Tom Adams was probably the only Calder ‘76 player who could raise a smile after his side had slid to the bottom of the Premier Division of the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL on Saturday.
Calder were thumped 6-1 away to rampant third-placed Ryburn United in a match Adams had gone along to watch.
He was pressed into action when Calder, who had only one substitute, lost ‘keeper Warren Clayton and then Ricky Topham through injury.
Left-sided player Adams celebrated his first appearance in a couple of season with a fine late consolation goal for the visitors, finishing from just outside the area following stand-in keeper Scott Dawson’s long punt.
Otherwise, it was a day to forget for Calder who didn’t let their heads drop but played second fiddle to Ryburn from early on and very much contributed to their own downfall.
Ryburn were soon on top, Craig Peckover scoring the first of his two goals following a corner and the hosts going 2-0 up when Rob Gerrard’s deep cross evaded everyone.
Karl Wooliscroft’s under-hit back pass enabled Silkstone to make it 3-0 and it was virtually game over when Silkstone added a fourth before the break.
Calder continued to shoot themselves in the foot. Ryburn cashed in on Gavin Fleming’s poor back pass and then a mix-up between Dawson and a defender cost the visitors another goal before Adams made his mark.
Shelf United climbed away from the foot of the table after completing a hat-trick of wins with a 4-3 home success against Sowerby United in an excellent game.
Sowerby went ahead through Joe Swallow’s stunning free kick from the edge of the box but Shelf replied with a well worked goal that ended with Ben Grech’s clever back heel finding the net.
Shelf went ahead early in the second half when Joe Griffin found time and space to score. However, Sowerby soon levelled when Ashton Richardson powered home a back post header from Swallow’s corner.
As the game flowed from end to end Shelf went in front again with Grech firing low into the corner.
Sowerby roared back and Swallow headed home man of the match Ryan Brook’s free kick.
Corey Henderson and Adam Kershaw had efforts were disallowed for offside for the visitors and Shelf struck the vital blow in the dying minutes when Griffin beat the offside trap.
Midgley United took another step towards the title with a 6-3 success away to a Holmfield side defending an unbeaten home record this season.
Danny Patchett twice gave Holmfield the lead but Midgley came through strongly to win convincingly with the help of four goals from Tom Booth.
Midgley were undone at a couple of set pieces early on, Booth scoring in between Patchett’s effort with a first-time effort from George Bamford’s cross.
Two goals in five minutes from Booth gave Midgley a 3-2 interval lead - a cheeky lob from 12 yards and a header from an Andy Butterworth free-kick.
Midgley had the upper hand in the second half.
An Andrew Smith header from a Darren Nelson corner made it 4-2 and James Adey’s half-volley and Booth’s fourth, after he beat the offside trap following Butterworth’s free-kick, put more daylight between the teams.
Luke Greenwood got Holmfield’s third with five minutes left.
Sowerby Bridge kept the pressure on Hebden Royd Red Star at the top of Division One thanks to a four-goal blast at home to Elland Allstars.
After a goalless and sterile first half at Walton Street, Mick Ellis’s side bagged four goals in 20 minutes to stamp their authority on the game.
Central midfielders Adam Barlow and Rick Taylor engineered the opener, scored by Taylor, and Lee Wood made it 2-0.
Martin Bates set up Richard Hirst to chip the ‘keeper from the edge of the area and it was virtually game over when Matthew Whitworth beat four men and fired a 20-yarder into the top corner.
Chris Turner made the final score 4-1 but it could have been worse for Allstars with Martin Bates hitting a post from a free-kick, Barlow blazing a penalty over the bar and Matty Beevers going through one-on-one but also missing the target.
An own goal and two strikes from Ryan Thomas were enough to give Hebden Royd Red Star a 3-2 win over Halifax Irish at West Vale but they made hard work of it.
Red Star began the game on the front foot and took the lead after 15 minutes when Daniel Lumb’s left foot shot looked to be heading wide before an Irish defender stuck out a boot and deflected the ball into the bottom corner.
Thomas doubled the lead with a left foot strike after Joe Januszczyk’s mazy run down the left and James Chadwick missed a good chance to make it 3-0.
Irish came back but their finishing was poor until a Glynn Claxton goal kick was returned over the heads of the defence and Craig Eastwood fired home first time from the edge of the area beyond the stranded ‘keeper.
An Irish header clipped the bar early in the second half but Thomas restored Star’s two goal advantage with a superb free kick which dipped and swerved.
However, the hosts set up a frantic finale thanks to Eastwood’s close ranger header from a corner with five minutes left.
Third-placed Northowram made it four wins on the bounce in a dramatic finale at home to Denholme United.
The home side led 2-1 with two minutes left but Michael Midgley played in Matthew Waring to equalise and then hit a post from distance.
However, Adam Ingham, with his back to goal, deftly controlled a throw-in, turned, and struck a sweet left foot shot low into the bottom corner.
Earlier, the Rams had more of the play down the slope and were ahead after 12 minutes when a defensive mistake let in Alex O’Keefe and his thumping angled finish gave Jamie Walsh no chance.
A committed Denholme side drew level after 35 minutes when prolific scorer Midgley’s overhead kick from outside the area went in via the back-pedalling James Bunn’s hands and then the bar.
Nothowram regained the lead in first minute of the second half. Ingham played in Chris Conroy and although Walsh saved well, O’Keefe was on hand to knock in the rebound.
The Rams spent the next 20 minutes on the back foot but the overall play had little pattern or imagination until the exciting finish.
Volunteer Arms went fourth with a 2-1 home win over Stainland United, Ben Hardy and Craig Kemp getting their goals.
Salem and Wadsworth United fought out a 3-3 draw in another game at Savile Park.
Salem led on three occasions against their slow-starting visitors with Nick Green (two) and Matty Horsfall their scorers.
However, Wadsworth’s leading scorer Johnny Gibson bagged two in reply with Chad Godfrey lobbing the visitors’ second goal.
AFC Crossleys Reserves dealt Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves’ promotion hopes a blow in Division Two with a 4-0 away win.
That result was good news for second-placed Warley Rangers Reserves who moved four points ahead of Star with a 3-0 home win over bottom side Halifax Irish Centre Reserves, Paul Kendall netting twice.
The three games went ahead in Division Three - Denholme’s pitch was frozen for the visit of Volunteer Reserves - and they produced 28 goals in home wins.
Leaders Calder ‘76 Reserves accounted for Elland Allstars Reserves 6-3 with the help of a brace from Craig Gladwin; Spring Hall Celtic edged out Brighouse Sports by the odd goal in 11; and Savile Arms went third with a 5-3 victory over West Central.
Sowerby Bridge Reserves booked an Invitation Cup final appearance with a fine fightback to beat division-higher Ryburn United Reserves 5-3.
Martin Rigby drew first blood for them but Ryburn went 3-1 up and it took goals from veteran Steve Jagger and Cameron Tait with the last kick of the 90 minutes to prolong the contest.
Bridge then finished the stronger in spite of having PJ Henderson dismissed.