Easy win for Ryburn on title trail
A dominant first half display paved the way for Ryburn United to move closer to the Halifax AFL title with a 5-2 win away to Sowerby United on Saturday.
They have a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier Division and further turned the screw on Shelf FC and Sowerby Bridge, who have a big fixture backlog.
The warning signs were there for Sowerby from the off, keeper Garry Boyd having to produce a fine save in the second minute.
Sowerby offered little in the first half and turned round 4-0 down with goals from Tom Hiley (two), Nathan Hargreaves and man of the match Brad Waddington.
The hosts showed some improvement in the second half and pulled one back through Corey Henderson but Ryburn quickly replied with a Joe Swallow penalty.
James Crossfield was outstanding for Sowerby in defence and his side grabbed a second goal when Connor Ashworth powered home a fine header.
Sowerby are third from bottom, Calder ‘76 having moved above them courtesy of a 1-0 home success over Illingworth St Mary’s in a nervy basement battle on a heavy pitch at Luddenden Foot.
The decisive goal came on the hour when Ben Oldfield put in a cross and rival pair Sam Cartwright and Jordan Pettifor met the ball together. It ended up in the back of the net with Calder’s Cartwright claiming the goal.
Northowram are just above bottom side Illingworth on goal difference after a 4-3 home defeat to Hebden Royd Red Star, who have risen to fifth with two wins in eight days.
The Rams took the lead down the slope through Matt Calland after six minutes and should have doubled their lead but Lewis Oldridge side-footed a penalty wide shortly after.
Red Star took advantage of poor Northowram defending to charge into a 3-1 lead through George Oliver’s free header from a corner, Danny Lumb’s shot into the corner and Lewis Cockroft’s effort stabbed into the bottom corner.
Lumb headed against a post and Tom Barclay added to Star’s tally.
Josh Baines and Oldridge missed chances for the Rams before they were gifted a goal when Jack Gormley headed Calland’s centre into his own net.
Calland’s piledriver from the spot made it 4-3 in the second half but Pugh’s header restored the two-goal cushion and Star might have extended their lead before a horrible miskick from keeper Brendan Barclay let in Oldridge for a simple finish.
There were also three matches in Division One with Ivy House unable to raise a team to host leaders Denholme United.
There were 5-1 home wins for Brighouse Sports and Salem against Copley United and Holmfield respectively.
George Aspinall and Connor Durkin scored twice each for Sports. Jay Thomas hit a hat-trick and Nick Green scored the other two goals for third-placed Salem, who have a point more than Sports.
Next-to-bottom AFC Crossley’s picked up a seventh point of the season thanks to Andrew Brunning’s goal in a 1-1 win away to Ryburn United Reserves.
The gap between Plummet Line and St Columba’s at the top of Division Two remains at five points after both won 4-0 at home.
Liam Calvert struck twice for Plummet against Midgley Reserves on Savile Park.
Saints made it seven league wins on the bounce with success over Sowerby United Reserves at Natty Lane, Illingworth.
Kutubo Touray and George Cook both capitalised on shots that the keeper could only parry to put Saints 2-0 up by half time.
Jacob Richardson headed home a Touray cross and Macauley Mountain came off the bench to grab a fourth late on.
Greetland Reserves beat Northowram Reserves by the odd goal in seven while Tom Gorringe and Dan McLeod netted twice each as third-placed Junction Inn won 7-0 away to Hebden Royd Red Star.
Division Three champions Mixenden United shared the spoils with Shelf FC Reserves in a 4-4 draw.