Ryburn United overcame a tricky hurdle in their title quest and ended Shelf United’s hopes with a 3-1 win in the battle of the Halifax AFL’s top two on Saturday.
Three goals in 10 minutes midway through the second half helped Craig Walker’s side turn things around after they had trailed from an early stage on the 3G at Lightcliffe Academy.
Ashton Richardson deflected a shot past his own keeper, Matty Hirst, after five minutes and while Ryburn had most of the possession, they could have reached half time further in arrears with Hirst making a fine one-on-one save from Luke O’Brien and Billy Grogan missing from six yards.
Ryburn made a strong start to the second half and Joe Swallow’s superb long-range effort into the top corner got them on terms.
Brad Tynan then notched a quick double to put the visitors in control, Oliver Coates being denied by Hirst and O’Brien scuffing his effort as Shelf tried in vain to get back into it.
Sowerby Bridge maintained their momentum, ahead of two cup final appearances, with a 6-2 win over lowly Northowram on Savile Park.
It was a ninth defeat in the last 10 games for relegation-threatened Northowram against a strong Bridge side that dominated throughout.
Bridge monopolised possession and Damian Watkins missed a glorious opportunity before Matthew Rushworth cleared off the line from Lee Wood and Jordan Bedford’s shot cleared the bar.
Daniel Collins saved well from Bedford and just as it looked as if the Rams would hang on for a goalless first half, a contentious penalty left Maguire to put his side ahead despite Collins getting both hands to the ball.
Sam Hiley doubled the lead from close range after 53 minutes and the beleaguered Rams conceded again four minutes later through Adam Barlow’s snap shot.
Some ball juggling on the run from Maguire followed by a volley that took a huge deflection off Rushworth made it 4-0 on the hour.
A bouncing ball not properly cleared left Watkins to score the fifth and the same player, completely unmarked, headed in the sixth from Maguire’s centre with 15 minutes left.
Bridge conceded a comedy goal after 80 minutes when a harmless-looking back pass bobbled just as the keeper was about to clear and the ball limped into the net.
Five minutes from the end Oldridge was rewarded for his tireless work, the referee ignoring Bridge’s claims for offside.
Hebden Royd Red Star’s superb five-match winning run was ended when they were held 1-1 at home by Greetland in a scrappy affair at Mytholmroyd.
Greetland took advantage of three successive defensive mistakes to open the scoring midway through the first half through Tom Wall.
Both teams continued to have chances in the second half and Dan Lumb got the equaliser after about an hour.
Brendan Barclay made some good saves in the Star goal while the home side hit the woodwork at the other end.
Midgley United went third with a 4-1 home win over Calder ‘76 in the Valley derby.
Craig Gee’s side played really well in the first half and were boosted by a goal after 10 minutes from Toby Standring from an acute angle after he had linked up with Tom Hosker.
Calder pressed for the next 20 minutes before a flurry of goals leading up to the interval.
Rob Stansfield’s left-footed 18-yarder into the top corner put Midgley on charge and an excellent longer-range effort form Tom Hosker and back post header from Joe Gibson made it 4-0 before Nathan Dempsey displayed quick feet to get one back.
Calder kept going well and both sides had chances in the second half but there was no addition to the score line.
Shelf FC maintained their distant pursuit of Ryburn with a 6-2 win away to Sowerby United on Friday.
The visitors made a strong start, pinning the hosts in their own half for long periods.
Some good defending by Sowerby kept the score line goalless until the 20th minute when Will Parkin scored.
Callum Lewis doubled Shelf’s lead with the last kick of the half.
Sowerby pushed forward more in the second half but an unstoppable shot from Nathan Charlton made it 3-0.
Sowerby pulled one back through Dan Crosland before Josh Hans struck. A Rory Thickett goal looked like setting up a tense finish but late goals from Hans and Lewis sealed Shelf’s victory.