HAVING already been confirmed as promoted to the Premier Division of The Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League, Sun Inn hit a wobble over the past ten days with successive defeats, writes Andy Dawson.
Lee Nicholson’s charges first lost to fellow title aspirants Lee Mount before collapsing against FC Champs on Sunday.
Lee Mount’s impressive cup exploits mean that although they still sit in fourth in the league standings, their games in hand make them the most likely side to potentially pip Sun to the title.
The first mid-week fixture of the latter stages of the season was well contested, as Sun troubled Mount with some incisive attacking play, but the visitors looked dangerous on the counter.
The Rastrick side stole the advantage through a free-kick from Rob Malone.
Lee Mount are particularly strong in central areas, where Danny Kirman and Gareth Gaukroger form a commanding alliance, and it was a typical break from midfield by Kirman that saw the visitors level as he fired home past Gary Nicholson.
Then a second free kick of the match found the back of the net. The strike from a good distance was too hot for Nicholson to handle with the wind behind it and gave Mount the 2-1 victory.
On Sunday, normal service looked to have been resumed against Champs, as Sun raced into a 3-0 interval lead. Despite missing Aaron Brook, Steve Tuite and Tom Gorringe the Rastrickians netted through Malone, Ben Timson and an own goal.
The floss to injury of centre half Dave Phelan did not help – but a huge second half collapse saw Champs strengthen their promotion credentials with a 6-3 win.
Also on Sunday, Old Pond found Lee Mount as their injury and absentee crisis once more kicked in.
Andy Dawson made up the numbers, coming out of retirement, and Darrell Holdsworth took to the field after working a late shift.
Dawson shot just wide and Ricky Walker had a goal disallowed for offside, while defensively Pond looked strong. Ryan Richardson and Jamie O’Callaghan both put in excellent shifts in midfield against strong opponents.
Their resistance was broken as Craig Gladwin opened the scoring, before Callum Meade gave Mount a 2-0 interval lead.
Stand-in keeper Paul Taylor made some good saves, but had little chance with Mount’s third from Kirman’s free kick.
The score remained 3-0 for a lengthy period and a only a great double save by Mount keeper Jordan Pettifer from Steve Galloway kept the home sides clean sheet intact.
With tiring legs, Pond circumbed to two late goals from Lee Mount sub Shaun Baxter who slid in at the back post twice to give a flattering gloss to the scoreline.
A miserable week for Brighouse sides was compounded as Thornhill Briggs were perhaps surprisingly beaten by Ovenden Amateurs on Savile Park. Glen Hall was disappointed to fall to a 3-0 reversal and believed his side had dominated for large chunks of the match without being able to breach the Ovenden rear-guard.
Next xixtures (kick off 11am unless stated), Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League – Division One Sunday, April 15: Hollins Holme v Sun Inn (Calder Holmes Pk, Hebden Bridge), Halifax Rangers v Thornhill Briggs (Savile Park).
Tuesday, April 17 (6pm): Old Pond v Elland Sports Res (Lane Head), Thornhill Briggs v Lee Mount (Hipp & Light H.S.).
Division Two: Sunday April 15: Stallions FC v Triangle (Savile Park)
Tuesday April 17 (6pm): Rastrick Bowling Club v Halifax Rangers Res (Carr Green).