SUN INN were given a stern examination by a good Cock & Bottle side on Sunday – but came through to reach the semi-finals of The Bridge Balti League Cup, writes Andy Dawson.
The Southowram visitors were twice in the lead at Carr Green against Lee Nicholson’s Division One leaders, but the Rastrick side struck back through Dave Phelan and Ben Timson before going on to secure progression to the last four.
Rob Malone was kept at bay by C & B at first, but was once more the main man as he netted a second half brace to put Sun through 4-2.
They will now be strong favourites against Elland Sports Reserves, where should they win would play either Lee Mount or conquerors of Old Pond in a previous round, Ovenden Amateurs, in the final at Brighouse Town’s Dual Seal Stadium.
Pond have improved since their knockout elimination to Ovenden and Richard Dawson’s side made it six wins out of seven against Hollins Holme in Division One on Sunday.
Paul Taylor headed wide from one of a number of dangerous Lee Williams set pieces, while Richard Walker saw a volley parried by Ben Norman in the visitors’ net. Joe Shaw also had a header tipped over the bar.
The match remained goalless at the interval but the opening goal was very much a Route One affair. Player Manager Dawson hoofed the ball from defence into the path of centre forward Steve Galloway who nodded over the onrushing keeper.
The second goal came on the hour mark, with Ryan Turton winning a free kick after being chopped down out wide. Michael Barlow centred, Galloway flicked on and Shaw bravely headed home in typical fashion at the back post.
The final margin should have been much higher but some profligacy in front of goal and a strong performance from Hollins keeper Norman, including a penalty save from Taylor, meant that only one more goal would follow.
Ryan Richardson beat the offside trap as the visitors defence became more stretched, played in Barlow and he took his time before finding the right moment to slot home to give Pond a 3-0 win.
Thornhill Briggs finally got some action under their belt after a lengthy weather induced hiatus and made light work as expected of bottom side Halifax Rangers.
Briggs were five up after just fifteen minutes but their opponents dug in and even managed a couple of goals themselves in an eventual 8-2 defeat.
Jamie Marshall and Jordan Parnell both netted hat-tricks in the victory, Parnell’s third from 25 yards the goal of the game, with Lee Shepherd and a rare Lee Handley goal securing three points.
In Division Two both Top Club and Rastrick Bowling Club were shocked by unexpected defeats to lower placed opponents on the road.
Bowling Club have been thrown out of their stride by a string of postponements but it was more failing to take chances that cost them the points against Hebden Bridge AFC.
Kevin O’Brien stated that his side probably had as many as four times more chances to score than their opponents– but couldn’t get past the Hebden keeper as the home side clung on for a 2-1 victory. Arron Burnside finished off a great move from defence to attack having returned from an absence from the side, but his team couldn’t turn possession into points. O’Brien was also quick to thank veteran official Mike Kinnear for agreeing to travel all the way to Hebden Bridge at late notice to officiate the match.
Top Club may have been unlucky to face a Vine Reserves side when their opponent’s first string had no game but made no excuses after a disappointing performance on Savile Park.
Vine used the downhill slope to their advantage well in the first period firing home a well struck free kick and a shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The second half started better and TC profited from an own goal to get fully back into the tie, but failed to build on the momentum.
A defensive error and a free kick from the by-line which flew over keeper Butler’s head put the game beyond the Rastrickians, before Vine rubbed salt into TC’s wounds with a fifth goal that Butler couldn’t keep out. Triangle remain well placed for promotion to Division One following a 3-2 victory over Ryburn Valley.
Next fixtures: Bridge Balti Halifax Sunday League – Division One (11am): Ovenden Amateurs v Old Pond (Savile Park), Sun Inn v Cock & Bottle (Carr Green Rec), Thornhill Briggs v Lee Mount (Hipp & Light HS).
Division Two: Top Club v The Vine Reserves (Lane Head), Triangle v Rastrick Bowling Club (Savile Park).