Horsforth Fairweather FC

Archived reports 2018-19.

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02/09/2018 Hampsthwaite United (H) 09/09/2018 Burton Leonard (H)
16/09/2018 Myrtle Park (H) 23/09/2018 Salts (A)
30/09/2018 Yeadon Athletic (H) 07/10/2018 Hampsthwaite United (A)
14/10/2018 Shipley Town (A) 21/10/2018 Main Line (A) Sunday Cup
28/10/2018 Salts (H) 04/11/2018 The Woodcock (H) County Cup
11/11/2018 Burton Leonard (A) 25/11/2018 Myrtle Park Reserves (H) League Cup
02/12/2018 Main Line Social (H) County Cup 06/01/2019 Keighley Athletic (A)
13/01/2019 Shadwell United (H) 20/01/2019 Leeds City Rovers (H)
27/01/2019 Eldwick (A) League Cup 10/02/2019 Shadwell United (A)
17/02/2019 Shipley Town (H) 24/02/2019 Leeds City Rovers (H) League Cup
03/03/2019 Myrtle Park (A) 10/03/2019 Keighley Athletic (H
07/04/2019 Yeadon Athletic (A) 07/05/2019 Leeds City Rovers (A)

Sunday 2nd September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 Hampsthwaite United 1

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Lancaster, P.Smith, Howarth, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Hawes, Pickering; unused sub: C.Jones. Scorer: Skillern. Cautioned: Hoyle, Skillern, Thorp (all Unsporting Behaviour).

  A new season dawned, the weather hot and sultry, the team news mixed as usual. Horsforth were without Tom and Rob Wilson, but otherwise were able to field what is perhaps our strongest line-up. Jonathan Postle was in goal, the defence Shane Bell, Phil Smith, Dave Howarth and Dave Shapland. Across the midfield we had George Lancaster and Steve Skillern in the wide berths, the returning club captain Jamie Francis in an unaccustomed holding role, with Kev Hoyle and Gary Litvinov pushing forward to support lone striker Thorpy.

  Strange to relate, Horsforth started looking a bit panicky, the result perhaps of an indifferent pre-season, yet we soon settled and opened our account after just four minutes. Pos's deep free kick was controlled by George out on the right and his superb cross was met by Skilly, the header back across goal creeping in at the near post. We played some nice football in patches after this, looked dangerous every time we got the ball down in the other team's half, and could easily have added to the slender lead. However, the away side played well when they had the ball too, and by the break the difference between the teams was marginal at best.

  The opening phase of the second period saw Hampsthwaite enjoying their best spell of the game, and their equaliser after seven minutes from a flicked near-post header was no more than they deserved. Horsforth had to dig deep now to regain the initiative, and the introduction of debutant James Hawes on the hour mark gave a bit of added quality to the midfield. I felt we looked the more likely side from that moment, and made more than a few chances any one of which could have won us the points, but it would be unfair to deny that the away team also made chances as the game became stretched, and could have snatched all three points themselves. As it was, we had a couple of shouts for penalties, missed a handful of good opportunities, and finally had what looked to me a perfectly sound goal from Gary disallowed for offside, and so 1-1 it finished.

  To sum it up then ... we could have won, probably deserved to win, but might have lost too, so maybe a draw was fair in the end ... all in all, not a bad performance, even if there still are a few things we need to work on. A decent game between two footballing teams, played for the most part in the right spirit (I'd say the flurry of second-half bookings give a misleading impression) and more interesting times ahead.

  Other league games: Salts 3, Burton Leonard 0; Shadwell United 1, Leeds City Rovers 3; Yeadon Athletic 2, Keighley Athletic 2.

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Thursday 6th September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Myrtle Park 4, Shipley Town 0.

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Sunday 9th September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 7 Burton Leonard 1

Team: Postle, Bell, Shapland, Lancaster, P.Smith, Howarth, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hoyle, Skillern. Subs: Hawes, Pickering, Riley, Diamond, Scott. Scorers: Litvinov 2, Thorp 3, Hawes 2.

  Horsforth lined up with the same eleven players as last week, but in a radically changed shape: three at the back with Shane Bell and George Lancaster pushed out as wing-backs, and Gary Litvinov pushed forward to join Thorpy in attack.

  The game opened very brightly, both teams playing football but Horsforth looking by some way the more likely team to score. We'd already had an appeal turned down, Phil Smith's goalbound header being cleared off the line (or was it just behind?) before Gary's 16th minute opener, Steve Skillern being tackled but the ball finding its way to Litvo. Just one minute later, we doubled the lead in bizarre circumstances when Shane intercepted a clearance from the goalkeeper and Gary was left with an open net, albeit from about 45 yards, and the ball duly but rather slowly found its way in at the far post. It wasn't all plain sailing though, the influential Skilly having to go off injured at this stage, James Hawes the able replacement. On 27 minutes, Jamie Francis took a corner from the left wing, the goalie could only parry, and Thorpy latched onto the loose ball to head home. We conceded what always looked a consolation goal in the 40th minute, the away side making ground up the middle and some uncharacteristically hesitant defending presenting them with the chance, but just before half time the points were surely made safe when Kev Hoyle's superb pass found Hawesy, who in turn kept his composure to produce an excellent finish, his first goal for the club.

  Any lingering doubts about where the points were going were settled just a minute into the second half, when Gary's controlled header and well-judged pass put Thorpy through on goal, with only one outcome ever likely. The same pair combined even more sweetly in the 9th minute in a fabulous end-to-end move, Gary heading the ball clear from a corner, controlling his own clearance and sweeping the ball with deadly effect into Thorpy territory. On 12 minutes, Kev's low cross from the right was met by Hawesy, and though the finish was probably not what he intended it was enough to beat the keeper and extend the lead to 7-1. Horsforth brought on the subs now, giving valuable game time to Matty Pickering, Henry Riley, Jack Diamond and finally the welcome return of Dave Scott, and though the changes inevitably disrupted the flow of the game we continued to look dangerous even if we couldn't add to our goals tally. A couple of late injuries meant we had to close the game down a bit for the last 10 minutes or so, hopefully all will be recovered for next week.

