Stump are team to beat, says rival boss

Football - Warley Rangers v Hebden Royd Red Star. Damon Nicholls for Warley and Simon Wheelwright for Red Star.
Football - Warley Rangers v Hebden Royd Red Star. Damon Nicholls for Warley and Simon Wheelwright for Red Star.

Midgley United boss Craig Gee believes Stump Cross have bright prospects of going one better than last season in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL.

Stump lost out to Ryburn United in a frantic scrap for title honours earlier this year but Tony Kniveton’s side have made a fine start in their bid to go one better.

The Shroggs Park outfit made it four wins out of four in the Premier this season with a 2-1 win away to Midgley in Saturday’s top of the table contest.

Two superb strikes from Tom Robinson did the trick and Gee conceded that the visitors had deserved their success.

“There was not a lot in it but they had a bit more class,” he said.

Stump were without suspended pair Steve Fullard and Dean Lawrence and Gee believes they will be tough to beat at full strength.

“They are by far the best side we have played in our first six games,” he said.

“I think they are favourites (for the title) but I would also expect Ryburn to be up there.”

Stump were the stronger side in a scrappy opening with Midgley keep to stop Stump’s ex-Ovenden pair Martin Ayscough and Liam Brompton bossing midfield.

Robinson opened the scoring midway through the first half with a superb finish from almost 25 yards.

Midgley responded well and Rob Stansfield scored from close range to make it 1-1 at the break.

Both sides had spells in the ascendancy in the second half but Robinson settled it with 10 minutes left, crashing a loose ball into the top corner.

Ryburn are third after a 2-1 home win over Calder ‘76, who were left to rue a string of missed chances in the first half.

Ash Raynor also made some good saves and Calder also had an effort cleared off the line.

Ryburn took an interval lead and then went 2-0 up in the second half, with Reece Uttley and Joe Swallow their scorers, and Calder got one back with a fine individual effort from Steve Jones with 15 minutes left.

A second half hat-trick from top scorer Tom Hiley enabled Warley Rangers to overturn a two-goal deficit and beat a tricky Hebden Royd Red Star 5-3.

Things looked bleak for them after 30 minutes with Red Star racing into a deserved 2-0 lead with an Eddie Harvey double.

But for an inspired performance from goalkeeper Michael Hickinbottom, the home side could have been out of it.

After James Kaye had missed a great chance from two yards, Warley got back into it when Brandon Gilling powered home a header.

Boss Matthew Chapman’s half-time words had the desired effect and, with Reece Brady pulling the strings in midfield, Warley drew level with Hiley unstoppable 20-yarder which went in off the far post.

Hiley’s goal-bound effort was blocked by a desperate defender’s arm and the striker rolled home the penalty with 20 minutes to play.

Star equalised through Lewis Cockroft’s left foot strike into the bottom corner but Carlton Balmer’s superb lob with five minutes left and Hiley’s brilliant free kick from 30 yards into the top corner gave Warley victory.

Shelf United bounced back from a poor performance against Sowerby United with a 4-2 home win against Copley United.

They romped into a 4-0 lead down the Shelf Park slope with their speed, particularly from Elliott Parkinson on the left, too much for the visitors.

Billy Grogan and Oliver Coates combined superbly for Grogan to open the scoring with a good finish on 20 minutes.

Parkinson’s good work paved the way for Grogan to bag his second and a double from Coates put more daylight between the teams.

That should have been game over but Copley broke the offside trap and Craig Kemp chipped ‘keeper Daniel Gill.

When Michael Priestley added a quick second with a near-post header at a corner the visitors’ spirits were raised and they pressed for a third in the next 10 minutes.

However, Shelf weathered the storm and regained the initiative, missing some good chances in the last 15 minutes.

Greetland were 5-0 winners at Sowerby United after sailing into a 4-0 half time lead.

The home side enjoyed a lot of possession but failed to test the Greetland back line.

Defensive errors cost Sowerby dearly with Greetland clinical in their finishing.

Jonny Crowther, a thorn in Sowerby’s side, and man of the match Niall Carrington scored two each with Carl Ainley getting the visitors’ other.

An outstanding debut by Luke Bridges was the big plus for Sowerby in a game allowed to flow by referee Paul Crabtree.

Shaun Popek scored the only goal of the game one minute before half-time as promoted Northowram bagged their second Premier Division win, this time at the expense of visitors Elland United.

Elland had conceded nine the previous week but showed plenty of stomach for a battle.

The Rams dominated down the slope in the first half. Chris Dunne had a header cleared off the fine in the opening minute and Danny Rushworth and Chris Conroy (twice) were denied by fine saves from Alex Wilson before

Popek produced an emphatic finish into the bottom corner after a strong run and pass from Karl Amos.

Elland carried little goal threat but might have had a penalty 10 minutes before half-time following Jake Baker’s clumsy challenge on the outstanding Connah Judson.

Mark Eade and Rushworth missed good chances early in the second half and Elland grew stronger, Amos making a vital block at the far post and James Bunn a superb one-handed reaction save.

At the other end Wilson denied Eade and then Conroy in the final play of the game.

Chris and Martin Woodhouse scored five goals between them as Division One leaders Holmfield crushed visitors Stainland United 9-2.

Sam Shaw, Jamie Keegan, Danny Kirman and Paddy Fitzgibbon were also on target for the winners, who are two points clear.

Mixenden United and Volunteer Arms moved above AFC Crossley’s - who were left without a Challenge Cup game when Halifax Irish Centre failed to raise a team - into second and third places.

Mixenden got the better of visitors Salem 5-3 and Arms won by the same score at Sowerby Bridge with the help of a Mark Kelsey hat-trick.

It was far from plain sailing for Mixenden who trailed 1-0 and then 3-1 against Salem, only to go in level at half time thanks to two quick goals.

The introduction of Danny Johnson into the midfield made a big difference. He gave Mixenden the lead and Adam Burke scored a superb clincher for the hosts with a shot from the left.

Denholme United trailed 2-0 after five minutes - and were lucky not to be down to 10 men - away to Calder ‘76 Reserves before coming through to win 4-3.

Matthew Beeney escaped a red card when conceding a penalty for the first goal and Calder added a quick second before missing several chances.

A Danny Moralee goal before half time gave Denholme a foothold in the game and the visitors played better after Mick O’Connor’s half-time dressing down.

Michael Midgley sprung the offside trap to equalise and a Moralee penalty, after Midgley had been brought down, gave Denholme the lead.

Calder made it 3-3 with five minutes left with a tap-in following a corner but Moralee’s bullet header with a couple of minutes left completed his hat-trick and took the spoils for the visitors.

A Connor Bell double accounted for the goals in Elland Allstars’ home win over Midgley Reserves.

Greetland Reserves, yet to pick up a point, were mauled 8-0 at home by their Ryburn counterparts.

Brighouse Sports dropped their first points of the season in Division Two when surprisingly held 4-4 at home by Sowerby Bridge Reserves.

St Columbas went second, above inactive Illingworth SM, with a 4-0 home win over Shelf United Reserves while Shelf FC were grateful to Ben Ireland, who scored both goals in a 2-1 success away to Salem Reserves.

Young Jack Harrison struck a fine hat-trick to help Denholme Reserves beat Crossleys Reserves 4-2 at Foster Park.