Halifax AFL: Elland United beat Crossleys in Invitation Cup final

Elland United celebrate winning the Invitation Cup
Elland United celebrate winning the Invitation Cup

Elland United beat AFC Crossleys 3-2 at the Shay last night in the Halifax AFL’s Covea Insurance Invitation Cup final.

The sides have been crowned runaway champions in Divisions Three and Two respectively in the current season and they treated a bumper crowd to a very exciting game.

The more experienced Elland side just hung on against a young AFC Crossleys outfit.

Crossleys started well, playing some excellent football with Liam Brook, Declan Allchin and the very impressive Kaylum Paine to the fore.

Elland were a threat when they got the ball forward with Carlton Balmer and man of the match Mark Kelsey dangerous.

Elland went ahead on the half hour mark when Dene Heppenstall split the Crossleys defence for Kelsey to go clear and lob the keeper.

Crossleys continued to play flowing football but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.

Five minutes before the break Elland doubled their lead with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards by Heppenstall.

Crossleys got themselves back in it when Ben Cole headed home from a free kick.

Elland reacted immediately, another fine ball from Heppenstall putting Kelsey through to tuck the ball into the net.

It looked all over but Crossleys struck again when Lewis Oldridge pulled the ball back for Sam Cole to hammer home.

It was backs to the wall for Elland in the final 10 minutes as they started to tire.

Kellan Bradbury was strong at the back for them as Crossleys’ pressure grew and grew but they held out.

Elland United; M.Hickinbottom, B.James,A.Squire, A.James, K.Bradbury, D.Heppenstall, J.Carrol, C.Balmer, M.Kelsey. Subs: A.Goldthorpe, V.Boon, D.Keighley.

AFC Crossleys; K.Sunderland, B.McGinley, D.Ozabruk, B.Cole, B.Naylor, T.McGregor, T.Kershaw, S.Cole, L.Brook, K.Payne, D.Allchin. Subs: C.Atkinson, L.Oldridge, N.Meade.

Referee: Sean Byrne.