  Good people, you know the match report tells it like it is, or at least tries to, when you're good I tell you so and when you're bad I tell you that too, frankly. Not always what you want to read, not always what I want to write either, but that's the way I do it. So let me say this today, with my usual frankness: this was as good a performance as I have seen from HFFC for a very long time. To describe the win as comprehensive would be doing it an injustice. We were absolutely excellent today, all over the pitch, all 16 players, and if the opposition maybe weren't the best team we've ever faced they were a long way from being the worst - goalie Pos may have had a quiet day overall, but lest we forget he was called on to make on point-blank save in the first half, and had to come off his line very quickly on several occasions. A long way to go of course, but as of today I'd say we have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this new season.

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

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Sunday 16th September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 Myrtle Park 2

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Diamond, Hoyle, T.Wilson, P.Smith, Thorp, Litvinov, Scott, Hawes, Jones. Unused subs: Fellows, Pickering, Roper, Monaghan. Scorer: Hoyle (pen). Cautioned: Diamond (Unsporting Behaviour).

  With a growing number of players not available, Horsforth changed the formation again, to 3-4-3. Jonathan Postle continued in goal, while Tom Wilson and Jack Diamond joined Phil Smith at the back. George Lancaster switched to the right, Chris Jones came into the side on the left, replacing last-minute fitness check failure Steve Skillern. Kev Hoyle and Gary Litvinov were the central players. Up front, there was an abundance of talent, Dave Scott and James Hawes alongside Thorpy.

  With three hard working strikers on the prowl, the away side never had a chance to settle in defence, and the first half belonged almost entirely to Horsforth, both in terms of territory and possession. Yet we could only muster a single goal for our efforts, a penalty awarded when Dave was pulled back in the area and Kev stepped up to score from the spot. Frankly, we could have had six or seven by the break, such was the measure of our superiority, but being forced to settle for 1-0 we knew the game was far from safe.

  And so it proved. The second period was much more even, and if we perhaps still had the greater share of the ball, the chances weren't coming anything like as regularly, and mostly half chances at that. The away team, well organised in defence, always looked likely to put their faith in breakaway goals, and on 13 minutes the left back made ground down their left and crossed for the equaliser. In the 21st minute, a fairly straightforward ball up the middle and one mistake, and we found ourselves behind in a game we thought we'd already done more than enough to win. After that, we had lots more possession and built many more attacks, but never really carved out any more clear-cut openings, and so 2-1 it finished.

  Other than reiterating that it's long time since we've played so well and lost, I have to add that pretty much everyone on the pitch could claim they had a good game today, certainly none of them deserved to be on the losing side. The formation worked admirably, the motivation and organisation by stand-in Manager Jamie was first class, and the spirit was excellent throughout. So, hard to understand how we let this one slip, but not much else you say on a Sunday afternoon other than roll on next week.

  Other league games: Keighley Athletic 5, Shadwell United 3; Leeds City Rovers 4, Hampsthwaite United 1; Yeadon Athletic 4, Burton Leonard 4.

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Round 1: Main Line Social 7, Hunslet Club 0; AFC Beechwood v Whitkirk Wanderers away walkover.

  Byes: Bramley Town, Colton, East End Park WMC,  East Leeds Celtic, HT Sports, Harehills WMC, Hope Inn Whites, Horsforth Fairweather, Leeds City Rovers, New Pudsey, Rodley, Seacroft (Sunday) WMC Athletic, Sporting Pudsey, The Woodcock.

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Sunday 23rd September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Salts 0 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Pickering, S.Sedgwick, T.Wilson, Thorp, Nicholl, Litvinov, Hawes, Jones. Subs: Riley, J.Sedgwick, Townend, Monagahan; unused sub: Skillern. Scorers: Litvinov, Hawes 2, Townend. Cautioned: T.Wilson (Persistent Infringement).

  The first away game of the season saw Horsforth making another four enforced changes. Jonathan Postle was in goal as usual, while Steve Sedgwick and Dave Shapland replaced the unavailable Phil Smith and Jack Diamond at the back, alongside Tom Wilson. With midfielder Kev Hoyle and striker Dave Scott also absent, Matty Pickering and new recruit Anthony Nicholl were added to the middle line which became a five-piece, with Gary Litvinov in the centre and George Lancaster and Chris Jones wide. James Hawes and Thorpy kept their places in a two-man attack. A pretty awesome achievement getting 11 players on the field, given the number of absentees and not forgetting the two failed late fitness checks, let alone amassing five worthy substitutes, a huge testament to the ongoing team spirit at the club these days.

  Another first half came and went, more good football played, same as last week in that respect, and this time no goals at all to show for our efforts. Both teams contributed to an entertaining 45 minutes, though I'd have to say we had far more of the ball and by a long way the better chances. And I guess there was some trepidation that we might pay the same price as last week for our failure to take advantage of our early superiority?

  Quite the opposite actually. 30 seconds into the second period, Thorpy took a throw in and Gary got his head to it and flicked the ball into the far corner. From this point, the home side's resistance crumbled quite dramatically. Then again, you could hardly blame them when the second goal went in after 6 minutes, Hawesy's exceptional lob from way out on the left enough to break the resolve of many a team, and surely an early contender for goal of the season. Three minutes later, Hawesy met Thorpy's corner almost unopposed at the far post, and it was 3-0. We'd already brought Henry Riley on just after the interval, now we introduced Joshua Sedgwick and Liam Townend to the game - Josh set a record by becoming part of the first father-and-son duo to appear in a competitive match together, then Liam rounded off the scoring after some clever approach play from the excellent Hawesy, his first goal for the club. Finally, Luke Monaghan was given a late runout as we sought to capitalise still further on our strength in depth, seeing the game out at 4-0.

  First thing to say is, considering the problems we looked like having around lunchtime on Saturday, this was an astonishing result. It was also a thoroughly comprehensive display from every department of the team. I'd say, we've played really well the last three weeks now, which I suppose only serves to make last week's result even harder to bear, but if we can play like this all season we should be able to hold our heads up when all the points are counted. So well done lads, and more of the same next week please.

  Other league games: Hampsthwaite United 5, Burton Leonard 2; Keighley Athletic 4, Shipley Town 4; Myrtle Park 3, Yeadon Athletic 2.

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Sunday 30th September 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 7 Yeadon Athletic 2

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Pickering, S.Sedgwick, T.Wilson, Thorp, Hoyle, Litvinov, Hawes, C.Jones. Subs: Howarth, Diamond, Scott, P.Smith, Monaghan. Scorers: Lancaster 2, Thorp, Jones, Hawes, Litvinov 2. Cautioned: Hawes (Unsporting Behaviour).

