Horsforth Fairweather FC

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Sunday 13th June 2021:

  League Cup Semi-Final: Leeds City Rovers 6, Yeadon Athletic 2. Leeds City to play FC United of Baildon in the Final, 27th June.

Sunday 6th June 2021 (WTL Champions League Quarter-Final):
Horsforth Fairweather 3 FC United of Baildon 0

Bell, T.Wilson, Archer, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Hoyle, Abbott
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Bogdanos, Canning, Monaghan, Jones

Scorers: Abbott, Lancaster, Litvinov (pen)

  With new midfield star Satwik back in India, Horsforth had just the one vacancy this week, Matty Pickering getting the nod to replace him in central midfield.

  Facing a side we'd never beaten before, Horsforth started downright nervously. The first fifteen minutes were a bit of a nightmare, unable to get the ball out of our half for long periods, and deeply indebted to some heroic defending and fine goalkeeping from the ever-improving Sam Jeffrey to keep the away side out. But then it all changed, as Gary Litvinov flicked a clever ball into the path of Callum Abbott, who steered it into the net for a goal which if not exactly undeserved was certainly more than bit against the run of play. Thereafter, Horsforth began to play some really good football going forward, and if the defensive uncertainty was still there, it was at least balanced by the spirited tackling and ball-winning. True, both sides had their chances, but by the time we got to the break I'd say we were beginning to get on top.

  Nine minutes into the second half, Callum took a snapshot from distance out on the left, and the ball ricocheted kindly into the path of George Lancaster on the opposite flank. The finish was cool and decisive, the game ours to lose from this point on I felt. We were awarded a rather soft penalty after 18 minutes, Gary the player fouled and the same striker merciless from the spot, and we never looked like letting the three-goal lead slip. As the clock wound down, there were still chances here and there, but the away side had given themselves too much to do, while Horsforth turned to another well-staffed subs bench to prevent the initiative from deserting us - particularly pleasing to see Christos back in the action in this respect.

  So a game which had started off looking well dodgy ended up a notably convincing win, and an impressive (though I must admit rather flattering) scoreline. Overall, a great performance by all departments of the team, the well-organised defence earning much praise and Sam his first clean sheet, while the attackers currently look like outscoring any opposition that come our way. Breaking the jinx against Baildon, and marching through to the Final in two weeks time, there was much to commend this match to posterity, but I'd like to give special mention to the way we played our way out of the early ropey spell, always aware that just one moment could turn the game our way, and so it proved.

  Other Semi-Final: Leeds Maccabi 0, Skipton United 6.

Sunday 30th May 2021:

  WTL Champions League Quarter-Finals: Pudsey Athletic 2, Leeds Maccabi 3; Skipton United 9, Bramley United 0.

  League Cup Semi-Finals: Keighley Athletic 0, FC United of Baildon 4; Leeds City Rovers v Yeadon Athletic - postponed until 13th June.

Sunday 23rd May 2021 (WTL Champions League Quarter-Final):
Horsforth Fairweather 5 Yeadon Athletic 1

Bell, T.Wilson, Archer, Shapland
Lancaster, Sreedhara, Hoyle, Abbott
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Pickering, Canning, Monaghan, Jones; unused sub: R.Wilson

Scorers: Litvinov 2, Abbott, Lancaster, Archer

Cautioned: Jeffrey (unsporting behaviour)

  A rare event in the history of HFFC: an unchanged starting XI, but there was a slight reshuffle, with Callum Abbott deployed on the left of midfield and James Hawes in his more customary role up front.

  The first half performance was best described as steady rather than particularly brilliant, but we did enough to go into the break with what always looked a decisive lead. Occasionally a little bit over-elaborate with the passing game, Horsforth got the early breakthrough after 15 minutes when keeper Sam Jeffrey's long punt evaded the Yeadon defence and Gary Litvinov was alert to the half-chance and steered the ball in from a narrow angle. Defending soundly and beginning to dominate the midfield, we scored a superb team goal on 33 minutes, Kev Hoyle the final pass and Gary the eventual tap-in, by some distance the best footballing moment of the day. In the 42nd minute, from a set piece, Hawsey had a shot blocked but the ball rebounded to Callum, who followed up powerfully and accurately. At the interval, we thought we'd been the better side, but mindful of past events there were a few choice words said about staying focused on the task ahead.

