Shelf United Reserves) and Halifax Athletic (4-3 against Halifax Irish Centre Reserves).

Salem Reserves were no match for a slick, mobile Spring Hall Celtic team whose average age was less than half of theirs, losing 5-0 in Division Three.

Manager Matty Stones’s problems were compounded when his linchpin in defence, Richard Boyle, declared himself unavailable for the rest of the season due to injury and young goalkeeper Charlie Holdsworth was called up for first team duty. Simon Herbert was also missing due to work commitments.

It didn’t take Celtic long to go in front when veteran keeper Eric Brown somehow put into his own goal from a speculative punt from halfway by Shabaz Ali Ichan.

For the rest of the first half Salem were chasing shadows and further goals from Yasar Muhammed and Terriq Pervez gave Celtic a 3-0 interval lead.

In the second half Salem knuckled down and were unlucky not to score when Mehmet Trapper hit a post.

After that Salem tired as Celtic’s speed of passing took its toll. Perez completed his hat-trick and Brown put into his own goal for the second time, Wayne Cotton refereeing well.

Leaders Calder ‘76 Reserves were without a game and Savile Arms did them a favour by beating second-placed Shelf FC 3-0.

Denholme United Reserves dropped a couple of points in their promotion quest when held 1-1 at home by West Central.