Horsforth Fairweather FC

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Sunday 9th December 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Yeadon Athletic v Horsforth Fairweather postponed. Pitch waterlogged, match called off by Yeadon groundsman.

  Other league games: Hampsthwaite United 4, Keighley Athletic 1; Shadwell United 2, Myrtle Park 3.

  The FA Sunday Cup Round 3 included: Leeds City Rovers 0, Sunderland Southwick 3.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 3 included: Colton v Salts - not sure of the score, but to judge from the next round draw it would appear Salts won.

Sunday 2nd December 2018 (WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 3):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 Main Line Social 6

Team: Pope, Monaghan, Roper, Kennedy, T.Wilson, C.Jones, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Harrison. Subs: Townend, Fellows; unused sub: Postle. Scorer: Hawes.

  Another week, and another boatload of team changes ... With Sedge missing from the defence, we were at least able to bring back Tom Wilson to fill one gap. The absence of last week's wing-backs was more of a problem, Luke Monaghan and Craig Harrison asked to play in unfamiliar roles. Jesse Kennedy was available again, and took over in central midfield, James Hawes moving up front. Jack Pope was given the nod in goal.

  I won't waste too much time on the match report: suffice to say it was a shambles. We gave the ball away and went a goal down after 11 minutes, Hawesy followed up on Craig's blocked effort to equalise five minutes later, though the away keeper might have done better, and four minutes from the end of a thoroughly uninspiring first half a simple far-post header from a right wing cross gave Main Line the lead. Ten minutes after the break, another cross from the right was headed in and the deficit was 3-1. The away team had a player sent off for a bad foul on Tom with 20 minutes left, but even this turn of events drew little response from Horsforth. Never looking like getting back into the game, we gave away three more goals in the last ten minutes, one a header at a corner, another manufactured down the visitors' right wing, and the final one a totally embarrassing giveaway from a free kick in our own half.

  Plenty of excuses for us to choose from today: unavailable players, injuries, attendance or lack of it at training, the pitch, the referee, all the usual suspects. For me, we lacked our usual passing game, mainly due to not being able to get any width to our play, the only attacking moves that ever looked like coming off were long-ball stuff, we too often played ourselves into trouble over-passing through the central midfield areas, and in the second half we looked a lot less fit than the opposition. This was frankly as poor a performance as we've turned in for a many a long week, and I don't want to over-analyse it so let's just say we need to have a good long look at ourselves after this one.

  Other Round 3 games included: Keighley Athletic 2, Shepherds Arms 9; Leeds City Rovers v Thornton United - home walkover; Westwood Park v Burton Leonard - score not known but it appears Westwood won.

  Sunday Trophy Round 3 games included: Peacock Wakefield v Hampsthwaite United - score not known but it appears Peacock won.

  League games: Myrtle Park 2, Salts 4; Shipley Town v Yeadon Athletic postponed.

Sunday 25th November 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Round 1):
Horsforth Fairweather 7 Myrtle Park Reserves 0

Team: Postle, Bell, C.Jones, Townend, S.Sedgwick, Roper, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Lancaster. Subs: Diamond, Monaghan, J.Sedgwick, Fellows. Scorers: Litvinov 2, Thorp 2, Francis, Townend, Hawes.

  The opening round of the Wharfedale Triangle's League Cup saw Horsforth pitted against the second-string XI of a side who had so far been the only team to beat us in the league. A relatively stable line-up this week, just the four changes: Steve Sedgwick took over from Jack Diamond in defence; Shane Bell came into the side at right wing-back, George Lancaster switching to the left; James Hawes taking up an unusually deep role in central midfield; and Liam Townend earning a start up front.

  We opened the show in the second minute, when Thorpy's throw was flicked on by Hawesy and Gary Litvinov headed past the keeper from close range. But it took another 24 minutes before we added to the advantage, another header from Gary, this time the product of Thorpy's direct running and accurate cross from the right. In the 36th minute, Thorpy took the whole away team on and smashed the ball into the net from distance, to give us a pretty secure looking 3-0 half time lead. That said, the first half had been pretty poor entertainment, maybe the weather conditions and/or the pitch hadn't helped, but the general feeling was, we should have been doing a lot better given the standard of the opposition.

  Fifteen minutes into the second half, Thorpy thundered home a free kick from the edge of the penalty area. Jack Diamond was brought into the defence at this stage, and we started to express ourselves a bit better as the away side's gallant resistance began to crumble. On 18 minutes, Jamie Francis turned and lobbed beautifully into the net for a fifth goal, and four minutes later the ball bounced along the line to present Liam with the chance from which he extended the lead to six. A couple more subs got in on the act now: Luke Monaghan and Joshua Sedgwick, before in the 36th minute a cross from the right was misjudged by the long-suffering Myrtle Park keeper and Hawesy made it a seven-goal haul for the fourth time this season. There was just time for a brief debut for defender Tommy Fellows before the ref blew the final whistle.

