Flying into the new year with a bang, Brighouse Old Boys stole the show with a convincing 9-1 League Cup win over Old Centralians on Saturday.
Mathew Richardson was at the centre of the impressive display.
He netted four goals, accompanied by further goals from Calvin Lee, Connor Stoner, Jake Broadbent, Richard Heins and Tom Wright.
And club spokesman Phil Garbe believes the new year rout was no coincidence, insisting Brighouse are reaping the rewards of new manager Kim Farrand’s Christmas training sessions which he says will be the difference come May.
“With the Christmas period, I think it’s easy to return and struggle but we were outstanding on Saturday and I think that’s purely down to our fitness levels,” said Garbe.
“That has been the key really and it’s all thanks to extra sessions over the holidays.
“Our new manager, Kim Farrand, has been exceptional working with the lads; he has experience at semi-professional and professional clubs so knows it’s important not to let it slip.
“It really showed in the second half as they actually equalised in the first half so we had to work for it.
“When they ran out of steam a little that’s when we took advantage and we were excellent for the full 90 minutes.
“It’s something that I want to replicate in the league now.
“Last season was about avoiding relegation but now it’s about pushing ourselves and aiming for top third of the table this season.
“Then it expands into a two-year plan where we’re looking to push it even further and start to challenge for the title.
“We’re still in three different cups though this season, so we’re doing ourselves proud.”
Brighouse will visit Otley Town in the League Cup third round and Wetherby Athletic also booked their passage through with Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Mount St Mary’s in a game played at Ripon City.
In the Premier, Horbury Town sealed a 3-1 victory against visiting Robin Hood Athletic with a brace from Kieran Corley and Marc Keane strike in the face of a Mathew Waller consolation.
Leeds City had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Shelley with Alex McGurk netting for the hosts.
In Division One, Boroughbridge shared a 4-4 draw with visiting Leeds Modernians. Darren Simpson’s completed a hat-trick for Boroughbridge alongside James McDaid’s goal while Ben Turner’s brace accompanied goals from Chris Ross and Reece Omidiran for Modernians.
Featherstone Colliery held visiting Baildon Trinity Athletic to a 1-1 tie with Lee Mathews and Jamie Deal netting respectively. Hall Green United moved a clear second in Division Two with a 6-1 romp at Garforth Rangers.
Ossett Albion obliged 5-3 at Kellingley Welfare thanks to braces from Ashley Smith and Alex Ferguson plus a James Ferguson strike.
COUNTY CHALLENGE TROPHY
FAIRBANK United recovered from a disastrous start to the new year to record a 2-1 success at Aimbry in the West Riding FA County Challenge Trophy third round.
Fairbank are fifth in Division Three in the Yorkshire Amateur League and conceded after just 30 seconds of a fixture that had already been postponed twice due to the weather and was switched to the 4G pitch at Dixon’s Academy – Fairbank’s home ground.
But Fairbank slowly gained a foothold into the game against their Huddersfield League opponents with Junaid Ali’s trickery causing problems and Irfan Khan beginning to dominate the midfield.
The introduction of Bahlal Saleem at half-time changed the game and the equaliser arrived with 20 minutes left as Irfan Khan’s 35-yard free-kick fell to Shoaib Hussain to tap home from two yards out.
A speculative kick from keeper Haris Butt then set up Shoaib Hussain to convert the winner with 10 minutes left.
West Yorkshire League outfit Hunslet Club Reserves also progressed with a 5-1 triumph at home to Uppermill Reserves but the adventure is over for the Yorkshire Amateur League’s St Nicholas who lost 6-2 at Huddersfield Amateur.
In the fourth round, the brave run of Yorkshire Amateur League Division Six leaders Morley Town 3rds was eventually ended with a 6-1 loss at Thornton United, who are second in Division Two of the County Amateur League.
John Selby hit a four-timer for the hosts whose Jamie Bairstow and Danny Walker also netted before Morley’s Jason Helm bagged a consolation.
Ealandians Reserves were felled 3-2 by visiting Headingley Reserves who will be joined in the next round by fellow West Yorkshire League side Field Reserves, who marched on with a 2-1 verdict at Broomhill with goals from Joshua Hartley and Matthew Hartley.