Horsforth Fairweather FC

Archived reports 2017-18.

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03/09/2017 New Pudsey (H) 10/09/2017 Chapel Allerton (A)
17/09/2017 JB Celtic (A) Sunday Cup 01/10/2017 Toller (A) County Cup
08/10/2017 AFC Leodis (H) 15/10/2017 Colton (A)
22/10/2017 Chapel Allerton (H) 29/10/2017 New Middleton (A)
05/11/2017 Swillington Welfare (H) 26/11/2017 New Pudsey (A)
03/12/2017 East Leeds Celtic (H) 14/01/2018 Swillington Welfare (A)
04/02/2018 Leeds City Rovers (A) League Cup 11/02/2017 East Leeds Celtic (A)
25/02/2018 Swillington Welfare (A) 25/03/2017 AFC Leodis (A)
08/04/2018 Colton (A) 15/04/2017 East Leeds Celtic (H)

Sunday 3rd September 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 New Pudsey 3

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Jones, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Molloy, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, R.Wilson, Shapland. Subs: Bell, Pickering, Minshull, LD.Monaghan; unused sub: Penrose. Scorer: R.Wilson. Cautioned: Thorp (unsporting behaviour).

  Gav's match report:

  11 o'clock came and there was more than a touch of optimism about the coming season. The rousing speech from the manager was still fresh in everyone's head at Kick off as the ref blew to get things underway. 

  The opening 10 minutes provided some open play for both teams with Horsforth edging the possession stats , a couple of corners and free kicks leading to New Pudsey clearing their lines comfortably led to nothing for the Horsforth boys. 

  On 13 minutes came the first goal arguably against the run of play , New Pudsey clearing their lines led to a Horsforth throw barley in their own half , it was taken quickly to Jonesy who failed to control the bobbling ball in the centre circle , the lone Pudsey striker pounced , put the centre back under considerable pressure which led to a fortunate bounce for the attacker who ran towards an oncoming Pos only for the ball to be slid past from 18 yards and for the ball to go in off the post , 0-1. 

  The next 10/15 minutes saw Horsforth back on top with a couple of chances on goal unfortunately without any joy. 

  On 37 minutes saw the second goal of the game , an in swinging cross from Pudsey’s left wing found their centre forward all on his lonesome at the Horsforth far post , using the speed of the cross he just guided the ball back across goal into the back of the net , 0-2. 

  After that second goal the first half degraded itself into a mish mash of arguments and needless tackles , culminating in a red card for New Pudsey. Some nice work down the left between Thorpy and Litvinov resulted a rash tackle by Thorpy , the Pudsey jumped up and wrapped his hands around the Fairweather forward , it was a rash and uncalled for action and left the ref with no choice but to give the boy in blue his marching orders. 

  Half Time 0-2 

  The second half didn't take long to get going , in 47th minute Pudsey picked up a free kick in the oppositions half and swept a curling ball that landed on a forwards head inside the penalty area , a header searching for the roof of the net saw the save of the game when Horsforth's number 1 flew an outstretched hand to tip the goal bound ball high over the bar. 

  Unfortunately for Horsforth saw the resulting corner in the 48th minute gave birth to the 3rd goal of the game. The out swinging corner flummoxed everyone apart from a drifting in number 3 for New Pudsey , who saw the ball drop to him and he calmly slotted the ball home through a crowded box  , 0-3. 

  A couple of gilt edged chances followed , most notably Rob clear through 6 yards out firing the ball high and wide which left HFFC wondering how they were 3 down , but had the woodwork to thank it wasn't 4 when a Pudsey cross from the right found its target 7 yards out , only for the ball to bounce off the upright. 

  A 30yd effort from Gary failed to trouble the keeper , and 5 minutes later Rob found himself , this time 12 yards out again found Row Z. 

  The 71st min found The boys in green with what seemed like their 20th free kick of the game which was floated in majestically by Molloy , found Rob 3 yards out with the ball on his head ............. yep , row Z. 

  The rub of the green definitely wasn't with the boys at this point , but with words of encouragement from the sidelines giving the boys that elusive 12th man (against , let's not forget 10 men) - surely a goal was due more than an expecting mother who was giving birth to a new born. 

  Most of the second half was full mainly of midfield tussles and immense frustration , with Horsforth battling to the end knowing not even a 3 goal deficit isn't un surmountable in modern day Sunday league , and with a superb right foot cross from Shane in the 86th minute found its mark perfectly in the form of Gary's head , only for the keeper to pull of his personal best for the game , and with Robs fortunes destined not to change with the rebound it didn't look good. 

  It actually took until the 95th min for Horsforth to get a consolation goal , a corner swung in from the left , found Rob to so sneak one in from 3 yards out and rocket the Horsforth marksman to the top of the teams golden boot charts in this , the first game of the season. 

  The ref blew for full time before the keeper had a chance to pick the ball out of the New Pudsey net. 

  Final score 

  Horsforth Fairweather 1 - 3 New Pudsey

  Final thoughts

  A game that , as it went on made itself into a game of frustration and annoyance , onward and upward. 

  Other league games: AFC Leodis 2, Chapel Allerton 2; East Leeds Celtic 2, Colton 5; New Middleton 3, Swillington Welfare 1 (no, not 11-3 as first reported).

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Sunday 10th September 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Chapel Allerton 3 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Postle, Bell, Lancaster, Pickering, T.Wilson, Jones, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Diamond, Roper; unused subs: Banham, LD.Monaghan, Penrose. Scorers: Litvinov 2, Thorp 2. Cautioned: Pickering (persistent infringement).

  Gav's match report:

  With last weeks loss still not sitting right with the lads , the manager wanted a positive start to Game day 2 of the season. With rain lashing down on the Costa del Leeds over the last two days we turned up at Chapel Allertons pitch ready for a muddy slog , in fairness to the grounds man , given the pitch had been used as a car park recently , wasn't as bad as it could have been , although the length of the grass could have been a point of concern as someone seemed to have forgot to cut it. 

  Kick off came at 11am prompt and both sides showed early initiative , both with a shot at goal within 5 mins. 

  On 15 minutes came the first real chance to open the scoring and it fell to Horsforths own Captain Fantastic Jamie Francis , a quick thinking throw in on the right by Thorpy made its way to Jamie 12 yards out and let fly with a fearsome half volley , headed for the top corner the ball took a unwelcome last second deflection only to see it rebound off the woodwork to safety , with Francis shaking his head as to how he hadn't managed to break the deadlock.  

  2 minutes later saw Skilly test the keeper direct from a corner and HFFC were definitely stamping their authority in the match. 

  On 20 minutes did see the first goal of the game when Tom intercepted the ball in the halfway line , it found Gary who then knocked the ball out wide to Skilly , taking the ball to the by line he looked up only to find Gary had made his way to the edge of the 6 yard box , a sublime pass to the waiting number nine needed the ball only to be guided past the keeper , which Gary did making this goal scoring lark look easy , 1-0.  How Tom didn't make it 2-0 2 minutes later with a clean header 3 yards out from a corner a minute later only Mr Wilson himself can tell you. 

  30 minutes in and the boys in their familiar green colours were clearly on top and just needed the score line to be boosted even more in their favour , but had 'safe hands' Pos to thank the lead was in tact when , on 28 minutes a hard low shot from outside the box made the man in yellow dive at full stretch to knock the ball past his post.  