  However, the second half wasn't any sort of contest for long. Five minutes in, a bizarre and pointless incident led to the away side having two players sent off, in what had hitherto been a fairly benign encounter, and that inevitably killed off any remaining hope they had of getting a result. Equally inevitably, it was hard for Horsforth to maintain concentration under the circumstances. We scored a fourth goal after 20 minutes when Shane Bell's pass manufactured a chance for George Lancaster, and three minutes later Hawesy brought the ball down from a corner for Reece Archer to bundle over the line unmolested. Aware of the need to keep the squad ticking over, and keen to avoid injuries in what had become a formality of a game, there was a spate of substitutions in the second half, and it's fair to say we didn't really keep up the momentum that the five-goal lead had given us. The away side even scored the last goal, after 27 minutes, reflecting great credit on their team spirit in adversity, but the day was clearly ours.

  A win's a win, they say, even if it's against nine men, and any attempt to devalue this result should be judged against the fact that we were three goals up and untroubled defensively when the red mist came down. We should also bear in mind that the away side had already beaten us twice this season (in a friendly, and on penalties in the League Cup), so this was never a game we could take for granted. So a day that will probably be remembered more for a few moments of silliness rather than as one of the all-time great HFFC performances, but a game in which we did what we needed to do, and did it with a bit to spare.

  Other Quarter-Final: Leeds City Rovers 2, FC United of Baildon 2, Baildon won 4-2 on pens.

  WTL Champions League Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 1, Bramley United 1.

  Remaining Quarter-Finals: Skipton United v Bramley United, Pudsey Athletic v Leeds Maccabi, 30th May.

Sunday 16th May 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Leeds City Rovers 1 Horsforth Fairweather 1

Bell, T.Wilson, Archer, Shapland
Sreedhara, Hoyle, Hawes, Lancaster
Abbott, Litvinov

Sub: Pickering; unused subs: Postle, Monaghan, Jones, Canning

Scorer: Hawes

Cautioned: Wilson, Lancaster (both unsporting behaviour)

  For the last game in the group, Horsforth switched to a slightly unorthodox 4-4-2 shape. Sam Jeffrey continued in goal, with Shane Bell, Tom Wilson, Reece Archer and David Shapland the flat back four. In midfield, Satwik was on the right, George Lancaster the left, with Kev Hoyle central and James Hawes given licence to join the attack. Callum Abbott started up front alongside Gary Litvinov.

  There was little to choose between the teams from the start. Needing a draw to progress, City made a few chances but found Sam in good form between the sticks, while our own attacks too often floundered on the last pass. Not that the quality of football on display was poor, just that the sides seemed to cancel each other out.

  There was a bit more action in the second period, and Horsforth enjoyed a good spell of attacking play, getting their reward in the 16th minute when George's corner was splendidly controlled by Hawesy, who shot on the turn to beat the City goalkeeper. Inevitably, the response was quick and sustained, the home team dangerous whenever they worked a crossing situation and Horsforth unable to nick the second goal which might have made the points safe. Matt Pickering was brought on as sub to give the midfield a sterner look, and for a while it looked like we might have held on for the narrow victory. However, we'd been conceding free kicks a bit too cheaply, and in the 40th minute of the half a particularly disputed set piece led to a headed equaliser, a real disappointment having defended so well for the remainder of the game. Horsforth still had good chances to clinch all three points in the game's closing stages, but City held on for the result they needed.

  In the end, perhaps this game might seem to have been much ado about very little, with both teams going through to the quarter-finals. However, I'd prefer to say the two sides gave it everything for 90 minutes, and it was a pretty honourable draw in the end. A shame we couldn't have held out for what would have been a hugely impressive five wins out of five, but I guess before the competition started we'd have settled for being unbeaten in the group stage. So, five very sound performances, let's say four and a half great results, and let's see what fortune the knock-out stage brings us.

  Other group A game: Sporting Pudsey v Keighley Athletic - home walkover.

  Group B: Horsforth St Margarets v Shadwell United - home walkover; Rawdon FC 9, Yeadon FC 0; Yeadon Athletic 2, FC United of Baildon 3.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 v Bramley United - abandoned (medical emergency); Shipley Town 3, Leeds Maccabi 3.

Sunday 9th May 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Keighley Athletic 1 Horsforth Fairweather 5

T.Wilson, Archer, Service
Lancaster, Monaghan, Hoyle, Sreedhara, Shapland
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Jones, Pickering, Abbott, Bell, Canning

Scorers: Litvinov 2, Hawes 2, Lancaster

  Just the two new absentees this week, but they were important ones. Lacking regular goalie Jonathan Postle and injured club captain Jamie Francis, Horsforth gave Sam Jeffrey the keeper's jersey and brought Kev Hoyle back into midfield. George Lancaster switched from left to right wing-back, Dave Shapland back from his one-match ban taking over on the left. Tom Wilson took over the armband again.

