Impressive Red Star go top

James Balmforth for Midgley against Sowerby Bridge on Saturday
James Balmforth for Midgley against Sowerby Bridge on Saturday

Hebden Royd Red Star took over at the top of the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL’s Premier Division with an impressive display in a 4-1 win at Sowerby United.

Sowerby paid a high price for late arrivals, their patched-up starting XI going 2-0 down in the first seven minutes.

Both sides played some excellent football and Red Star looked every inch a top of the table side as Ben Norman, Ed Harvey, Tom Garland and an own goal sent charging them into a 4-0 lead.

Sowerby gained a deserved consolation with a fine strike from Jordan Manning.

Champions Midgley came within four minutes of a shock defeat at Sowerby Bridge, Tom Booth’s scrambled goal giving them a 1-1 draw.

It was another late blow for promoted Bridge, who reckon they would be top of the league if games lasted 85 minutes.

Bridge kicked off with 10 men but held Midgley at bay until getting up to full strength. Jimmy Sweeney, standing in for the injured Adam Barlow, dominated the midfield and in an open first half Bridge created the best chances but ’keeper Steve Butterworth twice denied Dean Fulton.

When Fulton was brought down, Oliver Coates’s weak penalty was comfortably saved by Butterworth and straight after Booth fired over from close range.

Midgley got their act together after half time and ex-Millwall trainee Danny Jennings had to make several fine saves from Booth and George Bamford.

Bridge still looked dangerous with 16-year-old Keelan Noble keeping the Midgley defence on their toes and when he was brought down 30 yards out Chris Punda scored with a deflected shot from the free kick.

Midgley piled forward in the last 20 minutes but Bridge stood firm, with Rajko Jovanovich to the fore. However, Booth fired in after a scramble in the Bridge six yard box.

Elland United trailed to two Damian Watkins goals away to Stump Cross but stormed back to take the spoils with two goals from Jake Bradbury and one from Vaughan Boon.

Volunteer Arms moved up to seventh by winning the day’s only Division One contest.

They came out on top 2-1 at home to Sowerby Bridge Reserves thanks to efforts from Kevin Spalding and Louy Kenny, Matthew Seekins getting the Bridge goal.

The two games in the second division produced 15 goals and wins for Calder Valley pair Misgley Reserves and Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.

Midgley thwarted visitors Mixenden’s bid for a fourth straight win by 5-4 with Calum Wheelwright scoring twice for United and Adam Burke twice for the visitors.

Wheelwright struck after just 20 seconds. Mixenden equalised but Midgley surged into a 3-1 interval lead when Matthew Thompson crossed for Wheelwright to apply a finish and Jamie Coward fired a volley into the top corner.

Mixenden made a storming start to the second half and were quickly on terms at 3-3.

Nathan Cleary edged Midgley back in front but had to leave early and with Sam Sharkey injured the home side were down to 10 men.

Mixenden made it 4-4 but Ryan Stansfield scrambled a late winner for the hosts.

Dan Earle bagged a hat-trick and Richard Ingram two as Red Star powered past Sowerby United Reserves 5-1.

Manager Matty Stones was delighted after Salem Reserves lifted themselves off the foot of Division Three with a 3-0 win away to Elland Allstars Reserves.

Recent games between the pair have been close but it was Salem’s day and they took an early lead through Rick Beaumont, who battled away up front all afternoon and kept Elland’s back four busy.

Elland pressed hard but man of the match Richard Boyle and his centre half partner Rob Worthington repelling everything thrown at them.

Midfielders Mark Atkinson, Martin Jenkins and Paul Crabree helped Salem weather the storm and as Elland faded Jenkins made it 2-0 before sub Josh Skinner rounded the keeper and tucked the ball in from a tight angle late on.

There was still time for James Hings to hit a penalty over the bar.

West Central kept St Columbas rooted to the foot of the Division Three table with a 2-0 courtesy of goals from Bilal Sheraz and Omar Dar.