Midgley shoot clear at the top

editorial image

Midgley United look set to lead the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL into 2015 after opening up a five-point lead at the top last Saturday.

Midgley were 7-6 home winners against Shelf United in an extraordinary contest and news of a first defeat of the season for Stump Cross, beaten 4-2 at home by champions Ryburn United, completed a good day for Craig Gee’s side.

With games against the bottom two to come before Christmas - at home to Elland United and then away to Sowerby United - Midgley could be well placed for an honours assault in the second half of the season.

Shelf, who are Midgley’s opponents in the Challenge Cup semi-final, fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2 and then 6-2 down to 6-6 before George Bamford saved Midgley’s blushes with a winner 10 minutes from time last Saturday.

“I’ve never witnessed a game like it,” said Gee.

“We got three points but I was a bit concerned that we conceded six.

“We had the game won twice but you have to give Shelf credit - they looked good coming forward.”

Gee is hoping Joe Gibson will be back from a thigh/knee injury on Saturday to help shore up a defence which had only let in 12 goals in nine games prior to last weekend.

At least Gee had no new injuries to report.

Assuming both games go ahead on the next two Saturdays, Midgley will be expected to pass the mid-point in their league programme with another six points in the bag.

Elland beat Sowerby in their opening game but haven’t won in the league since and Midgley won the away fixture 7-2 on November 22.

Sowerby are bottom and their only points in 11 league outings this season have come from a 2-0 home win over Shelf on November 4.

Gee added: “If we can get two more wins before Christmas we’ll have had a decent first half.

“But we are not looking too far ahead. We need to keep clean sheets and start controlling games again.”

Calder ‘76 will hope to return to action after a week off at home to second-placed Greetland.

The third-placed visitors have won four games on the trot but their away record is modest.

Hebden Royd Red Star face a tricky away game at Northowram, who lost in the county cup last week but are on a roll in the league following promotion.

Midgley United Reserves could find it tough against Sowerby Bridge in Division One but Calder ‘76 Reserves look likely winners against out of sorts Halifax Irish Centre.

Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves will hope home advantage gives them the edge over Sowerby United Reserves.

Northowram Reserves travel to West Central for what may not be an easy game.

Saturday’s fixtures

Premier Division: Calder 76 v Greetland AFC (referee D.Cartwright), Midgley United v Elland United (A.Gee), Northowram v Hebden Royd Red Star (M.Sharman), Ryburn United v Shelf United (P.Crabtree), Sowerby United v Stump Cross (S.Adams).

Division One: AFC Crossleys v Holmfield AFC (C.Salmons), Hx Irish Centre v Calder 76 Res (N.Hinson), Mixenden United v Stainland United (M.Redmile), Salem v Volunteer Arms (P.Bowe), Sowerby Bridge v Midgley United Res (P.Crouch).

Division Two: Brighouse Sports AFC v AFC Crossleys Res (C.King), Hebden Royd Red Star Res v Sowerby United Res

(W.Cotton), Shelf FC v Salem Res (J.Hallos), St Columbas v Illingworth St Marys (S.Hoyle), West Central FC v Northowram Res (R.Smith).

Ziggy’s Metro Cars Invitation Cup, semi-final: Shelf United Res v Ryburn United Res at Greetland (M.Edwards).