Horsforth Fairweather FC

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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.

  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.

Sunday 14th October 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Shipley Town 1 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Team: Pope, C.Jones, Shapland, Pickering, S.Sedgwick, P.Smith, Lancaster, T.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Hawes. Subs: Howarth, Riley; unused subs: Monaghan, Townend. Scorers: Hawes, Pickering.

  From last week's line-up, Horsforth were without four players, so Jack Pope took over between the sticks, and Dave Shapland was back in the side at left wing-back, George Lancaster switching to the right. Both the forwards from the previous game being absent, Gary Litvinov lined up in the attack alongside James Hawes, with Tom Wilson filling the gap in midfield.

  The rain was persistent rather than heavy, and the pitch did hold up surprisingly well, but this was never going to be a game for the purist. The first period was hard graft indeed, both sides doing their best to cope with the conditions, but few flowing moves to remember and almost always the last pass breaking down at both ends. The was however one moment of pure class in the 37th minute, as Gary and Kev Hoyle combined to play the ball through for Hawesy, whose deadly finish gave us a slender lead at the break.

  The second half saw the teams raising their game a bit, coming to terms with the weather and starting to play some football in patches. There were some rather clearer chances now, at each end, and though we felt we were still on top, we needed a second goal, all the more so when Shappy had to go off injured, albeit in Dave Howarth we had a quality replacement. In the 25th minute of the half, the indefatigable Gary chased yet another lost cause and won the ball back off a defender in the Shipley penalty area, Matty Pickering had a shot blocked but followed up to make it 2-0. Then, perhaps, we seemed to take our foot off the gas, maybe we thought we'd done the hard work? Anyway, the home side had a very strong spell, and for the first time began to dominate the midfield. We seemed to have enough in reserve to keep them at bay, certainly our defence had up till then coped soundly with all their attacks, but a slight case of the jitters ensued when Shipley scored a goal back with just four minutes left on my watch - plus the seven and a half minutes of injury time the referee added on from somewhere: he must have been enjoying the game more than I was. Still we held out, the defending a bit less polished than had looked to be the case earlier, but we got over the line and bagged another three points.

  There have been a few superb displays of attacking football from Horsforth in the early weeks of the season. This wasn't one of them. It had been a solid performance, a match full of hard work and passion from both teams, with just a couple of moments of endeavour to separate the sides To be honest, it's the fact that we can dig out results on days like this, as well as play our normal open football when we get the chance, that give us such cause for optimism for the rest of the season.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 1, Myrtle Park 2; Keighley Athletic 5, Yeadon Athletic 1; Shadwell United 8, Hampsthwaite United 6.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 1 included: Leeds City Rovers 8, Bolton Woods 1.

Sunday 7th October 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Hampsthwaite United 1 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Team: Postle, C.Jones, Bell, Lancaster, S.Sedgwick, P.Smith, Thorp, Pickering, Litvinov, Hoyle, R.Wilson. Subs: Riley, Townend, Monaghan; unused sub: Skillern. Scorers: Smith, Lancaster. Cautioned: Thorp (Persistent Infringement).

  With three of last week's starting line-up and three members of "the best bench in history" unavailable, Horsforth were forced into another reorganisation. Don't pay too much attention to the numbers this week: Shane Bell was back at right wing-back, with George Lancaster moving to the left. Phil Smith reappeared in the three-man back line alongside Sedge and Chris Jones. Matty Pickering, Kev Hoyle and Gary Litvinov gave some measure of continuity in central midfield, while Rob Wilson played his first game of the season up front alongside Thorpy. Pos was in goal as usual.

  It was a tense game from start to finish, between two well-matched sides who had fought out a draw at Bedquilts a mere five weeks earlier. As is now customary, Horsforth played a lot of nice football in the first half, but didn't quite establish the superiority we'd hoped for on the rather tricky 4G pitch at Rossett Sports Centre. We did however always look to be making the better chances, and when Phil headed Thorpy's left-wing corner into the net in the 36th minute it was neither a surprise nor in any way undeserved, but we always knew it wasn't going to be enough to bring home the points.

  Hampsthwaite came out for the second half in determined mood, and enjoyed a spell of dominance, as our attacks petered out a bit and our defence began to look rather vulnerable to their more inspired passing game. We brought Henry Riley on in the midfield, to try to wrest back the initiative, but when on 21 minutes the home team moved the ball swiftly up the field and shot home from the inside-right channel the game was back in the balance. From here on, there were chances at both ends, though I'd venture to say we had slightly more and slightly better. In the 36th minute of the half, George won the ball off one defender some distance from goal, and rounded a couple more before tucking it home from close range, a splendid goal to settle this or any other game. There were still a few scary moments, and we were more than glad to hear the ref's final whistle, but in the end I'd say it was a win we just about deserved.

  The points will send Horsforth to the top of the Wharfedale Triangle League table, for a week at least, due to other sides' County Cup commitments, a fair reward for a series of sound performances in recent weeks. Maybe this wasn't quite as emphatic a win as some of the recent results, but I'd say the strength of the opposition should account for that, we can't play great stuff every week and some games you just need to roll your sleeves up and battle for the points - and that was what we did today.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 5, Shadwell United 2; Salts 1, Keighley Athletic 3.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 1 included: Myrtle Park 6, Beldon Oddies 2 Shipley Town 5, East Bierley 6.

  The FA Sunday Cup Round 1 included: Linthwaite 0, Leeds City Rovers 1.

  This page last updated 21/10/2018.

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