Sunday 17th February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 9
Shipley Town 1
Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Pickering, T.Wilson, Howarth, Kennedy, Francis, Litvinov, R.Wilson, Lancaster.
Subs: Hawes, Hoyle, Fenwick, Monaghan, Canning.
Scorers: R.Wilson 3, Litvinov 2, Howarth, Francis, Hawes 2.
Although there was only one actual change of personnel today, there were a large number of positional switches:
Gary Litvinov was back and took his place up front alongside Rob Wilson;
the midfield was back to a quintet with George Lancaster at right wing-back, Dave Shapland left wing-back, and
Matty Pickering, Jamie Francis and Jesse Kennedy central;
while we reverted to three at the back with Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth and Chris Jones.
Jonathan Postle continued in goal.
Again, we opened the show with a Rob Wilson goal in the second minute, Shappy having a first effort blocked but recovering to put the cross in from which Rob scored.
A bit of a hiccup a minute later though, when the away side equalised, our defence not clearing the ball when we had the chance, and being punished.
In the sixth minute of what always looked like a high-scoring game, Rob made ground down the left and passed back to Jesse, whose superb cross was met by Gary for 2-1.
Six minutes later, Shappy was the provider again, as Rob scored a third, and four minutes later Jesse's left wing corner was volleyed home by Dave Howarth.
A Pos free kick from deep in the 23rd minute found its way to Rob, who scrambled home for his second successive hat-trick.
After this, the away side, pretty much totally outplayed at the start, began to regain a bit of composure and enjoyed a spell of parity in midfield. There was only one more goal before the break, another Jesse corner falling perfectly for Jamie to tap in, but by the interval the game was a lot less one-sided than hitherto.
We needed to replace Rob at half time, James Hawes a more than worthy substitute, and were able to bring back Kev Hoyle into the midfield shortly after, as we sought to regain the initiative. When Dave Howarth's corner was met by another excellent Gary header to make it 6-1, it was time to give the subs a game: Luke Monaghan and yet another new signing Adam Fenwick, later joined by last week's newcomer Ben Canning. The goals started coming again: Jesse's through ball was steered into the net by Hawesy for the eighth, then the same player met Dave's corner and swept the ball home from the edge of the 6-yard box to make the final score 9-1.
A word for Shipley Town would not be out of place at this point. Though clearly out of their depth from the early minutes of the game, they stuck to their task commendably, and at several stages of the contest at least matched us in terms of both territory and possession. Our defending was overall better than theirs, our approach play and finishing was markedly superior, but they never looked like folding, and all 11 kept trying to play football for the entire 90 minutes.
From our point of view, a good win against a side we struggled to beat at their place earlier in the season. Gradually getting our key players back, not least Rob and Gary, and some new signings adding to the strength of the squad. Still a couple of important players to come back too, which can only augur well. All in all, a good day's work this morning, but sterner tests are ahead.
Other league games:
Hampsthwaite United 6, Shadwell United 0;
Leeds City Rovers 2, Salts 1;
Yeadon Athletic 2, Myrtle Park 4.
Sunday 10th February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Shadwell United 3
Horsforth Fairweather 4
Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Pickering, T.Wilson, Howarth, Riley, Francis, R.Wilson, Kennedy, Lancaster.
Subs: Thorp, Canning, Monaghan.
Scorers: R.Wilson 3, Kennedy.
Losing five players from the previous game's starting line-up, plus another three from the bench, what can we say lads? Just another week in the story of HFFC ...
So we brought Chris Jones into the side at right-back, Dave Shapland on the left of the defence.
Henry Riley and Jesse Kennedy were added to the 5-man midfield, with George Lancaster switching from right full-back to the left of midfield. Rob Wilson made a particularly welcome return up front.
And Rob being Rob, capitalised on a lofted clearance from keeper Jonathan Postle, taking the ball past a hesitant defender and finding the net after just two minutes.
After that, the game settled down a bit, both teams finding it hard to play on the muddy surface. The home team equalised after 13 minutes, when we failed to clear the ball once too often, but the first half was overall pretty undistinguished.
