Saints blitz Rams in top clash
THE big game in Division One of the Halifax AFL proved to be a one-sided affair with leaders Illingworth St Mary's thrashing Northowram 7-2 on the 3G at Trinity Academy.
The contest was effectively over by half-time as the home side established a 5-0 advantage in spite of a six-week break.
The Rams had no answer to Saints’ tidy passing, neat control and intelligent running off the ball.
Brandon Field took advantage of a poor back pass from Archie Griffiths to open the scoring after 12 minutes and two minutes later Gareth Gaukroger doubled the lead with a well-worked goal.
Matt Calland side-footed a penalty wide for the visitors before Phil Livsey was on the end of another neat bout of passing to put his side three ahead after 34 minutes.
Three minutes later a long ball caught out the defence and Luke Prosser lobbed the ball over James Bunn. Ash Smee hooked the ball clear but a goal was awarded.
Gaukroger completed the first half scoring and Field slotted number six four minutes after half-time.
Prosser swept into the area and dinked home number seven with 20 minutes left but the Rams saved a little face thanks to Josh Baines’ superbly-struck curling free kick into the top corner and when Chris Dunne slid in Calland’s cross.
St Columbas were 4-2 home winners over Elland Allstars in the section’s other game, clawing back some of the 12 points they have lost since last in action due to other clubs folding,
When Kutubo Touray was brought down in the area midway through the first half, skipper Ryan O’Neill finished from the spot.
The lead was doubled when a botched defensive clearance fell to striker Frank Odion, who tucked the ball home.
A nice give and go between O’Neill and Touray put O’Neill through on goal and he passed it into the top corner to make it 3-0
Elland pulled one back on the stroke of half time with an excellent strike from Jorge Westin-Pearson.
Both sides scored second half penalties, Ben Attle converting for Elland and O’Neill completing his hat-trick for Saints with the last kick of the game.
AFC Crossleys extended the gap between themselves and second-placed Shelf United Reserves to eight points with a 3-1 home win in Division Two.
Bailey Naylor, Lewis Oldridge and Nick Meade scored for the likely champions with Dom Wray replying.
Greetland Reserves went third, converting a 1-0 interval lead into a 3-1 success away to Sowerby United Reserves.
There was a rare goalless draw at Northowram Rec, where Northowram Reserves picked up only a third point of the season against fellow strugglers Stainland United.
Calder ‘76 Reserves climbed into mid-table with a 2-0 home success against Sowerby Bridge Reserves.
CARLTON Balmer struck four times and Jake Bradbury twice as Division Three leaders Elland United won 6-2 away to Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves.
Second-placed Shelf FC Reserves maintained their pursuit with goals from Jason Hanks, Ben King and Daniel Marsden in a 3-0 win away to Warley Rangers.
Warley were left marooned at the bottom when Flying Dutchman had a 5-1 home win over AFC Crossleys Reserves, aided by a Matthew Seekins hat-trick.