Horsforth Fairweather FC

Archived reports 2020-21.

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20/09/2020 Horsforth Saints (A) League Cup 27/09/2020 Yeadon Athletic (H) League Cup
04/10/2020 Yeadon FC (H) 11/10/2020 Shadwell United (A)
18/10/2020 Rawdon FC (H) 25/10/2020 Leeds City Rovers (A)
01/11/2020 Keighley Athletic (A) 06/12/2020 Rawdon FC (A)
13/12/2020 FC United of Baildon (H) 20/12/2020 Eldwick (H)
11/04/2021 Salts (A) CL 25/04/2021 Sporting Pudsey (A) CL



Sunday 13th September 2020:

  League game: Horsforth Saints 3, Sporting Pudsey 4.

  League Cup Round 1: Salts 1, Leeds Maccabi 1, Maccabi won 9-8 on pens.




Sunday 20th September 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Round 1):
Horsforth Saints 0 Horsforth Fairweather 3

Postle
Bell, Service, T.Wilson, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering
LD.Monaghan, Skillern, Canning
Hawes

Subs: Archer, Jeffrey, Nicholl, Scott, Jones

Scorers: Hawes 2, Skillern

Cautioned: Archer

  A pre-season that could politely be called indifferent behind them, Fairweather opened the real action with - for some reason - a league cup tie against local rivals and fellow Premier Division side Saints, and an away game on our pitch. Notwithstanding the absence of several regulars from last campaign, there were a good few players available, for once. Woody opted for what is becoming his favourite 4-2-3-1 formation, with Jonathan Postle in goal, Shane Bell, Iain Service, Tom Wilson and Dave Shapland in defence; George Lancaster and Matt Pickering holding in midfield; and Luke Monaghan, Steve Skillern and Ben Canning supporting lone striker James Hawes.

  The first half was fairly even in terms of territory and possession, but Fairweather struck gold twice and changed ends two goals to the good. On 10 minutes, Hawesy's superb shot from distance hit the bar, and the chance might have gone but for Skilly's persistence, the ball dropping again to Hawesy whose finish this time was even better. With 28 minutes played, Hawesy made a chance for Skilly, and the cool lob over the onrushing Saints keeper gave us a decisive advantage. Other than that there was wasn't a great deal to choose between the teams if I'm honest, and we knew there'd be much work to do in the second period.

  There wasn't quite as much excitement in the second half, Fairweather turning to an array of substitutes to retain the initiative. Reece Archer made his bow in midfield early, George switching to the right side, Sam Jeffrey took over down the left, another appearing in a competitive game for the first time, while Anthony Nicholl reinforced the central unit even further. I wouldn't say we were great value for our two-goal lead, to be honest, but we stuck to our guns doggedly, and stretched the advantage further in the 28th minute of the half, when George and Skilly combined down the right, and Hawesy bundled in the low cross at the far post. Still time for brief appearances from Dave Scott and of course Jonesy, as we saw out the latter stages of the game relatively comfortably, and ran out what will probably look like an impressive 3-0 victory.

  So we open the campaign with a good win, from a game in which we needed to battle hard for 90 minutes to keep up with the home side's work-rate - and did exactly that. I'd admit the result was a bit flattering on the basis of the balance of play, but we defended well and in organised manner today, took our chances when we got them, and - above all - finished the match looking the stronger team by some way. A good morning's work, a welcome relief after some of the debacles in the recent friendlies, and much cause for optimism. More of the same please.

  Other Round 1 games: Eldwick 0, Bramley United 5; FC United of Baildon 11, West Leeds 2020 0; Keighley Blues 3, Saltaire Rangers 0; Leeds City Rovers 7, Shipley Town 1; Myrtle Park 5, Cullingworth Youth 1; Pudsey Athletic 0, Skipton United 7; Rawdon 1, Shadwell United 1 (Rawdon won 5-4 on pens); West Leeds 2018 2, Yeadon FC 5; Yeadon Athletic 3, FC Milford of Bramhope 1.

  Byes: Headingley Rovers, Horsforth St Margarets, Keighley Athletic, Sporting Pudsey, West Leeds 2014.

  (Salts v Leeds Maccabi played 13th September.)

  League game: Salts 2, Keighley Athletic 8.

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Sunday 27th September 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Cup Round 2):
Horsforth Fairweather 1 Yeadon Athletic 1
(Yeadon won 4-3 on penalties)

Jeffrey
Bell, Archer, T.Wilson, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering
LD.Monaghan, Skillern, Canning
Hawes

Subs: Litvinov, Hoyle, Scott

Scorer: Hawes

  With Jonathan Postle unavailable, Horsforth gave Sam Jeffrey his first start in goal, while Reece Archer replaced the injured Iain Service in defence. Other than that, it was as-you-were, Horsforth basically keeping faith with players who had done the business last week.

  In spite of the difference in divisions between the sides, this looked like a very even game right from the start. We made very little headway with our passing game in the first half, and seemed off the pace all over the pitch, Yeadon working hard off the ball all match to deny us space. We conceded a dreadful goal direct from a corner on 30 minutes, and though we struck back eight minutes later when Steve Skillern's shot and Ben Canning's follow-up led to an easy chance for Hawesy, it was hard to say we'd been in any measure the better side.

