Beeston St Anthony’s prepare to take advantage of their game in hand this weekend and close the gap at the top of the Premier Division as they return to league action.
The clash against Oxenhope Recreation this Saturday will come as Beeston’s first league encounter in three weeks having endured a two-week break followed by a convincing 6-0 cup win last weekend.
Manager, Mark Halmshaw is keen to replicate the cup performance and get back to business in the league.
“The boys did really well after two weeks of not playing to make it five wins in a row. Confidence is high so we need to take that forward for the league now,” he said. “The league will always be our main focus because it’s the hardest trophy to win and we could set ourselves up well for that this weekend. We are scoring a lot of goals too at the moment, so long may that continue.”
Beeston have been agonisingly close to bringing the Premier Division title back home in the seasons following their triumph in 2012. Finishing in the top three in their last two campaigns, Halmshaw admits the goal would be title winners this year but insists there is no added pressure on his players.
“Of course we want to do better than previous seasons, that’s what motivates us and drives us on but there’s no pressure on the lads. Ultimately we see ourselves as title contenders but we would need a bit of luck and a lot of hard work between now and next May to have any chance of fulfilling our goals.”
“There’s no easy fixtures in this league and a lot of quality opposition so I’m sure there are a number of clubs who feel they have a chance at the league title this season.
“It’s important to accumulate as many points as possible up to Christmas because I don’t like to look at any individual game as a ‘must-win’.
“There will be disappointments along the way I’m sure, but we have a very good record against Oxenhope and we will be trying to continue our five-win record against a very good side. We will be working hard with the players in training to make sure we are best prepared for this week’s game.”
With attention averted to cup-ties last weekend, the Premier Division saw just one league game – 15th-placed Shelley holding second-placed Carlton Athletic to a shock 1-1 draw.
Carlton could have climbed to the top of the table had they bagged the win, but remain a point behind Field after being forced into sharing the spoils at Shelley.
Meanwhile in Division One, Aberford Albion ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Whitkirk Wanderers thanks to two braces from James Acton and Thomas Carter.
Kippax were also in league action, they picked up three points on an away trip to Baildon Trinity Athletic. All other sides were in Cup action.
Swillington Saints ran out 10-0 winners over Garforth Rangers on Saturday in Division Two league action.
Two hat-tricks from Jamie Davies and Thomas Day accompanied goals from David Bell, Matthew Marshall, Danny Waite and Callum Pilkington.
Hall Green United also put on an impressive display, Allan Laud bagging a hat-trick along with goals from Clifton Firth, Matthew Marsden and Jamie Miller in a 7-2 triumph over Mount St Mary’s.
Kellingley Welfare’s clash also saw plenty of goals as they ran out 7-4 winners over Normanton Woodhouse Hill.
Goals came from James Bird (2), Jordan Hutchinson and Robert Anderson who bagged four.
Middleton Park were also in league action, beating Howden Clough 3-2 thanks to goals from Gary Driscoll (2) and Jordan Tate.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Crowther pulled out an excellent individual performance, netting all five goals for Huddersfield Amateur in their 5-1 win against Barwick.
League action returns to the Premier Division this weekend with Bardsey hosting Wyke Wanderers while Knaresborough Town travel to Brighouse Old Boys.
League leaders Field also travel away. They face Hunslet Club while second-placed Carlton Athletic will welcome Pool.
Leeds City and Horbury Town also meet while Robin Hood Athletic host Otley Town and Shelley travel to Wetherby Athletic.