Sunday 17th October 2021 (LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 1):
North Leodis 3
Horsforth Fairweather 3
(North Leodis won 4-2 on penalties)
Monaghan, Service, Marson, Shapland
Bogdanos, Pickering, Cain, Skillern
Subs: Hoyle, Jones, Townend
Scorers: Sparkes 2, Litvinov
Cautioned: Shapland, Jeffrey
With no less than seven players from last week's starting line-up unavailable for various reasons, Horsforth gamely reshuffled the pack yet again.
Sam Jeffrey was back in goal, Luke Monaghan and Iain Service in defence, Steve Skillern, Alex Cain and Christos Bogdanos started in midfield, and Jamie Sparkes up front.
The inevitable uncertainty manifested itself in the sixth minute, when the home team cut straight up the middle of our defence and went a goal ahead.
But the feared disaster didn't materialise, as Horsforth gradually began to sort themselves out and, in what was for 90 minutes an end-to-end game, began to attack with purpose and invention.
A remarkable volley from Jamie Sparkes after 25 minutes was the reward: Boggy's deep cross from the right took an age to come down, but Jamie kept his eye on the ball all the way, and with great coolness steered in into the net for his first goal for the club.
Three minutes later, we were behind again, as a half-cleared corner was played back into the danger area and in the confusion a Leodis striker found too much room.
A further problem was the enforced retirement through injury of Matty Pickering, though fortunately we had a quality replacement available in Kev Hoyle.
And Sparkesy wasn't finished yet: in the last minute of the first half, he got on the edge of Skilly's flick-on, and beat the goalkeeper again, ensuring the teams changed ends with the proverbial everything to play for.
The second half was if anything even better entertainment, as both sides played positive, attacking football and chances were regularly created.
Midway through the period, we thought we'd won the game when the industrious Gary Litvinov took the ball off a defender and scored with aplomb to put us ahead for the first time, but the game's decisive moment ensued just two minutes later.
It seemed an innocuous foul, and it seemed to be outside the area, but the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
In amongst the flurry of dissent and discontent, Sam was sin-binned, so Ben Marson briefly took over in goal, though he was powerless to prevent the spot kick being converted.
We brought Chris Jones into the game, giving him the keeper's jersey while Sam served his sentence, the home side were unable to capitalise on their ten minute man advantage, and there were still chances for both teams to win it, before the dreaded penalty shoot-out followed.
Both sides converted their first two attempts, but Horsforth's third and fourth kicks were saved, and our brief run in the Sunday Senior Cup was over.
Looking back, this had been a good game to watch, with some excellent football played at times, and, a couple of lapses allowed, a very good performance from this much-changed Horsforth team.
Regrettable then that the game was settled by a moment of deep controversy, which sent everyone home with a feeling of considerable frustration.
Maybe these things do even themselves out over the course of a season, but today, in spite of all the positives we'll take from the game, it's hard to avoid saying we felt hard done by at the result.
Other Round 1 games:
Garden Gate 1, Wykebeck Arms 4;
HT Sports 4, Chapeltown 2;
Kirkstall Crusaders Academy v Main Line Social away walkover;
Leeds City Rovers 6, Seacroft 0;
Little London v Oulton Athletic home walkover;
Old Crooked Clock v Colton away walkover;
Whitkirk Wanderers 3, Shadwell United 1.
LDFA Sunday District Cup Round 2 included:
Horsforth Saints 1, AFC Daisy 4.
Bradford FA Sunday Senior Cup Round 2 included:
FC United of Baildon v Tyersal home walkover.
Wharfedale FA Sunday Cup Round 1 included:
AFC Titans 0, Yeadon FC 7.
Round 2 included:
Yeadon Athletic 7, K Town United 5.
Myrtle Park 3, Salts 0;
Skipton United 2, Keighley Athletic 1;
Wellington Wolves 3, Horsforth St Margarets 2.
Sunday 10th October 2021 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Wellington Wolves 2
Horsforth Fairweather 3
Bell, Andrews, Marson, Shapland
Riley, Pickering, Lancaster, Canning
Subs: Bogdanos, Cain, Monaghan, Townend; unsed sub: Sparkes
Scorers: Marson, Hyde, Litvinov
With Sam Jeffrey, Steve Skillern and Satwik unavailable due to illness, and Iain Service injured, Horsforth had to ring the changes again, but at least this week there were plenty of quality alternatives.
Jonathan Postle returned in goal, and Tom Andrews took over in central defence.
Gary Litvinov and Dan Hyde were back in the side in attack, while Henry Riley, Matty Pickering and Ben Canning were restored to the midfield.
As with the game at our pitch (all of two weeks ago), Horsforth did most of the hard work early.
After 17 less than inspiring minutes of play, Ben Canning's corner was met powerfully at the far post by Ben Marson, and the Martian duly notched his first goal for the club.
On 25 minutes, Dan had his first shot blocked but showed great determination to recover and drill home what was his first official goal for the club since the Summer League in 2016,
and two minutes later Henry's fine approach play culminated in his inspired pass to the far post, where Gary ghosted in unnoticed for a third, which might have ended the resistance of a lesser side than Wellington.