  And, to be honest again, it continued in much the same vein after the break. Horsforth introduced subs Gary Litvinov and Kev Hoyle on the hour mark, and a certain amount of urgency was injected into the proceedings, but we still got caught in possession far too much in the crowded midfield areas, and our set pieces were poor all day, to say the least. Dave Scott was added to the mix for the final 15 minutes, but couldn't materially affect the outcome. We were unlucky here and there though: Hawesy had the ball in the net when the referee had already blown for a foul to us; and Dave when was pulled down it seemed to be in the box but the kick was given outside, and came to naught.

  The penalty shootout went as follows: their lad scored; Gary equalised; Sam saved their second kick; but Skilly's kick was saved too; they scored again; Matt equalised; they scored again; this time Hawesy equalised to make it 3-3; Yeadon scored their final kick; sadly, Kev's shot was saved; and that was that.

  So, not a great performance to mark our 1,000th competitive game, a match from which we might have sneaked a win on another day, but didn't really do enough to say we were unlucky. All the more disappointing after the previous week's display.

  Other Round 2 games: Bramley United 6, Leeds Maccabi 3; Horsforth St Margarets v Headingley Rovers - home walkover; Leeds City Rovers 6, Keighley Blues 1; Skipton United 1, FC United of Baildon 3; Sporting Pudsey 2, Rawdon FC 0; West Leeds 2014 5, Keighley Athletic 7; Yeadon FC 3, Myrtle Park 2.

  League games: Eldwick 1, Shadwell United 3; Salts 4, Horsforth Saints 3.

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Sunday 4th October 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 13 Yeadon FC 1

Postle
Bell, Archer, T.Wilson, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Hoyle, Skillern
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Canning, Abbott, Bogdanos, LD.Monaghan, Jeffrey

Scorers: Litvinov 4, Hawes 4, Lancaster, Hoyle, Skillern, Abbott, Own Goal
Cautioned: Jeffrey

  The first league match of the season saw Horsforth able to field a particularly strong side, with an abundance of quality on the bench (and indeed not even on the bench) for backup if it were needed. Jonathan Postle returned in goal; the back four stayed the same; Kev Hoyle came into the orthodox four-man midfield; and Gary Litvinov started up front alongside Hawesy.

  We started well too. After just five minutes, Shane Bell and Steve Skillern created the chance from which Gary opened the scoring. We made and missed a good few more openings before in the 17th minute Gary retrieved the ball following a half-cleared corner, and Hawesy shot home with some aplomb. There was just the one moment of doubt, when we conceded from a free-kick right outside the box on 25 minutes, and for a while it seemed the contest was evening out a bit. But frankly the visitors never looked able to cope with Horsforth's deadly strikers, and in the 32nd minute, Skilly made further inroads down the left, his low cross invited Hawesy to make the score 3-1, and from this point only one outcome looked likely. Three minutes later, David Shapland and Skilly combined to make another goal for the ruthless Hawesy, this one a tap-in but they all count. Barely a minute after that, George Lancaster floated in a cross from far out on the right wing, and the Yeadon goalkeeper seemed to lose his bearings as the ball dropped into the net in almost comical fashion. Two minutes after that, Matt Pickering played in a great pass to Gary, and again the finish was assured, meaning we'd change ends 6-1 ahead.

  The second half continued very much in the same vein. With just three minutes played, Gary broke through on his own and scored again, and three minutes later Kev Hoyle capitalised on a defensive howler to earn himself a place on the scoresheet. Able to give decent game time to the subs, Horsforth brought on Ben Canning at right-back, then new signings Callum Abbott up front and Christos Bogdanos in central midfield. Callum was immediately in the action, he and Hawesy fashioning the 9th minute opportunity from which Gary scored, albeit at the second attempt. With Luke Monaghan on down the right wing, the slaughter went on unabated, Skilly going through on his own and notching our tenth goal of the day in the 16th minute of the half. Callum himself scored in the 25th minute with a shot on the turn, and three minutes later his strong run down the right led to another tap-in for Hawesy. Last but by no means least, in the 34th minute our final sub Sam Jeffrey got in on the act, his left wing cross being met by a luckless defender for what was surely an own-goal.

  A bit of perspective needed, I suppose: Yeadon had a very bad day at the office today, on their own admission. Yet, from our point of view, we need to look back on this game more as one when we forced them into errors by our own positive play than dwell on their misfortunes. We were quite simply excellent in just about every department today - Pos's superb one-handed save in the second half should not go unmentioned - and I think we'd have beaten many a good team on this display. As if that weren't enough, the squad is going from strong to stronger, with new signings making an immediate impact and more hopefully to follow. Tougher challenges lie ahead, of that there can be no doubt, but this was a day when pretty much everything we did went right, and you can surely look back on such games with pride no matter who the opposition.

  Other league games: FC United of Baildon 1, Sporting Pudsey 3; Keighley Athletic 0, Leeds City Rovers 1; Rawdon FC 3, Horsforth Saints 10; Salts v Shadwell United postponed.

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Sunday 11th October 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Shadwell United 2 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Postle
Bell, Archer, T.Wilson, Shapland
Abbott, Hoyle, Bogdanos, Lancaster
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Pickering, Bennett, Jones, Jeffrey, Nicholl

Scorers: Litvinov 3, Lancaster

  With a squad getting deeper by the week, Horsforth kept the defence and attack unchanged, but rejigged the midfield slightly, with Christos Bogdanos starting in the centre and Callum Abbott on the right, George Lancaster switching to the left.

