Holders beaten in spot-kick drama

Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Northowram. James Rawlinson for Red Star and Ash Smee for northowram.
Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Northowram. James Rawlinson for Red Star and Ash Smee for northowram.

Shelf FC keeper Pawel Szypulski shook off a blow to the head to help Halifax AFL champions Shelf FC dash Greetland’s hopes of retaining the Skircoat Green Physiotherapy Challenge Cup on Saturday.

A strong wind at Greetland’s Goldfields ground made for a scrappy, fairly uneventful contest which finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

The first half was goalless with few chances. Greetland then took the lead with a shot into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box from Mark Heppenstall but Sam Henderson equalised with a tap in at the back post following Will Parkin’s run down the left.

When Matty Hartley missed Shelf’s first penalty and Greetland scored, the hosts looked strong favourites.

However, the visitors scored their next three and Greetland missed their third and fourth. Szypulski made one crucial save and a home player then fired over the bar.

Visiting boss Matthew Till said Szypulski had done well to make a save. “He had taken a whack on the head earlier and was a bit concussed after,” said Till.

The manager said it had been his side’s first big challenge of the season and they were relieved to maintain their unbeaten record. “We were not on top form and it was a scrappy game,” he said.

Shelf’s win earned them a semi-final clash with Sowerby Bridge at a neutral venue on November 24. Bridge had an easy passage when Copley United were unable to raise a team and subsequently folded.

The other semi-final will be between Hebden Royd Red Star and Shelf United, who each progressed with the help of two late goals.

Red Star struck twice in the last 10 minutes to get the better of division-lower visitors Northowram by 3-1.

Star took the lead after 10 minutes to a well-constructed goal, a bout of quick passing ending with Lewis Cockroft’s low shot into the far corner.

Northowram’s Shaun Popek, feeding on scraps up front, fired over and James Bunn made a good save to deny Cockroft a second goal close to half-time.

The Rams looked a much better side in the second half. Three minutes after the restart Karl Amos put a glorious close-range chance over the top.

Seven minutes later Bunn made a fine double save and his long clearance left Jake Baker running in on goal and he finished well.

Bunn made another good save to deny Cockroft and the retreating Chris Gent blocked a lob on the goalline.

Baker, running clear, was denied by a smart save but James Rawlinson’s header after 80 minutes and Foysol Ahmed’s toe-ender after his tricky run into the box four minutes from time took Red Star through.

Shelf United beat AFC Illingworth St Mary’s 4-1 in an entertaining game at Trinity Academy.

Illingworth played well but only threatened from distance and set pieces while Shelf were denied by some fine saves from Adam Sloane.

The first half was evenly contested with few chances and it was goalless at the break.

Shelf broke the deadlock when Billy Grogan glanced the ball in at the front post past Sloane.

A towering header from a corner by Jonathan Butterfield doubled the lead before Jordan Wandsworth scored a screamer from 30 yards to pull Saints back in it.

As Illingworth pushed men forward in search of an equaliser they were hit on the break by two fine goals, firstly when substitute Harry Talbot was ruled onside and then by Luke O’Brien, who scored from the left.