Carlton Athletic end West Yorkshire League’s 30-year wait for a title hat-trick repeat

Carlton Athletic, winners of the West Yorkshire League Premier Division for the third year running. PIC: Steve Riding
Carlton Athletic, winners of the West Yorkshire League Premier Division for the third year running. PIC: Steve Riding
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CARLTON Athletic are celebrating after wrapping up their third consecutive West Yorkshire League Premier Division title – a feat not achieved since the 1970s and manager Mark Pitts is rightly proud.

“We were presented with the trophy on Saturday by the league and they said it’s an achievement that hasn’t been done since Bradley Rangers did it in 1977-80, and they went on to become a Northern Counties club,” he said.

“They are the only other team to do it three times in a row, so it’s certainly nice to equal that record.”

The title was sealed on Saturday when top met bottom as Carlton thrashed Wyke Wanderers 9-0. Charlie Thompson claimed a hat-trick, Reece Fennell netted a brace, while Joe Kenny, James Kitson, Anees Younis and Harvey Walker also got in on the action.

The emphatic victory came three days after a rare defeat for Carlton who saw their bid for an unprecedented quadruple ended with a 7-3 loss at league runners-up Leeds City in the semi-finals of the West Yorkshire League Cup.

James Burgess netted a four-timer for City supported by strikes from Mitch Pattinson and Ashley Walker with goals from Joseph O’Neil, Anees Younis and Luke Harling in vain for Carlton.

City will face either Ilkley Town or Shelley who are still to face off in the second semi-final.

Carlton, though, having already won the West Riding FA County Challenge Cup, could still sign off with a glorious treble with Athletic now counting down the days to the final of the Leeds & District FA Senior Challenge Cup final against Whitkirk Wanderers at Elland Road next Thursday night (May 23).

Pitts said: “Whitkirk have had a cracking first season in the league, and it will be a great occasion for both clubs.”

Thereafter, the unprecedented run of four straight Premier Division titles is there for Carlton to take next season and put themselves in the history books outright, but Pitts is expecting a difficult 2019-20 campaign.

Pitts explained: “We have a couple of lads who are thinking of calling it a day, at amateur level it’s really hard to keep a group of players together and that’s what the club did really well.

“Six of these players have been together for 10 years now – a long time at any level of football, and there are some who are wanting to play at a higher level.

“Four straight titles is definitely something we would like to achieve, but you never really know what squad you have until the first ball is kicked.”

Beeston St Anthony’s campaign has fallen apart in the closing stages, with a 1-0 defeat to Whitkirk and a 4-0 loss at Leeds seeing them finish a distant third. It was a good week for Robin Hood Athletic who defeated Huddersfield Amateur 3-1 and then Headingley 2-1, while Amateur’s torrid week was capped off with a 4-1 loss to Hunslet.

In Division One, promoted Aberford Albion defeated Hartshead 5-4 while, at the other end, Leeds Modernians couldn’t beat the drop with their 2-1 loss to bottom side Howden Clough, confirming Division Two football for both next season – Pool survive.

Otley Town defeated Rothwell 2-0, while Featherstone Colliery ran out 3-2 winners over Kippax to complete the 2018-19 Division One campaign.

In Division Two, Campion Reserves stretched their already-title-winning tally, moving six points clear at the top with a 4-1 win over Swillington Saints.

Huddersfield YM missed out on promotion by goals difference despite their 4-1 win over Altofts.