  Horsforth started superbly, and went ahead on 5 minutes, when James Hawes and Callum combined down the right to set up a cross which was headed home by Gary Litvinov. Four minutes later, more excellent wing play from Callum resulted in a low centre which was misjudged by a defender and George was on hand to pick up the empties. The game settled down a bit after that, lots of hard battles in the midfield, until in the 38th minute George's deadly corner was met at the far post by Gary, and the half-time lead was 3-0.

  The second half was much more evenly contested. Shadwell were awarded a penalty after 5 minutes, and another after 12 minutes, both of which were converted. Horsforth's stand-in Manager Jamie responded by calling Matt Pickering on to shore up the midfield, then introduced yet another new face, Liam Bennett, on the left of midfield, George moving back to the right. To add to our woes, we lost central defender and captain Tom Wilson to injury with 20 minutes left to play, though his replacement Chris Jones performed admirably under fire. It was not a straightforward case of hanging on though, as Horsforth continued to make chances when the opportunity arose, and our positive approach was rewarded with just a minute left, as Gary found a bit of space inside the box and made the points safe at 4-2.

  Not an easy game on the eye perhaps, but this had been a dogged and determined performance from a Horsforth team which seemed to have run out of steam at one point but found new strength from somewhere and hung on in there for what Sedge called "three points earned the hard way". All in all, a battling display to be proud of, great support from the touchline, and the added bonus of going top of the early league table, on goal difference.

  Other league games: Eldwick 3, Keighley Athletic 4; Horsforth Saints 2, Salts 2; Leeds City Rovers 3, Sporting Pudsey 1; Yeadon FC 1, Rawdon FC 3.

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Sunday 18th October 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 6 Rawdon FC 1

Postle
Jones, Nicholl, Howarth, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Hoyle, Skillern
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Bennett, Canning, Bogdanos, LD.Monaghan, Abbott

Scorers: Litvinov 5, Abbott

  Horsforth needed to make a few changes for this one, especially in defence, where three of last week's back four were unavailable. Chris Jones and Anthony Nicholl came into the side, and the welcome return of Dave Howarth was particularly timely. Also, Matt Pickering and Steve Skillern were back in midfield, with George Lancaster reverting to his more customary right-sided role.

  No game is ever about just the one player, but today's events will surely be most well-remembered for the deadly goalscoring of Gary Litvinov. He opened the show after 9 minutes, when George's left wing corner was half cleared, and the same player hit another centre which eluded the defenders while Gary sneaked in at the far post. Three minutes after that, it was the same combination but down the right wing that set up the second goal. Any suggestion that we were going to have it all our own way was soon dashed, however, as just a minute later the away side hit back, when Jonathan Postle made a great save but the ball wasn't cleared and the ensuing chaos meant the lead was pulled back to 2-1. We had a bit of a quiet spell for a while after this, and had to wait until the 29th minute for a third goal. This time Steve Skillern was the provider, winning the ball down the left and putting Gary through for his third consecutive hat-trick. Ten minutes later, a clever chip from the same source led to a well-judged flicked header from the same striker, and we changed ends looking quite comfortable at 4-1 ahead.

  The second half wasn't such great excitement, but Gary wasn't finished yet, winning a tackle on the half way line and breaking through on goal in the 11th minute, his five-goal tally the first for the club since 2001 and a feat that has only been bettered once in over 40 years. Horsforth were able to give all the subs a runout, as we sought to keep as many of our squad involved as possible: Liam Bennett, Ben Canning, Christos, Luke Monaghan and finally Callum Abbott getting their share of the action. Inevitably the game became a bit scrappy at this stage with so many changes, but it was Callum who rounded off the day with a cool finish to Pos's long downfield kick in the 38th minute of the half, and the final 6-1 scoreline was probably a fair measure of our superiority by that stage.

  Overall then, a pretty sound performance in every department, and another impressive margin of victory to go with it. Though the entry in the record books belongs to Gary, I'm sure he'd be the first to say that everyone in the side - and indeed all five subs - contributed to the result, and should all be well pleased with their morning's work.

  Other league games: FC United of Baildon 2 Leeds City Rovers 2; Keighley Athletic 5, Eldwick 1; Shadwell United 2, Hortsforth Saints 5; Sporting Pudsey 8, Salts 1.

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Sunday 25th October 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Leeds City Rovers 1 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Postle
Bell, Jones, Archer, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Hoyle, Hawes, Skillern
Litvinov

Subs: Bennett, Canning, Bogdanos, Abbott; unsued sub: LD.Monaghan

Scorers: Litvinov, Hawes

  The hastily arranged clash with defending champions Leeds City set Horsforth our usual share of team problems. In addition to the continuing injury to Tom Wilson, Dave Howarth had to drop out of the side on the morning of the game due to enforced isolation. The gap in the centre of defence was plugged by the return of Reece Archer, and another strong display from Chris Jones. Shane Bell was back at right-back, and there was a tweak in midfield, with James Hawes dropping back to make a five and Gary Litvinov operating as the lone striker.

