Sunday League: Only a mathematical miracle stands between Halifax Hammers and their first league crown

Halifax Hammers' Awais Khan
Halifax Hammers' Awais Khan

Halifax Hammers thrashed Waiters Arms 7-2 to all-but secure their first ever Sunday League title.

The result means Waiters cannot overtake Hammers having now finished their league programme.

Only third-placed Lee Mount can overhaul Hammers, having played a game less and being six points behind, and with a game at Hammers still to come.

But Hammers’ goal difference is 35 better than Lee Mount, meaning they would have to win their final two games against Hammers and Hollins Holme by gigantic margins.

Lee Mount’s packed fixture schedule also counts against them producing a miraculous recovery, with their FA Sunday Cup final against Hollins Holme tonight (Tuesday) the first of four games in the next 13 days.

Hammers secretary Nayim Akram said after his team’s win over Waiters: “I thought it would be close but you never know which Hammers team will turn up.

“But the boys were class, even though we had Terriq Pervez and Lamin Gitteh missing due to being on holiday.

“I’m really proud of my boys, it’s been a long season for us, but we just want to enjoy this win and take it from there.

“All our hard work finally paid off. I always believed success would come, we just needed to be patient. Our lads have got so much talent but didn’t seem to use it to their full potential.

“I’ve been with this team since December 2006 but even when the going was tough, I believed in the lads and this is a very proud moment for me and our community.”

The club was founded in 2005 as Queens Road FC, changing to Halifax Hammers in 2008.

The club’s only other success in Sunday League is winning the District Cup in 2015. They also participate in the North-West Championship, which they won in 2014, 2016 and 2017 and are in the final of this season.

Hammers didn’t have it all their own way, with Waiters having good early chances and bombarding the Hammers penalty area with corner after corner.

Keeper Yasar Mohammed made a fine save from Dave Chappell to keep the score at 0-0 before Khurram Shazad’s superb strike into the far corner gave Hammers a 1-0 lead.

That was short-lived though, as Waiters won a penalty, which Chappell converted to equalise.

Waiters then bombarded their opponents goal, seeing two efforts knocked off the line, the frame of the goal getting rattled twice and Mohammed twice tipping superbly over.

But Awais Khan capped a good move to restore Hammers’ advantage before Shazad scored another great goal to extend their lead.

Khan got his second and Hammers’ fourth before Sameer Ahmed made it 5-1 just before half-time.

Shazad completed his hat-trick midway through the second-half, and after Waiters’ Ashton Richardson notched a consolation goal, Hammers centre-back Mazn Ahmed marauded up-field before producing a fine finish to round-off the scoring.

Waiters boss Adam Fenton said: “Myself and the lads are obviously gutted, we’d been top all season and to only drop points in two games and not win the league is obviously hard to take.

“But credit to Hammers, they are the only team to beat us in the league and they are a very good footballing outfit.

“I think recent results have shown in the league and cups that all teams are beatable and that can only be healthy for the rest instead of one or two teams battling it out for every trophy.”

Elsewhere last Sunday, Lee Mount thrashed bottom-side King Cross 7-0 and Feathers beat Ryburn United 3-1.

In Division One, leaders Bradshaw host challengers Siddal Place on Sunday in a crucial game that could go a long way to deciding who takes the title.

Bradshaw are six points clear but have played three games more than Siddal.

If Bradshaw win, Siddal could still take the title but would have to win all their games, but if Siddal win in what is Bradshaw’s final match of the season, they would only need to win one of their last three games to edge ahead.

The two sides met in the League Cup final last Sunday, with Bradshaw winning 4-1 at Brighouse Town’s Yorkshire Payments Stadium.

Bradshaw were dealt a blow in losing 39 goal attacking player Jordan Coduri to

injury, but still had plenty of fire power left in their line-up.

They showed just that in taking a 21st minute lead through Ian King, a man with

double figures himself this season.

Siddal were forced into two substitutions within the first half hour as Martin Boon and regular goal-getter Wayne Crossley had to take leave of absence.

Bradshaw pounced upon their opponent’s reshuffles and doubled their advantage

before the interval. Leon Hurles-Brook finding the back of the net to put his side into the ascendancy.

Siddal rallied well and strong pressure saw Morgan Cummings put into his own net on 48 minutes to bring the tie back alive.

Toby Young entered the fray for Bradshaw on 66 minutes and his fresh legs drew

immediate response as Hurles-Brook grabbed his second to reaffirm his side’s two

goal advantage.

Siddal continued to press for a way back into the match, but Nathan Sloane ultimately put the icing on the cake in the 91 st minute with the goal to make it

4-1 and see that Bradshaw lifted the first silverware on offer this season.

Also last Sunday, Cock and Bottle beat Old Pond 5-2 and Halifax Hammers Reserves beat Barum Top 4-1, while North Bridge and Thrum Hall played out a 4-4 draw.