Midgley United boss Craig Gee knows Hebden Royd Red Star will relish an opportunity to put one over their high-profile neighbours on Saturday.
The pair meet at Midgley Rec in the Halifax AFL with Midgley top of the Premier Division and Red Star, much improved this season, in fifth.
Midgley’s title bid took a major knock with a 2-1 home defeat by second-placed Ryburn United last Saturday while Red Star had a day off, having stunned honours favourites Stump Cross with a 2-0 win the previous weekend.
“We need to beat Red Star but it won’t be easy,” said Gee, whose side are bidding to be champions for the second time in three seasons.
“They are going to totally fancy their chances.”
Midgley won the first meeting 4-0 on the opening day of the season with two goals from George Bamford and one each from Calum Rodgers and Andrew Butterworth, who is now out injured.
Gee’s men have won 11 out of 15 games since in the league but after last Saturday’s defeat another could be fatal to their chances with Stump having only dropped six points.
Looking back on the Ryburn match, Gee said: “It was a bad result. We didn’t deserve to win and there are no complaints.
“There was not a lot between the sides in a scrappy game but they were better than us in a lot of departments.”
Looking at the title picture Gee said: ““Ryburn think they can win it but they are no better off than us. It has got to be Stump’s title to lose.
“Stump Cross are the best team I have seen this season but you never say never.”
Midgley had the advantage of the wind in the first half and took the lead from a corner after 15 minutes with Tom Rawnsley involved but Stansfield getting the final touch.
However, they failed to create much from a plentiful supply of possession and they went in at half time up against it, Brierley having bagged an equaliser.
It was Ryburn’s turn to have a territorial advantage in the second half and Brierley got the winner with 20 minutes left following a ball over the top of the defence.
Ian Hudson was working last Saturday but should return against Star. Butterworth is the next of Midgley’s longerterm, injured due back.
Premier Division: Calder 76 v Northowram (ref P.Bowe), Copley United v Ryburn United (I.Childs), Elland United v Greetland AFC (J.Hallos), Midgley United v Hebden Royd Red Star (D.Cartwright), Shelf United v Stump Cross (M.Beard), Warley Rangers Halifax v Sowerby United (M.Edwards).
Division One: AFC Crossleys v Stainland Utd, Greetland Res v Elland Allstars (P.Crabtree), Holmfield v Denholme Utd (S.Adams), Ryburn Utd Res v Halifax Irish (B.Payton), Salem v Mixenden Utd (D.Sutcliffe), Sowerby Bridge v Calder 76 Res (S.Hoyle), Volunteer v Midgley Res (C.King).
Division Two: Denholme Res v Shelf Utd Res (TBC), Illingworth SM v Brighouse Sp(C.Salmons), Northowram Res v Crossleys Res (W.Cotton), Shelf FC v Hebden Royd RS Res (A.Gee), Sowerby Utd Res v St Columbas (S.Bragg), West Central v Sowerby Bridge Res (TBC).
P W D L F A Pts
Midgley United 16 12 0 4 58 27 36
Ryburn United 16 11 2 3 42 25 35
Stump Cross 12 10 0 2 47 20 30
Northowram 13 9 0 4 36 30 27
Hebden Royd RS 17 8 2 7 57 49 26
Greetland AFC 17 7 2 8 54 40 23
Shelf United 11 7 0 4 34 29 21
Warley Rangers 14 6 3 5 40 39 21
Calder 76 14 6 1 7 37 28 19
Copley United 17 3 3 11 47 64 12
Sowerby United 17 3 0 14 23 70 9
Elland United 16 1 1 14 21 75 4