Lees joy at Ivy's climb
Ivy House clinched the Halifax AFL Division Two title in emphatic fashion on Saturday, romping to a 5-0 win away to Junction Athletic with four of the goals in the first half.
Ian Smith’s side, in their first season in the league, will now try to make it a double in the Invitation Cup final against division-higher Ryburn United Reserves at the Shay on May 15.
One of the first people to congratulate them was Yorkshire CCC batsman Alex Lees, who played several matches at centre half for them earlier in the season.
He posted a message from Birmingham, where he was playing against Warwickshire, to congratulate his footballing teammates.
Junction were in the promotion hunt themselves up to Saturday but they were clear second best at Carr Green.
Hayden Kerris opened the scoring when his shot from distance was palmed down by the keeper and he mopped up the rebound.
Jake Kennedy doubled the lead and was then brought down for a penalty converted by Scott Eastwood.
Manager’s son Matty Smith extended the lead with a fine long-range shot before going off injured at half time and his replacement Isaac Nichol completed the scoring midway through the second half.
Ian Smith said the side had a nucleus of players from a former junior side he had run at Crossley’s, including his sons Jimmy and Matty.
“The oldest player in the team is about 25. They started together as kids and they now go out together.”
Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves’ young side clinched promotion in only their second season with a hard fought 5-0 victory over Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.
The runners-up spot rounded off a fine season for the club with the first team winning the Premier Division.
Illingworth dominated but missed several good opportunities before Tom Holroyde finished a neat move just before the break.
On the stroke of half time Tom Mcgregor doubled the lead with his 24th goal of the season.
The outcome was never in doubt after that with Brandon Field adding two fine finishes and Bailey Naylor completing victory with a great 30 yarder.
Sowerby Bridge Reserves kept Salem Reserves rooted to the foot of the league with a 7-1 success. Kriss Charnock and Tom Horne scored five goals between them.
Calder ‘76 boosted their hopes of the runners-up spot in the Premier Division when they avenged their only defeat of 2017 with a 1-0 win away to Shelf United on Saturday.
Shelf had won 4-1 at Luddenden Foot Park on January 21 but Calder had registered five wins and two draws since and kept up the good work thanks to Rick Topham’s penalty after he had been pushed on the hour.
United had the edge in a tight first half, which had few chances, but Calder got a hold of the game after the break.
Harry Talbot put one good shot wide for Shelf but Joe Kidder only had one decent save to make.
At the other end, Ethan Daley made a good save from Ben Fairburn and Calder had chances late on to grab a second.
Northowram finished a much-improved campaign with a 4-0 home win over Midgley United, who they are now certain to finish above.
Rams’ record goal scorer Mark Eade, playing his final game, bowed out in style with a quality goal.
The visitors, playing down the slope and minus several regulars, had the better chances in the first half.
Josh Baines’ badly miscued clearance would have resulted in an own goal but for sprawling keeper James Bunn but he quickly made amends when his well-directed glancing header from Chris Gent’s cross put the Rams ahead.
Midgley hit a post and Bunn palmed a close range header on to the bar whilst Eade’s angled shot from wide out skimmed the bar.
It was one-way traffic in the second half with Northowram bossing the midfield.
Eade’s perfectly-struck curling free kick left keeper Rob Laycock motionless. A delightful piece of skill from Matt Calland gave substitute Chris Conroy the chance to hammer home off the underside of the bar.
Calland added a fourth after Gent’s shot had bounced back off the post.
Fourth-placed Warley Rangers won 2-0 away to Ryburn United with goals from Carlton Balmer and Anthony Campbell,
It will have put them in good heart for next Monday’s Halifax FA Cup final against Huddersfield Amateurs at the Shay.
Shelf FC will have to wait a little longer to be crowned Division One champions but their success is now a formaility after Midgley Reserves informed the league they would not be able to raise a side to play them this Wednesday.
The three points they will be awarded will take them out of reach of Sowerby Bridge, who are also promoted and have one match left.
Both of the top two won on Savile Park on Saturday. Shelf beat Salem with the help of two goals from Alex O’Keefe and Bridge were 4-3 home winners against AFC Crossley’s with a hat-trick from Luke Maguire.
Wednesday - Premier Division: Ryburn United v Hebden Royd RS.
Division One: Calder 76 Res v Elland Allstars.