Watkins double helps sink Calder

Harry West for Red Star and James Balmforth for Midgley on Friday.
Harry West for Red Star and James Balmforth for Midgley on Friday.

Last year’s runners-up Stump Cross are the early pace-setters in the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL, making it two wins out of two with a 3-1 home success over Calder ‘76.

Calder, last year’s Halifax FA Saturday Cup runners-up, started the brighter with Remi Allen and Hayden Gee keeping Stump goalie Gary Alchin busy at a wet Shroggs Park.

Stump then began to take control with Martin Ayscough and Tom Hiley dominant in midfield.

The breakthrough came after 25 minutes when Chris Gent broke down the right and crossed, Hiley sending the ball back across goal for Damien Watkins to head home.

The lead was doubled five minutes before half time when Steve Fullard was brought down after good work from the tireless Hiley and Watkins neatly scored from the spot.

There was still time for Calder’s Steve Jones to be red carded before half time for use of the elbow.

Calder responded after the break with an early goal from Remi Allen but great work in defence by Thomas, Lee Marsh and the impressive Ben Hiley was enough to keep out 10-man Calder.

Stump were now in control and when Watkins and Chris Gent combined down the right to set up Lee Cartwright for a powerful header the game was effectively over.

Honours were even in the big Calder Valley derby with last season’s Division One champs Hebden Royd Red Star drawing 2-2 at home to Premier title winners Midgley United.

There were few openings in a tight first half hour but Midgley then took the lead when good work from Tom Booth and James Adey enabled James Balmforth to tap in at the back post.

Midgley finished the half on top but it was even after the break, Red Star drawing level when Lewis Cockroft was given half a chance and he nailed his shot into the top corner.

Star had their tails up, with long-serving Danny Gilfillan and new recruit Cockroft to the fore, but Midgley went back in front with 10 minutes to go through Booth.

However, Cockroft levelled matters again when Midgley were caught napping at a retaken free-kick, the ball being knocked down at the far post for the striker to score.

A bad clash of heads between Star’s James Chadwick and Bamford marred the closing stages.

Promoted Sowerby Bridge picked up their first point in a 1-1 draw at Greetland.

The visitors looked well organised and the Greetland defence was troubled by Wood’s threat in the air and Oliver Coates’ clever footwork.

Workmanlike Greetland thought they had taken the lead when Scott McHale’s header from Paul Gee’s cross was clawed away by Bridge’s keeper Bolton but referee Arnie Thorpe ruled that the ball had not crossed the line.

Bridge took the lead after 20 minutes with a near post header from Coates after a great cross from the outstanding Cook.

Greetland began to press Bridge back and Bolton made a number of fine saves,

Coates put a good chance wide and Greetland had a couple of strong penalty shouts turned down in the second half until, in the fading light, young sub Darryl Camp’s neat one two with Matty Oldfield saw him through on goal. His shot was well saved but Carl Ainley hammered home the rebound.

Both teams had chances in the dying seconds.

Sowerby United gained their first win of the season with a 4-0 success at Holmfield.

Holmfield pressed from the off. A pile driver from Gareth Gaukroger rattled the bar and the striker then had a penalty brilliantly pushed over the bar by Paul Barker.

This lifted Sowerby and their reply was a powerful strike from Harvey Walsh against the woodwork.

The breakthrough came when George Turner met a cross to head Sowerby in front.

Sowerby were the dominant side in second half and Joe Swallow’s superb pass sent Corey Henderson racing clear and he found the corner of the net with a blistering strike.

Another Swallow cross was put into his own net by a Holmfield defender before Henderson completed the scoring with another outstanding finish.

There were only two scorers in King Cross Warley’s 4-2 success away to Elland United, Anthony Campbell’s brace for the home side being out-weighed by four from Tom Hiley.

A visiting side containing ex-Elland pair Josh Prestige and Damon Nichol charge into a 4-1 lead after Campbell’s penalty had made it 1-1. Campbell got his second near the end.

Copley United are likely to have been the more satisfied with a goalless draw away to Ryburn United, which brought them their first point of the season.

Northowram were unrecognisable from the previous week, when beaten at Denholme, in winning 3-0 away to Halifax Irish Centre at West Vale in Division One.

They produced some crisp passing, fine one-touch football and intelligent movement.

Ahead after only four minutes through Chris Conroy, it was a surprise the Rams couldn’t add to their lead before half time.

The nearest they came was through Chris Dunne’s shot which was palmed on to the bar and bounced down. Only the lack of goal line technology at West Vale prevented what looked to be a goal.

The second goal the Rams had been threatening came five minutes after the restart, courtesy of James Waggett’s perfectly executed free kick.

Nine minutes later Conroy, quickly on to Danny King’s incisive pass, had his shirt pulled and Waggett lashed home the penalty.

Irish came close with a shot on the turn and James Bunn, quickly out to block a one-on-one, produced his only meaningful save to leave the Rams to finish the game as they started it - on the front foot.

Young frontrunner Ben Grech continued his free-scoring start to the season with four more goals as Shelf won 6-3 at Stainland.

A Johnny Lister header and Mark Hindle accounted for the other Shelf goals, Ryan Coupe getting two for the hosts.

Shelf were joined on six points by Salem, who were 6-4 winners away to promoted Sowerby Bridge Reserves with another five goals from Nick Green.

Only three minutes of play was possible in the Wadsworth versus Volunteer Arms contest before a player suffered a broken leg.

Ryburn Reserves beat their Greetland counterparts 4-1 with the help of two goals from Richard Sunderland.

Craig Gladwin scored a hat-trick as Crossley’s thrashed visitors Calder ‘76 9-0 to go top of Division Two on goal difference from Spring Hall Celtic.

Celtic had to settle for a 2-0 success at home to Sowerby United Reserves.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves added to Shelf United Reserves’ uncomfortable start to the season, winning 6-3 away with the help of three goals from Adam Lumb and two from Kier Watkinson.

Salem Reserves’ efforts to get their first home game of the season postponed, after manager Matty Stones discovered he would have a dozen players missing, failed and they were beaten 3-1 by West Central in Division Three.

However, they put in a competitive performance and the first half ended 1-1 after a bullet header from CJ Waddington had cancelled out Hassam Ahmed’s early strike.

in the second half Salem battled hard with Paul Crabtree leading the way with some crunching tackles and midfield partner Pete Lemming trying to create openings.

Salem had a chance to take the lead after Dan Ackroyd’s mazy run was illegally stopped but Ackroyd smashed the penalty high and wide.

Late goals from Kashif Akhmal and Bakr Dar won it for West Central.