Hebden Royd Red Star registered an impressive 5-0 win away to Ryburn United on Saturday to show that they have far from given up on their Halifax AFL title hopes.
Chris Garbutt’s side were producing an excellent reponse to their 3-0 defeat at home to runaway leaders and Calder Valley rivals Midgley United seven days earlier.
A hat-trick from Lewis Cockroft and two goals from substitute James Speechley gave Star victory at Ripponden Wood and the second-placed side are now eight points behind Midgley with two games in hand.
Garbutt said: “We are definitely back on track. Everyone was up for it and we put a shift in.”
Star were without injured midfielder Tom Barclay and the holidaying Jack Gormley against opponents who had beaten Midgley before Christmas, albeit on a day when Ryburn’s West Riding County Amateur League team was without a fixture.
Star failed to make the most of numerous corners and accurate long throws from Patrick Thomas in the first half and they led at half time courtesy of just a Cockroft penalty.
The goals didn’t flow until the last quarter, when Cockroft’s second was followed by Speechley’s brace.
The substitute, who plays when home from the Marines, scored with his first touch via a low shot from the edge of the box into the corner of the net.
Speechey extended the lead to 4-0 and Cockroft then looped a header into the top corner to complete victory.
Greetland are third after making it back-to-back home wins with a 4-2 success over Sowerby United, for whom Corey Henderson and Tom Hosker struck in vain.
Champions Shelf FC got back to winning ways after a defeat at Greetland just before Christmas when beating Denholme United 5-1 at Westwood Park.
Their goals came from familiar sources with Alex O’Keefe bagging three and Callum Lewis two. Michael Midgley replied for last season’s Division One title winners.