Illingworth St Mary’s put more daylight between themselves and rest in the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL’s middle section after coming from a goal down to beat Midgley United Reserves 4-1 on Saturday.
Four games survived the incessant rain with Trinity Academy’s artificial pitch again coming up trumps for the Saints, who have notched five wins already this year.
They beat Midgley 1-0 away on January 2 and completed the double in windy conditions to go nine points clear.
An even first half was goalless until a mix up between ‘keeper Richard Langley and Mike Gregory saw the ball fired across the box and cannon in off Warren Gray for an own goal.
Illingworth equalised through another ‘keeper mistake. Gareth Gaukroger hit a free kick which should have been an easily take but instead it slipped through the legs of the Midgley keeper.
The home side took the lead through Phil Livsey’s wind- assisted corner after 50 minutes and Illingworth missed chances before John Booth, returning from injury, scored twice in the last 20 minutes.
Elland United moved above AFC Crossleys on goal difference into fifth place with a 4-2 win in the pair’s clash at Hullen Edge.
Elland blasted into a 2-0 lead with a double from Mark Kelsey, his first from a ball over the top and his second following a corner.
The visitors missed plenty of chances throughout but Matty Clark got them back in it before half time after the ‘keeper had only parried Andy Brunning’s effort.
Crossleys had high hopes of turning it round with the elements in their favour but Jake Bradbury made it 3-1 after an hour, showing his paces and then chipping ‘keeper Kev Crossley, the ball going in off the underside of the bar.
Ian King and Tyrone Shields pave the way for Craig Gladwin to volley the visitors’ second but Connah Judson put the outcome beyond doubt with five minutes left.
St Columba’s moved eight points clear at the top of Division Two with a gritty 2-1 victory over Shelf United Reserves in a game that was switched to Savile Park.
Shelf have only won once this season but their strong-looking side pushed for an equaliser right up to the last minute in difficult conditions.
The impressive Kutubo Touray was again in great form for Saints and he opened the scoring against the run of play midway through the first half, after referee Phil Crouch had played an excellent advantage.
Shelf had the wind behind them in the first half and will have felt hard done by to be behind at the break. However, they did grab an equaliser early in the second half from a corner kick with Mark Wheelwright the scorer.
Saints regained the lead when Andy Sandells turned defence into attack down the right hand side. Good work from Jack Dobson and man of the match Touray lead to a tap in for striker Frank Odion.
The game was becoming a real war of attrition as the rain started to take its toll on an already heavy pitch and both teams battled hard in the last 20 minutes but Saints held on.
Sowerby United Reserves staged a rousing second half fight back to share the points in a 4-4 draw away to Sowerby Bridge Reserves.
Bridge started strongly and raced into a four goal lead inside 20 minutes with three goals from Neil Davies and one from Lee Wood.
United slowly got a grip on the game and both sides had a man sent off late in the first half.
Constant pressure from United early in the second half finally told when Rory Thickett scored.
This lifted United, who were now pinning their hosts in their own half.
The woodwork saved the Bridge on a couple of occasions before Thickett got his second which was quickly followed by one from Callum Huggan.
United hit the woodwork again and when one effort stuck in the mud on the goal line it looked as though the Bridge would hang on but Thickett completed his hat-trick and made it 15 goals in his last three games.