But, as we found out when last we faced them, the former Skybet side seem to be one of those teams who just don't know when they're beaten, and they further enhanced their reputation today with an immediate fightback.
In the 33rd minute, a chipped cross floated into our net, an absolute fluke in itself but a symbol of their determination to make a game of it.
The first half ended with Horsforth still in the ascendancy, but in truth we hadn't been playing with any great authority, too many passes going astray in midfield and a fair amount of wing-and-a-prayer defending.
The second half was a much grimmer affair, the midfield contest far more even now.
With the balance of play beginning to go against us, Horsforth, as is traditional, looked to the bench for reinforcements, and brought Christos Bogdanos and new recruit Alex Cain into the game: given that the home team had a bare 11 players, it seemed the depth of our squad might be the key factor.
Yet when the Wellington lads scored their second goal, from a flick at the near post at a corner after 24 minutes, it was clear what was now required was a stoic rearguard action - and it's pleasing to report, that's what we got.
Luke Monaghan and Liam Townend were added to the mix as we tried to change the pattern of the play, but the latter stages of the game belonged to the home team. They weren't exactly laying siege to our goal - we made a good few half-chances of our own - but a late equaliser would have surprised nobody.
That it didn't arrive is testament to some strong and purposeful defending from Horsforth's remodelled defence, as well as (it must be conceded) a few slices of luck.
Not a great performance overall, I think we'd all have to agree that, but some nice goals while we were on top and some dogged defending when we weren't.
Six points from a team who will surely do some damage to the league's better sides before the season is much older, a good return from another day of effort rather than inspiration.
And a point in time where we perhaps need to remind ourselves how far we've come in the last couple of months, from a club that couldn't raise 11 players for a single pre-season friendly to the top half of the table.
It's still a work in progress of course, but in my opinion we are at least seeing quite a lot of progress.
Other league games:
FC United of Baildon 2 Skipton United 6;
Horsforth Saints 1, Myrtle Park 2;
Horsforth St Margarets 1, Keighley Athletic 4;
Shadwell United 2, Leeds City Rovers 7;
Salts 1, Yeadon FC 3.
Sunday 3rd October 2021 (WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 1):
Little London 4
Horsforth Fairweather 3
Bell, Service, Marson, Shapland
Bogdanos, Andrews, Lancaster, Skillern
Subs: Sreedhara, Riley, Pickering, Canning; unused sub: Hyde
Scorers: Lancaster 2, Pickering
Cautioned: Bogdanos (Unsporting Behaviour)
Last week's sound result notwithstanding, Horsforth made sweeping changes for this County Sunday Cup tie.
George Lancaster switched from attack to midfield, where he was joined by Christos Bogdanos, Tom Andrews and Steve Skillern, all starting for the first time this season.
With captain Gary Litvinov unavailable, Liam Townend and Jamie Sparkes were recalled to the attack, while left-back David Shapland took over the armband.
Against a strong home team from the Combination's Jubilee Premier league,
Horsforth had some good moments going forward in the first half, though few and far between, and trailed 2-0 by the 40th minute due to a couple of defensive lapses.
Little London undoubtedly had some class players in their side, even if we sensed they might be vulnerable defensively if we could build a few more sustained attacks, but at two goals up they clearly felt the day was theirs already.
Just when it seemed the game might be slipping beyond us, a rather astonishing piece of control and long distance strike from George reduced the arrears to 2-1, and at the interval the mood was one of renewed confidence.
Iain Service had made a big difference to the defence so far this season, but we lost him to injury at the break. Satwik was brought on as sub in midfield with Tom moving into central defence.
We began to play with more purpose for the second period, and were able to bolster the midfield further with the introduction of Matty Pickering and Henry Riley - who had been the central pairing in both previous games - and the switching of George and Christos to the attack.
We contrived to concede a third goal after 21 minutes, but hit back immediately with a superb lob from the excellent George to make it 3-2.
With Ben Canning on giving us a whole new-look midfield, we were playing the better football as the game moved into its decisive last stages, and when in the 43rd minute Matty's toe-poke flew gloriously into the net it seemed the tie was heading for penalties.
But, sad to report, some of the goals we conceded today had been pretty disappointing affairs, and the one in the final minute that settled the game in the home team's favour was no exception.
Overall, this had been an impressive display from a much changed Horsforth side, in that we had ended up pretty much dominating the midfield for all the second half.
Regrettably, we conceded some rather poor goals, which had meant we were always chasing the game, and ultimately cost us the result which we felt we'd earned.
Not much to be gained by dwelling on the defensive shortcomings today, let's just say we know we can do better than this and leave it there.
Other Round 1 games included:
Horsforth Saints 1, Bramham Sunday 4;
Horsforth St Margarets v Pollington Predators home walkover;
Leeds City Rovers 2, Myrtle Park 2 (Leeds City won 4-3 on pens);
Salts 2, Main Line Social 2, Main Line won 4-2 on pens;
Shadwell United v Hounds home walkover;
Skipton United 5, Chickenley 0.
Keighley Athletic 7, Wellington Wolves 4;
Yeadon FC 1, FC United of Baildon 5.
This page last updated 17/10/2021.