Calder ‘76, Midgley United and Ryburn United all advertised their Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL title credentials on Saturday.
They won by comfortable margins and occupy the top three places in the Premier following the postponement of the much-anticipated Shelf United versus Mixenden United contest.
That game, postponed at the last minute to the disappointment of the hosts, was one of only three games in the league to be called off on a rare mild Saturday.
Calder are four points clear after beating Northowram 4-1 for the second time this season.
Home boss Rob Kenworthy’s efforts in disinfecting the dressing rooms, flooded after Christmas, paid off at Luddenden Foot.
After a slow start the game came to life with three goals in five minutes.
Remi Allen got the first after 20 minutes when visiting ‘keeper James Bunn failed to claim the ball in his six yard box from Gav Fleming’s corner.
Chris Conroy’s lovely finish made it 1-1 but Gav Fleming scored a superb second for the hosts with a good run and stunning 25 yard shot with his “wrong” foot into the top corner.
When Topham cashed in from Bunn’s poor goal kick to beat the ‘keeper from 25 yards just before half time, Calder’s confidence soared and they controlled the second half.
Calder had a couple of goals disallowed but Allen got his second midway through the half after good work from Topham.
Midgley United climbed to second with a 4-2 win away to Greetland in their first league match for more than two months.
After a scrappy opening Liam Brompton gave the visitors the lead from an indirect free kick after 25 minutes and although the goal settled the visitors, they still went in at half time 2-1 down.
Charlie Cliffe and Danny Dorward netted for Greetland, one of the goals coming when Midgley ‘keeper Gareth Swaine was unable to hold a long ball over the top.
The visitors upped their game in the second half. Andrew Butterworth got them on terms midway through it, thanks to good work from Tom Booth down the right.
Rob Stansfield’s good run forward and ball over the top enabled Jake Shaw to give Midgley the lead with a lob over the ‘keeper.
Butterworth sealed victory from close range after Booth had flicked on a corner.
Ryburn won 6-1 away to Copley United with the help of two goals each from Christian Silkstone and Alex Coburn.
Warley are sixth but certainly in the title hunt ahead of what is sure to be a hectic last three months of the season.
They recorded a resounding 8-1 win at bottom of the table Holmfield, who despite playing with only 10 men for an hour battled gamely until the end.
The opening 10 minutes were very open with speedy Jake Kennedy causing Warley problems and Holmfield were unlucky not to be in front.
However, Carlton Balmer looked as sharp as anyone after the break and latched onto Reece Brady’s pass to rifle past Craig Lobley at his near post for 1-1.
Rangers began to relax and Balmer raced away and squared for Tom Hiley to add the second. The same pair combined again minutes later with Lobley doing well to save Balmer’s shot, only for Hiley to slam the ball into the net.
A defensive calamity enabled Kennedy to get one back but Balmer and Hiley combined to tee up ex-Holmfield player Danny Kirman to steer in a fine strike.
Kirman added a second with a bullet header from Kendall’s fine cross and Hiley completed his hat trick from the spot after Balmer was felled in the area to make it 6-1 at half time.
Rangers added two more straight after the break. Hiley was the beneficiary of more excellent work from Balmer before Kirman’s delightful cross to Balmer was volleyed in at the far post.
Holmfield had a full complement of players by the hour mark and gave us good as they got for the remainder of the match.
Illingworth St Mary’s look bound for the top flight as Division One champions after thrashing Brighouse Sports 5-0 in the battle of the top two at Trinity Academy.
Saints, who had crushed their other main rivals Sowerby United 7-1 a fortnight earlier, made light of the absence of 45-goal pair Joe Griffin and John Booth.
Gareth Gaukroger stepped up with a hat-trick, his first coming with an overhead kick following a Brandon Field corner.
The hosts maintained the tempo and quickly made it 2-0 with another top finish from Gaukroger from Luke Prosser’s through ball.
Callum Cook made it 3-0 from a flowing move and another screamer from Phil Livsey made it 4-0 at the break after he had previously hit the bar.
The second half was more even affair but Brighouse offered little going forward and Mike Gregory squared to Gaukroger to complete his hat-trick.
Brighouse could face a battle for the second promotion place with Sowerby United, who impressed in a 3-0 win at Midgley United Reserves.
Sowerby dominated from the off and played some great football on the heavy pitch.
Ben Attle drilled home on the half hour mark, Josh Hiley slotted home just after the break and Attle got his second when he rose above everyone to power home a great header.
Elland Allstars are fourth after beating visitors Calder ‘76 Reserves with two goals from Jorge Westin-Pearson.
Ryburn United Reserves climbed out of the bottom two on goal difference with a 4-3 home win over Sowerby Bridge.
Salem are now bottom after crashing 6-2 at home to AFC Crossleys, who had Andrew Brunning (four) and Craig Gladwin (two) on target.
Division Two leaders St Columba’s were held 4-4 by Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves in an entertaining game.
Hebden took the lead against the run of play after their stand in goalkeeper Chris Garbutt had made a string of excellent saves.
Garbutt was eventually beaten by one of his own men after a Vinny O’Shea cross was headed past him and into the top corner.
Saints continued to press and took a deserved 2-1 lead after Ryan O’Neill was brought down and O’Shea slotted home from the spot.
The second half was more even and Hebden equalised on 65 minutes after a good run down the left had led to a simple finish.
Sub Barry Richardson made an instant impact with a great individual goal, but Saints were undone by a long ball as Hebden made it 3-3.
Richardson scored what looked to be a winner with 10 minutes left after a deflection saw the ball loop over Garbutt.
However, with a couple of minutes left the ball bounced up in a goal mouth scramble and brushed the arm of O’Neill. Skipper James Cowens tucked away the penalty.
Veteran skipper Andy Hurcombe scored a hat trick to help Greetland AFC Reserves beat hosts Sowerby Bridge Reserves 6-0.
Brian Vickers’ side have now won eight league games in a row and Hurcombe has scored 23 goals this season.
Bridge played well in the first half and Greetland had to be patient before taking the lead with a header from Gary Taylor. Hurcombe doubled the lead just before half time.
Bridge had a man sent off early in the second half before Hurcombe and Taylor both scored again. Karl Jowett’s long range effort went in off a post and Hurcombe completed the scoring.
Matty Waring scored twice as Denholme United Reserves won 3-1 away to Northowram Reserves,
Rory Thickett’s great run in front of goal continued with six in Sowerby Reserves’ 10-1 home win over Shelf United Reserves.
Scott Fieldhouse had a hat-trick and Josh Skinner got the other two as Salem Reserves moved off the bottom with a 5-2 win away to Crossleys Reserves.