Saints and Greetland battle through

Actions from Greetland v Hebden Royd Red Star, at Greetland Goldfields. Pictured are Danny Dorward and Adam Dawson
Actions from Greetland v Hebden Royd Red Star, at Greetland Goldfields. Pictured are Danny Dorward and Adam Dawson

Only five out of 17 games in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL were completed on a rain-lashed Saturday with Illingworth St Mary’s and Greetland winning the most important of them.

The pair progressed to the last eight of the Challenge Cup with late goals at home to Warley Rangers and Hebden Royd Red Star respectively.

Division One title contenders Illingworth won 2-1 in awful conditions on the 3G pitch at Trinity Academy.

Premier side Warley decided to play with the wind in the first half and play in the first 20 minutes was even, Illingworth’s John Booth getting booked for diving after a penalty appeal.

Despite having a lot of possession for the remainder of the half, Warley only created one good chance and Carlton Balmer grabbed it, tapping home at the back post from a long throw.

Saints tested Michael Hickinbottom from range on numerous occasions in the second half, the Warley ‘keeper making a great save on the hour from Phil Livsey.

However, Livsey pounced on a clearance to find the top corner and make it 1-1 10 minutes later.

Stand-in ‘keeper Gareth Gaukroger made a great save to deny Dean Lawrence and in the last minute winger Luke Prosser stabbed the ball home to see Illingworth through.

Greetland beat Hebden Royd Red Star 5-3 with a couple of late goals at high and exposed Greetland Rec.

Visiting player-manager Chris Garbutt said: “I can’t describe how cold and horrible it was. I thought I was going to die!”

The players ran for cover at the end of the contest and Garbutt was too cold to take his kit off so went in the showers fully clothed.

Star went 1-0 up when Greetland ‘keeper Craig Taylor made a poor clearance and Lewis Cockroft knocked the ball back over his head.

Greetland quickly equalised but Red Star regained the lead through Mark Bradbury’s penalty after Garbutt, playing up front, had been brought down in the area.

Within seconds of the restart Tom Wall beat three visitors players and set up a striker, who was fouled by ‘keeper Joe Kidder. Greetland duly made it 2-2 from the penalty spot.

Greetland went in front with a one-on-one finish after 70 minutes.

Cockroft made it 3-3 entering the closing stages with a shot which Taylor was just unable to prevent crossing the line and Red Star had chances before Greetland booked their passage through to the last eight with two late goals.

Greetland had five different scorers - Danny Dorward, Adrian Ford, Oliver Bagley, Wall and Jack Anderson.

All three scheduled Premier Division games were off and two went ahead in Division One, but the Halifax Irish Centre versus Salem game was abandoned shortly after half time due to a waterlogged pitch with the hosts 2-1 up.

AFC Crossleys were 3-1 winners over Calder ‘76 Reserves and the hosts’ player-boss Kev Crossley hopes a decent performance can spur his side to a top four finish.

The Mason Green men are seventh at the moment, goalkeeper Crossley having playing a full part in his side’s win.

He made three important saves in the first half which finished 1-0 to Crossleys, Matty Clark scoring after 30 minutes when the Calder ‘keeper collected and then dropped a cross from Benny Bower.

The home side pulled clear with the slope and elements in their favour after the break.

Andy Brunning rifled home from Toby Young’s through ball and made it a double with a scrambled effort 10 minutes from time.

Calder got a late consolation via Max Crossley, whose shot was too strong for the home ‘keeper to keep out.

Toby Young was Crossleys’ man of the match while midfield rival Callum Wheelwright took the honours for Calder.

In Division Two, Shelf United Reserves lifted themselves off the bottom with a 4-0 home win over Crossleys Reserves.

It was their first league win of the season and came courtesy of two goals each from Matthew Helliwell and Will Parkin.

Greetland Reserves completed an excellent day for the club with a 3-2 win at Northowram.

Chris Gent’s two goals for the home side were outweighed by a hat-trick from Andy Hurcombe.

Greetland led 3-0, with the help of a penalty, and deserved their success.

There was frustration for Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, who fell three points behind Greetland in third, when their match away to Salem Reserves was abandoned after 50 minutes with them leading 2-0.