  With a surfeit of regular players available again, Horsforth's stand-in Manager Jamie Francis kept faith with more or less all of last week's line-up, the only change being Kev Hoyle returning in midfield.

  To be frank, the result never looked in much doubt today. In the 12th minute, Gary Litvinov played the ball through to James Hawes who won a challenge against the Yeadon keeper, and the ball ran free to right wing-back George Lancaster who tucked it home. Two minutes later, George turned provider, his slide-rule pass controlled by James Thorp, and it was 2-0. On 18 minutes, Thorpy took a long throw which caused consternation in the Yeadon defence and Horsforth's unsung left wing-back Chris Jones got the last touch before the ball crossed the line, Jonesy's first goal for the club since November 2009. Possibly a bit surprised at how well the opening stages had gone, Horsforth relaxed a bit now, and paid the price when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul by Tom Wilson, and after a long discussion about where the penalty spot was, Scott Norton (for so long a thorn in this club's side during our previous stint in Wharfedale) stepped up to reduce the arrears. A 37th minute free kick from just outside the box, struck home perfectly by Hawesy, should have meant it was game-over at the interval.

  Not quite. A minute had gone in the second period when Horsforth, a bit guilty of over-elaborating in possession, gave the ball away in the other half and were quickly punished as the away side came down the pitch and pulled it back to 4-2. However, with not only a strong starting XI but also a sensationally good bench to turn to, Horsforth were able to add defender Jack Diamond and midfielder Dave Howarth to the mix, and any self-doubt soon evaporated. On 6 minutes, Thorpy's swerving corner caught the keeper out, and Gary headed home from close range, then two minutes after that a clever one-two between George and Hawesy resulted in the former's second goal of the day. We weren't done with the quality subs either, Dave Scott and Phil Smith replacements who would surely walk into just about any team at this level. In the 27th minute of the half, George's throw found Dave Scott, who pulled the ball back across goal for Gary to complete the scoring at 7-2.

  There aren't many easy games at this level, and in all honesty this wasn't as easy a win as the scoreline might suggest. While the points always seemed to be heading our way, the away side did their best to make a game of it throughout, and I'd say the margin of victory flattered us a bit. But then, we took our chances today, scored while we were on top, and defended well when we needed to, and that has always been a combination that wins you a lot of football matches. So, a comfortable win against a side who didn't turn up expecting to lose, another good day at the office for the team.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 2, Leeds City Rovers 3; Hampsthwaite United 8, Shipley Town 1; Myrtle Park 2, Keighley Athletic 2; Shadwell United 1, Salts 4.

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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.

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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.

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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 (Leaving field of play without referee's permission).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  League game: Shipley Town 3, Burton Leonard 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunday 18th November 2018:

  League game: Shipley Town 2, Shadwell United 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 12th December (WTFL League Cup Round 1):

  FC United of Baildon 2, Hampsthwaite United 4.

Sunday 16th December 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Myrtle Park v Burton Leonard, Salts v Yeadon Athletic, Shipley Town v Hampsthwaite United - all postponed.

Sunday 23rd December 2018 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Leeds City Rovers 9, Yeadon Athletic 3.

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Sunday 6th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Premier Division):
Keighley Athletic 6 Horsforth Fairweather 3

Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Roper, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Lancaster. Subs: Pickering, Scott, Skillern, Robinson; unused sub: Harrison. Scorers: Thorp, Hawes (pen), Litvinov.

  Despite having gone five weeks without a game, Horsforth had some cause for optimism with the number of recalls in the squad: long-term injury victims Kev Hoyle and Dave Shapland were back in the starting line-up, with Matt Pickering, Steve Skillern and Dave Scott on the bench. Jonathan Postle returned in goal, George Lancaster to the right wing-back berth.

  In other words, no excuses.

  We even opened the scoring on 10 minutes when Thorpy took the ball off a hesitant defender and beat the goalie with a clever shot off the outside of his right foot. But in truth, it was already going wrong, the home side attacking with great purpose down our right, our defensive shortcomings exposed more than once, and it came as little surprise when they equalised four minutes later with one such move. The remainder of the first half was scrappy and looked like being inconclusive, until we conceded again just before the break.

  On another day, we would perhaps still have been confident about the eventual outcome, our strong bench hopefully the key factor. But it was not to be; we gave ourselves far too much to do. Nine minutes into the second period, we gave away a third goal that was pure comedy, ten minutes later a fourth. The cavalry arrived at this point - Matt, Dave Scott and Skilly - and there ensued a ten-minute spell when it looked like we might still be on for a result. Dave Scott in particular was far too tricky for the Keighley defenders to handle, and was brought down in the box on 23 minutes, James Hawes converting the penalty. Again though, it all went wrong, as far from crumbling the home team (lest we forget, the defending champions of the Wharfedale Triangle) regained the initiative and scored again to put the game beyond us. There was time for a brief appearance from long-time club servant Scott Robinson as sub, and a belter of a goal from Gary Litvinov, following up a free-kick, but Keighley had the last word, and 6-3 it ended, and that was probably on balance a fair reflection of the play.

  It would be easier to list what went right than what went wrong today, suffice to say that in just about every aspect of the game this performance was way, way short of the standards we've set ourselves in recent years. And I think it best I leave it there for now. Except to mention ... there's always next week, lads.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 2, Hampsthwaite United 6; Myrtle Park v Shadwell United postponed; Shipley Town 4, Yeadon Athletic 2.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Round 4 included: Leeds City Rovers 3, Main Line Social 0; Mount Pleasant 1, Salts 1 (Mount Pleasant won 5-4 on pens).

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Sunday 13th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 5 Shadwell United 4

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Kennedy, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Skillern. Subs: S.Sedgwick, Hoyle, Pickering; unused subs: Jones, Monaghan. Scorers: Howarth 3, Lancaster, Hawes (pen). Cautioned: Howarth, Thorp. Sent off: Thorp (second caution).

  Horsforth, in dire need of a win to restart the season, were able to bring back long-term casualty Dave Howarth into a remodelled defence, alongside Tom Wilson and Dave Shapland - from whom Steve Skillern took over at left wing-back. Jesse Kennedy was another to make a welcome return, in the midfield.