  In the 37th minute Horsforth did double their lead when the deadly duo of Thorp and Litvinov combined again when a beautifully floated ball from the right found Gary seemingly Head and shoulders above the rest to head the ball in , 0-2. 

  A minute later on the games very next attack found a Chapel Allerton forward clean through on goal after a hopeful through ball seconds after the re start , Pos came out to close the angle down but the ball found the net , 1-2. 

  Half Time 

  Chapel Allerton 1 - 2 Horsforth Fairweather 

  The second half found the boys under early pressure and in the 47th minute it was 2-2 , some tricky play down the right flank looked like it was heading nowhere , but a loose ball in the area was eventually latched onto by a home team forward and sent like a rocket past Pos to leave the Horsforth defenders stood there looking at each other in bemusement , wondering where their 2 goal lead had gone to. 

  The 55th minute saw the 5th goal of the game and it wasn't a pretty sight , a through ball got the opposition possession deep in our half and a simple ball across the area enabled the attacker to slot the ball home , 3-2. 

  The next 10/15 minutes seemed very untidy , with Horsforth pressing , looking for that elusive equaliser. On the 70th minute young Kevin Hoyle played Gary through with a delightful lob pass down the left , beating the right back for pace he looked up only to find Thorpy making his way into the box like a steam train , an inch perfect pass found its target leaving Thorpy to shrug off his marker and make it 3-3. 

  It wasn't until the 81st minute for the next goal but when it came , the Horsforth eyes were smiling all the way back to the LS18 postcode itself. Again that gruesome twosome that had been a well oiled machine all game swung into action , this time it was Gary down the left with the cross that found Thorpy who was more than happy to make the score 3-4. 

  Taking control of the game , HFFC had Pos to thank in the 90th minute diving at an oncoming forward , only to smother the ball , and as he lay there with the ball under his silky physique the team sensed 3 points were assured , as long as they could see out the last 30 seconds. 

  They did and the cheers could be heard for miles , handshakes and back slapping duly took place only for the team to gather almost immediately by Captain Fantastic Jamie Francis , who announced to his team that he was leaving for an extended leave of absence from first team duties due to knee surgery.

  Jamie will be sorely missed , a true leader of men. 

  Final Score

  Chapel Allerton 3-4 Horsforth Fairweather 

  Final Thoughts

  2 up and cruising , in control and thinking about a cricket score , possibly complacency crept in or even a touch of bad luck ? At 3-2 down the boys dug in fought for every ball and showed so much desire , well played Horsforth , well played indeed. 

  Other league games: AFC Leodis 2, New Pudsey 3; New Middleton 6, East Leeds Celtic 5; Swillington Welfare 1, Colton 2.

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Sunday 17th September 2017 (LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 1):
JB Celtic 6 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Molloy, Pickering, Diamond, Thorp, T.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Bell, Jones, LD.Monaghan; unused sub: Penrose. Scorer: Thorp 2.

  Gav's match report:

  Cup day is here , the LDFA Sunday Senior Cup to be precise and a visit to JB Celtic was on the cards. 

  Pre season had seen a 8-1 drubbing by today's opponents , albeit whilst we picked up 3 first team injuries during the 90 mins and having to call upon goalkeepers to play outfield for example could be explained as less than ideal. 

  There was optimism aplenty pre off with the lads wanting to put in a good performance and in the first 10 minutes you could argue Horsforth looked the better team , some slick passing and good movement off the ball and there was more than a hint in the air that a result was possible. 

  Then came the 17 minutes from hell that changed everything. 

  Somehow from looking good and in control for the opening skirmishes , goals in the 10th , 15th , 20th , 23rd and 27th minutes changed everything. A mixture of quality finishing and lapses in concentration saw Horsforth 5-0 down and a few people scratching their heads. 

  A few shouts of encouragement from captain Tom Wilson and stand in manager Lee Mon got a few heads straight , and the boys battled through to half time grabbing a goal back on the 43rd minute when Thorpy found himself one on one with the keeper , slotting the ball past the oncoming opponents number one only to see the ball take an age to go over the line , but over the line it did crawl. 

  Litvinov nearly made it 2 for the boys in green a minute later only for the keeper to make an impressive save. 

  Half Time 5-1

  A change in formation followed an inspiring half time team talk by the stand in manager , back to a more traditional 4-4-2 saw the second half start with screams of 'let's win the second half' echoing around the pitch. 

  Luckily for the gladiators in green there was no 17 minutes of madness in this half , but the 52nd minute did find the home team increase their lead when they broke down their right crossed the ball over to to find their left winger all on his lonesome , free to slot home. 

  Was the score line a fair reflection of the open play displayed by both teams , no. But even with Horsforth showing equal if not superior open play football , they just didn't find their killer instinct in front of goal today , the stats sheet definitely backing that up with this being the first competitive game of the season when shots off target exceeded shots on target. 

  There was some joy found 20 minutes from time when man of the match , Thorpy , for the second game on a row got a brace of goals , this time firing a peach of a shot across the goalie into the far side of the net. 

  There was no more goals to be seen , but as proved in the second half , Horsforth were more than a match for their top tier opponents. If taking away the first 30 mins of the game was possible , you could say we won the last hour of the game 2-1. 

  There's still a couple more cup competitions to aim for and sitting nicely in the table at 4th , I'm sure the boys will be looking forward  to getting back into league action in 2 weeks , with next week a day off for the Green and Black army. 

  Final score

  JB Celtic 6-2 Horsforth Fairweather 

  Final thoughts 

  A game that should us to be technically better in a lot of areas of the park , just need need to get that missing ingredient that turns a good team into a great team.  

  Other Round 1 ties: Chapel Allerton 3, Kirkstall Crusaders 9; East Leeds Celtic 1, Colton 5; Leeds City Rovers 1, Chapeltown Fforde Grene 2; Main Line Social 1, AFC Leodis 3; New Middleton 2, HT Sports 4; New Pudsey 1, Hope Inn Whites 7; Whitkirk Wanderers v Millshaw Park Rangers home walkover.

  Barkston Ash Sunday Cup: Bramham 6, Swillington Welfare 2.

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Sunday 24th September 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL, Premier Division):

  League games: AFC Leodis 2, Colton 2; East Leeds Celtic 4, Chapel Allerton 3; New Pudsey 4, Swillington Welfare 1.

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Sunday 1st October 2017 (WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 1):
Toller 9 Horsforth Fairweather 0

Team: Postle, Jones, Shapland, Diamond, Pickering, T.Wilson, Thorp, Lancaster, Skillern, Hoyle, Bell. Sub: LD.Monaghan.

  County cup round one saw a trip to Bradford in order to face Toller FC. 

  The first 15 minutes saw the makings of a nice open game with both teams making openings , although Horsforth were probably winning the early exchanges , neither team managed a breakthrough. 

  On about the 15 minute mark a through ball for Horsforth had Thorpy on his bike chasing it down , the Toller keeper coming out bravely to get there first , but saw the 2 clash and had the Toller keeper come off the worst with , what turned out to be a double fracture. The game was stopped accordingly and an ambulance duly called , all at Horsforth obviously wish the young man well. 

