A fine season for Illingworth St Mary’s will culminate in a Shay final appearance after they beat Ryburn United 2-0 in the Halifax AFL’s Senior Cup semi-final on Saturday.
Ace marksman John Booth scored a goal in each half as the middle-section champions beat their division-higher opponents at Luddenden Foot.
Saints will meet Premier Division side Greetland in the final on Wednesday, May 11.
A poor playing surface did very little to help either team.
Ryburn pushing forward early on and caused problems from set pieces, Adam Barlow provided crosses which the Saints defence and ‘keeper Rab Langley dealt with excellently.
A Phil Livsey free kick was headed back across goal by Dec Rothery for Booth to finish into the bottom corner.
Luke Prosser’s darting run and through ball put Callum Cook in the clear but his effort was saved by the Ryburn keeper.
Ryburn pushing more men forward in the second half but created little and Gareth Gaukroger and Booth had chances to increase the lead.
A Scott header from a corner was cleared off the line and Prosser had a goal ruled out for offside.
Booth settled matters, calmly finding the bottom corner of the net, and Saints dealt with a barrage of long balls as Ryburn tried in vain to snatch one back.
There was better news for Ryburn from their second team, who earned an Invitation Cup final meeting with Northowram Reserves by beating Calder ‘76 Reserves 2-1.
Holmfield and Mixenden United have had wildly contrasting fortunes since they finished first and second in Division One almost 12 months ago.
Holmfield’s relegation was sealed after a 3-2 defeat away to Copley United on Saturday, Lee Worrall’s two goals tipping the scales the home side’s way.
Mixenden, however, are up to second after maintaining a fine winning streak with a 2-0 home success over Greetland on Saturday.
They were given a tough examination. Chris Woodhouse scored in the first half but it wasn’t until the last minute that home man of the match Damien Randall made the points safe.
Mixenden’s title chance looks to have gone, thanks to mid-season indiscretions, but they could be candidates for honours next time.
Northowram put a dismal display at Greetland in midweek behind them with a hard-fought 3-2 home success over Hebden Royd Red Star.
An Archie Griffiths shot was headed off the line before the Rams went ahead after 28 minutes when Liam Smith’s hopeful long ball left Ryan Barkham in the clear and he slotted home.
Four minutes later, Josh Baines doubled the lead with shot on the turn following a corner and it was Baines’ defence-splitting pass that set up Griffiths to make it 3-0 with a neat outside of the foot finish.
Red Star had a goal disallowed for offside but gave themselves hope four minutes before half-time with a perfectly-struck free kick from James Chadwick.
The visitors, playing down the slope, twice went close at the start of the second half. However, the Rams looked fairly comfortable after that and only conceded a second five minutes from time when James Bunn spilled a low cross, leaving Dan Pugh a tap-in.
Midgley avenged a 5-3 home defeat by Shelf United the previous Saturday with as 3-1 win in the rematch at Shelf Hall Park.
Craig Gee was able to field a stronger side and the visitors got on top after the first 20 minutes.
An Oliver Coates tap-in gave Shelf the lead down the slope but Ryan Jeffries and Toby Standring might have scored before Jeffries went through one-on-one and finished neatly.
Ron Stansfield gave Midgley the lead with a header as the visitors dominated down the slope.
They rattled the woodwork before Jeffries cashed in on good work from Stansfield and Standring.
Sowerby United’s Division One promotion hopes all but ended following their 4-2 defeat at Denholme United.
The home side made the stronger side and went ahead with a Michael Midgley goal.
Sowerby levelled when Harvey Walsh delivered a cross that the Denholme centre back turned into his own net.
Denholme bounced back with a Matthew Waring goal before Daniel Boyd got Sowerby level again.
A second from Midgley and another in the dying seconds from Waring settled matters.
Jake Bradbury’s two goals helped Elland United win 3-1 away to next-to-bottom Midgley Reserves, who played well with 10 men.
AFC Crossleys beat Halifax Irish Centre 2-1 in a basement battle.
Greetland Reserves look to have the Division Two title in the bag after they had a runaway 7-1 over Sowerby United Reserves and second-placed St Columba’s lost 2-0 to Shelf FC.
George Bainbridge and Andy Hurcombe each scored twice to take Greetland three points clear at the top ahead of tonight’s trip to play Shelf United Reserves.
St Columba’s could still join them on 50 points with victory in their final game but Greetland have a far superior goal difference and two games left.
Saints could lose second spot to Shelf FC, who won with goals from Sam Henderson and Archie Ingham.
Monday - Division One: Ryburn United Res v Calder 76 Res.
Division Two: Denholme United Res v Sowerby United Res, Shelf FC v AFC Crossleys Res, Shelf United Res v Greetland Res.
Wednesday - Premier Division: Holmfield v Greetland, Ryburn United v Copley United, Warley Rangers v Mixenden United.
Division One: AFC Crossleys v Midgley United Res, Brighouse Sports v Elland United, Denholme United v Sowerby Bridge, Elland Allstars v Illingworth St Mary’s, Sowerby United v Calder 76 Res.