  Somebody probably mumbled something about only being able to beat the team in front of you, they usually do after games like this. Well OK, it hadn't been pretty, and we some poor spells during this contest, but we got the job done and go through to the next round. Dragged down to the other team's level? I wouldn't say that either, as the away side kept going for the entire 90 minutes in a game they must have always known they were going to lose, and their spirit did them great credit. I'd rather say that they - and the conditions - made it hard for us to play our natural game for the entire duration of the match, but, to our credit, during the periods when we were able to dominate the game we were focused enough to take full advantage.

  Other Round 1 ties: Cullingworth Youth 5, Shadwell United 2; FC United of Baildon v Hampsthwaite United - to be played 12 December; Keighley Shamrocks 7, Rawdon FC 3; Milford 5, Burton Leonard 4; Salts Reserves 5, Myrtle Park 2; Shipley Town Reserves 0, Yeadon FC 3.

  Byes: Eldwick; Keighley Athletic; Keighley Crusaders; Leeds City Rovers; Saltaire Rangers; Salts (1st team); Shipley Town (1st team); FC West Leeds; Yeadon Athletic.

  League games: Leeds City Rovers v Keighley Athletic home walkover; Yeadon Athletic 4, Shipley Town 3.

Sunday 18th November 2018:

  League game: Shipley Town 2, Shadwell United 3.

  Wharfedale Sunday Cup: Yeadon Athletic 6, Rawdon FC 1.

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 3: Hope Inn Whites 3, Whitkirk Wanderers 0; Leeds City Rovers 10, The Woodcock 0; New Pudsey 3, Main Line Social 4; Rodley 2, Bramley Town 0.

Sunday 11th November 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Burton Leonard 2 Horsforth Fairweather 7

Team: Postle, Diamond, Lancaster, Harrison, Roper, C.Jones, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Kennedy, Skillern. Subs: T.Wilson, Nicholl, Monaghan, Townend; unused sub: Pickering. Scorers: Harrison 2, Lancaster, Kennedy, T.Wilson, Thorp 2. Cautioned: Jones.

  No less than six team changes today, all of them forced. Olly Roper and Jack Diamond took over from the unavailable Sedge and the injured Dave Shapland in defence. Steve Skillern returned, albeit briefly, at left wing-back with George Lancaster moving to the right in the absence of Shane Bell. Craig Harrison played for the first time in two years in central midfield, with Matty Pickering dropping out injured. Up front, it was all change, Thorpy and new recruit Jesse Kennedy forming an entirely new partnership.

  Given the above, if it had started well for us it would have been a surprise. And it didn't. Three minutes into the game, the home team overloaded down their left and played the ball across our goal for a tap-in. Worse, with ten minutes played, it became obvious that Skilly was still struggling with injury, and he was replaced by Tom Wilson, himself a fitness doubt before the match, Craig now moving out to the left. Gradually, we began to eke out a foothold in the game. On 18 minutes, following a string of saved shots, Craig followed up and equalised. Twelve minutes later, Jesse's left wing corner was met at the near post by George and we were in front. All that aside, there was no denying we'd had a pretty ropey first half, but the way we'd played our way out of trouble was cause for some justifiable praise at the interval.

  Five minutes into the second half, Thorpy's shot was saved but Jesse followed up to extend the lead to 3-1, and we might have thought we were home if not exactly dry. Not so. On 10 minutes, from our own free kick in dangerous territory, we allowed the home team to come down the pitch quickly and in numbers, and the lead was cut to 3-2. In a situation where it might have been easier to panic, Horsforth stuck gamely to their task, and stepped up the tempo of the game in midfield just as the home side began to tire slightly. With 21 minutes played, Tom's beautiful lob from a long way out made it 4-2, and from that point it was hard to see us losing. Anthony Nicholl reinforced the defence at this stage, but by now our range of attacking talent was more to the fore. On 28 minutes, Thorpy's throw was met by George's header, and fell to Craig to score his second of the day, whereupon having surpassed expectations on his comeback he was replaced by Luke Monaghan. Thorpy, hitherto unluckily denied, now joined in the goalscoring with a free kick, and again with a cool finish when Luke broke the offside trap, while Liam Townend got into the action too at the death, but by now the game was over as a contest.