  After the restart it took both teams a few minutes to get back in their stride , but it was Toller that struck first , in fact they hit 4 quick goals in 5 amazing first half minutes , seeing the Horsforth lads scratching their heads to what had just happened. 

  The second half unfortunately wasn’t much different , Toller taking their chances and Horsforth not so much.

  The scoreline was increased to 6-0 before long just by the Home team being more lethal in front of goal , Horsforth , frustratingly being mainly kept to long range efforts. 

  The last 7 minutes saw 3 more goals to the team from Bradford which left the final score 9-0. 

  Disappointing was the score. 

  Disjointed was the performance. 

  Back to league duties next week , lessons hopefully learnt. 

  Onwards and upwards.

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Sunday 8th October 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 2 AFC Leodis 3

Team: Penrose, Bell, Jones, Pickering, Smith, Molloy, Lancaster, R.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: LD.Monaghan, Banham. Scorer: Lancaster 2.

  Gav's match report:

  Many words are spoken yet few are heard , or so it may seem with the managers pre match talks. It has been said too many times already this season that the Horsforth heads go down too quickly , but goals in quick succession after an initial one needed to be addressed and quickly. 

  Sundays game brought AFC Leodis to Bedquilts , a seemingly well run team with many the values to the game that Horsforth hold dear , so a tough , competitive , yet friendly game should be on the cards. 

  Well , after about 15 minutes Horsforth gifted Leodis with their opener when an simple crossed ball found the only forward in the box who’s glanced header found the far post netting. 

  Thoughts of going 3 or 4 down before half time must have been in people’s minds considering the events of recent weeks , but boys from Horsforth are made of sterner stuff than that , and the very next attack saw a Horsforth corner which Mr Lancaster himself knocked in at close range to level things up. 

  It was George , again from a corner , this time with a little assistance from a Gary header knocking the ball back in to the danger zone making it 2-1 at half time. 

  Leodis came out quickly in the second half , and having their second or third chance in as many minutes from the restart found the net , again from a poorly defended cross. 

  It wasn’t too long after Horsforth found themselves behind for the second time in the game when a break down the Leodis left saw a goal on the second attempt at the keeper after the first was parried away. 

  There was no heads going down this week , and it looked to be an equaliser from a Phil header on 60 minutes , only for the red to blow for what seemed to be an off the ball incident. 

  Horsforth definitely had the upper hand in the remainder of the game , creating multiple chance especially in the last 10 minutes but it wasn’t to be. 

  A defeat , but a battling one , maybe fitness cane into play , maybe it was Lady Luck who didn’t fall on our side , either way onwards and upwards , to Colton away next week. 

  Other league game: New Middleton 4, New Pudsey 1.

  Sanford Cup Round 1: East Leeds Celtic 2, Chapel Allerton 3; Kirkstall Crusaders v Swillington Welfare home walkover.

  Byes: AFC Leodis, Chapeltown Fforde Grene, Colton, Hope Inn Whites, Horsforth Fairweather, HT Sports, JB Celtic, Kippax Sundays, Leeds City Rovers, Main Line Social, Millshaw Park Rangers, New Middleton, New Pudsey, Whitkirk Wanderers Sunday.

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Sunday 15th October 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Colton 3 Horsforth Fairweather 1

Team: Penrose, Pickering, Shapland, Howarth, T.Wilson, Smith, Thorp, R.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Scott, Sedgwick, Roper, LD.Monaghan. Scorer: T.Wilson. Cautioned: R.Wilson (dissent), Scott (dissent), Smith (dissent), T.Wilson (persistent infringement).

  Gav's match report ...

  The ‘Arena’ at Temple Newsome was the place to be on Sunday and a trip to top of the table Colton was on the cards. 

  Manager Woody having the luxury of a squad of 16 to take with him seemed a mouth watering prospect compared to the scant 12 the week before , with a return to action for the 2 Dave’s , Scott and Howarth. 

  The grass was wet yet the sun was bright as it all kicked off at 11am prompt and it wasn’t too long before the opening goal , a well crafted corner found Captain Fantastic , Mr Reliable himself , Tom Wilson diving in to knock his first home of the season. 

  The rest of the half found Horsforth on top for the most part something the possession stats would surely back up , but nearing half time Colton did get closer with their chances , mainly from their seemingly endless free kicks from about 30 yds out. 

  Finally one of these free kicks did take its toll on the big green wall at the back of the Horsforth machine , as a glancing header flew past a desperately unlucky Penrose in goal. 

  1-1 at half time. 

  The half time team talk spelt out the situation clearly , we were the better team , just carry on as we were and the goals will come. 

  Unfortunately for us the next goal did come , but in the shape of a Colton second. 

  Working themselves down their left , the winger somehow managed to get the ball into the middle and with the CF pouncing on the penalty area scramble , he would knock it in at the near post. 

  The game , which saw a third of all players on the pitch go in the book with a yellow wasn’t a particularly dirty game but did have a very much stop / start feel to it with Horsforth never really being able to get into the flow of the stylish football they know they can play. 

  The last 5 mins saw the ‘ultra attacking’ button pressed and it was all guns blazing looking for that equaliser , but with everyone committed forward it was a breakaway attack that saw a 2 on 1 situation , and with literally the last kick of the ball Colton made it 3-1. 

  Overall a draw would have been a fair result with Horsforth winning the first half and Colton  slowly edging in to it , what if we had built on that early lead , what if Woody was 20 years younger and 4 stone lighter ?

  What ifs and maybes don’t win games though , goals do. 

  Onwards and upwards. 

  Other league games: East Leeds Celtic 1, New Pudsey 3; New Middleton 2, AFC Leodis 3; Swillington Welfare 3, Chapel Allerton 1.

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Sunday 22nd October 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 5 Chapel Allerton 0

Team: Penrose, Bell, Lancaster, LD.Monaghan, Jones, T.Wilson, Thorp, R.Wilson, Litvinov, Scott, Pickering. Subs: Minshull, Roper, Sedgwick. Scorers: Thorp 2, R.Wilson 3. Cautioned: Thorp.

  This match deserves a bit of a write-up, however late, so here goes...

  Horsforth took the field in an unusual 4-4-2 shape, with a most attack-minded midfield. Gavin Penrose continued to deputise for Pos in goal, while Shane Bell, Chris Jones and George Lancaster were brought into the back for alongside regular Tom Wilson. Luke Monaghan, in his first start, and Matty Pickering were the wide players in midfield, with Rob Wilson and Gary Litvinov central. Up front, Thorpy and Dave Scott were paired together for the first time this season.

  We never looked like losing this one, frankly. Our inventive midfield tore apart the away defence several times before Thorpy broke through to open the scoring after 10 minutes. Shortly after this, Rob's shot took a wicked deflection off a defender to make it 2-0. The second period saw Steve Minshull on to make the midfield even stronger, and when on 14 minutes Thorpy hit the third goal the game was over as a contest. Rob burst through the defence for a fourth goal after 28 minutes, then completed his hat-trick seven minutes later. Olly Roper and Sedge made what are rare for them appearances these days as subs.

  The away side clearly had a lot of problems for this game, changing their keeper at least twice and struggling to build any attacks of note. That said, this was definitely one of the best HFFC performances for a long while, defence untroubled, keeper virtually a spectator, and strikers who looked like scoring every time they got the ball. A rattling good win, most welcome and much appreciated by us all I'm sure.