  This was always going to be a hard-fought, evenly-balanced contest. Horsforth defended adroitly, in numbers when necessary, and though Leeds City were always able to get the ball to their dangerous wide players, our excellent full-backs were just about able to nullify the threat. In midfield, Horsforth's five held their own and were always trying to create chances for solo operator Gary, though on most occasions the final pass didn't quite get there. In the 20th minute, our positive approach paid off when Hawesy crossed from the right, and it seemed at first Gary hadn't controlled the ball first time, but he turned and shot accurately into the corner of the net and we were one up. City responded well though, and probably had their best spell of the game at this stage, as we rode our luck a bit defensively and were forced to rely on a couple of inspired saves from Jonathan Postle to maintain our slender lead.

  The initiative seemed to be slipping away from us a bit at the start of the second half, and Liam Bennett was brought on in central midfield to help freshen the team up. Regrettably, but perhaps inevitably, the home team's pressure finally paid off when they equalised after 19 minutes, as for once we failed to close them down early enough in midfield and from a missed tackle the ball dropped kindly for a striker to finish from close range. It was anybody's game now, both teams making several chances from which they could have won the game. Horsforth reinforced further, with Ben Canning in defence and Christos in midfield, and were finally compelled to replace the injured Liam, Callum Abbott taking over the striker's role for the crucial last few minutes. The vital moment arrived in the 39th minute of the half. Following yet more great work from Gary, George Lancaster chipped the ball into the City penalty area, and Hawesy timed his deep run to perfection, then looped his header cleverly into the corner of the net, a glorious goal worthy of winning any match. There was still work to do of course, and some anxious moments before the final whistle went, but the Horsforth defence saw us over the line for a superb three points, in what was the first league game Leeds City have lost since joining the Wharfedale Triangle at the start of the 2018-19 season.

  No disguising it, this was a really good win, against the league's top side. That we did it in a rearranged game, with key players missing, makes it all the more creditable. Not to say we didn't make mistakes, nor that there isn't room for improvement in some areas, but you have to say the overall display was very good indeed, from all the players we had on the pitch today. There are other hard games ahead, we can be sure of that, but for this day at least we can all hold our heads high and be proud to be part of this club.

  Other league games: Horsforth Saints 3, FC United of Baildon 2; Rawdon FC 3, Shadwell United 1; Salts v Eldwick postponed; Sporting Pudsey 4, Keighley Athletic 2.

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Sunday 1st November 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Keighley Athletic 3 Horsforth Fairweather 7

Postle
Bell, Jones, Howarth, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Hoyle, Hawes, Skillern
Litvinov

Subs: Bogdanos, Jeffrey, LD.Monaghan, Canning; unsued sub: T.Wilson

Scorers: Hoyle, Litvinov 2, Lancaster 3, Skillern

  Horsforth were without central defender Reece Archer for the trip to Keighley, but the return of Dave Howarth was compensation, Jonesy keeping his place alongside him. Other than that, it was as-you-were team-wise.

  With just two minutes played, left winger Steve Skillern knocked a superb pass forward that found Kev Hoyle in space, and Horsforth's stand-in captain made no mistake from close range. Five minutes later, James Hawes, making his mark in midfield these days, found the lone striker Gary Litvinov, and the lead was doubled. We then went through a strange spell where we had the ball in the net three more times, all disallowed for offside, before, with a certain inevitability, the home team hit a goal back, when a clearance was fluffed and a simple chance opened up. But Horsforth weren't to be denied; the team's mood was resolute throughout the game, and the work-rate on the heavy Marley pitch exceptional. On 27 minutes right-winger George Lancaster and Gary combined for the former to score from a tight angle, and ten minutes later Matt Pickering won the ball and fed Gary who made it 4-1. Regrettably, that was to be the striker's last contribution to the game, as he was forced off the field injured after a run of 15 goals in 5 matches, Christos Bogdanos his replacement ploughing the proverbial lone furrow. Just before the break, George took a corner from the left, and in the scramble that ensued Matt's half-cleared shot found its way back to the corner-taker, who drilled it home at the near post.

  The 5-1 half-time lead against a team who were champions of the Wharfedale Triangle as recently as 2018, and who had beaten us quite comprehensively when last we played them at their ground, was way beyond expectations, and the second half was a far more even contest. We conceded after 11 minutes, as Jonathan Postle made one of many important saves on the day, but the ball broke loose and presented the Keighley strikers with a tap-in. However, our work-rate never let up, and in the 15th minute of the half George took the ball off a defender and passed to Skilly, whose effort was half blocked by the keeper but its momentum took it into the net. George clinched hit hat-trick with a superb solo run in the 24th minute, and with the points now safe Horsforth gave the subs a run-out: Sam Jeffrey, Luke Monaghan and Ben Canning (great to see Tom Wilson back on the bench by the way, though it was felt wisest not to rush him back into action today). The home side, to their credit, never gave up, and scored the last goal of the day deep into injury time, taking just a little bit of the shine off our result.

  Another excellent performance, and another great result against one of the league's better sides, marred only perhaps by a couple of defensive lapses. With five wins out of five in the league, and now clear on points at the top of the table, Horsforth can only hope this form continues beyond the forthcoming lockdown period.

  Other league games: Horsforth Saints 2, Eldwick 1; Leeds City Rovers 4, Salts 1; Shadwell United v FC United of Baildon postponed; Yeadon FC v Sporting Pudsey postponed.



Sundays 8th November to 29th November 2020:

  All games postponed due to Government restrictions.

