Calder upbeat for big test

Ricky Topham celebrates one of his two second half goals in the 4-3 defeat at Northowram last Saturday
Ricky Topham celebrates one of his two second half goals in the 4-3 defeat at Northowram last Saturday

Calder ‘76 manager Rob Kenworthy believes his side have nothing to fear from a trip to Halifax AFL title favourites Stump Cross on Saturday.

Calder were unable to follow up a 3-2 win over champions Ryburn United when they went down 4-3 away to a bang-in-form Northowram side last weekend.

But Kenworthy was upbeat after a good performance from his side in very difficult conditions.

“I was not disappointed at all - the attitude of the players was brilliant,” said Kenworthy.

“On a different day and in different conditions it might have been different.

“We tried to play football and kept going well.”

Calder had two goals disallowed for offside and also hit the woodwork but Kenworthy said it had been difficult for the referee and he did not begrudge the Rams their win.

“They dealt with the conditions better than us but our lads gave everything,” he said.

The players had been faced with snow, hail and rain as well as a small, sloping pitch.

“I’ve never known conditions change so much in a game,” he added.

Kenworthy said an early injury to centre back Karl Wooliscroft had been a blow.

The centre back suffered a hamstring strain early on and had to come off.

Looking ahead Kenworthy added: “We can go to Stump and be confident. Hopefully Karl Wooliscroft has just tweaked his hamstring rather than it has gone.”

Calder faced the wind and slope in the first half and fell behind to Chris Conroy’s cleverly-judged lob after seven minutes.

The visitors were under the cosh, Karl Amos hitting the bar and Mark Eade and Alex O’Keefe being off target.

The closest Calder came in the opening 30 minutes was Remi Allan’s floated attempt which passed narrowly over the angle of post and crossbar.

In an eventful final five minutes of the half, O’Keefe’s smart glancing header doubled the lead.

Home ‘keeper James Bunn was quickly off his line to block Calder’s best chance before Remi Allan’s tap-in at the back post sent the visitors from the field in a visibly confident mood.

Minutes after the restart, O’Keefe’s cross was almost deflected in but Warren Clayton made a fine recovery and Calder drew level on the hour, Ricky Topham forcing home from close range,

The visitors stepped up the pressure but the Rams regained the lead after 70 minutes with Eade’s penalty after Chris Dunne had been brought down.

Calder hit a post and Conroy put a one-on-one chance over the bar.

Calder became increasingly frustrated with the referee’s offside decisions.

They fell 4-2 behind 10 minutes from time when O’Keefe’s pace took him past a defender and his low cross was converted by the sliding Conroy.

The visitors were far from finished and four minutes from time Bunn’s mis-kick landed at the feet of Topham, who hammered in via the underside of the crossbar.

There had been a fracas earlier in the game and, in the closing minute, a reckless challenge from one of the visitors saw players from both sides gather in animated fashion and the referee blew for full time.