There wasn't much more football played after the break, but the game livened up a bit. Rob left a defender for dead and put us 2-1 ahead after just 11 seconds, and five minutes later got on the end of George's well-saved effort from a corner, to tap home a hat-trick goal that might have proved decisive. Far from it: Rob himself was struggling at this point, and needed to be replaced by a less than fully fit James Thorp. We conceded a goal from a free-kick with 20 minutes left, and Pos, hurt in the ensuing melee, wasn't able to continue, Jonesy doing the honours in goal.
It wasn't all bad news though. We brought on a new player, the left sided Ben Canning, as we did our best to take the game to the opposition. In the 41st minute, a superb ball back into the danger area from Tom Wilson found Jesse in space, and HFFC's new Aussie star made it 4-2. There was still time for a consolation from the home side, in the 4th minute of injury time, to take some of the gloss off the win, but the points were ours.
Another very narrow win over very decent opposition, in a game which could have been completely spoilt by the conditions.
Other than one moment of silliness, this had been just about as good a game as it could have been, for which both teams deserve credit. For Horsforth, a very welcome three points on a day it would have been easy to have come home with none.
Other league games:
Burton Leonard 2, Keighley Athletic 5;
Salts 12, Yeadon Athletic 0;
Shipley Town v Myrtle Park postponed.
WRCFA County Sunday Cup Quarter-Finals included:
Leeds City Rovers 2, Crossflatts Village 1.
Sunday 3rd February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Myrtle Park v Horsforth Fairweather postponed, pitch frozen.
Other league games:
Burton Leonard v Salts;
Shipley Town v Hampsthwaite United;
Yeadon Athletic v Shadwell United - all postponed.
WRCFA County Sunday Cup Quarter-Finals included:
Leeds City Rovers v Crossflatts Village postponed (will be played next Sunday).
Sunday 27th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Round 2):
Horsforth Fairweather 3
Team (in number order): Postle, Scott, Thorp, Litvinov, Francis, Hawes, Diamond, Howarth, Pickering, Lancaster, T.Wilson.
Subs: Hoyle, P.Smith, Sedgwick, Jones, Monaghan.
Scorers: Litvinov, Scott, Howarth.
Without Dave Shapland, Jesse Kennedy and the suspended Steve Skillern from last week's side, Horsforth switched to a 4-5-1 formation and rang the changes. The shirt number order, as given above, bore no resemblance to the actual line-up.
Jonathan Postle was in goal as usual.
George Lancaster, Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth and Jack Diamond made up an orthodox, flat(-ish) back four.
Gary Litvinov attacked from the wide right position, James Thorp from the left. The central midfield three were Jamie Francis, Matty Pickering and James Hawes. Dave Scott ploughed the proverbial lone furrow up front.
The game was utterly ruined as a spectacle by the nithering wind down the Aire valley. Horsforth played into the gale for the first period, and for the most part dealt fairly comfortably with whatever the home side threw at us. Chances were few and far between, though it would hardly be fair to say defences were on top either, more that the conditions made any passing moves next to impossible for either side. Horsforth, always trying to play football against the odds, made the breakthrough in the 38th minute, when Jack's ball from the left-back spot was controlled by Dave Scott, and Gary beat the keeper to put us in front - although the Eldwick players' complaints about an alleged offside were sufficiently prolonged to cost them at least one yellow card.
More changes were necessary, the injured Thorpy giving way to Kev Hoyle at the end of the first half, and George leaving the fray at the interval, Phil Smith the substitute. Horsforth switched the formation again for the second period, 3-5-2 with Tom, Phil and Dave Howarth at the back, Kev and Jack the wing-backs and Hawesy pushed up front. When we doubled the lead after just two minutes of the half, it might have looked as if we had done enough the secure the result, Hawesy heading Jamie's free-kick down for Dave Scott to burst through and hit the back of the net. But it didn't quite work out that way, for which due credit should be given to the Eldwick lads, who never gave up trying to find a way back into the game. Though not exactly under a lot of pressure, we needed to dig deeper into the squad to stay on top, Steven Sedgwick reinforcing the defence for the last 25 minutes, his 300th game for the club. The contest was finally over in the 34th minute of the half, when Dave Howarth's free kick from the inside right channel found its way into the net, with nearest Horsforth striker Dave Scott confirming he hadn't got a touch on the ball, though maybe a defender had.
