West Yorkshire League: Potential hurdles no obstacle for Kippax

Kippax's Tom Charles takes on the Howden Clough defence. PIC: Steve Riding
Kippax's Tom Charles takes on the Howden Clough defence. PIC: Steve Riding
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A managerial absence and a month away from the field were just two of the problems Kippax brushed aside as they strengthened their promotion push with a win over Howden Clough.

The third placed side beat Howden Clough 1-0 in their first game since the start of February to keep the heat on the top two and set up a fascinating fixture at second-placed Hartshead next weekend.

Joe Bedford heads on for Howden Clough. PIC: Steve Riding

Joe Bedford heads on for Howden Clough. PIC: Steve Riding

With first-team manager Dave Raunsley absent on holiday, Will Hicks made the step up from second-team management and was mightily impressed by his side’s return to form.

“It’s always difficult when you haven’t played for a while, and to be honest it’s been a bit of a nightmare” Hicks said, “but the lads stuck together and really ground out a very important win. It was a tight game and there weren’t that many chances, but the one that we did take made all the difference.”

Tom Charles’ 23rd goal of the season proved to be the match winner for Kippax, and Hicks admitted that his partnership with Tom Davis has proven to be a game changer for the club.

“Their partnership is very important,” he said. “They’ve got 40 goals between them this season and obviously that makes all the difference.

Sam Westerman, of Kippax, clears under pressure from Howden Clough's Joe Bedford. PIC: Steve Riding

Sam Westerman, of Kippax, clears under pressure from Howden Clough's Joe Bedford. PIC: Steve Riding

“We had a good season with recruitment last year and I think you can see how much that has helped both sides.”

Hicks was keen to stress the sense of camaraderie within the club, and said how important the success of the second team was to the first team’s fortunes.

“Everyone knows how important it is to have players pushing one another when it comes to their position in the side,” he said. “No player is safe to rest on their laurels, and it speaks volumes for the lads that we’ve been able to pick some fairly consistent sides over the past few months.”

The squad, which was heavily bolstered by the demise of Kippax Athletic in the off-season, has been training twice a week in order to combat the lack of pitch time.

With Hartshead waiting in the wings next week, Hicks admitted that it was important Kippax went into the game with momentum.

“It’s a huge game and it’s definitely important to have won on Saturday to get us up and running again,” he said.

“From what I hear, Hartshead are a good side, but I know how strong we are this season and I know it will be one hell of a game.”

The club are battling on two fronts this season as they look forward to facing top-tier Wetherby Athletic in the Prostar Cup final on Easter Sunday.

“It’s been a good year for the whole club and that’s a game we’re all looking forward to.”

Elsewhere in the battle for promotion to the Premier Division, Hartshead hammered struggling Swillington Saints 4-0 and recorded their eighth consecutive league win.

Andrew Wood was in fine form as he bagged his 20th goal of the season, whilst there were also goals for Ashley Burton, Joel Farrar and Jamie Wasley.

The win keeps Hartshead five ahead of Kippax and two back on Hall Green United, who have games in hand. Bottom side Otley showed no signs of recovery as they were swept aside 3-0 by 10th-placed Boroughbridge.

Ross Mardon got an early goal and there were further strikes for Michael Snowdon and Daniel Clayton. All other games fell foul of the weather and were postponed, and there was a similar story in the top tier where only four games were played.

There was a brace for Matthew Nebard as Beeston St Anthony’s continued their 2017 resurgence with a 4-1 win over Knaresborough Town. Robin Hood Athletic and Shelley played out a goalless draw.

There were goals for James Smith, Matthew Pattinson and Sam Atkinson as Horbury Town beat Sherburn White Rose 3-0 to record their sixth win since Christmas and go 10th. Second-placed Leeds City may still have a way to go to put the frighteners on leaders Carlton, but they improved their chances by sneaking past Ilkley Town 2-1 thanks to a double from representative forward Barrie Frankland.

The Adel side sit 10 points clear of third-placed Field.

In the third tier, Rothwell continued to ramp up their promotion form with a 2-0 win over Garforth Rangers.

Altofts, meanwhile, beat Middleton Park 1-0.

Dan Daly of Beeston St Anthony's.

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