Copley’s turnaround is complete

Description:Copley United v Brighouse Sports.'Division One of the Halifax AFL. Pictured is Alexander West and Gary Ash
Description:Copley United v Brighouse Sports.'Division One of the Halifax AFL. Pictured is Alexander West and Gary Ash

COPLEY United are set to return to the Premier Division after just a season out following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Brighouse Sports at Shroggs Park.

The fixture was being billed as a promotion decider between the second and third placed clubs and Copley’s win, courtesy of a goal from Toby Young, takes them above their rivals.

Both sides have finished their fixtures and Copley, set to be awarded three points after Calder ‘76 were unable to raise a team against them a fortnight earlier, needed only to avoid a repeat of their heavy earlier defeat against Sports to be sure of finishing runners-up to runaway winners Denholme United.

Promotion represents a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Copley, who failed to win a match in the top flight in the 2016-17 season when their three points came from draws.

Conversely, Illingworth St Mary’s have hit the buffers after being one of the AFL’s most impressive top-flight champions ever last season when they dropped only two points in 20 games.

They have finished bottom of the Premier this time in spite of a 7-3 home win over Sowerby United in their final game on Friday.

That was only their third win and not enough to lift them above next-to-bottom Northowram, whose 8-3 win at Midgley earlier in the week saved them from the one relegation place.

Shelf FC maintained their remarkable attempt to overhaul Ryburn United and take the Premier title with a 9-3 win at Greetland on Saturday.

Their eighth league win in a row came with the help of four more goals from Callum Lewis, braces from Matthew Hartley and substitute Alex O’Keefe, and one from Josh Hans.

Shelf look set to be awarded three points from an unplayed game against Midgley. They would then be 10 behind Ryburn, who have finished their fixtures, with games against Sowerby Bridge (two), Greetland and Shelf United to come from May 5.

Sowerby Bridge warmed up for two cup finals this week with a 4-0 win over Shelf United on Savile Park.

Damian Watkins prodded home one of their goals and got another with a header, Lee Wood and Andrew Markham getting the others.

Shelf boss John Lister had hoped to be playing cricket on Saturday but the Northowram Fields captain’s game at Brighouse was washed out.

Instead he found himself playing in goal for Shelf after Ethan Daly went off injured on 10 minutes.

Holmfield have finished fourth in Division One in spite of a 6-5 home defeat to Elland Allstars in their finale.

Nathan Sloane must have been felt like pointing the finger at his teammates after scoring all five Holmfield goals. Ben Attle scored a hat-trick for the Natty Lane visitors.

Ivy House notched a 6-3 derby success over Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves in the other game in the section.

Division Two champions Plummet Line, with the pressure off, let points slip for only the second time this season when held 3-3 by Sowerby Bridge Reserves.

It was very much a game of two halves. Plummet were three up by the break, playing some lovely football with Josh Hunt pulling the strings in midfield and Tom Howse providing assists for two of the three goals, which were scored by Adam Knapton (2) and Kris Charnock. Sowerby had a player sent off for a dangerous tackle.

After the break it was all Bridge, who scored two quickfire goals before adding a third 10 minutes later.

Both sides almost snatched it, Sowerby with a glancing header from a corner and Plummet with a driven shot from the edge of the area by Ahmad Yehyah which the keeper did well to save.

Junction, who have finished third, conceded their game away to Midgley United Reserves.

A Plummet Line XI are playing Andy’s Man Club in a charity match at Calderdale College on Sunday (1.30). The Plummet Line pub is sponsoring the event.