The battle at the top of the table continues to intrigue as Sherburn White Rose slipped to a 6-1 home defeat against fellow high flyers Pool.
Danny Middleton’s 14th goal of the season proved merely a consolation for Sherburn as the visitors stormed to an impressive victory at Finkle Hill.
But Sherburn manager Martin Shaw remains optimistic of his side’s chances of finishing the season strongly.
“It’s a bit of a body blow, and it’s disappointing,” he said. “We had a couple of players missing, but everyone comes across that situation over the course of the season. We’ve just got to keep positive about how well we’ve done so far.”
The result was Sherburn’s first league defeat since the end of October, and sees them slip to fourth, level on points with this weekend’s opponents, but Shaw remains upbeat about his side’s league position despite the loss.
“We’re still in the top six, and staying there has got to be our aim for the rest of the season,” he said. “There’s lots of good teams in and around us – Carlton are running away with the league, but there’s a strong chasing pack behind them, and we’re a part of that.
“Teams like Leeds City, Pool and Field are most likely going to be there at the end of the season, and I expect Beeston St Anthony’s to be back up there too. But we’ve still got to play a lot of the teams around us – we’ve got to play Leeds City twice, as well as games against Field and Carlton. It’s a tough ask, but there’s still a lot to play for.”
Both sides sit five points off second-placed Leeds City – although Pool have played a game more than both Sherburn and City.
Leeds made it four league wins in a row with a 2-1 win at home to mid-table Shelley. The result sees City nine points behind Carlton Athletic at the summit.
Carlton will have to wait to see if they can make it 16 wins from 16, as their visit to second-bottom Wetherby Athletic was postponed. But having won the previous meetings between the two 6-0, and with a plus-56 goal difference, it will take something special from Wetherby to stop the runaway league leaders in the rearranged fixture.
Elsewhere in the battle of the pack chasing Carlton, Field slipped to a surprise 4-1 defeat away at mid-table Robin Hood Athletic. A brace from Matthew Gould and goals from Jamie Lister and substitute Dale Pickering were enough to secure the home side their first league victory since November. The result was Field’s first league defeat since the reverse fixture in October, when Robin Hood secured a 1-0 win.
Reigning champions Beeston St Anthony’s have slipped to eighth in the table, and are without a league win since mid-November. They would have been optimistic of leap-frogging Knaresborough Town, who sit two places and two points above them in sixth, but the fixture was postponed.
Another postponed fixture means Beeston now have four games in hand on second-placed Leeds City, and will remain optimistic of their chances of challenging in what is surely becoming the race for second place.
Knaresborough have secured back-to-back wins against Wetherby and Horbury Town before this weekend, meaning they will go into the rearranged fixture with confidence.
Elsewhere, Horbury saw off a struggling Oxenhope Recreation side 3-2. The result is Horbury’s fourth win in their last five league matches. Oxenhope remain 14th, 10 points clear of bottom-of-the-table Brighouse Old Boys and eight clear of 15th-placed Wetherby, despite their fourth league defeat in a row.
Ilkley Town sit two points above Oxenhope in 13th, and their hopes of pulling further away from the relegation battle were put on hold after their home fixture against bottom-placed Brighouse was postponed. Ilkley have secured back-to-back victories over the previous two weeks to aide their battle against the drop.
Brighouse, in contrast, are on a terrible run of form, without a league point since the start of October. It leaves them bottom of the table, with a goal difference of minus 41. They have shipped 68 goals so far this season, the highest number conceded by any side in the Premier Division.
Headingley managed to end a three-match losing streak in the league by securing a 1-1 draw at home to high-flying Hunslet. The result sees Headingley finish the weekend in 12th, comfortably clear of the relegation battle. Hunslet sit seventh, three points behind third-placed Pool.