Huddersfield Amateur completed the first half of what they hope will be a memorable three-day double with a 4-0 win over Shelf United in last night’s Halifax FA Albert Crabtree Cup final at the Shay.
The Elland side comfortably got the better of the newly-crowned Halifax AFL champions but celebrations were restrained as they quickly refocused ahead of Wednesday’s West Riding Challenge Cup final.
The ‘Amas’ will be underdogs against fellow West Yorkshire League side and runaway champions Carlton Athletic at the county FA’s headquarters in Leeds (7.30), having been very much favourites for the local competition.
They have contested the last four Halifax FA Cup finals and this was their second success, following a win over Warley Rangers and defeats to Ryburn United and Ealandians.
Their superior passing ability and movement came to fore after a scrappy opening. Matthew Parker and Matthew Jones were at the heart of much of their good work and wingers Slater Barnes and James Greenwood saw plenty of the ball.
James Waggott tried desperately to gain a foothold in midfield for Shelf, who were lacking injured key man Luke O’Brien, but Amas earned a series of corners and free-kicks.
Half-chances were missed by Greenwood, Jordan Byrnes, Parker and Jacob Driver with little more than a hopeful, off-target effort from Ben Grech in reply at the other end.
The dam finally burst four minutes before the interval when two Shelf players coughed up possession near the touchline, Amas were left with a four-on-two break and Slater Barnes applied a good finish across ‘keeper Ethan Daley.
Two goals in five minutes early in the second half settled matters. Greenwood got lucky with an attempted cross which beat the flying Daley at his near post but it was a reward for a fine run down the right flank past two Shelf players.
The overloaded Shelf defence cracked again when Joe Bedford broke clear and mopped up the rebound after Daley had parried Byrnes’ firm shot.
Shelf stuck gamely to their task. They had a penalty appeal for hand-ball against Parker turned down and Harry Talbot scooped their best chance over the bar seconds after coming on.
‘Amas’ might have had a spot kick of their own, with Waggott blocking off Dominic Finn. Daley then denied Greenwood and Driver in good style before Barnes slammed home his second from 15 yards in the final minute.
Simon Wood, deputising for absent boss Nigel Dare, said ‘Amas’ had played their better football in the first half but had not been clinical enough.
However, the goals had arrived eventually and the silverware was a deserved reward for a good season.
Looking ahead to the county final he added: “We have got two days rest and a relatively small squad so there are no changes to be made and these boys will have to go again.”
Huddersfield Amateur: L McGrath, D Finn, C Conroy, J Bedford, M Parker, A Oldfield, S Barnes, M Jones, J Byrnes, J Driver, J Greenwood. Subs: J Carlisle, G Haley, K Laycock, M Eastwood, M Berry.
Shelf United: E Daley, D Cook, B Wilkinson, J Goodwin, J Farrell, J Waggott, O Coates, J Butterfield, B Grogan, B Grech, M Roy. Subs: D Chappell, H Talbot, L O’Brien, J Boyd, A Firth.
Referee: W Cotton.