Warley Rangers dealt the title hopes of Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL leaders Midgley United a major blow with a dramatic 5-4 win at West Vale.
It looked all over with 15 minutes left when Warley led 4-1 - the score they had won the first meeting by in October.
Watched by inactive title rivals Stump Cross, Midgley stormed back to 4-4 before Tom Hiley scored a 90th-minute winner for the hosts to complete his hat-trick.
Rangers made a typical fast start and took the lead on 10 minutes when Paul Kendall’s effort was parried by Steve Butterworth and Carlton Balmer poked the ball in.
Hiley missed a golden chance for a second but Warley were on top with Damon Gledhill-Nicholls, Edward Brigg, Chris Hall and Jordan Trowell to the fore.
Midgley eventually got into their stride and Andrew Butterworth made the most of a Toby Standring knock-down to equalise.
Balmer’s curling effort struck the inside of the post and Brigg went close with an overhead kick, Ian Hudson firing just wide at the other end.
Hiley latched on to Balmer’s pass and rolled the ball casually in and then Balmer exquisitely chipped the keeper from 18 yards following Brigg’s fine lofted pass. Hiley added to Midgley’s woes with his left foot shot from an acute angle with 20 minutes left,
Midgley stormed back through Tom Rawnsley, Calum Rodgers and Andrew Butterworth for 4-4 with five minutes to go.
However, in the final minute Gilling’s cross to the far post was met by a brave diving header from Hiley.
Calder ‘76’s Ricky Topham was ready for coming off when he missed several chances and put a spot kick against the bar at home to Ryburn United.
But boss Rob Kenworthy kept the faith and Topham responded with a sweet strike for the winner in a 3-2 success over the reigning champions.
Both sides scored a scrappy goal from a corner in the opening three minutes.
Ryburn drew first blood when the ball rebounded in off home midfielder Simon Stansfield but Sam Taylor equalised after Topham had challenged ‘keeper Matt Hirst.
Calder took the lead when Topham’s good work set up Jonny Gibson but Joe Swallow, super fast with the ball at his feet, made it 2-2 before half time.
There was little in it after the break. When Topham put one over the bar and then hit the woodwork from the spot it looked as if it was not going to be his day.
However, he accepted his toughest chance of the day with six minutes left.
Last year’s first division champions Northowram avenged a 7-5 opening match defeat when winning 4-3 away to Copley United.
In a low-quality first half, visiting ‘keeper James Bunn tipped a Copley effort onto the bar, before the visitors took the lead on 20 minutes courtesy of Alex O’Keefe’s low shot.
A fine individual goal from Karl Amos doubled the lead but ace poacher Gary Ash pulled one back on 30 minutes.
Mark Eade rounded the keeper but missed the target and Ash came close with an angled drive. However, the O’Keefe’s inswinging free kick slipped from the ‘keeper’s grasp and Matthew Rushworth tapped in.
Ash quickly made it 2-3 with a neat lob over Bunn and Copley vehemently appealed for a penalty after Chris Dunne’s heavy tackle.
The Rams were reduced to 10 men on the hour after Dunne’s reckless tackle saw him pick up a second yellow.
From the free kick, Ash’s innocuous-looking attempt brought the sides level.
Copley took the game to their opponents but had Chris Baker and Mike Priestley sent off with four minutes of each other for second yellow cards.
Ash hit the inside of a post and seven minutes from the end Amos’ surging run and low cross enabled sub Shaun Popek to net Rams’ winner.
Sowerby United moved off the bottom of the Premier with a 3-0 win away to fellow strugglers Elland United.
The hosts started the brighter but Sowerby then started to dictate in midfield with James Clegg and Oliver Smith impressing.
Daniel Boyd and Corey Henderson both had efforts against the woodwork before Henderson put Sowerby ahead with an unstoppable shot after a darting run.
It stayed at 0-1 until the last half hour despite Sowerby now being in full control.
Good work from Boyd paved the way for Harvey Walsh to score with a diving header and Dean Lewis skipped past several challengers to slot the third.
Greetland beat Hebden Royd Red Star 3-2 in the battle of the second and third-placed sides.
Tom Wall opened the scoring for Greetland after 20 minutes when he lashed the ball home following a corner.
Wall fired in a second but Lewis Cockroft got one back from the penalty spot before half time after he had been brought down.
Star hung on under pressure a but Wall eventually got his third. However, Chris Garbutt’s hit-and-hope punt was patted out by the ‘keeper for Cockroft to head home.
Salem are up to third in Division One after a 7-2 success at Stainland.
It was their seventh win in their last eight games, but they had to come from behind after Stainland made the better start.
Matt King’s unmarked header put the hosts ahead and it took until the half hour mark for Salem to draw level. Steve Croft was felled in the box and Tyson Illingworth converted the penalty.
Within a minute Salem were in front when Lee Worrall fired home, and they led 3-1 at the break after Tom Neville’s 30 yard blockbuster.
Stainland missed a penalty soon after the restart. They were made to pay when Illingworth made it 4-1 from close range and completed his hat-trick with a deflected effort.
A rare goal from the evergreen Liam Huson made it 6-1 before Matt Buck pulled one back. However, Salem had the last word when Croft unselfishly set up Dan Leonard.
The bad news for Salem was that top two Holmfield and Mixenden United are showing no signs of faltering.
Holmfield retained their six-point lead with a 2-0 win at Sowerby Bridge, Chris Woodhouse and Danny Kirman getting their goals.
Mixenden inflicted a 14th straight defeat of the season on Greetland Reserves.
They won 3-0 with first half goals from Adam Gaze (two) and a Damian Randall free-kick.
Tom Booth, who scored 15 goals for Midgley firsts last season, bagged two on his return from a broken ankle as Midgley Reserves won 4-2 at home to Halifax Irish Centre. First team boss Chris Ellerby scored both the visitors’ goals.
Calder ‘76 Reserves won 3-0 at Ryburn United Reserves with goals from Gav Martin, Matty Marsden and John Moynes. Calder also missed a penalty.
Free-scoring Connor Bell scored twice for Elland Allstars, who inflicted a surprise 4-3 defeat on Volunteer Arms, who were losing for only the third time in the league this season.
Scott Fieldhouse scored all Salem Reserves’ goals in an unlikely 5-3 home win over Denholme Reserves in Division Two.
His pace was too much for the Denholme defence on a boggy surface while veteran Paul Manning pulled the strings in midfield.
Salem cruised into a 4-1 lead, prompting manager James Hings to make changes.
Denholme scored twice in a minute to make it 4-3 with two minutes left but Fieldhouse sealed victory with a low free kick.
A Joe Griffin hat-trick helped title favourites Illingworth St Mary’s win 5-2 away to Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.
Shelf FC are the new leaders although they only drew 3-3 away to Sowerby United Reserves, for whom Ryan Allen scored twice.