Park’s fine goal settles Bridge nerves

Halifax AFL Challenge Cup

Sowerby Bridge were a shade relieved to win 4-3 away to division-lower Halifax Athletic in the first round of the Skircoat Green Physiotherapy Challnge Cup having tossed away a three-goal advantage.

Jimmy Sweeney headed them in front early on and it was mainly one-way traffic, Martin Bates extending the lead with his ninth of the season.

Adam Barlow added a third when he shrugged off a couple of challenges and hit a fine shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.

A goalkeeping error handed Athletic a lifeline on 55 minutes. Two minutes later they scored with a header from a corner and straight from the restart an error from Lee Holton led to an equaliser.

Bridge had a few efforts against the woodwork before Dean Park came to their rescue with the winner eight minutes from time, after beating three men.

Greetland showed signs of finding form in a 4-1 home win over Copley United.

The returning Mark Hindle was soon testing the Copley keeper and he opened the scoring with a volley from the edge of the area after skipper Matty Oldfield had combined with Carl Ainley.

Only fine goalkeeping and poor finishing prevent the score increasing and Copley almost scored against the run of play.

On the stroke of half time Tom Wall broke clear and found Danny Dorward, who was tripped inside the box. Ainley scored from the spot.

Ainley, Asa Lumb and Mickey Conroy all went close before Teasdale’s excellent free kick that gave Craig Taylor no chance made it 2-1.

However, Ainley headed in Greetland’s third and debutant Mark Heppenstall made the game safe with a typical jinking run and calm finish.

Hebden Royd Red Star scored five goals inside half an hour enroute to a 6-0 victory over AFC Crossleys.

Jack Earle lashed home the opener after a first minute scramble and then provided a long throw from the right for the onrushing Danny Gilfillan to nod home.

Glynn Claxton made two smart saves as Crossleys tried to hit back but Red Star made it 3-0 when Eddie Harvey’s fierce shot was parried by the goalkeeper and Jordan Dean tapped home the rebound.

Harvey’s perfectly weighted pass enabled Chris Garbutt to rifle the ball in off the cross with his left foot.

Ryan Thomas had a couple of efforts brilliantly saved and Harvey smashed the ballagainst the bar before Garbutt teed up James Chadwick to sweep home.

Star continued to make most of the running in the second half and their sixth goal came midway through the half when Harry West’s long throw was flicked on by Chadwick and Dean nodded his second.

Ricky Topham missed two penalties but Calder ‘76 still moved comfortably through with a 7-3 success away to division-lower Stainland United.

Stainland started strongly down the hill and the dangerous Karl Jowett opened the scoring with a fine run and shot.

Good defending from Karl Wooliscroft, Si Whitton and Matty McCambridge denied Stainland a second while Topham’s header from a Steve Jones cross was ruled not to have crossed the goal line.

Calder equalised after half an hour when Scott Carney’s shot was parried and an attempted clearance hit a Stainland defender, the ball finishing in the net.

The visitors took conrol with a quick double at the start of the second half from Topham and Irfan Afzal, who cashed in on good work from Simon Stansfield and Jones.

Topham’s first penalty, after he had been brought down, was brilliantly saved but Calder went 4-1 up when Scott Carney’s cross was headed in by Warren Clayton.

A couple of substitutions revived Stainland, who scored a second but Jones’s rather tame shot went under the home keeper.

Topham won another penalty but his effort was easier for the keeper to save this time.

However, Topham was unaffected and made it 6-2 with a fine shot with the outside of his right foot, Afzal completing the scoring after Stainland had got their third.

Midgley United were 3-2 winners away to Warley Rangers, the pair having fought out a 3-3 Premier Division draw in the opening game of the season on the same pitch.

Midgley needed a goal from Joe Gibson, following a Darren Nelson cross, in the first period of extra time to get through but they felt they were deserved winners.

Both Warley’s goals came from long throws, Paul Kendall heading them in front after 30 minutes and Dave Maguire getting their second after 80 minutes.

In between Midgley had gone in frontTom Booth making it 1-1 at the break with a good header and Calum Rodgers poking the ball home from close range after an hour.

Premier Division leaders Stump Cross progressed with a 6-1 win away to Salem, Matt Calland getting two of their goals.

