West Yorkshire League: Two intense weeks ahead to sort out the final placings

Beeston St Anthony',s who beat Carlton in the West Yorkshire League League Cup final at Knaresborough Town 4-2 after extra time and penalties.
Beeston St Anthony',s who beat Carlton in the West Yorkshire League League Cup final at Knaresborough Town 4-2 after extra time and penalties.
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There’s still a long way to go in the Premier Division title race with two intense weeks left to play the remaining games that will ultimately decide the final table stance.

Even at this late stage in the season, the race is still wide open with Leeds City, Carlton Athletic and Beeston St Anthony’s all fighting to earn the accolade of 2015/16 champions.

Beeston are current favourites though, sitting three points clear with an impressive goal difference and games in hand falling to their advantage.

Should they end their dominant campaign as champions, they will have successfully secured the treble – having already bagged the West Riding County Cup and the League Cup respectively.

There’s still a long way to go in the fight for the achievement though; manager Mark Halmshaw knows the squad have to remain focused as they embark on the final hurdle.

“The job is by no means finished, we have a lot of hard work ahead of us and with a bit of luck we can add to our success,” he said.

“Of course we are after the treble, that’s the ultimate goal. We’re certainly not content now because we want the lot, but to achieve that I truly believe we need a bit of luck, a lot of hard work and, above all, togetherness and belief.

“Every game is a ‘cup final’ from now and that’s how we will approach them. We want to win.”

This approach was taken in their last run-out, a comfortable 4-0 win away to Shelley thanks to goals from Sean Jeavons (2), Stephen Crawford and Adam Fowler. The three points extended the lead at the top despite second place Cartlon Athletic also winnings.

Next up for the league leaders though, a trip to Field who have proven themselves as a deserved top-four club in the Premier Division and so will not be soft opposition, while Carlton Athletic travel to Wyke Wanderers and Leeds City make the journey to Pool.

Over in Division One, Stanley United secured the accolade of champions in style with an impressive 7-3 win against Ripon City. Nathan Smith bagged a hat-trick on the day to accompany Matthew Williamson’s brace and goals from Kieran Wright and Joe Childs. Although City did fight back with goals from Stephen Hodgson (2) and Michael Bingham, they could not muster a win to end their final game in the division, with relegation to Division Two confirmed.

Meanwhile at the other end, second-placed Headingley secured their promotion into the Premier Division with a 2-0 win at home to East End Park with goals coming from Merlyn Andrews and William Trew.

Although not in action at the weekend, Sherburn White Rose grab the third promotion place with fourth-placed Ilkley held to a 1-1 draw at Kippax.

That tie holds afloat Kippax, who maintain their Division One status at the expense of Thornhill and Baildon Trinity Athletic, who face the same fate as Ripon City.

Just three fixtures remain in Division One, none of which will contribute to the final fate of the teams. Aberford Albion host Kippax in their final run-out while Headingley welcome Hartshead. Already-crowned-champions, Stanley United, will hope to finish their incredible 50th season on a high as they play Boroughbridge on home soil.

A win for Howden Clough in Division Two etched them closer to silverwear as they beat Mount St Mary’s 4-3 at the weekend, Scott Lightowler netted a brace to accompany goals from Joe Bedford and Andrew Griffiths.

They have one game left to play after their clash with Barwick was postponed. Although sitting in fourth at the moment, the only contenders they have in the race are Huddersfield Amaetur who still have four games to play until the end of the season.

The two-team race will be decided as they tick-off their remaining games. Second-placed Hall Green United could progress into the next tier of the West Yorkshire League, having led the race for the majority of the season but fell at the last hurdle to miss out on silverware.

However, promotion is also still uncertain as they have played for all their points and now wait on Swillington Saints and Huddersfield Amaetur to play their games in hand to determine the final standings.

The title is also a two-horse race over in Alliance Division One, as Beeston St Antony’s Reserves’ fixture with Horbury Town Reserves will be a defining one.

Currently just a point behind leaders, Oxenhope Recreation Reserves, they know only a win is enough to secure the accolade as champions. Opponents, Horbury will prove tough competition having held their own in mid-table this season.

Two results without a win for Boroughbridge Reserves rocked the boat a little at the other end of the table but they still avoid the drop zone, safe with one game to play.

Not so fortunate are Brighouse Old Boys Reserves, Wyke Wanderers Reserves and Otley Town Reserves who all face relegation to Alliance Division Two.

Swapping places with them will be Huddersfield Amatuer Reserves who secured the title some time ago with a dominant season, finishing almost 20 points clear of their nearest opponents.

Second-placed Barwick Reserves though, will join them in Alliance Division One, having secured runners-up with still a game to play.

Joining them in promotion will be Old Centrailians Reserves despite the side succumbing at the hands of Aberford Albion Reserves in their last run-out.

Dan Daly of Beeston St Anthony's.

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