Saints book Ryburn clash

Ryburn Utd v Sowerby Bridge in cup match, Wood Bottom, Ripponden. Pictured are Jamie Jepson and Oliver Brearley
Ryburn Utd v Sowerby Bridge in cup match, Wood Bottom, Ripponden. Pictured are Jamie Jepson and Oliver Brearley

Illingworth St Mary’s scored three times in the last 25 minutes to win 4-1 at Northowram and earn a date with Ryburn United in the semi-finals of the Halifax AFL’s Jack Haymer Challenge Cup.

There was little to choose between the sides in the opening 30 minutes and barely a hint of a goal but Mark Eade put the Rams ahead with a fine opportunist effort after 23 minutes.

With his back to goal wide right he swivelled and struck a firm left foot volley which bounced before flying past Warren Gray.

The lead was short-lived as Saints, playing up the slope and looking into a strong sun, levelled with a goal out of nothing from the free-scoring John Booth.

Jacob Turner, after a tricky run, was denied by Gray whilst James Bunn saved with his leg to prevent Booth adding a second.

Close to half-time Chris Conroy’s shot from well inside his own half looked to have defeated Gray but the keeper back-pedalled and pulled off an acrobatic finger-tip save.

Play became less condensed and Bunn did well to stop a bullet header. Gray foiled Eade one-on-one and the Rams striker blew a great chance when he miskicked.

The predatory Booth always looked a danger and on 65 minutes was given just enough room to turn and rifle a shot into the bottom corner. Two minutes later a brilliant save from Bunn denied him a hat-trick.

The keeper kept out a point-blank volley but Damien Randall hit a post and then sent a superb strike into the top corner.

The Rams continued to press but could not find the finishing touch and the title favourites wrapped up the game five minutes from time with Phil Livsey’s shot from just inside his own half which found the top corner.

Ryburn were emphatic 4-0 home winners over derby rivals Sowerby Bridge, who are carrying all before them in Division One.

This proved a “bridge too far” as Christian Silkstone, Adam Barlow, Brad Waddington and Alex Austin struck for the Premier Division side.

Sowerby Bridge’s title rivals Shelf FC booked a meeting with Midgley United in the other last four game.

Shelf blitzed Elland Allstars 8-1 at Westwood Park with the help of a hat-trick from Kyle Peel, Will Nicholson getting the visitors’ consolation.

Midgley were 4-2 winners on the tricky trip to Denholme United’s Foster Park ground.

Craig Gee’s men had a few anxious moments before Martin Woodhouse finally sealed victory.

Assistant boss Jonny Cockroft described it as “job done” with the other goals coming from Toby Standring, Rob Stansfield and George Bamford, who hit a fine shot from 25 yards.

Midgley were on top in the first half hour, playing downhill with the sun a hazard for keeper Steve Butterworth.

They took a 2-0 lead but Matty Waring replied before the interval.

Midgley restored their two-goal advantage, only for Waring to get his second, and when Andrew Butterworth had a penalty superbly saved the hosts sensed they had a chance.

However, Woodhouse got the all-important next goal to book his side’s passage.

Warley Rangers finally got the better of Brighouse Town’s development side after suffering agonising Halifax FA Cup defeats in the previous two seasons.

They had to it the hard way, coming from behind on three occasions before edging ahead in the final 10 minutes and hanging on for a 4-3 victory.

Brighouse took command from the outset and Kurt Harris gave them a deserved lead following a defensive howler.

Michael Hickinbotham made two superb saves while the woodwork also came to Rangers’ rescue.

At the other end, Connor Bell’s overhead kick came back off the underside of the crossbar.

This spurred Warley and after both Bell and Mark Kelsey had rattled the outside of the posts, Carlton Balmer reacted quickest to a flick on to shrug off the last man and scoop the ball over the prone keeper.

Warley’s joy was short lived as Marcus Hadfield fired Brighouse ahead within a minute.

Warley made a bright start to the second half and it was no surprise when Macauley Norcliffe raced down the wing and crossed for Mark Kelsey to head into the bottom corner for the equaliser.

Hickinbotham made another unbelievable save and Kelsey headed wide for Warley.

However, there was little the Rangers stopper could do when Brighouse substitute Ash Muncaster smashed home a dipping volley from 18 yards into the top corner.

With time running out, Balmer was hacked down 25 yards from goal and Dan Kirman stepped up to send a terrific shot into the top corner for 3-3.

With penalties looming, Balmer raced clear and unselfishly squared for Kelsey to slot through the keeper’s legs and send Warley into the quarter finals.