This was never going to be a great game, even though both teams did their best under the circumstances. Horsforth always looked the stronger, more organised side, and earned a result on a day when there were plenty of ready-made excuses for failure. We go through to the League Cup Quarter-Finals (and sorry no, I don't know yet who we're playing, whether the draw has been made or when it will be), and thus keep our season alive after a run of disappointing results.
Other Round 2 ties:
Cullingworth Youth 3, Shipley Town 1;
Keighley Athletic 5, Saltaire Rangers 1;
Leeds City Rovers 4, Hampsthwaite United 0;
Milford 1, FC West Leeds 2;
Salts 11, Keighley Shamrocks 1;
Yeadon FC 1, Yeadon Athletic 3.
(Keighley Crusaders v Salts Reserves played 20th January.)
Sunday 20th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 0
Leeds City Rovers 3
Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Howarth, T.Wilson, Diamond, Kennedy, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Skillern.
Subs: Pickering, Scott, Monaghan, Roper; unused sub: P.Smith.
Sent off: Skillern (Violent Conduct).
With Thorpy suspended, Horsforth effectively made just the one change for this game, Jack Diamond starting in the defence. Dave Howarth moved forward into the midfield, Jesse Kennedy into the attack.
This was always going to be one of the season's defining games, and the first half turned out to be an interesting but inconclusive affair. Both sides had a sprinkling of half-chances, but it came as little surprise when the scoreline after 45 minutes was nil-nil.
Just five minutes into the second period came the game's defining moment. What was clearly a foul on Horsforth's left wing-back Steve Skillern went unnoticed and unpunished, while the retaliation, as is all too often the case, did not, and we were down to 10 men in a game we needed to win.
Twelve minutes had elapsed when the away side struck the first blow, as a punt up the middle was misjudged by our defenders for the City striker to lob the ball over Jonathan Postle.
We were forced to replace injured captain Jamie Francis, Matty Pickering taking over in midfield, and then brought on Dave Scott to give fresh impetus to the attack. It appeared briefly that the balance might be swinging back our way, but the away side's experience stood them in good stead. After 24 minutes of the half, they broke quickly again and made it 2-0, while the third goal, a tap-in in the last minute of the match, gave the scoreline a more emphatic look.
No prizes for making the obvious point that the game hinged on one refereeing decision which went against us. But we made mistakes in places, never really created enough clear chances to threaten the away side, and were reliant on a string of saves from Pos to keep us in it at times, whereas the City goalkeeper hardly touched the ball. All that said, I felt we might have done enough for a draw (which of course wouldn't have been a great deal of use to us) had the red mist not descended when it did, and the gap between the sides was a bit narrower than the result would suggest.
Other league games:
Salts 2, Shadwell Town 0;
Shipley Town 2, Keighley Athletic 4.
League Cup Round 2:
Keighley Crusaders 2, Salts Reserves 1.
Sunday 13th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 5
Shadwell United 4
Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Kennedy, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Skillern.
Subs: S.Sedgwick, Hoyle, Pickering; unused subs: Jones, Monaghan.
Scorers: Howarth 3, Lancaster, Hawes (pen).
Cautioned: Howarth, Thorp. Sent off: Thorp (second caution).
Horsforth, in dire need of a win to restart the season, were able to bring back long-term casualty Dave Howarth into a remodelled defence, alongside Tom Wilson and Dave Shapland - from whom Steve Skillern took over at left wing-back. Jesse Kennedy was another to make a welcome return, in the midfield.
And it started like a house on fire, Horsforth taking full advantage of the swirling wind in an excellent opening 20 minutes.
Four minutes in, from a half-cleared corner, Jesse played the ball back in for Dave Howarth to sweep home majestically from the edge of the box. On 15 minutes, Dave's free-kick beat the Shadwell keeper at the near post, and four minutes later Jamie Francis's free kick found right wing-back George Lancaster who volleyed home with his left foot.
But seemingly set for an emphatic win at this point, Horsforth seemed to lose a bit of shape now, and gradually the away side reorganised and fought their way back into the game. After 35 minutes, they scored with a shot from the outside right position to make it 3-1, and on 42 minutes worked the ball across our back line from right to left to present a striker with an open goal.
With in the end just a one-goal advantage to show for 45 minutes with the wind at our backs, Horsforth were more than a bit nervous about the second period. There was some degree of relief then when in the second minute of the half Dave Howarth cracked home another free kick from the edge of the box to extend the lead to 4-2, but it still looked precarious.
