Two for Watkins as Bridge go second

Ryburn Utd v Sowerby Bridge in cup match, Wood Bottom, Ripponden. Pictured are Damien Watkins and Ashton Richardson
Ryburn Utd v Sowerby Bridge in cup match, Wood Bottom, Ripponden. Pictured are Damien Watkins and Ashton Richardson

Sowerby Bridge went second when they won the only game in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL’s top flight on Saturday.

They were made to fight hard for a 3-2 home win over Sowerby United, retaining their unbeaten record and cutting Ryburn United’s lead to five points.

In a feisty opening 20 minutes, Bridge applied early pressure and took the lead when the unmarked Damien Watkins headed home.

United impressed with some good football and deservedly drew level through Ash Shaw.

A second soon followed when Corey Henderson finished in style.

Bridge were rattled and only fine defending by Ryan Brook kept United at bay.

The game was turned on its head in the opening 10 minutes of the second half when Bridge struck through Watkins and Sam Hiley in quick succession.

Luke Maguire was impressing for the Bridge but United, with Connor Ashworth and Dan Boyd in sparkling form, set up a nerve jangling last 10 minutes for the Bridge when Corey Henderson got a second.

Henderson then went close several times as a relieved Bridge hung on.

Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves went to the summit of Division One with a 6-0 thrashing of visitors Copley United.

Saints were quickly out of the blocks with Bailey Naylor calmly finishing after good work by Tom McGregor.

Robbie Sinclair then finished well from Brandon Field’s corner.

Youngster Naylor notched his 15th goal of the season with another excellent finish to make it 3-0 before a strong break down the right from fullback Jamie Moorhouse resulted in Field tapping home the cross.

The second half saw Copley rally but Saints’ defence held firm.

Tom Kershaw grabbed a deserved goal after an excellent break down the right before substitute Rohan Ford scored the goal of the game, lobbing Copley keeper Tom Boyle from 30 yards out.

The other two games in the section finished 2-2. Craig Gladwin scored both goals for Holmfield and Josh Brown both for opponents Ivy House while Calder ‘76 Reserves picked up only a fourth point of the season away to Ryburn United Reserves.

The five games in Division Two produced 49 goals with Junction Inn, 12-2 home winners against bottom side Crossley’s Reserves, showing the way.

Junction went second, five points behind Plummet Line, who were 8-0 home victors against Sowerby Bridge Reserves in the top of the table game.

Play was even before Plummet took the lead through the league’s leading scorer Liam Calvert.

Bridge had a good period of pressure and started to gain control in the middle of the park before Niall Carrington struck a 30 yard thunderbolt free-kick which debutant Ory Goldthorpe got a touch on, giving Plummet a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Plummet bossed the second half and Calvert grabbed his second before midfielder Bailey McParland struck from the edge of the box.

Central midfielder Rory Youell then rivalled Carrington in the free kick stakes with his own excellent effort from 25 yards out before Goldthorpe grabbed his second.

There was still time for Youell to slot home from close range and Calvert to complete his hat-trick and make it 19 for the season.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves picked up a second win of the season but needed a hat-trick from first teamer Lewis Cockroft to help see off a determined Northowram Reserves by 7-6. Shaun Popek bagged five for the Rams.

Ross Broadley’s double helped Shelf United Reserves win 5-4 away to Sowerby United Reserves while Gary Taylor and Sam Tattersall scored two goals apiece for Greetland Reserves and Midgley Reserves respectively with Mark Hindle’s effort making the difference for Greetland in their 3-2 win.

The top of the table game in Division Three between Stainland United and Mixenden United was abandoned after 74 minutes due to an injury with the visitors 2-1 up.

The gap between next to bottom Shelf FC Reserves and the team immediately above them, Brighouse Sports Reserves, remains seven points after a 1-1 draw between the sides.