BEESTON ST Anthony’s could seal the West Yorkshire League title tonight – but win, lose or draw chairman John Flynn is deeply proud of sole remaining rivals Carlton Athletic.
Saturday victories for leaders Beeston and second-placed Carlton have left the Premier Division title chase as a two-horse race with Saints five points clear of Carlton with three games to go.
Beeston could subsequently win the league if obliging at third-placed Leeds City tonight should Carlton fail to beat fifth-placed visitors Wetherby Athletic. But Flynn says his newly promoted side will keep fighting to the bitter end with Beeston and Carlton set to lock horns at St Anthony’s Road on Saturday ahead of next Tuesday’s finalé when Beeston host Wetherby and Athletic welcome Leeds City.
After only being promoted last season and having already won the Leeds & District FA Senior Challenge Cup, the chairman knows his side have already exceeded all expectations.
“I am very proud and pleased with what we have achieved,” said Flynn. “The lads are running on empty at the moment but still giving everything. We know that we are now reliant on other people to get the results though and we need to overhaul Beeston in the league so, realistically, it looks unlikely but we will just continue to do our best and win every game.
“We’re lucky to have such a strong management team. Our manager, Mark Pitts works tirelessly to improve our team and retain the lads we have. The majority of the side have played under him for many years and it’s that camaraderie that has been the keystone to a relatively successful year.
“We honestly did not expect to do as well as we have but now that we have set these standards we obviously want to maintain them next year.”
Carlton dropped points last Wednesday when drawing 1-1 at second-bottom Wyke Wanderers but bounced back with Saturday’s 3-2 success at Brighouse Old Boys as Eli Hey’s brace was supported by a Reece Fennell strike.
Beeston triumphed 1-0 at defending champions Field last Wednesday thanks to Stephen Crawford’s strike before easing to a 5-1 success at Horbury Town three days later.
Daniel Daly, Ben Haigh and Lee Turnbull netted before Aaron Connor came off the bench to bag a brace. Flynn added: “I said a few weeks back that if we win one trophy we would be more than satisfied and we’ve done that.
“I also said that you need lady luck to be on your side sometimes and that has certainly not been the case in the two other finals we’ve been beaten in. But that’s football and it will be a good learning curve for a young team that will only get stronger if we keep everybody together. It’s all about keeping the good players you have and hopefully making that two or three additions that can strengthen you further.”
Leeds City are out of the title race but sit third after Saturday’s 3-1 success at Pool through a James Hochstrasser treble. Field are a point behind in fourth after backing up Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Knaresborough Town with Monday’s 4-1 success at Horbury Town.
The Division One campaign was ended on Saturday with champions Stanley United ending their 50th season with a 2-1 win over visiting Boroughbridge to finish 10 points clear winners of Headingley who lost 3-1 at home to Hartshead.
In Division Two, Huddersfield Amateur moved one point behind second-placed Howden Clough through a 4-0 win at Altofts.
Beeston St Anthony’s Reserves wrapped up the Alliance Division One title with Wednesday’s 4-1 defeat of visiting Horbury Town Reserves as a Callum Harrison double was supported by strikes from Aaron Connor and Patrick Courtney.
DEWSBURY West Side bagged the Spen Valley Trophy as a 3-1 defeat of Hartshead completed a delightful double.
Having already won the Spen Valley League First Division title, goals from Nadeem Gahfoor, James Healey and Jamil Sair floored Premier outfit Hartshead.
Hartshead earlier ensured they finished outside the bottom two with a final-day 3-2 success at White Abbey Road, demoting Savile United to second-bottom.
In the Harrogate League, Rawdon Old Boys gained compensation for narrowly missing out on the Premier Division title by recording a 2-1 triumph against Wetherby Athletic A in Saturday’s Senior Cup final. Rawdon missed out on the league by a single point to Bedale Town who were beaten 3-2 in a dead rubber at fifth-placed Knaresborough Celtic.
Michael Stevens and Adrian Woodward netted for the champions but an Edmore Marau brace and Thomas Clare strike gave Celtic victory.
Beckwithshaw Saints jumped from bottom to ninth with a final-day 2-1 win at home to Kirkby Malzaerd, who subsequently finished bottom. Ben Lambert and James Harrison both netted for Saints to leave Kirkby bottom behind second-bottom Kirkstall Crusaders, who were leapfrogged by Beckwithshaw on goal difference.
In Division One, Dalton Athletic sealed a fifth-placed finish with a 7-1 hammering of seventh-placed visitors Beckwithshaw Saints Reserves. A Duncan Padgett treble, Dion Costick brace and strikes from Nigel Binks and James Padget put Dalton in seventh-heaven.
Second-placed Pannal Sports finished with a 1-1 draw at home to fourth-placed Burley Trojans.
Knaresborough Celtic Reserves are champions of Division Two after a 6-3 beating of visiting FC United Knaresborough was followed by a 2-0 win at Pannal Sports Reserves. Helperby United finish second.
West Riding County Amateur League champions Huddersfield YMCA completed a treble with Saturday’s 2-1 defeat of Steeton after extra time in the final of the Premier Division Cup.
Division One champions Newsome ended with a 3-1 defeat of Holmfirth Town.
Yeadon Veterans wrapped up a fine treble with Sunday’s 4-1 defeat of Crossflatts Village in the final of the Wharfedale Triangle League Cup.
Josh Harris and Toby Harris both hit doubles for the league champions who also won the Wharfedale & District Sunday Cup. Village, who finished third in the league, initially led after Stephen Schofield set up his brother Colin Schofield to score.
In the Claro League, Kirk Deighton Rangers will look to seal a quick-fire double when facing Wetherby Athletic this coming Sunday in the final of the League’s Challenge Cup.
Rangers bagged the League Knockout Cup with Sunday’s 6-1 defeat of Showbiz Whites and booked their place in the League Challenge Cup semi-final four days earlier with a 3-1 beating of Bramham.
In Division One, Markington Reserves sealed the title on the final day of the season at Hampsthwaite’s expense by blitzing visiting Harrogate Cosmos 13-4.
Brighouse Town Ladies, meanwhile. are celebrating promotion to FA Premier One – the same division as Leeds Ladies – after winning the North East Regional Womens Football League Premier.
Goals from Jodie Redgrave and Rachael White sealed a 2-2 draw at home to Whitley Bay Women with the point enough to bag Brighouse the title.