Eight minutes were on the watch when we gave away a penalty, from which the away side made it 4-3. We responded by bringing on Steve Sedgwick to bolster the defence, but the away side continued to take the game to us at every opportunity, and it was no more than they deserved when with 20 minutes left to play, they scored the equaliser with a well-taken overhead kick from inside our six-yard box.
The crucial moment of the game arrived in the 29th minute of the half, when James Thorp was through on goal, and was fouled by the Shadwell goalkeeper, who was controversially sent off for the offence. James Hawes put the penalty away, and if that didn't look like it would be the end of scoring, nevertheless it turned out to be the match-winning goal. Kev Hoyle now joined the game, down our right, as we looked to capitalise on our advantage. However, we made another rod for our own back when Thorpy was sent off for a second yellow card, and the last 10 minutes of a game which had always been played in the right spirit were to be 10-a-side. Pleasing to report that at this vital end-game stage we again began to look the better team, and as it turned out saw out the game relatively comfortably.
So much to say about this game: it could have been utterly ruined by the wind for one thing, so fair play to both sides for making it into a decent contest.
Our own performance was superb - in patches. But we lost our way a bit for lengthy periods of the match, maybe thinking we'd done enough for the points after 20 minutes? You have to give the away side much credit for the way they changed their game plan, and we have to remind ourselves we missed many chances to put the game to bed while we were on top, but in the end I'd say we deserved the win for keeping our composure when we were pegged back to 4-4.
All in all, a memorable game, and a very welcome three points.
Other league games:
Burton Leonard 5, Yeadon Athletic 0;
Keighley Athletic 3, Hampsthwaite United 0;
Leeds City Rovers 7, Shipley Town 1;
Salts 2, Myrtle Park 1.
Sunday 6th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Premier Division):
Keighley Athletic 6
Horsforth Fairweather 3
Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Roper, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Lancaster.
Subs: Pickering, Scott, Skillern, Robinson; unused sub: Harrison.
Scorers: Thorp, Hawes (pen), Litvinov.
Despite having gone five weeks without a game, Horsforth had some cause for optimism with the number of recalls in the squad: long-term injury victims Kev Hoyle and Dave Shapland were back in the starting line-up, with Matt Pickering, Steve Skillern and Dave Scott on the bench. Jonathan Postle returned in goal, George Lancaster to the right wing-back berth.
In other words, no excuses.
We even opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Thorpy took the ball off a hesitant defender and beat the goalie with a clever shot off the outside of his right foot. But in truth, it was already going wrong, the home side attacking with great purpose down our right, our defensive shortcomings exposed more than once, and it came as little surprise when they equalised four minutes later with one such move. The remainder of the first half was scrappy and looked like being inconclusive, until we conceded again just before the break.
On another day, we would perhaps still have been confident about the eventual outcome, our strong bench hopefully the key factor. But it was not to be; we gave ourselves far too much to do. Nine minutes into the second period, we gave away a third goal that was pure comedy, ten minutes later a fourth.
The cavalry arrived at this point - Matt, Dave Scott and Skilly - and there ensued a ten-minute spell when it looked like we might still be on for a result. Dave Scott in particular was far too tricky for the Keighley defenders to handle, and was brought down in the box on 23 minutes, James Hawes converting the penalty. Again though, it all went wrong, as far from crumbling the home team (lest we forget, the defending champions of the Wharfedale Triangle) regained the initiative and scored again to put the game beyond us. There was time for a brief appearance from long-time club servant Scott Robinson as sub, and a belter of a goal from Gary Litvinov, following up a free-kick, but Keighley had the last word, and 6-3 it ended, and that was probably on balance a fair reflection of the play.
It would be easier to list what went right than what went wrong today, suffice to say that in just about every aspect of the game this performance was way, way short of the standards we've set ourselves in recent years. And I think it best I leave it there for now. Except to mention ... there's always next week, lads.
Other league games:
Burton Leonard 2, Hampsthwaite United 6;
Myrtle Park v Shadwell United postponed;
Shipley Town 4, Yeadon Athletic 2.
WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 4 included:
Leeds City Rovers 3, Main Line Social 0;
Mount Pleasant 1, Salts 1 (Mount Pleasant won 5-4 on pens).
This page last updated 17/02/2019.