Rangers romp to victory over leaders

Football - Elland Allstars (red) v Grassington United. Sam Hemmingway for Elland.
Football - Elland Allstars (red) v Grassington United. Sam Hemmingway for Elland.

Warley Rangers foiled Midgley United’s bid to make it five wins on the bounce at the start of the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL season, romping to a 4-1 success.

The visitors blossomed after being under the cosh in the first half and also hit the woodwork three times.

Playing up the slope, Warley had to contend with Midgley’s direct approach, a stream of long balls and long throws being defended well.

Captain Chris Hall cleared a George Bamford effort off the line while goalkeeper Mike Hickinbottom saved bravely at the feet of the Midgley front man.

Several Midgley headers went close and while it was a backs to the wall effort, Warley might have had the lead when the lively Josh Prestage crossed and Tom Hiley struck a post from five yards.

Warley began to dominate with slick passing and a combative approach led by the excellent Jordan Burnham.

They took the lead when Brandon Gilling’s speculative 30-yarder, which took a deflection, deceived keeper Steve Butterworth and ended up in the top corner.

After Hiley had been denied by a great save, Damon Nicholls steered the rebound into the net.

Nicholls lashed another effort against the post but a defensive lapse let the home side back in the game. Bamford teeing up Rob Stansfield to shoot into the roof of the net.

Warley looked vulnerable and Hickinbottom kept them ahead with a superb reflex save from the dangerous Bamford.

The ‘keeper then claimed an assist for Warley’s third when his long clearance was misjudged by the defence and Carlton Balmer outjumped the keeper and rolled the ball into the net to break his mini goal drought.

Balmer was flying now and was denied his second by the woodwork but moments later, after a strong Luke Butterworth challenge, Balmer raced away and squared for strike partner Hiley to lash the ball home.

Sowerby United gained their first points of the season with a 2-0 win over Shelf United, who were dropping their first points.

The first half ended goalless, Sowerby keeper Matt Bridges making a brave block at the feet of Mark Hindle and a screamer from Andrew Wadsworth flying inches wide of the Shelf goal.

The home side made the perfect start to the second half. Man of the match Dan Crossland surged forward to slip a delightful pass between two Shelf defenders to Matthew Whitworth, who slotted coolly into the corner of the net.

Shelf enjoyed a good spell but Sowerby defended well and with James Clegg, Dean Lewis and Dan Boyd controlling midfield.

Sowerby pressed hard with 16-year-old substitutes Alex Healey and Tom Fryer making a big impact but it was fine work from Wadsworth that sent Clegg into the box and the Sowerby man’s clever lob made the game safe.

Hebden Royd Red Star jumped four places to fifth with a 9-3 thrashing of visitors Elland United.

Lewis Cockroft showed the way with a hat-trick while James Rawlinson and Danny Lumb scored twice each. Martin Boon bagged a brace for Elland.

AFC Crossleys and Mixenden United climbed to second and third in Division One after contrasting wins.

Crossleys edged past visitors Midgley United Reserves 2-1 with goals from Joe Sykes and Craig Gladwin, Sam Tattersall replying.

Alarm bells are starting to flash for Sowerby Bridge, relegated from the Premier, who were crushed 11-3 away to Mixenden.

They scored first at Natty Lane but were then powerless to stop Mixenden running riot with new signing Damian Randall and Ash Bailey running them ragged.

Randall bagged a hat-trick while Mark Machon, midfielder Billy Riley, Ashley Bailey and sub Adam Gaze grabbed two each.

Luke Maguire, Lee Wood and Joe Casey were on target for Bridge, who scored a bizarre second goal when already well adrift.

They were allowed to take a quick kick-off and scored from the half-way line past ‘keeper Anthony Fenwick, who was making his way back after coming forward to join in a goal celebration.

Honours were even in the section’s other game, Karl Jowett scoring for hosts Stainland who picked up a first point of the season at home to Calder Reserves, for whom Jamie Casey netted.

Sowerby Bridge Reserves brought some cheer to their club - after the firsts’ trouncing - with a 4-1 win away to Salem Reserves in the only game in Division Two.

Three Halifax AFL sides - Northowram, Stump Cross and Greetland - live to fight another day in the West Riding Challenge Cup but 10 bowed out in Saturday’s first round.

Northowram had to dig deep in the final 15 minutes in the face of strong pressure from Huddersfield side Britannia Sports to go through 2-1.

In a first half of little goalmouth action, it took a goalkeeping error to give the Rams the lead after 15 minutes. Chris Conroy shot straight at the keeper but the custodian chose to palm the ball down and Karl Amos slotted home.

Britannia did not manage a shot on target throughout the first 45 minutes, during which the Rams were marginally the better side with Ross Risdon to the fore.

Shaun Popek doubled the home advantage after 30 minutes after good work from Conroy.

The second half was as eventful as the first was ordinary with the visitors raising their game and looking much livelier playing down the slope.

Jake Baker made a vital tackle and Archie Griffiths cleared off the line and Britannia were let down by poor finishing before drawing level 15 minutes from time with John Buckley’s low shot through a crowded goalmouth.

Sub Mark Eade had an effort cleared off the line and later hit the bar while Britannia hit the woodwork, were denied by superb save from James Bunn and spurned a one-on-one.

Stump won 4-3 at Kellingley Welfare while Greetland beat visitors East End Park 2-1 with goals from Jon Crowther and Carl Ainley.

Calder ‘76, Copley United, Denholme United, Ryburn United and Holmfield all lost by single goal margins, hosts Kirk Deighton Rangers needing extra time to get through at the expense of Division One leaders Holmfield.

Calder went 2-0 up against West Riding CA top section outfit Tyersal with goals from Jonny Gibson and Ricky Topham.

Tyersal got one back and Topham looked poised to make it 3-1 but was denied by a fine save.

The visitors equalised before half time and got a winner with 15 minutes left but Calder sent on subs James Megson and Simon Stansfield to good effect and the home side battled well up to the final whistle.

Elland Allstars bit off more than they could chew when they crashed 8-1 at home to Grassington United while fellow first division sides Salem (1-5), Greetland Reserves (0-2), Halifax Irish Centre (4-6) and Volunteer Arms (0-5) were also shown the exit door.

In the West Riding Trophy, two goals from Ashley Drake helped Shelf United Reserves beat West Central 5-3 in an all-Halifax AFL clash.

Brighouse Sports and Illingworth St Mary’s, 100 per cent sides in Division Two, kept up the good work with wins by 8-1 at Bramhope and 5-1 at home to Slaithwaite United respectively.