  And it started like a house on fire, Horsforth taking full advantage of the swirling wind in an excellent opening 20 minutes. Four minutes in, from a half-cleared corner, Jesse played the ball back in for Dave Howarth to sweep home majestically from the edge of the box. On 15 minutes, Dave's free-kick beat the Shadwell keeper at the near post, and four minutes later Jamie Francis's free kick found right wing-back George Lancaster who volleyed home with his left foot. But seemingly set for an emphatic win at this point, Horsforth seemed to lose a bit of shape now, and gradually the away side reorganised and fought their way back into the game. After 35 minutes, they scored with a shot from the outside right position to make it 3-1, and on 42 minutes worked the ball across our back line from right to left to present a striker with an open goal.

  With in the end just a one-goal advantage to show for 45 minutes with the wind at our backs, Horsforth were more than a bit nervous about the second period. There was some degree of relief then when in the second minute of the half Dave Howarth cracked home another free kick from the edge of the box to extend the lead to 4-2, but it still looked precarious. Eight minutes were on the watch when we gave away a penalty, from which the away side made it 4-3. We responded by bringing on Steve Sedgwick to bolster the defence, but the away side continued to take the game to us at every opportunity, and it was no more than they deserved when with 20 minutes left to play, they scored the equaliser with a well-taken overhead kick from inside our six-yard box. The crucial moment of the game arrived in the 29th minute of the half, when James Thorp was through on goal, and was fouled by the Shadwell goalkeeper, who was controversially sent off for the offence. James Hawes put the penalty away, and if that didn't look like it would be the end of scoring, nevertheless it turned out to be the match-winning goal. Kev Hoyle now joined the game, down our right, as we looked to capitalise on our advantage. However, we made another rod for our own back when Thorpy was sent off for a second yellow card, and the last 10 minutes of a game which had always been played in the right spirit were to be 10-a-side. Pleasing to report that at this vital end-game stage we again began to look the better team, and as it turned out saw out the game relatively comfortably.

  So much to say about this game: it could have been utterly ruined by the wind for one thing, so fair play to both sides for making it into a decent contest. Our own performance was superb - in patches. But we lost our way a bit for lengthy periods of the match, maybe thinking we'd done enough for the points after 20 minutes? You have to give the away side much credit for the way they changed their game plan, and we have to remind ourselves we missed many chances to put the game to bed while we were on top, but in the end I'd say we deserved the win for keeping our composure when we were pegged back to 4-4. All in all, a memorable game, and a very welcome three points.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 5, Yeadon Athletic 0; Keighley Athletic 3, Hampsthwaite United 0; Leeds City Rovers 7, Shipley Town 1; Salts 2, Myrtle Park 1.

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Sunday 20th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 0 Leeds City Rovers 3

Team: Postle, Lancaster, Shapland, Howarth, T.Wilson, Diamond, Kennedy, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Skillern. Subs: Pickering, Scott, Monaghan, Roper; unused sub: P.Smith. Sent off: Skillern (Violent Conduct).

  With Thorpy suspended, Horsforth effectively made just the one change for this game, Jack Diamond starting in the defence. Dave Howarth moved forward into the midfield, Jesse Kennedy into the attack.

  This was always going to be one of the season's defining games, and the first half turned out to be an interesting but inconclusive affair. Both sides had a sprinkling of half-chances, but it came as little surprise when the scoreline after 45 minutes was nil-nil.

  Just five minutes into the second period came the game's defining moment. What was clearly a foul on Horsforth's left wing-back Steve Skillern went unnoticed and unpunished, while the retaliation, as is all too often the case, did not, and we were down to 10 men in a game we needed to win. Twelve minutes had elapsed when the away side struck the first blow, as a punt up the middle was misjudged by our defenders for the City striker to lob the ball over Jonathan Postle. We were forced to replace injured captain Jamie Francis, Matty Pickering taking over in midfield, and then brought on Dave Scott to give fresh impetus to the attack. It appeared briefly that the balance might be swinging back our way, but the away side's experience stood them in good stead. After 24 minutes of the half, they broke quickly again and made it 2-0, while the third goal, a tap-in in the last minute of the match, gave the scoreline a more emphatic look.

  No prizes for making the obvious point that the game hinged on one refereeing decision which went against us. But we made mistakes in places, never really created enough clear chances to threaten the away side, and were reliant on a string of saves from Pos to keep us in it at times, whereas the City goalkeeper hardly touched the ball. All that said, I felt we might have done enough for a draw (which of course wouldn't have been a great deal of use to us) had the red mist not descended when it did, and the gap between the sides was a bit narrower than the result would suggest.

  Other league games: Salts 2, Shadwell Town 0; Shipley Town 2, Keighley Athletic 4.

  League Cup Round 2: Keighley Crusaders 2, Salts Reserves 1.

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Sunday 27th January 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Round 2):
Eldwick 0 Horsforth Fairweather 3

Team (in number order): Postle, Scott, Thorp, Litvinov, Francis, Hawes, Diamond, Howarth, Pickering, Lancaster, T.Wilson. Subs: Hoyle, P.Smith, Sedgwick, Jones, Monaghan. Scorers: Litvinov, Scott, Howarth. Cautioned: Hawes.

  Without Dave Shapland, Jesse Kennedy and the suspended Steve Skillern from last week's side, Horsforth switched to a 4-5-1 formation and rang the changes. The shirt number order, as given above, bore no resemblance to the actual line-up. Jonathan Postle was in goal as usual. George Lancaster, Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth and Jack Diamond made up an orthodox, flat(-ish) back four. Gary Litvinov attacked from the wide right position, James Thorp from the left. The central midfield three were Jamie Francis, Matty Pickering and James Hawes. Dave Scott ploughed the proverbial lone furrow up front.

  The game was utterly ruined as a spectacle by the nithering wind down the Aire valley. Horsforth played into the gale for the first period, and for the most part dealt fairly comfortably with whatever the home side threw at us. Chances were few and far between, though it would hardly be fair to say defences were on top either, more that the conditions made any passing moves next to impossible for either side. Horsforth, always trying to play football against the odds, made the breakthrough in the 38th minute, when Jack's ball from the left-back spot was controlled by Dave Scott, and Gary beat the keeper to put us in front - although the Eldwick players' complaints about an alleged offside were sufficiently prolonged to cost them at least one yellow card.