  Other league games: AFC Leodis 5, East Leeds Celtic 0; New Pudsey 2, Colton 1.

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Sunday 29th October 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
New Middleton 5 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Penrose, Lancaster, Shapland, Molloy, Jones, T.Wilson, Thorp, Howarth, Scott, Hoyle, R.Wilson. Subs: Pickering, Townend, LD.Monaghan. Scorers: R.Wilson 2, T.Wilson, Lancaster.

  The Match Report is under new management...

  Though forced into another series of team changes due to the absence of Shane Bell and Gary Litvinov, Horsforth were able to bring Luke Molloy into the defence, which switched to a three, alongside Chris Jones and Tom Wilson. Gavin Penrose continued in goal, with George Lancaster and Dave Shapland the wing-backs. The midfield trio was Dave Howarth, Rob WIlson and Kev Hoyle, while Dave Scott and Thorpy were the front two again. Matty Pickering and Luke Monaghan dropped down to the bench.

  The first half was a goal feast, though definitely not one for the purist. In the second minute, Rob burst through the static home defence and assuredly put us a goal up, only for a parried shot to present the home team with an equaliser all of a minute later. We enjoyed a bit of a purple patch in front of goals now, Luke's deep free kick finding its way to an unmarked Tom on seven minutes, followed by George heading home a corner from beyond the far post three minutes later. When Middleton scrambled the ball home from a corner to make it 3-2 in the 12th minute, it might have seemed a Sunday scoring record would be on the cards. The game settled down a bit after that, with both defences reorganising and the play fairly even. But our weakness from set pieces was exposed again in the 38th minute when the home team bundled the ball home from another corner which should surely have been cleared, and the interval arrived with the game in the balance.

  The second half started in the same vein, but gradually Middleton began to make the better chances, and when they went ahead for the first time, tapping in a low left-wing cross in the 17th minute of the period, they were probably looking slightly the more likely side. But more than one of their players were struggling to see out the game, and with their only sub used at half-time, it was perhaps inevitable the balance of play would swing back our way. Matty was brought on to stiffen the midfield, and from this point we created more than enough chances to win several matches. In the 29th minute, we got the equaliser we deserved when Dave Scott retrieved the ball from a broken down move at a corner, and crossed from the left for Rob to head home. The fracas which followed saw one of the home team sent off, and Dave so battered he was unable to continue. Debutant Liam Townend was his replacement, and with injuries now reducing to home team to nine players, it really did look like a winner for Horsforth was the only possible outcome. Yet our attacks became more rushed and our general play more anxious - and we were still conceding too many free-kicks. It was from one such set piece that Middleton floated the ball into the top of our net, and against all the odds won the game. And in all fairness (forgetting for a moment the earlier altercations) it's hard to avoid saying the way they stuck to their task in adversity did their remaining players great credit. But it should go without saying, we simply should not be getting beaten by nine men.

  And when you look back on this game, the thing we need to remember is that there was nothing wrong with any of the five goals they scored. There is of course a lot more that could be said, but that's the thought I'd like to leave you with.

  Other league games: AFC Leodis 5, Swillington Welfare 0; New Pudsey 2, Chapel Allerton 2.

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Sunday 5th November 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 2 Swillington Welfare 5

Team: Penrose, Lancaster, Shapland, Howarth, Smith, T.Wilson, Thorp, Pickering, Scott, R.Wilson, Litvinov. Subs: LD.Monaghan, Skillern, Townend, Jones. Scorers: R.Wilson, Litvinov. Cautioned: R.Wilson.

  With Luke Molloy and Kev Hoyle not available, Horsforth brought Phil Smith into the defence, with Dave Howarth dropping back to join him and Tom Wilson. Matty Pickering took over the holding role in a noticeably attack-minded midfield which also featured a return from Gary Litvinov. The rest was unchanged.

  We started the game rather poorly, the strikers making few inroads into the Swillington defence, but gradually began to ask more questions, and by the time Rob Wilson scrambled us in front from Thorpy's long throw-in in the 29th minute I'd say we were looking by some way the better side. But at this stage we seemed to lose our way a bit, and when Swillington equalised in the 38th minute with a tap-in from a low right wing cross I'd admit it hardly came as a surprise. And from here it went a bit jittery. Four minutes later, Swillington floated a free kick in from their right over the Horsforth goalie and changed ends 2-1 up, a thoroughly disappointing end to the half.

  The early part of the second half saw Horsforth far sharper, and looking ever more dangerous in attack. Eleven minutes in, George Lancaster's right wing corner was met at the far post by Gary, and at this point it appeared we were on our way to a result. Again though, it all went flat, for reasons that were hard to understand from the touchline. On 22 minutes, a lone Swillington striker broke through a series of missed tackles and put them in front again, and this time the advantage was to be crucial. Six minutes later, a snapshot went in to make it 4-2, and even though Horsforth unleashed a trio of attacking subs the initiative was never to be ours again. A couple of minutes from the end, the away side broke away again and lobbed the keeper to give the scoreline an even more emphatic look, and that I'm afraid was that.

  Not an easy game to analyse, as we did look quite good in some phases of this game, even if we were woeful in others. I know you all like a bit of controversiality in the match report, so here's this week's rash statement: the better team won. I don't feel like compiling a detailed list of the faults on show today (and doubt I'd be thanked for it), so can I just say sometimes you need to give the opposition due credit rather than just focusing on your own - and your team-mates' - weaknesses.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup round 2 included: Colton v Cock & Bottle home walkover; West Bowling 4 East Leeds Celtic 3 (also FYI: Toller 4, Malt Shovel 5).

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy round 2 included: Great Horton v Chapel Allerton postponed; Halifax Rangers 0, AFC Leodis 11; New Pudsey 14, Republica Internationale 1.

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Sunday 12th November 2017:

  Sanford Cup Round 2: East Leeds Celtic 0 HT Sports 5; Leeds City Rovers 3, Colton 1; Main Line Social 4, Kirkstall Crusaders 9; Whitkirk Wanderers Sunday 3, New Pudsey 4.

  Remaining Round 2 games: Hope Inn Whites v AFC Leodis (26th November); Horsforth Fairweather v New Middleton (19th November); JB Celtic v Chapeltown Fforde Grene (26th November); Kippax Sundays bye.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy round 2 included: Great Horton 3, Chapel Allerton 4.

Sunday 19th November 2017 (Sanford Cup Round 2):

  Horsforth Fairweather v New Middleton - not played, away team couldn't raise a side.

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 2: AFC Leodis 2, Whitkirk Wanderers Sunday 2 (Whitkirk won 4-3 on pens); HT Sports 2, Chapeltown Fforde Grene 3; JB Celtic 2, Colton 3; Kirkstall Crusaders 1, Hope Inn Whites 7.

  League game: Chapel Allerton 1, Swillington Welfare 2.

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Sunday 26th November 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
New Pudsey 3 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Howarth, T.Wilson, Molloy, Thorp, Litvinov, Scott, R.Wilson, Lancaster. Subs: Riley, Skillern, Hoyle; unused subs: Pickering, Townend. Scorers: Lancaster, R.Wilson 2, Howarth. Cautioned: T.Wilson.

