Wednesday 28th August 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Keighley Athletic 1, Yeadon FC 0.
Sunday 1st September 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 7
Burton Leonard 0
Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Hoyle, T.Wilson, P.Smith, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Canning.
Subs: C.Jones, Riley, Skillern, Pickering.
Scorers: Hawes 4, OG, Litvinov 2.
Cautioned: Thorp, Francis (both Unsporting Behaviour).
So (as they say), after a pre-season programme which could hardly be described as encouraging, Horsforth took the field for the first game of the season against a side we'd beaten twice last campaign.
Jonathan Postle was the obvious choice in goal; Tom Wilson, Phil Smith and Dave Shapland were the back three; George Lancaster and Ben Canning (the latter making his first start) the wing-backs; Jamie Francis, Kev Hoyle and Gary Litvinov made up the midfield; Thorpy and Hawesy the strikers.
And a pretty decent bench too.
This might have been destined to become the best match in the history of Sunday football, but we were never going to find out.
After just five minutes, the game was ruined when the away side's goalkeeper took exception to a challenge from Thorpy, and was sent off for his reaction, Thorpy cautioned for the same incident.
They keep telling you it's harder to play against 10 men, and for a while the Burton Leonard lads set out to prove that point. Horsforth, still more than a bit rusty, struggled to get into any sort of rhythm for the first half hour, and a goal for the visitors at this point would have made a difficult task harder, and indeed I'd have to admit that looked more likely for a while. But to their credit Horsforth kept trying to play football, and on 34 minutes Kev's astute through ball found Hawesy who turned his shot round the stand-in keeper to give us a lead which from then on we never looked like losing. Ten minutes later, Hawesy won a race to keep the ball in down the left wing and played Gary in, the resulting chaos ending in an own-goal. Almost from the restart Gary headed Hawesy's excellent left wing cross in at the far post, and the half time lead was 3-0.
The second half was uneventful for a while, Horsforth unable to add to the lead but the away side not looking like eating into it. After 14 minutes, we hit them with a double blow, a passage of play that saw the ball crossed from both wings in turn ended up with a Hawesy snapshot for a third goal, and immediately a breakaway which could have seen any one of three Horsforth players find the net was despatched by Gary. Three minutes after that, the score began to look like getting out of hand, as Thorpy went marauding down the right and had his shot saved, only for Hawesy to follow up and score from close range. Horsforth's first sub Chris Jones came on in defence at this point, but the goals kept arriving, Ben's low left wing cross met unopposed by Hawesy at the far post for his fourth goal of the day. This was the cue to bring on the subs: Henry Riley in midfield, Steve Skillern down the left flank and finally Matty Pickering also in midfield. No more scoring though, and the game ended a fairly comfortable 7-0 win.
There had been a few unconvincing moments during this game, especially the early stages, but I felt we deserved the points for the way we stuck to trying to play football at a time when it would have been easier to lapse into bad habits again.
Much praise rightly goes to many of the lads on that pitch today, not least the man who bagged our first four-goal haul for six years, but I'd say a special mention should go to Thorpy, treading a tightrope after his early caution but more than justifying The Manager's faith in keeping him on with a performance of great skill and much self-control.
Other league games:
Eldwick 5, Shadwell United 1;
FC United of Baildon 2, Leeds City Rovers 5;
Keighley Athletic 1, Salts 2;
Myrtle Park 1, Horsforth Saints 2.
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Sunday 8th September 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 0
FC United of Baildon 2
Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Hoyle, Howarth, P.Smith, R.Wilson, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Canning.
Subs: Pickering, Riley, C.Jones, LD.Monaghan.
Just the two changes today, welcome returns for Dave Howarth in defence and Rob Wilson up front.
Won't waste too many words on this one, it was poor from the start, occasionally looked like it might get better, but didn't. We conceded an embarrassing own goal after nine minutes of the first half, and created precious little attacking play of our own.
After the break, there were a few moments when we just might have done enough to salvage a draw, not least Kev Hoyle's through run and shot which trickled agonisingly past the post. An influx of quality subs was always an option, and the introduction of Matty Pickering and Henry Riley on the 70-minute mark ushered in one of our better periods. But we'd never looked comfortable in defence, and it all went wrong again with ten minutes left when a long ball up the middle bounced over everyone and somehow ended up an open goal for the away side. And that was pretty much that.
Fair play to Baildon, they did what they needed to do, stuck to their game plan, and looked by a distance the fitter and sharper team. We had our chances for certain - with our array of strikers we'll always make chances - but too often the last pass went astray, and overall I'd say the better team won.
Not a great day then, plenty of lessons to learn from this one, but not much to say in this medium other than the usual stuff about roll on next week.
Other league games:
Horsforth Saints 3, Eldwick 2;
Rawdon FC 1, Myrtle Park 4;
Salts 3, Leeds City Rovers 3;
Shadwell United 3, Keighley Athletic 4;
Yeadon FC 1, Burton Leonard 6.