  The first half saw some decent football played, with both teams trying to pass the ball around at every opportunity. Horsforth kept a good shape throughout the contest, and probably just about shaded the opening stages, though there weren't that many clear-cut chances to show for it. In the 12th minute, Iain Service played a great ball forward for Gary Litvinov to round the home keeper and open the scoring, but at the break we knew we still had a lot of work to do. Iain himself had to be replaced during the first period, Chris Jones joining the defence.

  The second half saw Horsforth gradually becoming more dominant, and the goals began to flow. Just three minutes into the half, Kev and Gary combined to create a chance for James Hawes, who made it 2-0, then after 19 minutes George's inspired effort from way out on the right floated into the net, and from this point it was hard to see us losing. With Matt Pickering adding his presence to the midfield, an inspired breaking run from Hawesy set up Gary for a fourth goal, and though the home team got one back from a corner the game was effectively over. Callum Abbott joined the attack for the last quarter of an hour, and again we struck almost immediately after a substitution had been made, Kev the final pass and Hawesy ending up putting the ball through the keeper's legs.

  Overall then, a very sound performance from all departments, and an impressive result, on a ground where we've come to grief before. Horsforth qualify for the quarter-finals of this weird and wonderful competition with a game to spare, with the depth of our squad tested again and not found wanting.

  Other group A games: Horsforth Saints 2, Sporting Pudsey 7; Salts 0, Leeds City Rovers 3.

  Group B: Horsforth St Margarets 2, FC United of Baildon 2; Rawdon FC 1, Yeadon Athletic 3; Yeadon FC 3, Shadwell United 3.

  Group C: FC Milford of Bramhope v AFC Keighley Blues; Myrtle Park 1, Cullingworth Youth 4; Skipton United 12, Pudsey Athletic 0.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2018 2, Leeds Maccabi 2; FC West Leeds 2020 3, Bramley United 3.

Sunday 2nd May 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Horsforth Fairweather 3 Horsforth Saints 2

T.Wilson, Archer, Service
Jeffrey, Monaghan, Francis, Sreedhara, Lancaster
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Pickering, Bell, Abbott, Jones

Scorers: Hawes 2, Lancaster

Cautioned: Hawes (unsporting behaviour)

  The fates had been unusually kind to HFFC's squad in recent weeks, but all that changed for this game, the long-awaited Horsforth derby, our only home match in this competition on the pitch we share with our neighbours. With Kev Hoyle and Rob Wilson unavailable, and David Shapland suspended, some major changes were called for. Iain Service played his first game for some while in central defence, with Luke Monaghan back in the side in midfield. The wing-back positions went to Sam Jeffrey and George Lancaster.

  However, the first half display from this reorganised side surpassed expectations. The defence was for the most part untroubled, the midfield dominant, and of course the strikers hard to deal with. Ten minutes into the game, Gary Litvinov's deft touch played James Hawes in with a chance from just inside the box, and the latter's neat flick over the goalie opened the scoring. On 29 minutes Sam's right-wing throw-in was headed on by Gary, and the ball broke to George on the far post to double the advantage. Though we missed several other chances to extend the lead, Fairweather arrived at the half-time break looking pretty good value for a 2-0 scoreline.

  The regular reader of this page will not be surprised to learn that the second half was a different story altogether. Whether it was ourselves who lost our shape a bit, or the "away" side who got their own act together at the break, I couldn't really say, maybe a bit of both, but just seven minutes into the second period they got one goal back when from a deep free-kick the initial shot struck the post and the rebound was bundled into the net. Getting the worst of it now, Fairweather turned to the bench for reinforcements, Matt Pickering in midfield, Shane Bell down the right, and Callum Abbott up front. These changes helped to even the game up a bit, but we were still immensely grateful for the third goal when it arrived with ten minutes left, Callum's cross from the right being met acrobatically by Hawesy for a strike worthy of settling many a match. Looking to run down the clock, and with Jonesy on as a final substitute, we had one last scare when Saints volleyed a truly astonishing goal from way out on their left wing, and I'd love to say we held on comfortably but in truth we were more than happy to hear the final whistle.

