Halifax AFL: Late goals lift Bridge to top

Ryan Brook was in fine form for Bridge
Ryan Brook was in fine form for Bridge

Sowerby Bridge scored twice in the last five minutes to win 4-2 away to Greetland and replace their hosts at the top of the Premier Division in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL.

The pitch at Goldfields was in good condition considering the recent bad weather and title favourites Bridge went 1-0 up early on thanks to a stunning left foot volley by John Wilkinson.

It was 2-0 when the impressive Sam Hiley released strike partner Damo Watkins. His shot was well saved but the rebound was worked into the path of Adam Barlow, who made no mistake with a left foot strike.

Martyn Bates raced through but was brilliantly denied by the keeper and this seemed to spur Greetland who reduced the arrears on the stroke of half time through Dave Walker.

The second half was even and both sides had chances.

Bridge defended solidly and were led well by captain and man of the match Ryan Brook.

With 10 minutes remaining it looked as if Greetland would share the points when a long ball was brilliantly volleyed home at the back post.

Bridge composed themselves and forced a corner with five minutes remaining, Barlow delivered with his left foot and the ball was finally bundled home by Watkins.

Watkins then raced clear and was brought down by the goalkeeper. Barlow stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.

The result was hard on Greetland but showed the fighting qualities that Bridge possess.

The Calder ‘76 versus Denholme United and Shelf FC versus Sowerby United games were postponed and the Shelf United versus Hebden Royd Red Star contest was abandoned with the visitors 3-1 up, as reported earlier.

St Columbas rounded off their first season in Division One with 4-2 victory over Salem, which saw them finish in third position on goal difference.

Saints needed an unlikely 12 goal victory to leap frog Northowram, who finished their fixtures a few weeks ago and are now runners-up to Illingworth St Mary’s.

It was all Saints in the first half but Salem were committed in defence and worked hard to prevent Saints from achieving the unlikely landslide that they needed.

Kutubo Touray was played through by Frank Odion for the first goal before lobbing the keeper from 25 yards for his second. Ben Caldwell made it 3-0 with the goal of the game, surging through the Salem midfield from inside his own half and smashing home.

The watching representatives from Northowram may have been concerned at half time as Saints were creating plenty of chances, but their fears were eased at the beginning of the second as Salem grabbed two quick goals.

Saints continued to pile forward but a combination of excellent goalkeeping and committed defending restricted them to one further goal as Andy Sandells drilled one into the top corner from a tight angle.

AFC Crossleys clinched the Division Two title with four games left in a 6-3 home win against Greetland Reserves.

There were two goals each for Bailey Naylor and Nick Meade at Holmfield Rec with Tom McGregor and Connor Castel-Atkinson getting the others. Morgan Bagley, Andrew Frost and Kacper Stefanski replied to ensure the table toppers didn’t have things all their own way.

Midgley United Reserves regained second spot with a 2-1 derby win at home to Calder ‘76 Reserves, Joe Lally continuing his scoring run and Andrew Yates getting the home side’s second.

Another of the promotion contenders, Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, got three points the easy way when visitors Stainland United were unable to raise a side.

MARK Kelsey took his tally to 36 goals for the season with four more in Elland United’s 5-0 home win over AFC Crossleys Reserves in Division Three.

Adam Goldthorpe got the other at Carr Green as champions-elect Elland extended their lead to 14 points over Shelf FC Reserves.

Flying Dutchman were also handsome home winners, beating Warley Rangers 4-0 at Savile Park with doubles from David Oakes and leading scorer Matthew Seekins.