Bell rings in change at top
Connor Bell led the way with four goals as Warley Rangers notched a resounding 8-3 win over Hebden Royd Red Star and replaced their opponents at the top of the Halifax AFL's Premier Division table.
The visitors, who created numerous excellent chances at Shroggs Park, dominated the opening 15 minutes and Michael Hick denied James Rawlinson on at least three occasions.
Anthony Campbell’s perfect free kick into the top corner from the edge of the area gave Warley the lead against the run of play and Bell exchanged passes with Martin Boon before lashing in from 25 yards for 2-0.
Star were stunned and when Dan Lumb headed into his own net they probably knew it wasn’t going to be their day.
Carlton Balmer grabbed his customary goal on the stroke of half time after some incisive passing to send Rangers in four goals up.
Star started the second as they did the first and were finally rewarded when their man of the match James Speechley lobbed the stranded Hick.
Then, following a goalmouth scramble, Jack Gormley reduced the deficit further and Star sensed a comeback. However, Bell flicked home Dan Kirman’s cut back a minute later.
Rawlinson grabbed the goal his efforts deserved after more good work from Speechley but yet again Star were undone within a minute as Boon whipped in a corner for Rangers’ man of the match Kirman to power home an unstoppable header. Player/manager Matthew Chapman made a rare appearance as a late substitute and set up Bell for his side’s seventh and eighth goals.
Midgley United got back to league action after three cup games with a 7-0 home win over lowly Copley United.
A first clean sheet of the season was the main plus for Midgley, who took charge with two goals in the opening quarter.
Martin Woodhouse made the most of an excellent through ball from Greg Spink and Matt Whiteley smashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range following a corner.
An Andrew Butterworth penalty late in the half made it 3-0 and the midfielder produced two smart finishes in the third quarter to complete a hat-trick.
Toby Standring scored Midgley’s last two goals. He cut in from the left and produced an excellent finish into the top corner for his first and then found the bottom corner from a similar position for the second.
Champions Calder ‘76 are up to sixth after a third successive home win, beating Greetland 2-1.
Calder went two goals up in 15 minutes through winger Remi Allen’s 12th goal of the season and a Rick Topham penalty.
Chris Green got one back from the spot just before the break and might have snatched a draw at the end of a dull second half.
The hosts were grateful to ‘keeper Anthony Fenwick, a recent signing from now-defunct Mixenden United, for all three points.
He made a fine save late on and miraculously clung on to the ball with visiting players waiting to pounce.
A livelier and more committed Sowerby United side were worthy 4-2 winners at home to Northowram at Ryburn School.
Connor Ashworth raced through one of many large gaps in visitors’ defence to put Sowerby ahead after 17 minutes and three minutes later Archie Griffiths’ back pass left James Bunn in trouble and he brought down the pacey Corey Henderson. Dan Crosland coolly converted the penalty and only a glaring miss from Rory Thickett prevented Sowerby extending their lead.
For the second consecutive week, the Rams were indebted to Bunn for some fine saves, the best of which kept out Henderson’s shot.
It was a surprise when Josh Baines fired home after Jonny Brownridge had chested down a throw-in and the Rams drew level soon after with Chris Conroy’s well-taken goal.
Thickett, along with Henderson, caused the Rams’ defence no end of problems and five minutes before the break the former forced home the third goal from close in.
Baines hit the bar early in the second half before Thickett stretched the lead on 52 minutes after he rounded Bunn.
Ryan Allen, rarely tested, produced an excellent fingertip save to keep out Conroy’s well-directed free kick.
Bunn again denied Thickett and at the other end Chris Dunne slipped at the vital time and could not convert a low cross.
Division One leaders Sowerby Bridge dropped their first points of the season in a 6-6 draw away to Denholme United.
Home boss Mick O’Connor said the action had been fast and furious from the first minute to the last.
“It was played in very good spirits and both teams played some very good football on a sticky pitch,” he reported.
Bridge got a rude awakening as Denholme surged 3-0 up in the first quarter down the Foster Park slope through Jack Harrison (two) and Matty Waring.
The visitors got one back before half time and stormed 4-3 up, Harrison stopping the rot for the home side with his third.
Bridge regained the lead twice more, with a Danny Moralee screamer in between, but Michael Midgley scored from a corner in the closing seconds to give the teams a point each.
Calder ‘76 Reserves had one of their best ever wins with a 4-2 success away to a Holmfield side lying third.
Two goals from James Redmond gave them victory after the sides had been locked at 2-2.
Debutant Anthony Bailey, Jake Shaw, teenager Dan Kaye and the classy Simon Reekie were in good form for Calder.
The only downside was the late dismissal of Shaw along with a Holmfield player.
A couple of lunch time withdrawals meant Midgley Reserves had to call off Saturday’s match against Brighouse Sports, who are likely to be awarded the points.
However, Midgley are confident of fulfilling next Saturday’s game against Denholme.
Mark Hindle’s goal was in vain for Greetland Reserves, who lost 3-1 at home to AFC Crossleys.
Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves picked up their first point of the season in Division Two, at the 11th attempt, with a 3-3 home draw against Plummet Line.
Ryan Hird, Matthew Senior and Aaron Linksey were on target for them.
A Matthew Smith hat-trick helped leaders Ivy House make it 11 wins out of 11 with a 6-2 home win over a Sowerby United Reserves side who had arrived in good form.
Fellow 100 per cent side Junction Inn won 5-2 away to Crossleys Reserves with the help of two goals each from Jamie Rice and Daniel Lax.
Northowram Reserves avenged an earlier defeat at the hands of Salem Reserves with a 2-1 success.
West Riding Challenge Cup, third round: Illingworth St Marys 1 Carlton Athletic 4, Ryburn United walkover v Skipton LMS (Skipton could not raise a team), Salem 0 Sherburn White Rose 5, Shelf United 0 Robin Hood Athletic 3.
West Riding Challenge Trophy, third round: Beeston St Anthony Res 0 Shelf FC 2, Ryburn United Res 5 Pontefract Sports & Social 3, Shelf United Res 1 Salts Fourths 2.