Midgley power 11 points clear

Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Midgley United. Dan Lumb for Red Star and Toby Standring for Midgley.
Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Midgley United. Dan Lumb for Red Star and Toby Standring for Midgley.

Midgley are employing “catch us if you can” tactics in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL.

Craig Gee’s side have stormed into an 11-point lead at the top of the Premier Division after a 3-0 victory over second-placed Hebden Royd Red Star.

Star had been unbeaten in the league since losing 2-1 at Midgley in their first game of the season and Gee was delighted to complete a derby double on Saturday.

However, he is taking nothing for granted in the title race after Ryburn United built up a big lead last season before being reeled in by Shelf FC.

Midgley are yet to play either of the Shelf clubs or Sowerby Bridge and Gee believes four or five teams are capable of challenging for the title, which Midgley last won in the 2012-13 season.

“There is a lot of football still to play,” he said.

Both of the Calder Valley rivals had players missing between Christmas and New Year.

Midgley had half a dozen out while Star looked toothless without front pair Lewis Cockroft and Jack Gormley and player-boss Chris Garbutt said his side wouldn’t have scored if they had been playing for three days.

Gee admitted the quality of play had been modest on what he described as a small, ropey pitch.

Midgley took the lead after 15 minutes when Sam Tattersall out-muscled a Star opponent and put in a cross, Kurtis Elder applying a good finish with his head.

The advantage was doubled after around 30 minutes when a defensive header from Star’s Tom Harris hit a teammate, Midgley’s Joe Gibson mis-kicked and the ball rolled towards the line where Tattersall smashed it home.

Star applied some pressure after the break but Midgley stood firm.

Veteran Darren Nelson came on up front for Midgley for the last 20 minutes and held up the ball well.

Young Jack Holmes settled matters with an effort into the bottom corner of the net.

Shelf FC after still only played five league games after their contest away to Calder ‘76 was called off due to the lack of a referee.

Honours were even at Foster Park where Denholme United and Ryburn United fought out a 3-3 draw and stay locked together near the foot of the table.

Ex-Copley striker Gary Ash, Alex Coburn and Christian Silkstone scored for the visitors.