Honley FC triumphed 4-2 in a thrilling West Riding County FA Challenge Trophy Cup Tie against Hartshead to progress into the last 16.
The home side, Honley, were the favourites before the game and were in buoyant mood as they looked to match the performance of last year which saw them finish as runners up.
But Hartshead had other ideas and they shocked Honley with a third minute goal to take an early lead. Jamie Newby was the provider for Liam Fox, who reacted quickest in the Honley penalty area to head home and nudge his side 1-0 up.
Despite the setback Honley remained positive as they aimed to draw level. Tom Willitts proved influential in this when his long direct run and subsequent one two with Dylan Brett on the edge of the opposiiton penalty area led to a shot, which was parried by the keeper, to gift James Clapham an open goal which he fired the ball into in emphatic style.
With the scores level at 1-1 Clapham had a glorious opportunity to make it two for the home side but his shot went agonisingly wide.
It was clear that the tide was turning when the forced substitution, which saw injured Daniel Goodwin make way for Richard Bray, changed the pattern of play in Honley’s favour as the home side reached another gear with Bray’s injection of pace at the back, which stifled Hartshead’s attacking threat.
However, the home side had to be patient before they got their noses in front in a tricky third round encounter, but it finally paid off for them soon after the break when Clapham notched up his second of the game after he capitalised on Oliver Willitts’ rebounded effort to neatly slot his shot past a helpless keeper.
Honley looked comfortable after taking the lead and their captain, Daniel Knutton, was marshalling the midfield brilliantly. The home sides dominance resulted in a third goal for their star striker Clapham who once again benefited from a rebound, this time from Matthew Sykes whose thunderous shot found its way to Clapham who smashed his left footed strike into the roof of the net to give his side a two goal cushion from just 10 yards out.
In spite of losing 3-1 the visitor’s refused to lie down and an inspired change, which saw Owan Asquith play in a more central role alongside top goal scorer Jamie Walsey, gave Honley something to think about.
The change led to some brilliant link up play between Asquith and Walsey and it resulted in the visitors pulling a goal back, when Asquith’s long pass found Walsey, who fired his shot past Jordan Robinson from a narrow angle.
Harsthead went for broke in the latter stages of the match, but the home side stood firm and on the counter attack regained their two goal lead through Brett, who was lurking at the back post to slot home his sides fourth and final goal of the game, after some good pressing by youngster Ben Lindley won back possession deep in opposition territory who then unselfishly looked up and picked out the unmarked Brett.
The 4-2 win means Honley’s hopes of going one better than last year continue for another round at least, but a valiant Hartshead have a lot of positives to take from the third round tie.