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Sunday 6th December 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Rawdon FC 5 Horsforth Fairweather 3

Postle
Bell, Jones, Howarth, Canning
Lancaster, Pickering, Bennett, Hawes, Skillern
Litvinov

Subs: Scott, Bogdanos, Monaghan, Jeffrey; unsued sub: Abbott

Scorer: Litvinov 3 (2 pens)
Cautioned: Postle, Skillern (both unsporting behaviour)

  The four-week lockdown layoff had not helped anyone of course, but Horsforth returned to the action with a display that was a pale shadow of our memorable autumn performances. By way of excuses, we had two key players out injured - Kev Hoyle was replaced in midfield by Liam Bennett, and left-back David Shapland by Ben Canning - but those were the only two team changes.

  On the muddy pitch at Shaw Lane, the first half started as a fairly even contest, and even when the home side ran through and opened the scoring after 17 minutes it seemed only a matter of time before we got our own game into gear. Probably the key moment of the game was in the 25th minute, when Steve Skillern and James Hawes combined down the left and set up a chance for stand-in captain Gary Litvinov, only to see the referee belatedly and controversially blow for offside, and this set the scene for a series of incidents which all seemed to go against us, and affected our concentration more than it should have done. On 31 minutes, Jonathan Postle dashed from his goal to intercept another attack, and upended the Rawdon forward. The referee awarded a penalty, though Pos swore the collision was outside the area, and the lead was doubled. We lost our way a bit from this point, and were indebted to Pos for keeping the score manageable, but ten minutes later even he could do nothing when the home side extended their lead from what was admittedly a very well-taken free kick. Just before the break, however, our luck seemed to have changed when a Rawdon defender needlessly handled a shot that was going wide, and Gary put the penalty away.

  Playing down the significant slope for the second half and with Hawesy now pushed forward as a second striker, we maybe fancied our chances even at 3-1 down, but with eight minutes it was 5-1, as our defence was embarrassed when the home side capitalised on our need to chase the game, and from here it was difficult to see a way back into the contest. That said, we reduced the deficit on 10 minutes, when a long punt from Pos was brilliantly turned into a scoring chance by Gary, but from this point, the game became a bit bogged down in a midfield battle. We brought on Dave Scott and Christos, then Sam Jeffrey and Luke Monaghan, changing the shape a couple of times as the home team began to tire. And we did make a few chances to score, Dave in particular counting himself unlucky not to get on the scoresheet, but in all fairness I should add that Rawdon also might have extended their lead on occasions, with Pos called on to add to his portfolio of earlier saves. A late penalty gave Gary his hat-trick (he's now scored 18 goals in his last 6 games), but that did little except make the result look a bit more respectable; it was hard to deny that overall the better side had won.

  Much has already been said elsewhere about the causes of this reverse, and I've no wish to add to the general doom and gloom. I just want to say I saw no lack of effort today, it was just the execution that was missing: too much football in the wrong areas of the pitch perhaps, not really adapting our game to the conditions, that sort of thing. And on another day we might have gotten away with it and scraped a result, but this time we left ourselves too much to do. Well, there are always going to be days like this, every season, just a pity this one came at a time we'd been doing so well. What counts is how we react to days like these.

  Other league games: Eldwick v Leeds City Rovers - away walkover; FC United of Baildon v Keighley Athletic postponed; Horsforth Saints 6, Shadwell United 0; Salts 2, Yeadon FC 1.

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Sunday 13th December 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 2 FC United of Baildon 3

Postle
Bell, Jones, Howarth, Shapland
Lancaster, Pickering, Litvinov, Skillern
Abbott, Hawes

Subs: Bogdanos, Canning, Scott, Jeffrey, Monaghan

Scorers: Hawes, Abbott
Cautioned: Lancaster (unsporting behaviour)

  Facing a bit of an injury crisis, Horsforth were nevertheless able to field a strong side, with David Shapland returning to the back line, albeit he was one of three defenders who passed late fitness tests. With Liam Bennett dropping out injured, we moved Gary Litvinov back into midfield, and started with Callum Abbott up front alongside James Hawes.

  The first half was a steady affair for 40 minutes, both teams doing their best under trying conditions, and few chances as defences were generally to the fore. All that changed just before the break, as Jonathan Postle made a great save down by his post, only to see the ball rebound to a Baildon striker who swerved round a couple of defenders before finding the opposite corner of the net. Undaunted, Horsforth struck back immediately when Matt Pickering's through ball was splendidly met by Hawesy, and we changed ends level at 1-1.

  I'd say we began the second half particularly well, and were beginning to look the better side when after 13 minutes Shappy's left wing cross was only half-cleared, and the increasingly influential Callum turned and lobbed the ball into the empty net. Unfortunately, we couldn't capitalise on this brief advantage, and six minutes later Baildon were level. The chance arose just after a great piece of defensive work from Shappy, but from his tackle the ball broke to the away side, and the quick cross from deep was met with a tap-in from close range. Thereafter, it was a tale of two penalties. When desperate defensive work from Gary resulted in a spot kick from which Baildon scored, there were still 20 minutes left, and Horsforth were able to call on a posse of substitutes to try and save the game against a tiring away side. However, with a mixture of good fortune and some inspired saves, they held us out right until the last minute, when we were denied what seemed to me a stonewall penalty, a decision which resulted in a few unseemly moments at the end of the match, and the points went to Baildon.