  More changes were necessary, the injured Thorpy giving way to Kev Hoyle at the end of the first half, and George leaving the fray at the interval, Phil Smith the substitute. Horsforth switched the formation again for the second period, 3-5-2 with Tom, Phil and Dave Howarth at the back, Kev and Jack the wing-backs and Hawesy pushed up front. When we doubled the lead after just two minutes of the half, it might have looked as if we had done enough the secure the result, Hawesy heading Jamie's free-kick down for Dave Scott to burst through and hit the back of the net. But it didn't quite work out that way, for which due credit should be given to the Eldwick lads, who never gave up trying to find a way back into the game. Though not exactly under a lot of pressure, we needed to dig deeper into the squad to stay on top, Steven Sedgwick reinforcing the defence for the last 25 minutes, his 300th game for the club. The contest was finally over in the 34th minute of the half, when Dave Howarth's free kick from the inside right channel found its way into the net, with nearest Horsforth striker Dave Scott confirming he hadn't got a touch on the ball, though maybe a defender had.

  This was never going to be a great game, even though both teams did their best under the circumstances. Horsforth always looked the stronger, more organised side, and earned a result on a day when there were plenty of ready-made excuses for failure. We go through to the League Cup Quarter-Finals (and sorry no, I don't know yet who we're playing, whether the draw has been made or when it will be), and thus keep our season alive after a run of disappointing results.

  Other Round 2 ties: Cullingworth Youth 3, Shipley Town 1; Keighley Athletic 5, Saltaire Rangers 1; Leeds City Rovers 4, Hampsthwaite United 0; Milford 1, FC West Leeds 2; Salts 11, Keighley Shamrocks 1; Yeadon FC 1, Yeadon Athletic 3. (Keighley Crusaders v Salts Reserves played 20th January.)

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Sunday 3rd February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

Myrtle Park v Horsforth Fairweather postponed, pitch frozen.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard v Salts; Shipley Town v Hampsthwaite United; Yeadon Athletic v Shadwell United - all postponed.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Quarter-Finals included: Leeds City Rovers v Crossflatts Village postponed (will be played next Sunday).

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Sunday 10th February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Shadwell United 3 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Pickering, T.Wilson, Howarth, Riley, Francis, R.Wilson, Kennedy, Lancaster. Subs: Thorp, Canning, Monaghan. Scorers: R.Wilson 3, Kennedy.

  Losing five players from the previous game's starting line-up, plus another three from the bench, what can we say lads? Just another week in the story of HFFC ... So we brought Chris Jones into the side at right-back, Dave Shapland on the left of the defence. Henry Riley and Jesse Kennedy were added to the 5-man midfield, with George Lancaster switching from right full-back to the left of midfield. Rob Wilson made a particularly welcome return up front.

  And Rob being Rob, capitalised on a lofted clearance from keeper Jonathan Postle, taking the ball past a hesitant defender and finding the net after just two minutes. After that, the game settled down a bit, both teams finding it hard to play on the muddy surface. The home team equalised after 13 minutes, when we failed to clear the ball once too often, but the first half was overall pretty undistinguished.

  There wasn't much more football played after the break, but the game livened up a bit. Rob left a defender for dead and put us 2-1 ahead after just 11 seconds, and five minutes later got on the end of George's well-saved effort from a corner, to tap home a hat-trick goal that might have proved decisive. Far from it: Rob himself was struggling at this point, and needed to be replaced by a less than fully fit James Thorp. We conceded a goal from a free-kick with 20 minutes left, and Pos, hurt in the ensuing melee, wasn't able to continue, Jonesy doing the honours in goal. It wasn't all bad news though. We brought on a new player, the left sided Ben Canning, as we did our best to take the game to the opposition. In the 41st minute, a superb ball back into the danger area from Tom Wilson found Jesse in space, and HFFC's new Aussie star made it 4-2. There was still time for a consolation from the home side, in the 4th minute of injury time, to take some of the gloss off the win, but the points were ours.

  Another very narrow win over very decent opposition, in a game which could have been completely spoilt by the conditions. Other than one moment of silliness, this had been just about as good a game as it could have been, for which both teams deserve credit. For Horsforth, a very welcome three points on a day it would have been easy to have come home with none.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 2, Keighley Athletic 5; Salts 12, Yeadon Athletic 0; Shipley Town v Myrtle Park postponed.

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Quarter-Finals included: Leeds City Rovers 2, Crossflatts Village 1.

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Sunday 17th February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 9 Shipley Town 1

Team: Postle, C.Jones, Shapland, Pickering, T.Wilson, Howarth, Kennedy, Francis, Litvinov, R.Wilson, Lancaster. Subs: Hawes, Hoyle, Fenwick, Monaghan, Canning. Scorers: R.Wilson 3, Litvinov 2, Howarth, Francis, Hawes 2.

  Although there was only one actual change of personnel today, there were a large number of positional switches: Gary Litvinov was back and took his place up front alongside Rob Wilson; the midfield was back to a quintet with George Lancaster at right wing-back, Dave Shapland left wing-back, and Matty Pickering, Jamie Francis and Jesse Kennedy central; while we reverted to three at the back with Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth and Chris Jones. Jonathan Postle continued in goal.

  Again, we opened the show with a Rob Wilson goal in the second minute, Shappy having a first effort blocked but recovering to put the cross in from which Rob scored. A bit of a hiccup a minute later though, when the away side equalised, our defence not clearing the ball when we had the chance, and being punished. In the sixth minute of what always looked like a high-scoring game, Rob made ground down the left and passed back to Jesse, whose superb cross was met by Gary for 2-1. Six minutes later, Shappy was the provider again, as Rob scored a third, and four minutes later Jesse's left wing corner was volleyed home by Dave Howarth. A Pos free kick from deep in the 23rd minute found its way to Rob, who scrambled home for his second successive hat-trick. After this, the away side, pretty much totally outplayed at the start, began to regain a bit of composure and enjoyed a spell of parity in midfield. There was only one more goal before the break, another Jesse corner falling perfectly for Jamie to tap in, but by the interval the game was a lot less one-sided than hitherto.