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Sunday 15th September 2019 (LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 1):
Wykebeck Arms 1
Horsforth Fairweather 6
Team: Postle, Lancaster, P.Smith, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Howarth, R.Wilson, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Riley.
Subs: Pickering, LD.Monaghan, C.Jones.
Scorers: R.Wilson 3, Hawes 3.
Facing what appeared a daunting trip to Halton Moor to play the Wykebeck Arms, Horsforth switched the formation quite dramatically, opting for a very positive 4-3-3.
Jonathan Postle was in goal; George Lancaster, Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth and Phil Smith the back four; Kev Hoyle, Jamie Francis and Henry Riley in midfield; and Gary Litvinov, Rob Wilson and James Hawes made up a three-pronged attack.
In the event, it took just 52 seconds to open our account, as Jamie's throw-in caused more consternation than usual in the home defence and Rob was on hand to capitalise. The game settled down into a good contest after that, both teams playing some nice football on the hard Neville Road surface, Horsforth looking dangerous every time we got the ball in the Wykebeck half, but reliant on a couple of moments from Pos to preserve the lead. Having held our nerve defensively, we doubled the lead on 25 minutes when Gary's flick on created a chance for Hawesy. It got better and better as the first half wore on, Horsforth now playing some superb football, with and without the ball. In the 38th minute, a deep free kick from Pos was met by Gary beyond the far post, his header back across goal deceived the home goalie, and Hawesy bundled the loose ball into the net. On 43 minutes, a Jamie free kick broke the offside trap, and Hawesy completed his hat trick with a majestic header.
The second half saw no let-up in Horsforth's positive attacking play. Five minutes had elapsed when Rob took a brilliant free kick from outside the box, and beat the keeper to make it 5-0. Ten minutes later, Hawesy went on a run down the right and his low cross was met by Rob for another hat trick.
The Wykebeck lads, to their great credit, kept playing, and gained some measure of reward for their efforts with a well-taken strike soon after this. From this point, there was to be no further scoring, though chances were still being made at both ends, and the game ended in a thoroughly impressive 6-1 win.
After the disappointment of last week, this was as good a response as any of us could have hoped for. For the most part sound in defence, industrious and creative in midfield, and eternally dangerous in attack, this had been a very good win against a very good side. Both teams played the game in the right spirit throughout, and all in all this was a day we should all be proud of.
Other Round 1 games:
Beck & Call 0, HT Sports 4;
Colton 0, Hunslet Club 5;
East Leeds Celtic 3, New Armley 7;
Garden Gate 2, Leeds City Rovers 8;
Main Line Social v Kirkstall Crusaders (being played 20th October);
The Woodcock 1, Sheepscar 6;
Whitkirk Wanderers 2, Seacroft WMC 2 (Whitkirk won 3-0 on pens).
Eldwick 3, Burton Leonard 3;
Keighley Athletic 6, Rawdon FC 1;
Salts 3, Horsforth Saints 1;
Myrtle Park 3, Yeadon FC 6.
Bradford FA Sunday Cup Round 1:
FC United of Baildon 1, Peacock Bar 1 (Peacock won 4-2 on pens).
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Sunday 22nd September 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 1
Horsforth Saints 0
Team: Postle, Lancaster, P.Smith, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Howarth, Skillern, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Riley.
Subs: Pickering, Canning.
Cautioned: Postle ("Delays the restart of play").
It would have been harsh indeed to have made any changes following last week's impressive performance, and stand-in Manager Jamie Francis's only decision was the one forced on him by Rob Wilson's late withdrawal through injury, Steve Skillern getting the nod as HFFC opted to keep to the 4-3-3 formation that had served so well last match.
The heavy rain before kick-off changed the pattern of the game a bit, as accurate passing was always going to be tricky on the wet surface. Fairweather had a few spells of control in the first period, but weren't able to make any of our chances count, and the side changed ends at nil-nil.
The two sides began to play a bit more controlled football after the break, even though there were fewer chances than the first period. The only goal arrived after 17 minutes, as James Hawes headed a loose ball back across the box and Henry Riley's accurate header looped under the crossbar with the wrongfooted Saints keeper unable to keep it out of the net. Fairweather continued to make the better chances, but were never able to kill the game off, and right till the final whistle there remained the danger that the visitors would salvage something. As things turned out, for once a single goal proved to be sufficient, and Fairweather ended what was hopefully the first of many meetings between the town's only remaining Sunday clubs with bragging rights.
Not a great game frankly, and far too many chances missed for comfort, but from our point of view a fairly solid performance overall. I thought we deserved the points, as much for the way we stayed focused on the task in hand as anything else.
Other league games:
Burton Leonard 7, Eldwick 6;
FC United of Baildon 1, Rawdon FC 0;
Leeds City Rovers 3, Myrtle Park 0;
Salts 6, Shadwell United 0.
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This page last updated September 2019.