MELTHAM . . . 4


(West Riding County FAUnder 14 Junior Trophy)

TWO Huddersfield sides produced a thriller when Meltham met Kirkheaton in the first round of the West Riding County Junior Trophy at Meltham Rec.

Kirkheaton’s unbeaten Second Division side had high hopes of progressing against First Division Meltham, who have yet to chalk up a league point, and the visitors plans seemed to be going well when Timothy Taylor chipped keeper Ryan Mottershead to give Kirkheaton a first-minute lead. Conceding a goal so early in the game did nothing to raise the spirits of the home side and, after 15 minutes, it seemed just a matter of time before Kirkheaton scored again but, thanks to some sterling defending by Oliver Linsell, Jordan Wimpenny and Greg Medland, and the inspirational work of Jac Armitage, Meltham hung on.

Kirkheaton’s failure to capitalise on their dominance was to cost them dearly and, as the home side recovered their confidence, Tom Haigh began to find room on the right to send in a series of dangerous crosses.

Although a couple of long-range shots from Jonathan Bradley and Alex Clegg went high and wide, it was now Kirkheaton’s turn to feel the pressure as Haigh and Elliot Mitchell began to cause problems for the visitors’ defence.

And the deserved equaliser finally arrived in the 20th minute when Matthew Lawrence powered an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner.

A fine display from defenders Philip Hepplestone, William Postlethwaite and captain Bradley Powell kept a now rampant Meltham at bay and, at the other end, only a fine near-post stop by Mottershead denied Taylor from putting Kirkheaton back into the lead.

The keeper’s throw found Jac Armitage who made a terrific run through the middle, riding several heavy tackles on the way, to release Haigh, who calmly curled the ball into the far corner to give Meltham the lead and raise their spirits even further just before the half time break.

Once again Kirkheaton went close within minutes of the re-start when Taylor’s left wing cross was met by Sam Day, but the striker’s shot rolled agonisingly wide and, again, the miss proved costly as a Haigh lob from the corner of the penalty area floated into the top corner of the Kirkheaton net to give Meltham a 3-1 cushion.

Another Kirkheaton chance went begging when Jack Mulhall miscued from eight yards and, once again, Meltham took full advantage when Haigh’s corner kick was bundled home by Lawrence to make it 4-1.

With just 20 minutes of the game remaining and another Kirkheaton shot tipped onto the bar by Mottershead, the outcome seemed inevitable.

But no-one told James Arnold, whose powerful running through midfield finally paid dividends when he found the back of the Meltham net to reduce the arrears to two.

But for a superb save by Jake Sykes, Kirkheaton’s attempted fightback might have ended but, thanks to the hard-working Taylor the ball fell to Arnold who rounded Motterhsead to fire Kirkheaton’s third into the bottom corner.

Having seen their lead diminish from three to one in a matter of minutes, Meltham’s cultured defending had now turned into desperation with clearances flying all over the park but, time was not on Kirkheaton’s side and a highly entertaining game ended without further score.

Meltham deserved their victory on the balance of play but Kirkheaton could easily have won the game with a little more luck in front of goal.

The draw for the second round will be made at the West Riding County Headquarters in Woodlesford tomorrow.