  The scoreline might look emphatic in the end, but this game was far from one-sided; the home team more than played their part in what was, for the conditions, a decent game of football. Our problems with player availability continue, and the first half performance inevitably suffered as a result. But the way we dug in and played our way back into the game was immensely pleasing, and even if we are still way short of having everybody fit the underlying team spirit still shines through on days like this. Not forgetting the fact that, amidst all the crises, we have got one of our core players back after a long absence, and unearthed another who shows great promise for the future.

  Other league games: Myrtle Park 3, Hampsthwaite United 0; Shadwell United 7, Keighley Athletic 2; Shipley Town 1, Salts 3; Yeadon Athletic v Leeds City Rovers postponed.

  The FA Sunday Cup Round 2 included: Leeds City Rovers 4, BRNESC 1.

Sunday 4th November 2018 (WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 2):
Horsforth Fairweather 4 The Woodcock 1

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Pickering, S.Sedgwick, C.Jones, Litvinov, Francis, Scott, Hawes, Lancaster. Subs: Roper, Riley, Townend; unused sub: Monaghan. Scorers: Hawes 3 (1 pen), Francis (pen).

  Another four players missing from last week's starting XI, yet still we were able to get what looked a decent side out ... Dave Shapland and Sedge came into the back three, Shane Bell returned at right wing-back, George Lancaster switching to the left, club captain Jamie Francis was back in midfield, Dave Scott up front.

  And it quickly got worse, as Shappy's injury recurred in the opening minutes, allowing Olly Roper to claim what I think is the earliest sub appearance in HFFC history, 4 minutes on my watch. The first half was grim stuff, not much fun to watch and it didn't seem like fun to play in. After 20 minutes, Sedge was adjudged to have fouled a Woodcock striker, a decision even more hotly contested than usual, but the penalty was put away and we were a goal down. Six minutes later, however, a quickly-taken free kick by Matty Pickering found James Hawes with a bit of space, and the sublime finish might on another day have been a turning point. Not so, the game dragged on until the very welcome half time interval without further scoring.

  A rather more open contest ensued in the second period, and I'd love to report that it was a case of Horsforth getting on top from the outset, but in truth the away side had their chances to re-establish their lead before in the 18th minute the referee blew for a foul on Dave Scott, and Jamie stepped up to give us an advantage which, deserved or otherwise, we exploited to the full. On 26 minutes, some natty footwork from Matty and a neat pass from Shane presented Hawesy with the chance for another picture goal, and finally the gap in class between the sides began to show. We were able to bring on some decent reinforcements, Henry Riley and Liam Townend, while the away side were forced to see the game out with their starting eleven. All the same, it took until the 39th minute before we scored again, yet another controversial penalty, this time for a challenge on Olly, Hawesy completing his hat-trick from the spot.

  So, not a great game, certainly not a great performance. Mitigation? - just look at the list of players we had missing, injured or unavailable. I'd say the depth of the squad, the sheer level of commitment that exists to this club, was what got us through today, and that's not something we need to apologise for. Anyway, after 14 seasons in the County's senior Sunday competition, this was the first time we've won a game, so that on its own must be worthy of some kind of celebration.

  Other Round 2 ties included: Keighley Athletic 8, Heaton Athletic 3; Leeds City Rovers 6, Roberttown Rovers 1; Salts 4, Railway Inn Pontefract 1; and Burton Leonard bye.

  This was the round of 64. More details here.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 2 included: Halifax Rangers 0, Hampsthwaite United 9; New Inn Whites 2, Myrtle Park 1.

  League game: Shipley Town 3, Burton Leonard 3.

Sunday 28th October 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 6 Salts 0

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Diamond, Pickering, T.Wilson, C.Jones, Thorp, Litvinov, Hawes, R.Wilson, Monaghan. Subs: Bell, Scott, Roper, S.Sedgwick; unused sub: Francis. Scorers: Litvinov 2, Thorp, Hawes, Bell 2. Cautioned: Thorp (Unsporting Behaviour), Diamond (Persistent Infringement).

  These days it just wouldn't be Sunday morning without a handful of team changes. With Steve Sedgwick and Phil Smith unavailable, Horsforth brought back Jack Diamond into the side and pulled Chris Jones back into central defence alongside Tom Wilson. George Lancaster and Luke Monaghan started as wing-backs, while, with Henry Riley and Kev Hoyle out of action there were recalls for Gary Litvinov and Rob Wilson in midfield.

  With five changes, it was inevitable there would be some problems with the team's continuity, and the first half was indeed a bit of a dog's dinner. Unable to mount a serious attack on the Salts goal, and more than bit sloppy in defence, it was a relief to get to half time with the game scoreless. To add injury to insult, we lost Rob after half an hour, although with Shane Bell available as substitute the cloud did at least have a silver lining.

