Baker hat-trick as Rams go top

Actions from Illingworth v Northowram, at Trinity Academy. Pictured is John Ashworth and Jake Baker
Actions from Illingworth v Northowram, at Trinity Academy. Pictured is John Ashworth and Jake Baker

Northowram boosted their bid to make a quick return to the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL’s Premier Division with an eye-catching 7-2 win away to leaders Mixenden United.

There were few signs of what was to come when the sides were locked together at 2-2 in the early stages of the second half.

The Rams, who had been belatedly relegated from the top flight before this season, then powered clear to replace Mixenden at the head of the table.

The visitors went ahead after four minutes when Chris Dunne’s ball to Matt Calland was converted by the leading scorer after a neat couple of touches.

Ten minutes later Northowram ‘keeper Todd Reeday clawed the ball off his own line but the home side gradually had more of the play and it was no great surprise when Anthony O’Shea equalised after 16 minutes.

A Calland penalty one minute before the break restored Northowram’s lead but Martin Woodhouse set up Chris Woodhouse to nudge in an equaliser.

The Rams retook the lead after 54 minutes when Calland challenged the keeper following Chris Gent’s free kick and Jake Baker was on hand to steer home after the ball ran loose.

Baker’s angled finish gave his side a two goal cushion after 72 minutes and Billy Farrell’s goal a minute later ended Mixenden’s resistance with a Dunne header and Baker’s hat-trick goal completing the tally.

Salem bounced back from successive heavy defeats with a 1-1 draw against Brighouse Sports at Shroggs Park. Jay Thomas scored for the hosts and Connor Durkin for Sports.

The three games in Division Two produced three away wins with Midgley United Reserves and Sowerby Bridge Reserves climbing to second and third places behind AFC Crossleys.

Richard Vile scored twice and Joe Lally got the other goal as Midgley won 3-2 away to Greetland Reserves. Morgan Bagley and Kacper Stefanski replied.

Bridge won 6-4 away to Northowram Reserves, who remain seven points adrift at the bottom. Lyndon Armstrong’s double was in vain for the hosts.

Pearse Finnegan got the only goal of the game as Sowerby United Reserves won 1-0 away to Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, a result which took them above their hosts in the table.

Much-improved Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves made it three wins and three draws from their last six games with a 3-0 home success over Shelf FC Reserves in Division Three.

The league’s bottom two, Warley Rangers and Flying Dutchman, fought out a 3-3 draw at Savile Park with Daniel Murgatroyd scoring twice for a Dutchman side who shot themselves in the foot by conceding two own goals.

THE two scheduled games involving Calder ‘76 on Saturday were postponed due to what league fixture secretary David Rattigan described as “an administration issue” affecting the Holmes Park club.

Calder had been due to take part in the day’s only Premier Division game away to Sowerby United while the reserves were due to host Shelf United Reserves in Division Two.