  Regular readers know, I hope, these match reports are usually pretty honest: when we're deservedly beaten, I'm the first to say so, and when we turn in a poor display I tell you that too. Today then, I honestly thought we were very unlucky to lose. We left our revival a bit late, to be fair, but did more than enough in the closing stages to have salvaged at least a point, and the last-gasp penalty would have been no more than we deserved. And overall, this was one of our better performances, the result notwithstanding, and immense credit must go to all who responded to the reverse of last week, but especially the players who turned out (and some went the full 90 minutes) when less than fully fit.

  Other league games: Eldwick 3, Yeadon FC 6; Keighley Athletic v Sporting Pudsey postponed; Leeds City Rovers 4, Shadwell United 0; Salts 3, Rawdon FC 1.

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Sunday 20th December 2020 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):
Horsforth Fairweather 7 Eldwick 1

Postle
Bell, Jones, Archer, Shapland
Jeffrey, Hoyle, Bogdanos, Canning
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Pickering, Lancaster, Monaghan, Skillern, Abbott

Scorers: Litvinov 3 (1 pen), Hawes 4

  Coming into the game off the back of two successive defeats, Horsforth rang the changes for this one. An entirely new midfield quartet was planned, with Sam Jeffrey, Christos Bogdanos and Ben Canning coming into the side, and the late withdrawal of Liam Bennett through injury resulted in a recall for Kev Hoyle, who took over as captain again. In defence, Reece Archer started alongside regulars Shane Bell, Chris Jones and Dave Shapland, with Jonathan Postle in goal as usual. Gary Litvinov moved up front to partner James Hawes.

  It was obvious straight away that Eldwick, who arrived at the ground with a bare 11 players, were going to struggle, but the first half didn't go entirely our way. We scored from a tame penalty after 11 minutes, when Sam was fouled, Gary reliable as ever from the spot, but survived a few scares at our end, including a goal disallowed for a marginal offside, before we netted from open play. On 29 minutes Hawesy met Shane's inviting cross from the right to double the lead, and in the 42 minute the same player met Ben's corner for another headed goal. Not sure we'd been great value for a 3-0 half-time lead, but it was hard now to see a way back into the game for the away side.

  Horsforth had to replace the much-fouled Sam at the break, Matty Pickering taking over in midfield. In the second minute of the second half, Gary went on the rampage down the left wing, and rifled a shot home at the near post to make it four. More changes were needed now, as the impressive Christos was forced to retire, though again we had a tailor-made replacement available in George Lancaster. On 17 minutes, Gary had a shot well saved, but the ball rebounded to Hawesy, who completed his hat-trick turning and lobbing the ball into the net. Luke Monaghan and yet another regular starter Steve Skillern were brought into the action at this stage, and Horsforth were by now markedly in control of the game. Skilly's impact was immediate, intercepting the ball out on the left wing and presenting Gary with a chance to bag his own hat-trick. When Gary's inspired pass was controlled and swept home by Hawesy for a seventh goal, there was still twenty minutes left to play, and Horsforth were able to call on yet another quality reinforcement in Callum Abbott. But credit must be given to the Eldwick lads, who were in effect playing 11 men against 16 today yet they never stopped attacking at every opportunity. They scored the game's final goal, with the referee turning down our half-hearted appeals for offside, and it was no more than their positive attitude merited.

  So the 7-1 result must speak for itself in many respects, and after a tentative opening the game did end up being a bit of a rout. Horsforth's stronger squad was probably the main reason the points went our way today, and all those who took part can look back on the match with some satisfaction. I'd say the performance was focused and determined, rather than inspired, and I guess that's exactly what we needed after the previous games. And, among many positives to take from this morning, it was most encouraging to see some of newer faces in the squad getting a chance to prove their worth, and taking it.

  Other league games: Rawdon FC v Leeds City Rovers postponed; Shadwell United v Keighley Athletic postponed; Sporting Pudsey 1, Horsforth Saints 2; Yeadon FC 2, Salts 2.

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Sunday 3rd January 2021 (Wharfedale Triangle League Premier Division):

  Salts v Eldwick postponed; Sporting Pudsey 2, Leeds City Rovers 6.



Sundays 10th January to 28th March 2021:

  All games postponed due to Government restrictions.

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Sunday 4th April 2021 (Friendly):
Rawdon FC 3 Horsforth Fairweather 2

Postle
Bell, Jones, Shapland, Canning
Sreedhara, Francis, Hoyle, Hawes, Bennett
Abbott

Subs: Lancaster, Pickering, Archer, R.Wilson

Scorer: Hawes, Lancaster

  A pretty grim performance, probably all that was to be expected first time out after lockdown. I won't dwell on the match details: we were three goals adrift soon after the break, and multiple team changes ensued; the return of Rob Wilson was instrumental in the reversal of fortunes, his efforts leading to a tap-in for Hawesy and a close-range finish from George; we might have sneaked a draw, but overall I'd have to say the better side won. Good to see Jamie back in action after a long absence, also Satwik made an impressive debut, but basically we still have a lot of work to do before the season restarts, and not much time to do it.

