Title-chasing Illingworth St Mary’s were glad Callum Cook had traded the warmth of Australia for the rain and mud of Midgley Rec on Saturday.
Saints were in danger of dropping two points in their fierce battle with Brighouse Sports and Sowerby United for first division honours in the Haslem Sheppard Halifax League.
The game with Midgley Reserves was goalless for 80 minutes but then Cook, recently returned from Down Under, pounced in the box to place his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
The 1-0 victory took Saints above next weekend’s opponents Sowerby, who were inactive on Saturday and are also unbeaten in the league this season.
The outcome was tough on Nick Farrar’s Midgley, who were hoping to put more daylight between themselves and the bottom two.
A heavy surface hampered efforts to play fluent football and Midgley seemed happy to soak up the pressure from visitors boasting a 100 per cent record.
Only a few trademark Phil Livsey efforts from range were any sort of threat while Andy Gregory, Scott Hamilton and Warren Gray dealt with the occasional Midgley counter attack.
Illingworth continued to boss possession but misses in front of goal looked set to prove costly until Cook struck.
The focus was on the top of Division One with all four scheduled Premier Division games postponed and Brighouse Sports continue to show the way after a 7-2 home win over Crossleys.
Borhan Doski bagged a hat-trick and Connor Durkin scored two while the other goals came from Chris Allen and Ian Schroeder.
Leading scorer Andrew Brunning scored both of the visitors’ goals at Lane Head.
Three matches took place in Division Two and they produced wins for St Columbas and Greetland Reserves, who occupy the top two places, and Northowram Reserves, who climbed a place to fourth.
St Columbas took a giant step towards the title with a 2-1 win over Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, who were second before the game at the Trinity Academy 3G pitch.
There was little to choose between the teams throughout with St Columbas having the better of the first half and Illingworth controlling much of the second half.
Columbas took the lead following a spell of pressure when lively striker Frank Odion smashed the ball home from a tight angle.
They were fortunate to add a second soon after when a clearance from Jamie Randall hit Kiutobo Touray and the ball looped over Saints ‘keeper Tony Clarke.
Illingworth hit back in the second half and a great run down the left from Robbie Sinclair and Jack Pullen tapped home from the cross.
Illingworth were desperate to get level but were unable to create many clear cut chances, going closest through Jimmy Smith’s free kick which went inches wide.
St Columbas hung on in a great game excellently refereed by Dave Cartwright.
Greetland thumped visitors Denholme United Reserves 11-1 but had only three scorers with Karl Jowett bagging five, Andy Hurcombe getting four and Oliver Bagley the other two.
Northowram made no mistake against bottom side Salem Reserves, winning 4-1 thanks to goals from Paul Greenwood (two), Liam Smith and Matt Calland. James Broadbent replied.