  We needed to replace Rob at half time, James Hawes a more than worthy substitute, and were able to bring back Kev Hoyle into the midfield shortly after, as we sought to regain the initiative. When Dave Howarth's corner was met by another excellent Gary header to make it 6-1, it was time to give the subs a game: Luke Monaghan and yet another new signing Adam Fenwick, later joined by last week's newcomer Ben Canning. The goals started coming again: Jesse's through ball was steered into the net by Hawesy for the eighth, then the same player met Dave's corner and swept the ball home from the edge of the 6-yard box to make the final score 9-1.

  A word for Shipley Town would not be out of place at this point. Though clearly out of their depth from the early minutes of the game, they stuck to their task commendably, and at several stages of the contest at least matched us in terms of both territory and possession. Our defending was overall better than theirs, our approach play and finishing was markedly superior, but they never looked like folding, and all 11 kept trying to play football for the entire 90 minutes. From our point of view, a good win against a side we struggled to beat at their place earlier in the season. Gradually getting our key players back, not least Rob and Gary, and some new signings adding to the strength of the squad. Still a couple of important players to come back too, which can only augur well. All in all, a good day's work this morning, but sterner tests are ahead.

  Other league games: Hampsthwaite United 6, Shadwell United 0; Leeds City Rovers 2, Salts 1; Yeadon Athletic 2, Myrtle Park 4.

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Sunday 24th February 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Quarter-Final):
Horsforth Fairweather 3 Leeds City Rovers 4

Team: Postle, Diamond, Shapland, Pickering, T.Wilson, Howarth, Kennedy, Francis, Litvinov, R.Wilson, Lancaster. Subs: Hawes, Hoyle, Scott, Skillern; unused sub: Riley. Scorers: R.Wilson 2, Litvinov. Cautioned: Litvinov (dissent).

  Horsforth made just the one change from the previous week's line-up, Jack Diamond replacing the unavailable Chris Jones in defence.

  It was a strong performance right from the off, which of course it needed to be against one of the top teams in the West Riding. Dave Howarth's free kick from the left was headed home by Rob Wilson in the 10th minute to commence proceedings, six minutes later the away side were level when one of their free kicks took a wicked deflection to beat Jonathan Postle in our goal, then on 21 minutes a superb left-wing move involving Jesse Kennedy and Dave Shapland resulted in the latter crossing for Gary Litvinov to head us in front again. It settled down a bit after that, and the rest of the half was goalless, with plenty of decent football from both sides, but we changed ends having matched the visitors in every department, one goal to the good and fancying our chances after what had been an excellent display over 45 minutes.

  It would be unfair and inaccurate to say we went off the boil for the second half, but in the event the away side turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead. On 10 minutes they equalised from a free kick, and on 22 minutes went ahead when another free kick was only half cleared and the shot from the edge of our box was disappointingly unopposed. We brought on the first of our army of subs at this point, James Hawes up front and Kev Hoyle in midfield, and the changes seemed to have paid off straight away, when in the 25th minute of the half a throw-in on our right seemed to bounce awkwardly for the City defenders and Rob got to the loose ball quicker than anyone else to score from the narrowest of angles. At 3-3 with 20 minutes to play, it was anyone's game, and I think it's fair to say Horsforth had as many chances to get that vital fourth goal as did the visitors. We brought on Dave Scott and Steve Skillern, either of whom could on another day have won us the match, but it was not to be. The winner came in the 45 minute with extra time looming, as one of the City subs took a throw-in out on the right, recovered the ball when it was headed away and crossed quickly and accurately, the header going beyond Pos in our goal, and from a strike as late as that there was no recovery.

  To say we were disappointed to lose after putting in such a sound performance would be a huge understatement; we have played far worse than we did today, and won. Many positives to be taken from the events of this day, and we need to make sure we do take them, and also learn any lessons, not least because we have two very tricky league matches coming up and need to refocus quickly. So ... a really good display all over the pitch lads, a great shame about the result, but we need to move on now, and try and pick up as many league points as we can as the season draws towards a somewhat premature close.

  Other quarter-finals: Salts 4, Keighley Crusaders 2; West Leeds 3, Keighley Athletic 3 (Keighley won 3-4 on pens); Yeadon Athletic 3 Cullingworth Youth 6.

  Semi-Final draw: Cullingworth Youth v Keighley Athletic; Leeds City Rovers v Salts.

  League games: Burton Leonard 6, Shipley Town 3; Myrtle Park 3, Shadwell United 0.

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Sunday 3rd March 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Myrtle Park 0 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Team: Postle, Hoyle, Shapland, Pickering, C.Jones, Howarth, Kennedy, Francis, R.Wilson, Hawes, Skillern. Subs: Riley, Canning, Monaghan. Scorers: Hawes, R.Wilson.

  A few changes this week with four players unavailable. The defence was hardest hit, with two of last week's back three not with us, so Chris Jones was back in the side, and Dave Shapland was switched there from the left wing-back position. Steve Skillern took over the left-sided role, while Kev Hoyle was reinstated at right wing-back. James Hawes joined the attack.

  Needing all three points to maintain any sort of challenge at the top of the table, Horsforth began in rather sloppy manner, and were a bit lucky to survive the early exchanges with our goal intact. That said, neither side really came to terms with the conditions nor used the large pitch to full advantage, and the first half especially was a somewhat cagey affair. We went in front with a moment of class though, when in the 34th minute Jonesy's clearance found its way to Skilly who played the ball into space for Hawesy, who coolly lobbed the onrushing keeper from the edge of the box.

  The game was a bit more open after the break, space not as hard to come by. The home side started the half quite brightly, but by the midpoint of the period we were making the better chances, and doubled our lead on 25 minutes when Kev played the ball across goal from the right wing, and a defender unwisely tried to let the ball run when Rob Wilson was bearing down on him. The Horsforth striker took the ball round the Myrtle Park keeper and stroked it into the empty net. The game was still far from over, and the home team came back at us strongly, and would probably say they were unlucky not to score at least one goal back. Horsforth reinforced by changing both wing-backs, Henry Riley and Ben Canning the subs, and concentrated a bit more on the defensive side of our game, but we got better as the game went into its final stages, so much so that by the end we were looking relatively comfortable, and the back three and keeper Jonathan Postle could be well proud of their clean sheet.

