Calder boss’s lofty target

Calder '76 Reserves' Scott Dawson tries to clear under pressure from a Salem opponent during last Saturday's 3-1 defeat in the Halifax AFL's first division
Calder '76 Reserves' Scott Dawson tries to clear under pressure from a Salem opponent during last Saturday's 3-1 defeat in the Halifax AFL's first division

Calder ‘76 boss Rob Kenworthy has set his players the target of winning half of their remaining games in the Premier Division of the Halifax AFL this season.

Three points from four matches is a poor return for a side supplemented by arrivals from now-defunct Wadsworth United.

Calder are next to bottom and Kenworthy wants to see his side start to climb the table with victory over Copley United at Savile Park on Saturday.

The manager said Calder had finished bottom when he joined the club as assistant manager and had only stayed in the top flight because other teams folded.

Since then Calder had made gradual improvement, including playing in their first senior cup final (in the Halifax FA Cup), and he wanted to see further progress.

“Our main aim is to close the gap on the top four. We were 20 points behind them last season,” he said.

“If we can get 29 points that would be a record under me and we would not be far away from the top five or six.

“To do that we need to win nine of our 18 games and there is no reason we can’t do that.”

Kenworthy rates it a highly-competitive Premier Division this season and noted Copley’s bold showing against Huddersfield Amateurs in the Halifax FA Cup recently.

Saturday’s hosts also had a useful Challenge Cup win by 4-3 at Holmfield last weekend when back-from-injury striker Gary Ash scored twice.

Calder have also been in cup action over the last fortnight, beating West Central and Mixenden United.

Their earlier league points came from a home derby success over Hebden Royd Red Star. Calder have played fewer games than most of their rivals - four - and have come up against some strong sides.

“We have played three of last season’s top four away,” Kenworthy said.

“We lost to an 89th minute goal against Midgley and could have got something at Ryburn. Our only disappointing performance was at Greetland.”

“We have now won two out of two against lower league teams and hopefully that will give us a bit of momentum.”

“We need to get on a run, show we are a better team than last year and get the results.”

Calder hope to have striker Ricky Topham and experienced midfielder Simon Stansfield back on Saturday.

The player Kenworthy most wants to see return is the influential Sam Taylor, who the manager said suffered from “glass ankles.”

Calder ‘76 fought back from going two goals down inside 10 minutes away to Mixenden in the Challenge Cup last Saturday to go through 4-3.

A Danny Johnson penalty and a Martin Cannon effort gave the Natty Lane side a flying start. However, Calder were level by half time and went 4-2 up with doubles from Jonny Gibson and Max Crossley, only for Cannon to immediately fire in another.

Kenworthy said his side should have won more easily.

“I was pleased with the spirit we showed to fight back from 2-0 down,” he said. “It was a shock which woke us up.

“Their keeper made save after save and throughout the second half I was not worried.”