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Sunday 11th April 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Salts FC 2 Horsforth Fairweather 4

Postle
T.Wilson, Archer, Jones
Bell, Francis, Sreedhara, Hoyle, Shapland
Monaghan, Hawes

Subs: Lancaster, Bogdanos, Canning, R.Wilson, Jeffrey

Scorers: Hawes (pen), Archer, Hoyle, R.Wilson

Cautioned: Hawes (unsporting behaviour)

  For their opening game in the Wharfedale Triangle's "Champions League" competition, Horsforth switched formation, with Tom Wilson, Reece Archer and Chris Jones a three-man defence, Shane Bell and David Shapland at wing backs, club captain Jamie Francis making his first competitive start of the season in midfield alongside Kev Hoyle and debutant Satwik Sreedhara, and Luke Monaghan partnering James Hawes up front. Jonathan Postle was in goal as usual.

  The game was good value as entertainment right from the off. Horsforth had some decent chances in the opening half, and took the lead after 13 minutes when Kev was fouled and Hawesy stepped up from the penalty spot. Four minutes later, we were level when the home team executed a splendid end-to-end move, but neither side really had any advantage in what had developed into a well-contested game. We lost Jamie to injury shortly before the break, with George Lancaster taking over in midfield and Tom taking the armband.

  Ten minutes into the second half, we brought Rob Wilson into the fray as a striker, and from this point I felt the balance of the game turned gradually our way. Five minutes after his appearance, Rob made the chance from which Kev played the ball to Reece for the lead goal. Christos was introduced at right wing-back, as Horsforth looked to capitalise on our lead, but we were soon back to equality again when a long range shot was deflected past Pos, and the contest was back in the balance. The game's key moment arrived in the 29th minute of the second half, as Kev scrambled the ball home after Christos had made the opening, though the Salts defenders argued long and loud for offside. But we still had more subs to use, Ben Canning and Sam Jeffrey providing much-needed fresh legs as the clock ran down. Finally, with just four minutes left and the home side stretched as they chased another equaliser, a direct punt downfield by Pos found Rob in space, and he didn't disappoint.

  The final 4-2 scoreline maybe makes it look a bit easier than it had been: Salts had more than contributed to a very good quality game overall. That said, this was a pretty sound performance over the 90 minutes from a Horsforth side which had frankly looked a bit of a shambles just a week ago, and I'd say we'd have beaten a lot of good teams with a display like this. A couple of key players back in action after long absences, some of the newer recruits beginning to fulfil their potential, and clearly a lot of hard work has been done by some people to regain fitness levels after a long lay-off. All in all, we can hopefully look forward with some confidence to the remaining weeks of the season.

  Other group A games: Horsforth Saints 2, Keighley Athletic 3; Leeds City Rovers 1, Sporting Pudsey 0.

  Group B: FC United of Baildon 3, Shadwell United 0; Horsforth St Margarets 4, Rawdon FC 0; Yeadon Athletic 4, Yeadon FC 3.

  Group C: AFC Keighley Blues 4, Cullingworth Youth 3; Pudsey Athletic 4, FC Milford of Bramhope 2; Skipton United 6, Myrtle Park 1.

  Group D: Bramley United 3, Leeds Maccabi 1; FC West Leeds 2014 2, FC West Leeds 2020 1; Shipley Town 6, FC West Leeds 2018 1.

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Sunday 18th April 2021:

  WTL League Cup Quarter-Finals: Keighley Athletic 3, Sporting Pudsey 2; Leeds City Rovers v Yeadon FC - home walkover; Yeadon Athletic 3, Horsforth St Margarets 2. (Bramley United v FC United of Baildon to be played 25th April.)

  WTL Champions League Group A: Horsforth Saints 2, Salts 1.

  Group B: Rawdon FC 3, FC United of Baildon 0.

  Group C: FC Milford of Bramhope 0, Skipton United 3; Myrtle Park 4, AFC Keighley Blues 5; Pudsey Athletic 2, Cullingworth Youth 0.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2018 0, Bramley United 3; FC West Leeds 2020 4, Shipley Town 4; Leeds Maccabi 1, FC West Leeds 2014 0.

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Sunday 25th April 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Sporting Pudsey 5 Horsforth Fairweather 6

Postle
T.Wilson, Archer, Jones
Bell, Francis, Sreedhara, Hoyle, Shapland
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Canning, Lancaster, R.Wilson, Jeffrey; unused sub: Monaghan

Scorers: Litvinov (pen), Hawes 4, R.Wilson

Sent off: Shapland (Denying goalscoring opportunity)

  There was just the one change for Horsforth from the previous game, Gary Litvinov back in the side up front.

  On the 4G pitch at West Riding County HQ, this never looked like being just another game, the wide open spaces suiting Horsforth's attacking game to a tee but the unpredictable bounce of the ball causing more than enough problems to compensate. Starting in very positive mode, Horsforth earned a penalty after five minutes when James Hawes was pulled down in the box, and Gary Litvinov opened the scoring from the spot. Three minutes later, Gary's superb run down the left opened up the Pudsey defence for Hawesy to make it 2-0. The 32nd minute saw Horsforth's new midfield star Satwik win the ball and feed Hawesy for a third goal, but, as the first half wore on, the home team came more into the game, and they reduced the arrears in the 42nd minute. Two minutes before the break, the lead was stretched to 4-1, as a defender headed the ball over his own keeper for Hawesy to clinch a first half hat-trick, and - it might have appeared - put the game to bed.