  After what must have been the best team talk in the history of football, Horsforth came out for the second period in far more determined mood, and though there were still several reorganisations needed along the way, the outcome of the contest was not long in doubt. Our set pieces having been woeful in the first half, it took just four minutes of the second before the accuracy of Thorpy's deadly corner from the right was matched by superb movement from Gary, whose header broke the deadlock. A further key change 15 minutes into the half was when Dave Scott reappeared as sub, and was brought down in the box just a minute later. Gary's penalty was well saved by the Salts keeper, but Thorpy's follow up was unstoppable. In the 19th minute, Thorpy's throw in was met by a combination of Gary and Dave at the far post, and rebounded into the path of James Hawes, who made it 3-0. Shane was rampaging at will down the right wing by this point, and more great approach play involving Dave led to his making it four. Olly Roper joined in the fun at this stage, his first appearance of the season, but still Shane was just about unplayable. His 34th minute cross from the right was brilliantly met by Gary for a fifth goal, and two minutes later he followed up on his own half-saved shot to make it six. At this point, we thought it was worth taking a gamble on Sedge ☺ as if to emphasise the importance of seeing the game out with a clean sheet, and that we did.

  Some really important lessons to be learnt today, the most important being that we kept our heads when things were going a bit awry in the first half, tweaked the line up a little bit, and, with a lot of hard work and a handful of great subs to call on, it all came right for us. And we need to remember matches like this the next time we seem to be having one of those off days.

  Other league games: Keighley Athletic 9, Burton Leonard 1; Leeds City Rovers 6, Myrtle Park 1; Shadwell United 2, Shipley Town 3; Yeadon Athletic 2, Hampsthwaite United 2.

Sunday 21st October 2018 (LDFA Sunday Senior Cup round 2):
Main Line Social 2 Horsforth Fairweather 0

Team: Postle, T.Wilson, C.Jones, Pickering, S.Sedgwick, P.Smith, Thorp, Riley, Hawes, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Townend, Monaghan, Francis. Cautioned: Thorp (Leaving field of play without referee's permission).

  Jonathan Postle returned in goal for Horsforth, while there were three enforced outfield changes: with George Lancaster unavailable, Chris Jones was moved to right wing-back, Tom Wilson taking over in defence; Steve Skillern (briefly) replaced the injured Dave Shapland on the left; and Thorpy was back up front alongside James Hawes in the absence of Gary Litvinov.

  It was clear from the start that this was going to be a hard game for us, and the odds were stacked even higher when Skilly had to leave the contest after less than half an hour, Liam Townend getting a decent runout as his replacement, albeit in an unfamiliar position. The first half was a pretty dull affair, with little inspired football from either side. Horsforth defended pretty well - Pos in particular making some great saves - but offered little as an attacking force. The home side's game plan was a rather simple one, but it paid off for them just four minutes before the break, when an effort from the left that was surely a cross rather than a shot drifted into our net.

  We did our best to turn things around after the interval, but the game's decisive moment arrived in the tenth minute of the second half. Our set pieces had been poor all day, but what looked a dangerous one just outside the Main Line penalty area broke down far too easily, and the home team worked the ball downfield quickly to make it 2-0. With a bench less well staffed than in recent times, Horsforth had little prospect of clawing back such a deficit. Luke Monaghan was brought on, then club captain Jamie Francis made a welcome (and hopefully not premature) return from injury, and there were a few moments when we just might have struck back, but in fairness we always seemed to be waiting for a mistake which never came. The home side would probably say they dealt with our attacks quite comfortably, and I wouldn't argue with that.

  So, another rather brief campaign in the Sunday Senior Cup, particularly disappointing as I felt that with anything like our best team out we could have got ourselves a result today. Well, you can only play with what you have available, and today I'd say those who played gave a pretty decent account of themselves, but overall, as a team, we lacked that touch of class which we've seen these last few weeks, and paid the penalty.

  Other Round 2 ties: Bramley Town 4, Harehills WMC 2; East Leeds Celtic 0, New Pudsey 2; Hope Inn Whites 8, East End Park WMC 3; HT Sports 3, Rodley 3 (Rodley won 3-1 on pens); Seacroft WMC 0, The Woodcock 3; Sporting Pudsey 0, Leeds City Rovers 5; Whitkirk Wanderers 13, Colton 4 (that's what it says anyway).

  League games: Hampsthwaite United 3, Yeadon Athletic 2; Keighley Athletic 1, Myrtle Park 3; Salts 3, Shipley Town 1; Shadwell United 3, Burton Leonard 1.

  This page last updated 09/12/2018.

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