THIRD DIVISION Woodkirk Valley arrived at Laund Hill with high hopes of causing an upset in their much delayed Under 11 Cup meeting with YMCA – but they went down 4-0 as the home side marched into the third round.
YMCA’s lowly position in the top division of the Under 11s cannot be used as a yardstick to measure current form for, although they lost their first eight games, they have lost only once in their last seven and, with highly-experienced manager Chris Helliwell in charge, there’s no doubt they will continue improving through the season.
Woodkirk signalled their intentions in the opening minutes and, with YMCA on the back foot, Luis Penny-Larter was unlucky to see his long-range shot fly just over the bar and, moments later, a defence-splitting pass from Penny-Larter set up Mitchell Walker, but the YMCA defence scrambled the ball away.
YMCA finally got to grips with the game and took the lead when a Jack Brewster corner was only half cleared to the edge of the area where, to the relief of the YMCA supporters, Sam Jennings struck an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
With the hard-working Lewis Fitzpatrick, Rose Priestly and Henry Whitwam now controlling play, Brewster almost doubled the lead for the home side with a powerful run on the right, but the striker was frustrated as his shot went wide of the mark.
Moments later, only a tremendous Callum Asquith save denied Tom Helliwell as the YMCA midfielder tried his luck from 15 yards.
YMCA finally got the cushion they were looking for when Will Burley’s right-wing cross fell to Adam Riley and, although Asquith managed to get a hand to the ball, the power of the shot carried it into the net.
At 2-0 down, Woodkirk had an uphill task as the second half got under way and they had Mason Sargent to thank for keeping them in the game when he bravely headed a powerful close-range shot off the line to gain himself a well-deserved round of applause.
Toby Williams, Zahib Iqbal, Jamie Armitage and Brandon Fox continued to frustrate the home attack and another fine full-length diving save from Asquith to deny Whitwam gave them hope, but the Dewsbury-based side’s search for a goal left them increasingly stretched at the back and their hopes were eventually crushed when Helliwell fired home a third with just 15 minutes remaining.
Woodkirk never gave up and were again unlucky when, firstly, Nathan Lister beat keeper Alexander MacFarlane but the shot rolled agonisingly across goal and just wide of the far post before, secondly, a perfect Mitchell Walker pass found James Shaw but, again, the midfielder’s shot was wide of the mark.
The game was put beyond doubt five minutes from the end when the non-stop Fitzpatrick grabbed himself a well-deserved goal to secure YMCA’s place in the third round.
Already In the third round, no fewer than three games went to extra-time and penalties.
With neither side finding the net, even after extra-time, Battyeford and Clifton Rangers had to settle for a shoot-out which turned into something of a marathon, Clifton winning 9-8
BPA Juniors booked their place in the fourth round, winning 4-3 on penalties after they had been locked at 3-3.
In the third shoot-out, Honley went through 4-3 against fellow Division I title contenders Barugh. Conor Mahoney (2), Jake Beanland and an own goal gave Honley a 4-4 draw.
In the Under 15s, Deighton’s quest for a repeat of last year’s league and cup double continues after goals from Bradley Birkhead (4), Syneill Quashie, Clive Stewart and Tristan Thomas secured a comfortable 7-1 win over Ossett Town to set up a meeting with title rivals Almondbury Lions – a place in the semi-finals being at stake.