IT was good news and bad news for District League football last week.
The good news was that following decent weather, only four games were postponed.
The bad news was that three matches had to be abandoned and all due to players suffering broken legs.
It’s not unusual for some matches in a season to be abandoned for injuries but three serious injuries all on the same day is unheard of.
One of the games – Cumberworth A v Berry Brow A – was abandoned in the 71st minute when Brow were leading 2-0.
The other two matches involved both Heywood Irish teams. Their first team fixture lasted only 15 minutes against Skelmanthorpe, who were leading 1-0, while Heywood’s Reserves v Slaithwaite was 0-0 after 10 minutes when the match was abandoned.
The players involved were Craig Taylor of Berry Brow, Wayne Beardsall of Slaithwaite and Liam Dyson of Skelmanthorpe – and the League wishes all three a speedy return to full fitness.
Newsome’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Horbury Town ended the League’s involvement in the West Riding County FA Cup, but with teams from various regions playing in the League, two clubs have reached the semi-finals of both the Sheffield & Hallamshire Trophy and the Manchester FA Challenge Trophy.
Holmfirth Town might be propping up Division II but they have several games in hand on those above them and their cup form could be a better measure of their ability.
Their match at Sheffield Medics had been postponed several times but on a field with a good footballing surface, it was the home team that started the better.
Only solid defending from Nyland, Phillips, Nolan and Copeland prevented the Medics creating any clear chances.
Gradually, Holmfirth worked their way into the game and Adam Sanders opened the scoring. A miscued clearance was seized upon by him as he just beat the keeper to the ball and placed it into the net.
Sanders then made it 2-0. A 50-yard pass from Andrew Standing found the chest of Sanders and his control gave him the opportunity to fire home. Both sides then went close just before the break - a desperate tackle by a Medic defender just denied Louis Langfield the chance to make it 3-0 while at the other end, a miss from eight yards might have made it 2-1, but it remained 2-0.
The second half started much as the first but, yet again, the Holmfirth defence proved strong enough.
Dean Tafangombe almost added a third for Holmfirth but his effort rolled inches wide.
The Medics continued to press forward but Holmfirth’s two banks of four held firm, led by the midfield graft of Paul Jagger (celebrating his 30th birthday), and earned a semi-final spot with a 2-0 win.
It could well be a first for a District League team to be in the semi-finals of the Manchester FA Challenge Trophy, but that’s the stage Heyside find themselves following a 4-1 won over Irlam Steel.
Leon Parry gave Heyside the lead in the 20th minute when he beat two opposition defenders. Irlam’s lack of finishing cost them dearly as just before half-time, Heyside increased their lead.
Danny Taylor fed Parry but he was brought down by Irlam’s keeper. James Taylor converted the resulting penalty.
Twenty minutes into the second half, it was Irlam’s turn for a penalty as they reduced the deficit to 2-1. Then Heyside had to thank their keeper, Michael Butler, who made a couple of fine saves to retain their one-goal advantage.
On 75 minutes, both sides were down to 10 men and five minutes later, it was 3-1 Heyside as Michael Ward hit an unstoppable volley.
The scoring finished with another penalty and another foul on man of the match Parry. This time it was Carl Taylor who scored from the spot to give a final score of 4-1 and a semi-final tie against Gorse Hill.