  A very creditable win against another of the Wharfedale Triangle's best sides (Saints were top of the table when the league competition was abandoned in January), and a performance which showcased both our team's quality (the first half) and determination (the second).

  Other group A games: Keighley Athletic 0, Leeds City Rovers 3; Salts 1, Sporting Pudsey 5.

  Group B: FC United of Baildon 7, Yeadon FC 0; Shadwell United 1, Rawdon FC 2; Yeadon Athletic 1, Horsforth St Margarets 4 - later ruled as Home Walkover.

  Group C: AFC Keighley Blues 1, Pudsey Athletic 5; Cullingworth Youth v Skipton United away walkover; Myrtle Park 2, FC Milford of Bramhope 2.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 6, FC West Leeds 2018 1; Leeds Maccabi 7, FC West Leeds 2020 1; Shipley Town 1, Bramley United 4.

Sunday 25th April 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Sporting Pudsey 5 Horsforth Fairweather 6

T.Wilson, Archer, Jones
Bell, Francis, Sreedhara, Hoyle, Shapland
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Canning, Lancaster, R.Wilson, Jeffrey; unused sub: Monaghan

Scorers: Litvinov (pen), Hawes 4, R.Wilson

Sent off: Shapland (Denying goalscoring opportunity)

  There was just the one change for Horsforth from the previous game, Gary Litvinov back in the side up front.

  On the 4G pitch at West Riding County HQ, this never looked like being just another game, the wide open spaces suiting Horsforth's attacking game to a tee but the unpredictable bounce of the ball causing more than enough problems to compensate. Starting in very positive mode, Horsforth earned a penalty after five minutes when James Hawes was pulled down in the box, and Gary Litvinov opened the scoring from the spot. Three minutes later, Gary's superb run down the left opened up the Pudsey defence for Hawesy to make it 2-0. The 32nd minute saw Horsforth's new midfield star Satwik win the ball and feed Hawesy for a third goal, but, as the first half wore on, the home team came more into the game, and they reduced the arrears in the 42nd minute. Two minutes before the break, the lead was stretched to 4-1, as a defender headed the ball over his own keeper for Hawesy to clinch a first half hat-trick, and - it might have appeared - put the game to bed.

  Which is not the way it turned out. Five minutes into the second half, a game in which we seemed to have been coasting was back in the balance. Frankly, our defending all day was lacking in conviction, and when a particularly panicky spell culminated in the ball striking the hand of Horsforth's left wing-back Dave Shapland the referee felt he had no option but to reach for the red card and point to the penalty spot. A 2-4 game became 3-4 a few minutes later, and Horsforth were forced to look to the bench for some measure of reassurance. We went to four at the back, Ben Canning on the left hand side, then bolstered the midfield with George Lancaster and added Rob Wilson to the mix. These changes helped, though the contest was still in the balance: on 26 minutes, Hawesy took control of a throw-in and fed Rob, the finish worthy of settling any game at this level, but a few minutes later the home team pulled us back to 5-4 with a fine goal from a long shot. There were still nearly 15 minutes left when George's turn inside the penalty area opened it up for Hawesy to notch his fourth of the day, and it wasn't long before the Pudsey lads bagged another to keep the contest alive right up to the end.

  One of the most bizarre matches of this or any other season in living memory saw Horsforth finish 6-5 winners against a very decent side, a huge achievement for a side reduced to ten men for almost the entire second half. I think it's fair to say the defending on show today, from both teams, left a lot to be desired, and it's hard to deny on another day the home team could easily have got something from this game, but I feel I should say that ultimately our team's strength in depth, and on occasions sheer will-to-win, saw us over the line. Another memorable game, in a competition few had welcomed, maybe the 2020-21 season could still be one to go down in HFFC history for the right reasons?

  Other group A games: Leeds City Rovers 2, Horsforth Saints 3; Salts 1, Keighley Athletic 3.

  Group B: Shadwell United 1, Yeadon Athletic 4; Yeadon FC 3, Horsforth St Margarets 3.

  Group C: AFC Keighley Blues 1, Skipton United 10; FC Milford of Bramhope 7, Cullingworth Youth 1; Pudsey Athletic 4, Myrtle Park 4.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 1, Shipley Town 1; FC West Leeds 2020 5, FC West Leeds 2018 4.

  WTL League Cup Quarter-Final: Bramley United 2, FC United of Baildon 3. (Keighley Athletic, Leeds City Rovers and Yeadon Athletic already through to Semi-Finals.)

  This page last updated 13/06/2021.

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