  A good win then, against one of the league's best sides, a team who had already beaten us at our place. If the championship itself is now beyond us (and it is, to say the least, out of our hands), we are in with a decent chance of the runners-up spot if we can keep playing at this intensity for another couple of matches. All in all, a good morning's work, a credit to the spirit and resilience of our club.

  Other league games: Burton Leonard 1, Salts 4; Keighley Athletic 1, Leeds City Rovers 2; Shipley Town 1, Hampsthwaite United 2.

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Thursday 7th March 2019:

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Semi-Final: Leeds City Rovers v Hope Inn Whites - postponed. Will now be played Tuesday 26th March.

  Other Semi-Final is Main Line Social v Rodley, 14th March.

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Sunday 10th March 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 5 Keighley Athletic 2

Team: Postle, Hoyle, Shapland, Pickering, C.Jones, Howarth, Kennedy, Francis, R.Wilson, Hawes, Skillern. Subs: Diamond, T.Wilson, Lancaster, Canning, Monaghan. Scorers: Hawes 2, R.Wilson 2, Howarth.

  For the first time this season, Horsforth were able to name an unchanged starting XI, with the added bonus of a strong bench. What could go wrong?

  Well, for a start the conditions were awful. Sleet turning to snow for most of the first half, and bitterly cold. The game started off poorly, and got worse. We conceded from a free kick after 8 minutes, but equalised two minutes later when Rob Wilson outmuscled a defender and laid the ball along the line for James Hawes to bundle it into the net. We had to replace Dave Shapland in defence after just 15 minutes, Jack Diamond a more than adequate replacement. The weather may have prevented either side from playing any decent football, but the game had an edge from the start. On 37 minutes it boiled over when for reasons best known to himself a Keighley player, already cautioned, attempted a body slam on Jesse Kennedy, and was dismissed. In line with that well-known saying about it being harder to play against 10 men, Horsforth managed to give away another goal before the break, and were able to look forward to one of the season's less complimentary half-time team talks.

  The second half wasn't a great deal better from the football point of view, but we gradually began to at least make the extra man count. Ten minutes in, Dave Howarth's free kick ricocheted off a defender into the path of Rob, inviting the equaliser, and three minutes later Steve Skillern's left wing cross in the direction of Kev Hoyle went askew but was retrieved by Rob, who put us in front. Normal service resumed? Not a bit of it. Just two minutes after taking the lead, we presented the away side with a penalty, and the outcome of the contest could have very different if Horsforth goalie Jonathan Postle hadn't pushed the shot wide. It was clearly time for some reinforcements, Tom Wilson to boost the defence and George Lancaster taking over from Kev at right wing-back, Kev switching to give a bit more creativity in the midfield. On 23 minutes, we scored the goal of the game, a fabulous end-to-end move which ended with Rob sweeping the ball from the right wing into the path of Hawesy who slammed it home first touch, a piece of football quality head and shoulders above what entertainment had been provided previously. It didn't exactly get easier after that, and we brought Ben Canning into the fray at left wing-back to see the game out as the away side continued to attack at every opportunity. Five minutes from the end, the scoreline was given a rather flattering look when Jesse's left wing corner found Dave Howarth unmarked more or less on the goal-line, and the Horsforth defender had time to fall over and still put the ball in the net.

  Not a great game then by any standards. Obviously the conditions didn't help, but that hardly excuses what was overall a frankly poor performance from a Horsforth side that had looked so solid the previous week. The result looks quite good on paper though, and even if it was against 10 men we should at least give ourselves a certain amount of praise for the way we stuck to the task, kept our discipline and ended up comfortable winners in a game in which we'd been behind twice.

  Other league games: Myrtle Park 0, Leeds City Rovers 4; Salts v Hampsthwaite United postponed.

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Sunday 17th March 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Leeds City Rovers 3, Burton Leonard 0; Yeadon Athletic v Salts postponed.

Friday 22nd March 2019:

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Semi-Final: Leeds City Rovers 5, HT Sports 1.

  Other Semi-Final is Shepherds Arms v Walkers Arms Hounds, 29th March. Final 26th April.

Sunday 24th March 2019:

  League Cup Semi-Final: Cullingworth Youth 2, Keighley Athletic 4.

  Other Semi-Final is Leeds City Rovers v Salts, 31st March. Final is 28th April at Otley Town.

  League games: Hampsthwaite United 7, Salts 1; Shipley Town 2, Myrtle Park 3.

Sunday 31st March 2019:

  League Cup Semi-Final: Leeds City Rovers 1, Salts 0.

  Final is Leeds City Rovers v Keighley Athletic, April 28th at Otley Town.

  League games: Myrtle Park 3, Burton Leonard 4; Yeadon Athletic 1, Shadwell United 1.

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Sunday 7th April 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Yeadon Athletic 2 Horsforth Fairweather 6

Team: Postle, C.Jones, Skillern, Litvinov, T.Wilson, P.Smith, Thorp, Hoyle, R.Wilson, Hawes, Lancaster. Subs: Monaghan, Abbott, Canning. Scorers: Hawes, P.Smith, R.Wilson 2, Thorp, Litvinov. Cautioned: Skillern (persistent infringement).

  The four-week gap since Horsforth's previous match, and the absence of five players from that game, inevitably led to a continuity problem. Though lacking Dave Howarth and Dave Shapland in defence, we were fortunate to have Phil Smith back in the squad, and with Tom Wilson joining him and regular Chris Jones there was little cause for concern in that department. All three central midfield players from the Keighley game being unavailable, we moved Kev Hoyle into the centre, his place at right wing-back going to George Lancaster, while Gary Litvinov was also restored to the side and James Hawes dropped back from the forwards. James Thorp started again up front alongside Rob Wilson. Steve Skillern carried on at left wing-back and of course Jonathan Postle in goal.

  There may have been little at stake for Horsforth, but the performance was strong and determined right from the start, and it needed to be against opponents who are battling for every point they can get at the moment. Horsforth were a bit over-reliant on the long ball in the first half, but in the 19th minute were rewarded for just about the best pass of the season from out on the right wing by Gary, which found Hawesy in the danger zone, and we were 1-0 up. Seven minutes later Skilly's corner found Rob, whose initial header was blocked but the ball rebounded to Phil, who did the business from close range. That said, it was far from one-way traffic in the first half, and Pos was called into action at least as often as the Yeadon keeper. At the break, even being two goals ahead, we knew we had lots more work to do.