Holders Elland United had a potential banana skin tie away to Volunteer Arms but Josh Prestige, Mark Kelsey and Vaughan Boon were on target to give them a 3-1 win.

Ryburn United were given a good match by division-lower improvers Denholme United, progressing 3-2.

The four Invitation Cup first round ties produced three away wins, Greetland Reserves gaining the widest-margin success with a 5-2 victory away to Halifax Irish Centre Reserves.

However, they needed extra time goals from from Brian Vickers, Sam Duffy and Joe Duffy to take them through after throwing away a two-goal interval lead.

Mark Woods opened the scoring for Greetland before an own goal from 40 yards put the visitors well in control.

Irish fought back to take it to extra time but a back post header by Vickers from a Craig Hare corner settled the away side’s nerves and the Duffys made sure late on from close range.

Sowerby United gained a surprise 2-1 win over Holmfield in a pulsating Premier Division game in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL at Ryburn School.

Holmfield started strongly with Danny Patchett and Jamie Keegan causing Sowerby lots of problems and it was no surprise when Keegan skipped through four challenges before firing home.

Sowerby battled hard with Joe Swallow and the hard working Danny Boyd to the fore.

Swallow was tripped 30 yards from goal and from the free kick he hit a terrific shot into the bottom corner.

The game opened up with both sides going for a winner and Sowerby wasted the better chances. Both sides hit the bar.

With two minutes to go Sowerby keeper Paul Barker picked out Swallow with a clearance and the youngster fired the winner.

Two goals in the last six minutes gave Northowram their first win of the season by a 3-2 margin against a useful-looking Ryburn Utd Reserves side in Division One.

Rick Sunderland skied a shot over the top witha Chris Conroy hit a post for the Rams.

Ryburn went ahead after 25 minutes when Rick Redhead was unchallenged as he headed home from a corner.

James Waggett was twice denied by the Ryburn keeper and Sunderland hit a post late in the half.

Northowram , now with the slope and breeze at their backs, levelled through an exocet free kick from Waggett in the 59th but Ryburn passed well and regained the lead after 72 minutes when a quick break ended with Chris Redhead’s firm finish from distance.

With time running out, Ryburn looked reasonably comfortable but the Rams forced three corners in quick succession and Danny Rushworth ran in to head an equaliser

Three minutes from time another corner proved to be Ryburn’s downfall as Matthew Rushworth stole in at the back post to stoop and nod his side in front. Waggett’s shot on the turn hit the bar in the final seconds.

Elland Allstars gained their second win since promotion with a 3-1 home success against visitors Mixenden United while the team that came up with them, Wadsworth United, won 6-3 at home to Halifax Irish Centre.

Sowerby Bridge Reserves dropped their first points of the season in Division Two when held to a 4-4 home draw by Shelf United Reserves.

Bridge dominated for much of the first half and the visitors roared back in the second half, and almost snatching all three points in a rousing finale.

Bridge drew first blood through their centre forward Martin Rigby, who giot all their goals, and would have extended it but for some good saves by Andy May and some stout defending.

Shelf drew level when Dale Cartwright’s corner dropped to veteran centre half Mark Wheelwright, who scored at the second attempt.

Rigby restored Bridge’s lead, Robin Hurtley made it 2-2 with a good finish and Shelf’s Jamie Twaite made a goalline clearance just before the break.

Bridge re-took the lead midway through the second half but Adrian Balding made it 3-3 after a good move.

Shelf again withstood pressure but another great header from Rigby took them back into the lead. However, Cartwright and Ross Broadley combined to set up Balding to score again and only spectacular saves from Broadley and Balding denied Shelf in the final momemnts.

Midgley United Reserves had Simon Cavanagh and Paul Walker in outstanding form in a 5-1 home win over Sowerby United Reserves.

They put their chances away for a change, James Balmforth and Andy Bottomley bagging two goals apiece and Matthew Thompson finding the net with a superb 25-yarder.

In Division Three, Calder ‘76 Reserves missed a chance to join Denholme United Reserves at the top when held 1-1 at home by Savile Arms, Gavin Martin getting their goal after being pushed up front.

Elland Allstars Reserves won the other game to go ahead, winning at West Central by the odd goal in nine.