  For the trip to face the league leaders, Horsforth had - for once - something of an embarrassment of riches to choose from, and reverted to four at the back, with Shane Bell and Luke Molloy back in the side alongside regulars Tom Wilson and Dave Shapland. Dave Howarth moved up beside Rob Wilson and Gary Litvinov in a five-piece midfield with James Thorp out on the left and George Lancaster on the right, leaving Dave Scott as the lone striker. Perhaps the most significant change, however, was that newly-wed Jonathan Postle returned in goal.

  Playing against the slope at Queens Park, Horsforth had already survived the scare of the home side having a goal disallowed for offside before, in the fifth minute, George found himself with room to turn and hit a shot past the keeper. At first, we coped quite well with Pudsey's attacks, but in the 17th minute and I'd have said against the run of play at the time they broke through and Tom conceded a penalty from which they equalised, the Horsforth captain earning a yellow card to add to his woes. Although we continued to give as good as we got for a while, gradually Pudsey wore down our resistance, and when they finally went in front after 38 minutes, from a corner it was but the latest in a sequence of chances they'd made. At half-time, we felt unlucky to be behind overall, but there could be no denying the home team had turned the contest around and had dominated the latter stages of the period.

  With the advantage of the gradient in the second half, Horsforth set about their business with a self-belief that had been sadly lacking in recent games. With seven minutes played, Rob alertly followed up on a half-blocked shot to equalise, and there was time for Thorpy to miss a penalty before in the 16th minute a superb free-kick from Dave Howarth put us ahead again. By now, the home team realised we were not just there to make up the numbers, and they redoubled their efforts, the game getting steadily more intense. On 21 minutes, another equaliser ensued as Gary was tormented into sticking out a trailing foot and giving away the softest penalty of the season. But we didn't only have probably the best starting XI we'd had for a while, we also had a bench loaded with talent today, and we brought on left-sided midfielder Steve Skillern and debutant Henry Riley who took over on the right. What turned out to be the winning goal arrived very quickly, after 26 minutes of play, Gary pulling the ball back low from the left and Rob forcing it over the line. It was still a long way from game-over, injury to Dave Scott giving cause for concern even if we at least had a more than adequate replacement available in Kev Hoyle, but there was still ample time for another comeback from the home team, and the last few minutes were a bit fraught at times, though we had plenty of attacks as well and might even have added to our lead.

  This had been a very good game of football, reflecting great credit on both teams in my opinion. Our own performance had been excellent right throughout the side, and yes, we could have played that well and lost today, such was the mettle of the opposition, but we got the result through lots of hard work, a smidgen of luck here and there perhaps, but also through playing quality football whenever the situation allowed it. All in all, a great win against a very good side, and the sort of performance that makes you wonder why we can't play like that every week.

  Other league games: Chapel Allerton 0, East Leeds Celtic 3; New Middleton v Colton postponed.

  Sanford Cup Round 2: Hope Inn Whites 5, AFC Leodis 1; JB Celtic v Chapeltown Fforde Grene postponed.

  Sanford Cup Round 3 draw: Hope Inn Whites v Kirkstall Crusaders; JB Celtic or Chapeltown Fforde Grene v New Pudsey; Kippax Sundays v HT Sports; Leeds City Rovers v Horsforth Fairweather. Dates TBA.

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Sunday 3rd December 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 4 East Leeds Celtic 1

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Hoyle, Molloy, Howarth Thorp, R.Wilson, Litvinov Lancaster, Skillern. Subs: Pickering, Minshull, Townend, Monaghan; unused sub: Jones. Scorers: Litvinov 2, Thorp, Lancaster. Cautioned: R.Wilson (unsporting behaviour), Thorp (persistent infringement).

  Horsforth were without two of the previous game's stars in Dave Scott (injured) and skipper Tom Wilson (new baby - congrats from us all by the way), and made a series of what were in hindsight well-judged changes to cope with the loss. Dave Howarth dropped back into the defence, Rob Wilson moved to the holding midfield role, and stand-in captain Kevin Hoyle came into the side as one the three central midfield players, while James Thorp was moved up front with Steve Skillern restored to the starting line-up in the left-sided role.

  And once again, we got off to a good start, with Gary Litvinov reacting quickest to broken play following Thorpy's long throw and hitting his shot in off the turf after six minutes. The remainder of the first half was fairly even, and neither side really seemed able to get a grip on the game. On 39 minutes, we doubled our lead when George Lancaster hit a glorious cross from way out on the right wing and Gary judged his run and timed his header to perfection, a splendid goal to light up what had been a relatively dull contest.

  It got even better for Horsforth just three minutes into the second period, when Rob's pass was controlled by Thorpy running through the centre, the Horsforth striker keeping his head and beating the keeper calmly. I'd have to admit the 3-0 lead perhaps flattered us a bit though, and just three minutes later East Leeds pulled a goal back, not exactly undeserved but from our point of view a shocking episode of failing to clear a set piece, and it seemed we might be in for a long second half. Actually, Horsforth began to play the best football of the day now, making a series of chances and I'd say more than a bit unlucky not to have put the game to bed in this spell. The away side, who to their credit never stopped trying to play attacking football, forced a couple of saves from Jonathan Postle, while on the rare occasion he was beaten some goal-line acrobatics from Luke Molloy were required to keep them at bay, but in my opinion we were far the better side at this stage, and we still had a full bench to turn to for reinforcements. Matty Pickering, Liam Townend, Steve Minshull and Luke Monaghan were all called on to play their part in the game's decisive phase, a measure of the manager's faith in them, but we had to wait until injury time before Liam's corner was steered home by George to finally end the away side's resistance.

  We had played some really good football in patches today, and overall I'd have to say we were pretty good value for the win. Sound and relatively untroubled at the back, strong and purposeful in midfield and dangerous every time we got the ball up front, this may not have been the most comprehensive performance from an HFFC side, but it was certainly good enough for the three points today.

  Other league game: Swillington Welfare v New Middleton not played.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 3 included: Clifton Rangers 3, Colton 5.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 3 included: AFC Leodis 7, Shadwell United 1; New Moorside v New Pudsey away walkover; Old Bank WMC 8, Chapel Allerton 1.

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Sunday 10th December 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Swillington Welfare v Horsforth Fairweather postponed.

  All Combination fixtures were called off by the league.

  Other league game: New Pudsey v Colton postponed.

Sunday 17th December 2017 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Chapel Allerton v New Pudsey, Swillington Welfare v Colton, both postponed.

Sunday 7th January 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Horsforth Fairweather v Colton postponed.

  All games on parks pitches called off by Leeds FA / Leeds City Council.

  Other league games: Chapel Allerton v East Leeds Celtic, New Pudsey v AFC Leodis, both postponed.

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Sunday 14th January 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Swillington Welfare 0 Horsforth Fairweather 7

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, R.Wilson, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, Lancaster, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Foster, Riley, Townend, Jones; unused sub: Monaghan. Scorers: Thorp 3, Litvinov 2, R.Wilson, Skillern. Cautioned: Thorp.

  Six weeks having elapsed since our previous game, Horsforth were nevertheless able to name an almost unchanged side, with club captain Tom Wilson replacing the unavailable Luke Molloy on defence, and making his 100th appearance for the club to boot. Other than that, it was as-you-were: Jonathan Postle in goal; Shane Bell, Dave Howarth and Dave Shapland making up the back four; George Lancaster, Rob Wilson, Kev Hoyle, Gary Litvinov and Steve Skillern across the midfield; and Thorpy up front.