  We actually started the second half quite positively, playing much more composed football through the midfield, and looked like increasing our lead a few times before conceding a maddeningly unnecessary penalty in the 7th minute, from which the home team reduced the arrears. This however only served to further galvanise our players, and just a minute later Skilly's corner ricocheted into the path of Rob who fired home. On 16 minutes, Skilly's short corner was crossed beautifully by Thorpy into Rob's path, and the superb half-volley from the edge of the 6-yard area meant we had a bit of breathing space. Luke Monaghan and debutant Callum Abbott were brought on at this stage to freshen the side up a bit, and Callum was involved in the move from which Thorpy made it 5-1 after 28 minutes, flicking the ball up in the air to beat defenders twice before taking it round the keeper. Five minutes after that, Skilly turned the Yeadon defence down the left, and his low pulled-back cross was met by Gary at the edge of the box and steered home. Ben Canning added to his CV with another impressive late appearance from the bench. The only disappointment of the day was a sloppy late goal we conceded, giving the ball away twice in the move that led to it, and giving the scoreline a less impressive look.

  In the end, it looked pretty comfortable at 6-2, but we had been made to work hard for it at times, and some of the saves Pos made today were pretty outstanding, transforming what might have been a high-scoring close contest into an emphatic win. Another good day's work, and three more points, but it was far from easy.

  Other league games: Hampsthwaite United 0, Leeds City Rovers 3.

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Sunday 14th April 2019 (Friendly):
Horsforth Fairweather 10 Burton Leonard 3

Team: Postle, Fellows, Canning, Fenwick, P.Smith, C.Jones, Thorp, Francis, Hawes, J.Jones, Monaghan. Subs: Hoyle, Kennedy, Lancaster, Litvinov, Pickering. Scorers: Monaghan, Hawes 2, P.Smith, Thorp 3, Hoyle (pen), Litvinov 2.

  An end-of-season friendly to keep the fans entertained, and an opportunity for some of our fringe players to make a name for themselves. Jonathan Postle was in goal as usual, Tommy Fellows and Ben Canning started as full-backs, Chris Jones and Phil Smith in central defence. Jack Jones and Luke Monaghan were the wide players in a midfield four, Adam Fenwick and Jamie Francis central. Thorpy and Hawesy were the strikers.

  It always looked like being a high-scoring game, and in the first half Horsforth's defence creaked alarmingly at times. Luke gave us the early lead with a scuffed shot from Thorpy's throw-in, but by the 10-minute mark we were 2-1 down, and the less said about the defending at that stage the better. But Ben's excellent forward surge and pass found Hawesy for the equaliser, then Phil headed home Jamie's superb corner to restore the advantage. We conceded a comedy goal direct from a corner, but then Hawesy broke dow the right wing, and picked out Jack who played the ball on to Thorpy and we were in front yet again. Half time and 4-3 already.

  We brought on our small army of substitutes at the break: Kev Hoyle, Jesse Kennedy, George Lancaster, Gary Litvinov and Matty Pickering; and from this point the result wasn't really in doubt. Stand-in captain Kev banged the ball home from the penalty spot after he'd been fouled, George pulled the ball back across goal from the right wing for Gary to make it 6-3, Thorpy took advantage of a goalkeeper error for the seventh, then crossed for Hawesy to head the eighth. A great piece of goalkeeping action from Pos ensued, making a good catch under pressure and alertly punting the ball downfield for Thorpy to complete his hat-trick, and finally Jesse's corner was met with a firm header by Gary.

  A decent game considering there was nothing at stake, a few defensive issues exposed but a hatful of great goals to remember - some consolation perhaps on the day Leeds City clinched the league title. Always next year, lads.

  League games: Salts 0, Hampsthwaite United 0; Yeadon Athletic 2, Leeds City Rovers 4.

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Thursday 18th April 2019:

  LDFA Sunday Senior Cup Semi-Final: Leeds City Rovers 0, Hope Inn Whites 2. Hope to play Main Line Social in the Final

Sunday 21st April 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Salts 2, Leeds City Rovers 4.

Friday 26th April 2019:

  WRCFA County Sunday Cup Final: Leeds City Rovers 1, Shepherds Arms 4.

Sunday 28th April 2019:

  League Cup Final: Keighley Athletic 2, Leeds City Rovers 5.

  League game: Yeadon Athletic 4, Salts 10.

Thursday 2nd May 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Leeds City Rovers 4, Shadwell United 0.

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Tuesday 7th May 2019 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Leeds City Rovers 1 Horsforth Fairweather 0

Team: Postle, Kennedy, Diamond, Hoyle, T.Wilson, Howarth, Thorp, Francis, Litvinov, Hawes, Lancaster. Subs: Skillern, Riley, McFarlane, J.Jones; unused sub: C.Jones.

  After much debate and debacle, the final game of the season took place on a miserable Tuesday evening, and in the event we fielded what was a pretty reasonable side plus a full complement of subs. The game wasn't great, frankly. With in theory nothing but pride riding on the outcome, it was encouraging to see how determined both sides were to get the result, but in spite of that there was little good football played, and for Horsforth in particular our set pieces were poor and we created little or nothing from open play. City won the game with a breakaway goal as early as the second minute, a lone fast striker outpacing our defence and the ball being bundled into the net at the near post following an attempted last-ditch tackle. After that, the game never really settled into any pattern, Horsforth never really got our passing game together, and the home team, well under-strength themselves, had more than a few chances but couldn't snatch the second that might have made the points safe. Late in the day, we brought on the subs, including two players making their competitive debuts Jack Jones and Daniel McFarlane, but it would be wrong to claim that at any stage of the contest we got on top. When Jonathan Postle saved a penalty with a couple of minutes left, you maybe got the feeling briefly it might be our day after all, but in truth the home team were still making the better chances and would probably claim they were good value for a 1-0 win.

  Anyway, sincere congratulations to Leeds City, I know we've given them some good games this season but the 14-point margin by which they won the league really has to speak for itself. They proved they were the best team over 18 matches, and it's up to us try and match their consistency, plus of course get results in meetings between the sides, if we are serious about challenging them next season. Tonight's game then, lots of effort and great spirit, but sadly not quite the performance we needed to end the campaign on a high note. As I've said before, there's always next year...

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  This page last updated May 2019.

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