There was plenty of drama at the top of the West Yorkshire League as Sherburn White Rose’s victory against nine-man Beeston St Anthony’s saw them leapfrog their hosts into second place.
The home side had to play over half an hour with nine men after goalkeeper Stephen Kerr and defender Ashley Westcarr were both shown red.
Beeston goalkeeper Kerr was dismissed after just 11 minutes after bringing down Sherburn’s Brett Smith just outside the area; Danny Middleton dispatched the free kick for his 14th goal of the season to put the visitors ahead.
Smith also got his name on the scoresheet before half time, collecting a long ball from his goalkeeper before turning his marker and coolly slotting home.
James Allen managed to pull one back for Beeston 10 minutes before half-time, but the home side were reduced to nine men after the break with Westcarr given his marching orders for a foul on Sherburn’s Kyle Fish.
The hosts responded well and may have stolen a point when they hit the crossbar late on – but White Rose held on to ensure all three points.
Sherburn manager Martin Shaw was quick to praise the influence of first goal scorer Middleton on the result. “Danny was my man of the match,” he said. “He controlled the game.
“We’ve been forced to play him in midfield rather than up front because of injuries, but he’s played so well in there that we’re going to have to look at playing him there more.”
Shaw also highlighted the impact the two red cards had on the fixture. “The first one was a double blow for them; obviously their keeper was sent off but Danny stuck the resulting free kick away as well.
“I think the second one had as much of a negative effect on us as it did on them. We dropped our game, they might have nicked a point. They hit the crossbar late on, and that’s credit to them – they kept going with nine men for over half an hour.”
The manager also praised the hosts’ facilities and the condition of their pitch, saying that White Rose often play better away from home on pitches in decent condition where they can get the ball down and play football.
“The result’s a great indicator of how much the squad has developed so far this season,” Shaw added. “We were 3-1 up against Beeston at the start of the season and ended up losing 4-3. They’re a young group of lads, but they’re doing alright – they’re learning to see games through. They’ve shown a lot of character over the past few weeks.
“I’m more than happy with how we’re doing so far now that we’re halfway through the season.
“We’ve just got to keep it going now.”
The result was Sherburn’s third league victory in a row, a run of form that has seen them climb to second in the table. Beeston now sit fourth after back-to-back league defeats, following their 3-2 loss away at Horbury Town before Christmas.
Elsewhere, Horbury continued their push away from the relegation battle with a 4-0 victory at home to struggling Brighouse Old Boys. Brighouse now sit just one point off the bottom of the table, having failed to pick up a point since October 8. Their poor run of form has seen them concede 35 goals in their past six league matches, only finding the net six times themselves.
Bottom of the table Wetherby Athletic remain without a league win since November 29, going down 4-1 at home to Knaresborough Town. Meanwhile Oxenhope Recreation continued their fight for survival with a 3-2 victory over Pool. The result sees Oxenhope move up to 13th, one point ahead of 14th placed Ilkley Town and a significant 10 points clear of Brighouse in 15th.
Hunslet Club helped Oxenhope in their relegation battle by beating struggling Ilkley 2-1. The result leaves Ilkley with only two wins in their last eight league matches.
Although the majority of matches managed to avoid the worst of the winter weather, three fixtures were postponed as a result. League leaders Carlton’s trip to Field was unable to take place, meaning the leaders will have to wait to see if they can secure 15 wins from their first 15 games of the season.
Leeds City began the weekend in second place, hoping to claim victory against Shelley to remain the closest challengers to leaders Carlton. But the match was unable to go ahead, allowing Sherburn to replace City in second after their victory.
The mid-table clash between Headingley and Robin Hood Athletic was also postponed.