  We started extremely well, a consequence perhaps of the way we've kept up training during the hiatus. Just six minutes had gone when Thorpy took the ball off a defender and bore down on goal to make it 1-0, and seven minutes later there was a rare headed goal from the same player when he met Skilly's accurate left-wing cross. The game settled down a bit after that, Horsforth defending well when called on to do so while playing some classy football through the midfield when the opportunity arose, and although we made more than a few chances to extend our lead, changed ends still just 2-0 up.

  We knew the next goal was going to be all-important, so when in the second minute of the second half Skilly's deadly corner from the left was slammed into the net by Gary, it looked like we'd broken the home team's resistance, and so it proved. After seven minutes, Rob went on a marauding run through the defence and made it 4-0. We introduced new signing Nick Foster into the side, on the left of the back four, then on 17 minutes Thorpy sealed his hat-trick with a shot from the edge of the box which the Swillington keeper could only parry and it trickled over the line. It was time to have a look at our other attacking options, and Henry Riley and Liam Townend were brought on as we looked to stretch the lead still further, with Chris Jones enjoying a comfortable runout in defence. We bagged another two goals in the last few minutes, Gary breaking through the now rather demoralised Swillington defence to make it 6-0, then setting up Skilly who deftly notched his first of the season. To their credit the home side never gave up, and Pos had to work hard for his clean sheet right up to the last minute, but the result had not been in doubt for a long while.

  I have to say this was another excellent display from a strong HFFC team on a day when there would have been plenty of excuses to have been below par. The balance of the side looked perfect throughout the game, the work-rate was admirable, and we earned ourselves a superb result against a team who have a formidable reputation, especially on their own ground. A day to be proud of, with hopefully more of the same to follow.

  Other league games: Chapel Allerton 2, Colton 6; New Pudsey v East Leeds Celtic postponed.

  Sanford Cup Round 2: JB Celtic v Chapeltown Fforde Grene.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 4 included: AFC Leodis 5, Cutsyke 2; New Pudsey v Hunslet Club.

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Sunday 21st January 2018 (Sanford Cup Round 3):

  Leeds City Rovers v Horsforth Fairweather postponed.

  Other Round 3 games: Hope Inn Whites v Kirkstall Crusaders (home walkover); Kippax Sundays v HT Sports.

  Outstanding Round 2 game JB Celtic v Chapeltown Fforde Grene being played 21st February. Winners to play New Pudsey in Round 3.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 4 included: Colton v Olympic.

  League games: Chapel Allerton v East Leeds Celtic; New Pudsey v Colton (depending on County Cup as above).

Sunday 28th January 2018:

  All league matches postponed.

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Sunday 4th February 2018 (Sanford Cup Round 3):
Leeds City Rovers 6 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Lancaster, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, R.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Molloy, Riley, Pickering, Jones, Townend. Scorers: Thorp 2, Litvinov, Lancaster. Cautioned: R.Wilson, Thorp.

  Another two-week gap in the fixture list, then we faced the league cup holders in a quarter-final tie, with, for the first time in many moons, an unchanged line-up.

  And our recently-discovered form was quickly regained in a first half in which we played some superb football, dominating the midfield from start to finish. We took a well-merited lead after 26 minutes when Steve Skillern's effort bounced kindly into the path of Thorpy, who finished from close range. Seven minutes later, Thorpy was the provider when he produced an exquisite cross from the right wing and Gary Litvinov flung himself at the far-post header to make it 2-0. We conceded just before the break, a City forward cutting in from our right and finishing through a group of defenders, but still had more than enough reason to feel confident about the outcome.

  All the more so when 8 minutes into the second half Thorpy went through on goal and finished from the inside-left position, and when six minutes later Thorpy's cross from the left was mishandled by the City keeper and dropped to George Lancaster for another splendid finish it really did look all over. At this stage, we were frankly far superior in every department to the home team, whose reputation as one of Leeds's great cup sides was looking like it was going to be shredded.

  But then ... well, you'll have gathered from the result that it all went wrong, the only difficulty is explaining how! In amongst all the self-criticism, we need to give credit to the opposition, who rallied very strongly at this stage, and gradually regained the initiative by - at times - sheer strength of will. The key facts are we led 4-1 with half an hour to go, and there was little more than 15 minutes left when they scored their second, breaking through and rounding keeper Jonathan Postle. But they broke our offside trap for a third straight away, and we knew then we were in trouble. A header at a corner made it 4-4 in the 33rd minute of the half, and the winner arrived six minutes later, when somehow Gary and Pos got mixed up at the near post and the ball ended up in the net, with the Horsforth goalie having to leave the field with a broken finger, just when you thought things couldn't get any worse. And there was still time to beat the sub goalie, the worthy Jonesy, for a sixth goal which gave the scoreline a pretty ridiculous look.

  I doubt we have much to gain from me discussing in detail the reasons for the turn of events which led to the collapse in the last 15 minutes, a few people have already made their views known, and I have mine, but I see no purpose in recycling the argument in this medium. So I won't.

  Other Round 3 games: Chapeltown Fforde Grene v New Pudsey (11th March); Hope Inn Whites v Kirkstall Crusaders (home walkover); Kippax Sundays v HT Sports postponed.

  Semi-Final draw: Hope Inn Whites v Leeds City Rovers; Chapeltown Fforde Grene or New Pudsey v Kippax Sundays or HT Sports. Matches will be played on neutral ground (if they can get one!), or on the ground of the first named club, dates TBA.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 4 included: Colton 1, Olympic 3.

  League games: Chapel Allerton 0, East Leeds Celtic 0; Swillington Welfare 1, AFC Leodis 4.

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Sunday 11th February 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
East Leeds Celtic 0 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Roper, Bell, Lancaster, Riley, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, R.Wilson, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Foster, Pickering, Monaghan; unused sub: Jones. Scorers: Thorp 3, R.Wilson. Cautioned: R.Wilson.

  Horsforth made just the one outfield change, with George Lancaster dropping to full-back in the absence of Dave Shapland, and Henry Riley getting his first start in midfield. Olly Roper took the place of the injured Jonathan Postle in goal.

  From the off, Horsforth looked the more likely side, but spent most of the first half unable to break through a well organised East Leeds defence, the last pass not quite coming off on a few occasions. It took 38 minutes to get the first goal, George capping a forceful run with a shot from the edge of the box, which the keeper could only parry, and Thorpy was on hand to finish the job. Four minutes later, Rob Wilson's shot from distance took a slight deflection which helped it beat the goalie, but I'd say we were pretty good value for a two-goal lead at the break.

  Six minutes into the second half, Thorpy latched onto a long clearance, performed his usual magic to earn himself a scoring chance, and took the ball round the keeper before lobbing it into the empty net. That might on another day have ended the game as a contest, but in all fairness it should be pointed out that the East Leeds lads kept their shape and composure, and worked as hard as ever to keep their faint hopes alive. It took till the 27th minute of the half before another of Thorpy's incisive solo runs made it 4-0. We were a bit less enterprising with the substitutions than we had been last week, and I hope everyone understands and appreciates the reasons for that, but still got another brief but impressive display from Nick Foster in defence for the last few minutes.

