Resurgent Ryburn United kept alive their hopes of retaining the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL title with a 2-1 win away to leaders Midgley United on Saturday.
Two goals from Lewis Brierley did the trick for the visitors in a scrappy contest after Rob Stansfield had drawn first blood for the hosts.
It was Ryburn’s fifth successive Premier Division win in a month and leaves them only one point behind Midgley. Both have six games left.
Wobbling Stump Cross, who were beaten 3-0 by Brighouse Town’s development side in the Halifax FA Cup quarter-finals at the weekend, have dropped the fewest points but have 10 games left.
Midgley boss Craig Gee said: “It was a bad result and we had no complaints.
“Ryburn think they can win it but they are no better off than us. It has got to be Stump’s title to lose.”
Midgley had the advantage of the wind in the first half and took the lead from a corner after 15 minutes with Tom Rawnsley involved but Stansfield getting the final touch.
However, they failed to create much from a plentiful supply of possession and they went in at half time up against it, Brierley having bagged an equaliser.
It was Ryburn’s turn to have a territorial advantage in the second half and Brierley got the winner with 20 minutes left following a ball over the top of the defence.
Northowram are back up to fourth after adding to Sowerby United’s relegation woes with a 2-1 win in a uninspiring game.
Not helped by a strong crosswind and poor playing surface, the first half was a tedious affair with erratic passing.
Karl Amos went close from Chris Dunne’s pass and Amos’ long range effort floated narrowly wide whilst a Sowerby breakaway was snuffed out by James Bunn’s only save of the game.
The Rams improved marginally in the second half and the best move of the game ended with Alex O’Keefe’s volley whizzing narrowly past the post.
On 54 minutes O’Keefe’s bouncing, inswinging corner beat everybody and crept in.
Sowerby, with Dan Crosland outstanding at the heart of the defence, almost fell two behind when Matthew Rushworth’s firm header skimmed the bar.
With 13 minutes left, substitute Mark Eade scored his side’s second with a crisp low shot from an Amos flick.
Sowerby’s 16-year-old Alex Healey scored with a superbly-struck rising drive three minutes from time.
Shelf United made it four league wins in a row with a 3-2 win away to Greetland.
Steve Goodwin’s side looked set for an easy afternoon when they romped into a 3-0 lead at sunny Goldfields.
Billy Grogan struck in the first minute and he added a second with another good finish. Skipper Danny Thornton then put more daylight between the teams.
An excellent goal from Darryl Camp got Greetland up and running and it was game on when Matty Hopley bagged the hosts’ second before half time.
Shelf had to dig deep against the wind in the second half but right back Jamie Moorhouse was excellent and ‘keeper Chris Metcalf helped prevent Greetland getting an equaliser.
Calder ‘76 followed up a 5-1 win away to Warley with a 7-1 thrashing of bottom club Elland United.
They were always in control after scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes against opponents who had only arrived 15 minutes before kick off time.
Jonny Gibson opened the scoring after Remi Allen’s shot had been saved and Gibson then combined superbly with Max Crossley, who fired in the second.
Elland woke up and matched their hosts for the rest of the half, which produced no further goals.
Manager Rob Kenworthy made minor adjustments to Calder’s formation at the break and the hosts cut loose.
Gibson extended the lead and Elland put a penalty wide before Steve Jones, Gibson, James Redmond and Crossley added to the home tally.
Martin Boon dashed home hopes of a clean sheet with a great strike in the last five minutes to give Elland some reward.
Copley United picked up a point in their relegation fight when they drew 2-2 with Warley Rangers, Gary Ash scoring his 21st goal of the season for them.
AFC Crossleys sprung the shock of the day in Division One with a 6-1 home victory over title contenders Mixenden United.
Craig Gladwin scored a hat-trick for the winners, who had been hammered 7-1 at the same ground a week earlier by Mixenden’s title rivals Holmfield.
Holmfield players were on the touchlines as their scheduled opponents, Greetland Reserves, had been unable to raise a team.
The first half was goalless with Mixenden having the advantage of the elements but failing to take their chances.
A bad clash of heads between Mixenden pair Damien Randall and Adam Burke was a turning point and although a dazed Randall battled on, the visitors’ performance went downhill rapidly.
Crossleys went 2-0 up before Travis Allison briefly raised Mixenden hopes. However, the home side ran away with it.
Salem went second when two goals from Tyson Illingworth helped them beat Midgley United Reserves 3-2, Jacob Shaw getting both the visitors’ goals.
Calder ‘76 Reserves picked up another useful Division One point in a 1-1 draw away to Volunteer Arms.
Their goal came from Gav Martin, who was unable to score from the penalty spot but headed home the rebound.
There was a crucial win for Stainland United, who moved seven points clear of next-to-bottom Halifax Irish Centre with a 3-0 win over those rivals at West Vale.
Karl Jowett, Dan Hodgson and Tom Garforth struck the decisive blows.
Sowerby Bridge were also away winners with Dean Park, Dayle Maguire and Adam Fenton on target in a 3-1 win against Elland Allstars. Grant Bailey replied.
Ryburn United Reserves and Denholme United fought out a feisty 4-4 draw at Ripponden Wood.
The visitors made a flying start but took only one of numerous early opportunities through Michael Midgley.
Ryburn equalised from their first attack and went 2-1 up but Midgley made it 2-2 at half time.
Ryburn regained the lead, only for the visitors’ top scorer Danny Moralee to end his recent mini goal drought.
The hosts took the lead for a third time but Midgley completed a hat-trick in the closing stages.
Brighouse Sports and Illingworth St Mary’s, the outstanding teams in Division Two, continued their free-scoring ways.
Brighouse are the league’s leading scorers with 91 goals after a 10-1 home win over AFC Crossleys Reserves.
Illingworth took another step towards going through their league programme without dropping a point when a Jake Griffin hat-trick helped them to a 7-0 win away to Northowram Reserves.
Vinny O’Shea continues to find the net for St Columbas. His hat-trick helped Saints win 3-2 away to Shelf United Reserves.
Robert Laycock is better known for scoring runs for Booth CC than goals for Hebden Royd Red Star but he struck twice for Star’s reserves in a 3-0 home win over Salem Reserves.
The game was fairly even but Star took their chances with Keir Watkinson opening the scoring midway through the first half and Laycock putting daylight between the teams after the break, his second coming near the end.