Halifax AFL lower divisions

Match report
Match report

Northowram must sit and suffer at the top of Division One after registering a 3-1 win at home to Brighouse Sports in their final game of the season.

The section has been left with only seven teams after sides folded during the campaign and the Rams could be overhauled by Illingworth SM, Mixenden and St Columbas, who have two games or more left.

They have a three-point advantage at the moment after a hard fought success over a spirited and youthful Brighouse side.

Playing up the slope and against a stiff wind, Jake Baker’s volley brought a flying save from Aaron Beaumont before Chris Gent linked with Ash Smee and a clever dummy from Chris Dunne allowed Matt Calland to score with an angled finish after 17 minutes.

Brighouse, showing some neat touches, almost equalised with a shot that hit the foot of one post, rolled along the goal line and hit the foot of the other.

They did draw level on 34 minutes through Connor Durkin’s free header from a corner.

The Rams made the perfect start to the second half with a fine goal from Dunne, who turned a couple of defenders and curled a shot into the far corner.

Brighouse put a one-on-one chance wide on the hour but it took fine defending, assured goalkeeping and wayward shooting to keep the visitors in the game.

Dunne missed the best chance of the match but top scorer Calland calmed home nerves with seven minutes left when he hit a measured curling shot that left the keeper rooted to the spot.

St Columbas beat Mixenden United 3-0 at Natty Lane in the crunch other fixture in Division One to keep their promotion hopes in their own hands.

Mixenden were weakened by three suspensions and Saints moved to within five points of them with two games in hand and a return fixture to come a week on Saturday.

Saints opened the scoring when the excellent Luke Sharman broke down the right and Vinny O’Shea finished first time from Sharman’s inviting cross.

The lead was doubled from a James Stansfield corner, big centre back Jacob Richardson powering home a header from 12 yards.

Mixenden were reduced to 10 men shortly before half time after a player received a second caution and Saints cruised to victory in an uneventful second half.

George Cook put the icing on the cake, passing the ball into an empty net from 25 yards after a mis-hit clearance fell at his feet.

Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves boosted their chances of filling the runners-up berth behind AFC Crossleys in Division Two when they beat fellow challengers Shelf United Reserves 4-3 at Trinity Academy.

‘Retired’ former prolific goal scorer John Booth came on as a substitute and got one of their goals with Matthew Crowther, Morgan Eastwood and Steve Galloway also on target for Saints.

Northowram Reserves’ dramatic improvement in form continued with a 4-0 win away to Calder ‘76 Reserves at Holmes Park, Luddenden Foot.

They have picked up 11 points from five games this year after collecting only two from nine games earlier in the season.

It was top versus bottom in Division Three and it showed as Elland United thrashed Warley Rangers 17-3 at Savile Park.

Eight visiting players got on the score sheet with Carlton Balmer (six) and Mark Kelsey (five) the main beneficiaries.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves moved into second, a distance behind Elland, with a 2-1 win against Flying Dutchman. Craig Mosley’s goal was in vain for Dutchman.

Shelf FC Reserves slipped to third after a 4-2 loss against AFC Crossleys Reserves at Holmfield Rec.

Scott Osborne struck twice for the visitors but was upstaged by home hat-trick man Toby Bates with Ollie Brumby completing the home side’s tally.