  A sound and tidy performance all over the pitch, and three excellent points against a team whose work-rate matched our own for the entire 90 minutes. As an added bonus we find ourselves top of the table, due to other teams having missed league games in recent weeks. Whether we stay there or not remains to be seen - no less than three teams have enough games in hand to overtake us - but at least we can say with some pride after an indifferent start we are making a go of it this season.

  Other league games: Colton 2, AFC Leodis 3; Swillington Welfare v Chapel Allerton postponed.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 4 included: New Pudsey 4, Corpus Christi 1.

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Sunday 18th February 2018 (Friendly, of sorts):
Horsforth Fairweather 2 Bramley Town 2

Team: R.Wilson; Foster, Smith, Molloy, Jones; Monaghan, T.Wilson, Pickering, Riley, Townend; Scott. Subs: Shapland, Lancaster, Skillern, Thorp. Scorers: Skillern, Thorp.

  A particularly random selection from Horsforth's squad featured Rob Wilson as goalie and stand-in captain, returns for Phil Smith and Dave Scott, and rare starts from Nick Foster, Luke Monaghan, Henry Riley and Liam Townend.

  This might have been a mid-season friendly with nothing at stake, but both teams were more than willing to make a contest of it. The first half belonged to the away side. They scored from the penalty spot after 17 minutes, and might have doubled the lead with another from 12 yards on 32 minutes, but Rob got down and made an important save. However, Bramley scrambled the ball home from a throw-in just three minutes later, and what had frankly been a poor 45 minutes of football from Horsforth ended with us deservedly two goals down.

  The cavalry arrived for the second half - Dave Shapland, George Lancaster, Steve Skillern and of course Thorpy all brought on at the interval, and the balance of the game began to swing back our way. Nevertheless, it took until the 27th minute for us to get a goal back, Skilly's flick from close range finally beating the Bramley goalie. Three minutes later, we saw the move of the match, as Henry's pass to Thorpy took out the whole Bramley defence and the Horsforth top scorer didn't disappoint with his finishing. Thereafter, both sides had chances to win it, Tom Wilson in particular a bit unlucky to see his header adjudged not to have crossed the line, but I guess over the 90 minutes a draw was a fair result.

  Not a great game, to be honest, not played in great spirit either, but a decent run-out and a chance to impress for some of our squad members. Above all, huge thanks to Gavin for refereeing.

  Other league games: Colton 0, Chapel Allerton 1; East Leeds Celtic 5, Swillington Welfare 0.

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Round 5 included: New Pudsey 3, AFC Leodis 0.

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Sunday 25th February 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Swillington Welfare 0 Horsforth Fairweather 9

Team: Pope, Bell, Shapland, R.Wilson, T.Wilson, Smith, Thorp, Pickering, Scott, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Diamond, Townend, Foster, Monaghan. Scorers: Smith 2, Skillern 3, R.Wilson, Scott, Monaghan, T.Wilson.

  The recent run of excellent results was challenged more than somewhat by unavailabilities today: we were without regular starters Dave Howarth, George Lancaster and Gary Litvinov, and that's before you get to the goalkeeping situation. So ... we brought Phil Smith into the defence, Matty Pickering into midfield, and gave Dave Scott the nod up front, Thorpy dropping back to the right of the midfield quintet. And of course the HFFC legend Popey took over the yellow jersey, the fifth keeper we've used in the last four matches.

  Well, Phil may not be that well-known to some of our younger readers, but be assured he was a vital part of our defence in our Division One-winning campaigns of 2010-11 and 2013-14, captain on the latter occasion. Today however, I hope he will forgive me for saying his contributions at our end of the pitch were overshadowed by his effectiveness in the home team's penalty area. Two minutes into the game, Dave Scott took a corner, Phil's first header was blocked but his follow-up put us in front. Three minutes later, another corner and this time his header from the follow-up doubled the lead. Easy to forget after a big win, but these were the most important goals of the day by a distance. Horsforth were able to play some nice football from this point, liberated from any early uncertainty, and made a series of chances which could have ended the contest long before the 27th minute, when Steve Skillern's corner from the right wing floated gloriously into the net with the home goalkeeper clutching at thin air. Five minutes later, Rob Wilson won a loose ball in midfield for the umpteenth time and set off into the box, his final effort going through the Swillington goalie's legs.

  A slightly less convincing spell just before the break had perhaps only served to rekindle the team's desire to cling onto the result, and just three minutes into the second half the game was put to bed when Dave's shot was saved only for Skilly to chip the ball into the empty net for 5-0. From here on, it was party pieces, though we never let our intensity drop. After 10 minutes, Matty won a key duel in midfield and fed Dave, who duly notched what was rather surprisingly his first goal of the season, and with his left foot as well. On 18 minutes, Skilly's cool and measured free kick from outside the box made it 7-0, and it was time to roll the subs on: DJ Diamond and Liam Townend first, then Luke Monaghan and Nick Foster - all these lads will be needed before the season has run its course, so vital we gave them some game time while things were going so well for us. As things turned out, the subs combined to create our eighth goal after 37 minutes, Liam chasing down the Swilly keeper and dispossessing him in a moment of pure comedy and his shot coming back off the bar for Luke to head home his first competitive goal for the club. A final strike by HFFC skipper Tom Wilson five minutes later from the inside-left position extended the lead to nine, whereupon the referee blew the whistle early to avoid further embarrassment to the home team, who had stuck to their task admirably but frankly had found themselves out of their depth in the face of a masterly performance from this Horsforth team.

  By any standards then, a commanding performance and a comprehensive victory against a team whom we and others have struggled to beat in recent times, all the more so when you take into account the players missing. There will no doubt be sterner tests ahead, but on today's evidence I'd say our team is surpassing expectations at the moment, and if we can keep playing at this level until the end of the season, who knows what we might achieve? A really good day lads, and hopefully more of the same to follow.

  Other league games: Colton 2, AFC Leodis 1; New Pudsey 6, East Leeds Celtic 2.

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Sunday 4th March 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Horsforth Fairweather v East Leeds Celtic postponed - all games on Leeds Council pitches postponed due to the weather.

Sunday 11th March 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Colton v Horsforth Fairweather postponed - all games on Leeds Council pitches postponed due to the weather.

Sunday 18th March 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  All games on Leeds Council pitches postponed due to the weather.

Thursday 22nd March 2018:

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Semi-Final: Hope Inn Whites 1, Chapeltown Fforde Grene 1. Hope won 4-3 on pens.

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Sunday 25th March 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
AFC Leodis 2 Horsforth Fairweather 5

Team: Roper, Bell, Shapland, Howarth, T.Wilson, Diamond, Thorp, R.Wilson, Lancaster, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Riley, Pickering Townend; unused subs: Monaghan, Smith. Scorers: Thorp 2, Lancaster, Skillern, Bell. Sent off: R.Wilson (violent conduct).

  Olly Roper was in goal again for Horsforth, birthday boy Jack Diamond back in the defence. Dave Howarth and George Lancaster returned in midfield, with Thorpy moving forward into the lone striker role.

