Greetland go top - but are made to fight for victory

Huddersfield Amateurs v Ovenden West Riding  Chris Binks and Robbie Graham.
Huddersfield Amateurs v Ovenden West Riding Chris Binks and Robbie Graham.

Greetland AFC moved into pole position in the Halifax AFL Premier Division - although they were made to battle all the way by a well organised Sowerby Bridge side in a 4-1 win.

Bridge started the brighter and right from the first whistle they had Greetland on the back foot, Craig Taylor having to be at his best to prevent the Sowerby attack from scoring with a string of saves.

He was finally beaten when a looping shot deflected over him to give the home side a richly-deserved lead.

A tactical change from Greetland manager Mark Leonard saw Dave Walker move into midfield and this began to pay dividends as he and skipper Matt Oldfield started to win more possession. The two combined to present Scott McHale with a good chance which was well saved by the Sowerby ‘keeper.

With half time approaching it needed something special to get Greetland back into the match and Dave Woffenden provided it, picking the ball up on the halfway line and smashing an unstoppable 30 yard shot past the stranded Sowerby Bridge ‘keeper to bring the scores level.

A few stern words at half time followed for the visitors and this seemed to do the trick as Greetland started the second half the stronger.

With both teams battling for possession on a heavy pitch, Greetland produced another thunderbolt to take the lead, Dave Walker picking the ball up from 35 yards out and hitting home another fine shot.

With Sowerby Bridge continuing to carry an attacking threat Greetland made three key substitutions with Asa Lumb, Tom Wall and Danny Dorward all coming on.

These three combined to give Greetland more of an edge and the third goal wasn’t long in coming after Lumb’s shot had been saved for a corner. The resulting set play saw Carl Ainley find Scott McHale’s head to make it 3-1.

Danny Dorward almost made it four with a shot against the bar, but then had to settle for a tap in five minutes from the end to complete the scoring.

Division One leaders Northowram turned in one of their worst performances of the season yet were still able to chisel out a 2-1 success over a spirited Sowerby Bridge Reserves side.

A fine individual goal after two minutes followed by a deft turn and left foot finish, both from leading scorer Chris Conroy, gave the Rams the perfect start on which they failed to build.

They were let down by poor passing and an inability to create any clear cut chances. The Rams were then caught napping following a quick throw-in and only an excellent block from James Bunn prevented a goal.

Things hardly improved in the second half. Sowerby Bridge, playing down the slope, saw a free kick fly inches over the top while Conroy, Jake Baker, twice, and Ross Risdon all squandered reasonable chances for the home side.

Again, both ‘keepers were underworked but just when it looked as though the match was drifting aimlessly to its conclusion, Bridge scored a goal their persistence deserved, the ball looping in at the far post off Andy Pearson’s back.

Denholme United went joint second with Salem following a 3-0 home success over Ryburn United Reserves while bottom club Greetland Reserves narrowly lost out 4-3 to fourth-placed Volunteer Arms.

Wadsworth were unable to follow up the previous week’s success as they went down 1-0 at home to Stainland United.

The leading pair in Division Two, AFC Crossleys and Mixenden United, had to settle for a share of the spoils following a 2-2 draw.

Mixenden would have been the happier side after coming back from 2-0 down.

A tight, keenly-contested game saw Crossleys take the lead then add a second following a contentious decision from the referee.

He initially gave Mixenden a throw but then reversed his decision and Crossleys broke quickly to add their second.

Mixenden changed things around and pulled a goal back when Martin Woodhouse got to the byline and sent a low cross into the danger area for Travis Allinson to convert.

The visitors continued to press and gained their reward five minutes from time when Mark McMahon toe-poked home from close range.

Spring Hall Celtic consolidated third place with a 6-3 success over Halifax Irish Centre Reserves.

The derby clash between Calder 76 and Hebden Royd Red Stars’ second strings ended in a 1-1 stalemate while Midgley United’s reserve side suffered a 3-1 home defeat by Shelf United Reserves.

Brighouse Sports continue to set the pace at the top of Division Three, although they would have been expected to beat bottom side Salem Reserves by more than 2-1.

Elsewhere, Elland Allstars Reserves went level on points with Savile Arms in second after seeing off their rivals by 4-1.

Hebden Royd Red Star made light of a two week lay-off as they booked a Halifax FA Albert Crabtree Cup third round date at Frog AFC following their shock 3-2 success over Ealandians

Star were firm underdogs against a side boasting a number of big name players and who had lost just once this season.

The AFL side started well with James Chadwick and Ben Norman getting on the ball at every opportunity. However, their hard work was almost undone when Ben Charlesworth turned his man and shot narrowly over leaving Glyn Claxton rooted to the spot.

Star’s efforts were finally rewarded midway through the half when a long Matthew Town throw into the box was headed home by Lewis Cockroft. Star had the bit between their teeth and a long crossfield pass from Joe Western released Eddy Harvey who shot narrowly wide.

Charlesworth carried the biggest threat and after being left one on one he wriggled away from his man to fire narrowly wide.

Star were soon on the attack again and neat play from Lewis Cockroft and Ben Norman allowed Chris Garbutt to smash home from the edge of the area.

With half-time looming Charlesworth released Wayne Crossley through the heart of Stars defence but Daniel Lumb slid into to save the day as the striker was about to pull the trigger.

The second half was a different story as Ealandians took the game to Star. The defence were tested to the full with Claxton producing his best display of the season.

The visitors changed formation, putting three strikers on, and soon this paid dividends as Star were caught out by the pace of Charlesworth who made no mistake with a low finish past the advancing ‘keeper.

Charlesworth then saw a curling shot superbly tipped away by Claxton and just when it looked like the visitors were going to equalise Star were awarded a penalty but Eddy Harvey put the ball high and wide.

Claxton was on hand again to deny a Ealandians attacker from close range before the hard working Chris Garbutt arrived at the back post to volley home his second of the game.

Star looked home and dry but Ealandians had other ideas and with minutes remaining Star finally conceded to set up a nervous finish.

Ealandians forced a number of corners in a frantic finale but Star stood firm.

Stump Cross gave a good account of themselves before bowing out 1-0 at the hands of holders Brighouse Old Boys.

Chances were few and far between in the first half with both ‘keepers rarely threatened, the defensive line of fullbacks Joe Nalson and Luke Johnson plus centrebacks Andy Hall and Ian Brock stopping Stump Cross in their tracks.

It was a similar story in the second half until Brighouse’s superior fitness began to tell.

Luke Johnson saw a goal chalked off for offside before Old Boys made their pressure count 10 minutes from the end when Pearson pounced on the ball and put it away from an acute angle,

Mick Palethorpe scored twice as Holmfield saw off Shelf 2-1 while Shelf United hit 10 in their success over West Central.