Shelf United returned from two months of inactivity with a 3-2 home win over Hebden Royd Red Star in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL on Saturday.
Steve Goodwin’s side, who had last played in a 7-6 defeat at away to Midgley United on December 6, made the most of almost spring-like conditions and won with the only goal of the second half from Lee Riley.
Shelf had taken the lead after half an hour when a Billy Grogan shot was saved and Oliver Coates followed up to tap in.
Star equalised almost immediately when a cross took a deflection off a defender and looped over home ‘keeper Daniel Gill.
Riley restored Shelf’s advantage from close range but Daniel Lumb made it 2-2 before half time when the ball fell to him after a free-kick had hit the defensive wall.
Star were playing down the slope in the second half but Shelf got the winner when Grogan crossed and Riley, after a good run from midfield, lobbed the ‘keeper.
In a frantic finale, Gill made a couple of good saves while James Goodwin hit a post with an effort from distance at the other end.
Stump Cross were also relieved to get back into action and cemented their position as title favourites with a 4-1 home win over Warley Rangers.
Tom Robinson and Damian Watkins scored twice each for the winners with Joe McGinley getting Warley’s goal.
Stump moved up to second and have dropped six points fewer than all their rivals.
Midgley are six points clear at the top, having played four games more than Stump, after a 2-1 win away to Greetland, who slipped from third to fourth.
It was a good win for Craig Gee’s men against a well-organised and strong Greetland side.
The first half was goalless. Midgley had plenty of possession but chances were at a premium, George Bamford striking the ball into the net as the whistle sounded for offside.
An Andrew Butterworth penalty, after Rob Stansfield had been fouled, gave Midgley the lead 10 minutes after the break.
Midfielder Adam Oldfield, probably Greetland’s best player on the day, made it 1-1 with the visitors appealing in vain for offside.
Midgley upped the pressure and Greg Spink slotted home at the back post with 15 minutes left.
Greetland pushed hard late on and Midgley survived a few anxious moments to bag their 10th league win of the season.
A lengthy absence did Northowram no good and their long winning run was ended by determined Ryburn United, who avenged a 1-0 home defeat with a 4-2 win in the rematch.
The first half was evenly with the Rams having slightly the better of what few chances there were. Mark Eade and Tom Abson were both too high with half-chances and Alex O’Keefe also blazed over with an angled drive.
Earlier, an own goal from Matthew Rushworth, attempting to head clear a cross, had given the visitors the lead but Chris Conroy soon equalised with a side-footed volley from O’Keefe’s pinpoint cross.
The Rams normally play well up the slope but lost their way and Ross Risdon twice cleared off the line before Alex Coburn put the visitors ahead with an emphatic finish.
When James Bunn could only palm away a low cross, Reece Uttley made it 1-3 at the far post.
The visitors’ superiority was underlined three minutes from time when the back-pedalling Bunn was unable to keep out Joe Swallow’s looping back header.
A superbly-struck snap-shot out of nothing from O’Keefe was but a consolation for Northowram.
At the foot of the table, Sowerby United and Elland United slipped deeper into the relegation mire.
Sowerby were beaten 2-0 away to Calder ‘76, having plenty of possession but lacking a cutting edge.
Calder took the lead following a scramble in their penalty box with Remi Allen back heeling home.
That gave the slow-starting hosts a lift and they were better in the second half, sealing victory when Jonny Gibson’s hopeful shot squirmed through the mud and beat the ‘keeper.
There were a string of close matches in Division One, headed by the 3-3 draw between title rivals Holmfield and Mixenden.
Both have dropped five points but Holmfield have two more wins than their rivals in the bag.
Chris Woodhouse’s two goals for Holmfield were matched by two from Mixenden’s Richard Stock.
Greetland are off the bottom of the table - something which appeared very unlikely a week and a half ago when they had failed to pick up a point in their opening 15 games.
They followed up a 2-1 win over Salem with a hard-earned 4-3 success away to Halifax Irish Centre, who they leap-frogged in the table.
Irish had the better of the opening half hour and took the lead through a Steve Mitchell header from a well taken corner.
Greetland switched the positions of Gary Taylor and Marcus Stapley to get the best use of Stapley’s pace.
It worked a treat as Taylor provided the perfect pass for Stapley to run on to the ball and place it past Joe O’Dowd for the equaliser.
That was just what Greetland needed and they took the lead just before half time when Oliver Jefferson headed in a Chris Ward corner.
Veteran Andy Hurcombe made it 3-1 from the penalty spot after Stapley was fouled.
However, the goal of the game came from the right foot of Jameel Nawaz, who made it 3-2 from 35 yards, shooting over the head of stand-in ‘keeper Craig Hare.
Hurcombe’s eighth goal of the season - his fifth against Irish - made it 4-2 but the home side refused to give up as Mitchell scored his second soon after the re-start.
Greetland held on to win despite Nawaz hitting the bar late on.
There were two more 4-3 scorelines in the section, home sides Ryburn United Reserves and Sowerby Bridge beating Volunteer Arms and AFC Crossleys respectively.
Richard Redhead and Lewis Brierley shared Ryburn’s goals while Mark Kelsey struck twice in vain for Volunteer.
Dayle Maguire was Bridge’s hero with a hat-trick.
Midgley Reserves fell to their first defeat in more than two months when losing 3-2 at home to Salem.
Midgley started well and had plenty of early chances with Tom Booth mis-controlling after a superb Darren Nelson cross.
Salem scored against the run of play when Lee Worrall made a darting run to beat the offside trap and slotted neatly past Butterworth in goal.
Worrall scored again within five minutes, coolly side-footing past Butterworth, whose only action in the first half was to pick the ball out of his net.
Midgley got back into it when a lovely passing move down the left led to Darren Nelson crossing for Booth to apply the finish.
Salem made it 3-1 but Shaw scored for Midgley and then caused a scuffle when retaliating to a bad tackle.
Substitute Thompson was denied by the Salem ‘keeper, who was then late challenged by Booth, the Midgley striker receiving a second yellow.
St Columbas made it eight wins from eight on their home pitch at Savile Park this season with a 6-2 victory over Salem Reserves in Division Two.
They played some quality passing football at times which the visitors couldn’t live with.
Lively Vinny O’Shea scored from a Chris Chippendale through ball. Salem equalised but Columbas scored within 10 seconds of restart through Ryan O’Neill.
Salem equalised again from a free kick before a trademark towering header by Jack Wilkinson.
Ryan O’Neill made it 4-2 with a crisp 25 yard drive, before a great individual goal by Ben Caldwell.
George Cook, battling on with a nasty-looking injury, made it 6-2 with a tap-in after good work from Barry Carney in a game well refereed by Wayne Cotton.
Brighouse Sports increased their lead at the top to four points over inactive Illingworth St Mary’s with a 6-2 home win over third-placed Shelf FC.
AFC Crossleys Reserves upset visitors Denholme United Reserves by the odd goal in nine while Northowram reserves slipped a place to sixth with a 3-1 defeat at Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.
Ross Broadley’s two goals helped Shelf United Reserves to a 4-1 success away to Sowerby United Reserves.