  A month having gone by since either side had kicked a ball, there was inevitably a bit of tension in the air this morning, but we did at least get the first goal, in the fifth minute, when Steve Skillern's cross from the left was mishandled by the Leodis goalkeeper, and Thorpy was on hand to bundle the loose ball over the line. We had a few chances to extent the lead, but didn't take them, and were punished on 14 minutes when the home team overloaded down our right hand side and equalised. Three minutes later came the game's major talking point as an off-the-ball incident saw Horsforth's midfield superfortress Rob Wilson and an opponent sent off, and from here on the contest was 10-a-side, meaning there was even more space on Temple Newsam's vast "Arena" pitch. In the 23rd minute, George put us in front again from Skilly's excellent corner, and at this point we were making chances in profusion. Sadly though, we didn't take advantage of the opportunity to end the match during this period, and again allowed the home team to get back to equality with a move down our right.

  Having twice lost the lead, we might have approached the second half with some trepidation, but it took just three minutes for the advantage to be restored, from broken play after a corner, as Tom Wilson harried a defender into an error and Thorpy was there again. On 15 minutes, Skilly's beautiful free kick from out on the left floated in over the stranded keeper. We needed to defend quite a bit at this stage, as the home team came back at us quite strongly, but the back line held firm and on the one occasion their concentration lapsed Olly was equal to the task with a great save from a quickly-taken free-kick. We brought Henry Riley on, with a view to regaining the initiative, and as it turned out the home team had little left to offer in the last 15 minutes or so, the only memorable moment being a splendid piece of cool play from Shane Bell, the Horsforth right-back cutting into the penalty area and seeming to take an age before finishing from what looked an impossible angle.

  A game which will probably be remembered more for Rob's red card than anything else, such is the way of things, but overall I'd say this was a very sound display against a side who still entertain ambitions of being champions this season. By no means an error-free performance, but that was only to be expected after the fragmented season we've been having due to the weather. We missed a boatload of chances, though the lads who missed them were usually the ones who had created them, but scored our goals at good times. Olly continues to impress when called on in the nets, and Thorpy is on fire up front. A great result, and the promise of more to come.

  Other league game: East Leeds Celtic v Swillington Welfare - home win.

  Sanford Trophy Round 3: Chapeltown Fforde Grene 2, New Pudsey 0.

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Thursday 29th March 2018:

  WRCFA County Sunday Trophy Semi-Final: New Pudsey 0, Hounds 3.

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Semi-Final: Colton 0, Whitkirk Wanderers 3. Whitkirk to play Hope Inn Whites in the Final.

Tuesday 3rd April 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  New Pudsey 2, Colton 1.

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Sunday 8th April 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Colton 4 Horsforth Fairweather 0

Team: Postle, Bell, Foster, Howarth, Molloy, Diamond, Thorp, T.Wilson, Scott, Pickering, Skillern. Subs: Townend, Roper, Monaghan.

  With Rob Wilson suspended following the Leodis game, and three other key players unavailable, Horsforth were obliged to shuffle the pack a bit for this one. Luke Molloy and Nick Foster came into the defence, the latter making his first start for the club. Tom Wilson moved forward into the midfield with Matty Pickering also promoted to the starting line-up. Dave Scott led the line up front, with Thorpy reverting to the right hand side of midfield. Jonathan Postle was back in goal just a couple of months after breaking his fingers against Leeds City.

  The first half was a particularly scrappy affair, with neither side really playing much by way of quality football nor creating many memorable chances. Horsforth's problems continued however: Dave Scott was forced off after just 20 minutes with a recurrence of the old injury, and Nick Foster found himself unable to continue on the half hour mark. Liam Townend and Olly Roper took up the reins and neither came anywhere near to letting the side down, but the enforced changes left the side struggling to reorganise, and we were grateful to get to half time with the game still undecided.

  It was, regrettably, a different tale after the break. There was no lack of effort on the part of the Horsforth players, but the home team were beginning to dominate the play, and it came as no surprise when they took the lead after 12 minutes, a shot from the right being particularly well saved by Pos, but the ball bouncing unkindly into the path of a Colton striker who tapped in from close range. We needed a quick riposte, and on a few occasions the right ball to the hard running Thorpy might have changed the balance of power, but the crucial goal arrived on 19 minutes, Colton breaking through and Pos forced to come off his line but for once unable to break up the attack, and from here on we were chasing the game. Again, we had some moments when with a little bit of luck we could have reduced the arrears and made a game of it, but as time wore on we became more and more stretched, and conceded two pretty disappointing goals from set pieces, a corner in the 36th minute and a free kick a minute later.

  No disguising it, this was technically a pretty poor performance, even if everyone on duty did their best over the 90 minutes. Easy to look at the missing players and make excuses, but the home team had gaps in their ranks too, and I guess the simple truth is we can't expect to play with so many of our best players missing as often as we do and still be successful. Nevertheless, there is still much to play for this season, as long as we put this one behind us, quickly.

  Other league games: New Pudsey 4, AFC Leodis 7; Swillington Welfare 1, Chapel Allerton 1.

  Sanford Cup Semi-Final: Chapeltown Fforde Grene 0, HT Sports 9. HT to play Hope Inn Whites or Leeds City Rovers in the Final.

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Tuesday 10th April 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):

  Chapel Allerton 0, New Pudsey 5.

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Sunday 15th April 2018 (Leeds Combination AFL Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 East Leeds Celtic 1

Team: Pope, Bell, Shapland, T.Wilson, Molloy, Diamond, Thorp, Howarth, Lancaster, Hoyle, Skillern. Unused subs: Jones, Riley, Monaghan, Townend. Scorer: T.Wilson. Cautioned: Diamond, Thorp.

  There was a bit of an air of anti-climax to this one, perhaps a consequence of last week's disappointing defeat, but Horsforth were able to field quite a strong side. Popey took over in goal, with Dave Shapland returning at left-back. Kev Hoyle and George Lancaster gave the midfield a more familiar look, while Thorpy started again as the lone striker.

  The first half was, similar to last week, rather unmemorable. Both teams put in plenty of effort, but neither side looked like making the breakthrough, and it was no surprise when the ref blew for half time with the game goalless.

  Horsforth came out for the second half in rather more inspired mood. In particular, there was more width in attack, but it still took a while before we made our increasing superiority count. After 18 minutes, Tom's shot from the inside-left position took a deflection and looped over the thoroughly impressive away keeper, and for a long time it seemed that might be enough for all three points. I'd say Horsforth continued to make the better chances after this, but the East Leeds defence was well organised and more or less error-free on the day, while our own back line, also pretty solid for most of the contest, became a bit ragged as the game wore on, even if it was clear the only way we were going to concede was from a free-kick. Regrettably, we gave away rather too many set pieces, and in the 43rd minute were undone when one such effort was played in from the right and bundled into our net at the second attempt.

  Taking the game as a whole, this was a spirited display from Horsforth, with lots of hard work and solid tackling, and I'd say that we were the better side for most of the match. However, they always tell you you're vulnerable at 1-0, and our failure to finish the game off came back to haunt us. For that, in my opinion, you have to first give credit to the dogged away team, especially their defence and goalie, and only then move onto analysing our own performance. I felt we lacked a bit of our usual imagination in the last third of the field, perhaps were too narrow in attack during the first half, but overall there wasn't too much we did wrong this morning, just paid the price for one defensive lapse. As you do, at this level.

  Other league game: New Pudsey 5, Swillington Welfare 1.

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  This page last updated April 2018.

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