  Which is not the way it turned out. Five minutes into the second half, a game in which we seemed to have been coasting was back in the balance. Frankly, our defending all day was lacking in conviction, and when a particularly panicky spell culminated in the ball striking the hand of Horsforth's left wing-back Dave Shapland the referee felt he had no option but to reach for the red card and point to the penalty spot. A 2-4 game became 3-4 a few minutes later, and Horsforth were forced to look to the bench for some measure of reassurance. We went to four at the back, Ben Canning on the left hand side, then bolstered the midfield with George Lancaster and added Rob Wilson to the mix. These changes helped, though the contest was still in the balance: on 26 minutes, Hawesy took control of a throw-in and fed Rob, the finish worthy of settling any game at this level, but a few minutes later the home team pulled us back to 5-4 with a fine goal from a long shot. There were still nearly 15 minutes left when George's turn inside the penalty area opened it up for Hawesy to notch his fourth of the day, and it wasn't long before the Pudsey lads bagged another to keep the contest alive right up to the end.

  One of the most bizarre matches of this or any other season in living memory saw Horsforth finish 6-5 winners against a very decent side, a huge achievement for a side reduced to ten men for almost the entire second half. I think it's fair to say the defending on show today, from both teams, left a lot to be desired, and it's hard to deny on another day the home team could easily have got something from this game, but I feel I should say that ultimately our team's strength in depth, and on occasions sheer will-to-win, saw us over the line. Another memorable game, in a competition few had welcomed, maybe the 2020-21 season could still be one to go down in HFFC history for the right reasons?

  Other group A games: Leeds City Rovers 2, Horsforth Saints 3; Salts 1, Keighley Athletic 3.

  Group B: Shadwell United 1, Yeadon Athletic 4; Yeadon FC 3, Horsforth St Margarets 3.

  Group C: AFC Keighley Blues 1, Skipton United 10; FC Milford of Bramhope 7, Cullingworth Youth 1; Pudsey Athletic 4, Myrtle Park 4.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 1, Shipley Town 1; FC West Leeds 2020 5, FC West Leeds 2018 4.

  WTL League Cup Quarter-Final: Bramley United 2, FC United of Baildon 3. (Keighley Athletic, Leeds City Rovers and Yeadon Athletic already through to Semi-Finals.)

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Sunday 2nd May 2021 (WTL Champions League Group A):
Horsforth Fairweather 3 Horsforth Saints 2

Postle
T.Wilson, Archer, Service
Jeffrey, Monaghan, Francis, Sreedhara, Lancaster
Litvinov, Hawes

Subs: Pickering, Bell, Abbott, Jones

Scorers: Hawes 2, Lancaster

Cautioned: Hawes (Unsporting behaviour)

  The fates had been unusually kind to HFFC's squad in recent weeks, but all that changed for this game, the long-awaited Horsforth derby, our only home match in this competition on the pitch we share with our neighbours. With Kev Hoyle and Rob Wilson unavailable, and David Shapland suspended, some major changes were called for. Iain Service played his first game for some while in central defence, with Luke Monaghan back in the side in midfield. The wing-back positions went to Sam Jeffrey and George Lancaster.

  However, the first half display from this reorganised side surpassed expectations. The defence was for the most part untroubled, the midfield dominant, and of course the strikers hard to deal with. Ten minutes into the game, Gary Litvinov's deft touch played James Hawes in with a chance from just inside the box, and the latter's neat flick over the goalie opened the scoring. On 29 minutes Sam's right-wing throw-in was headed on by Gary, and the ball broke to George on the far post to double the advantage. Though we missed several other chances to extend the lead, Fairweather arrived at the half-time break looking pretty good value for a 2-0 scoreline.

  The regular reader of this page will not be surprised to learn that the second half was a different story altogether. Whether it was ourselves who lost our shape a bit, or the "away" side who got their own act together at the break, I couldn't really say, maybe a bit of both, but just seven minutes into the second period they got one goal back when from a deep free-kick the initial shot struck the post and the rebound was bundled into the net. Getting the worst of it now, Fairweather turned to the bench for reinforcements, Matt Pickering in midfield, Shane Bell down the right, and Callum Abbott up front. These changes helped to even the game up a bit, but we were still immensely grateful for the third goal when it arrived with ten minutes left, Callum's cross from the right being met acrobatically by Hawesy for a strike worthy of settling many a match. Looking to run down the clock, and with Jonesy on as a final substitute, we had one last scare when Saints volleyed a truly astonishing goal from way out on their left wing, and I'd love to say we held on comfortably but in truth we were more than happy to hear the final whistle.

  A very creditable win against another of the Wharfedale Triangle's best sides (Saints were top of the table when the league competition was abandoned in January), and a performance which showcased both our team's quality (the first half) and determination (the second).

  Other group A games: Keighley Athletic 0, Leeds City Rovers 3; Salts 1, Sporting Pudsey 5.

  Group B: FC United of Baildon 7, Yeadon FC 0; Shadwell United 1, Rawdon FC 2; Yeadon Athletic 1, Horsforth St Margarets 4.

  Group C: AFC Keighley Blues 1, Pudsey Athletic 5; Cullingworth Youth v Skipton United away walkover; Myrtle Park 2, FC Milford of Bramhope 2.

  Group D: FC West Leeds 2014 6, FC West Leeds 2018 1; Leeds Maccabi 7, FC West Leeds 2020 1; Shipley Town 1, Bramley United 4.

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  This page last updated May 2021.


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