Football: Last season’s runners-up Leeds City are well ahead of schedule

Action from Leeds City and Bardsey.
Action from Leeds City and Bardsey.
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LEEDS CITY boss Tom Liddell knows trophies are not dished out in August but is nonetheless thrilled to be five points ‘ahead of schedule’ on last year.

City had to settle for a second-place finish behind Field last term but have begun the new campaign in perfect fashion with Saturday’s 5-1 defeat of visiting former champions Bardsey making it three wins out of three.

Newly-promoted surprise-package Carlton Athletic lead the way on goal difference after Saturday’s 4-0 triumph at Wetherby Athletic but Liddell is perfectly happy with his men’s lot after also succussfuly negotiating tricky ties at Robin Hood Athletic and Shelley.

“We’ve had a good start and we are extremely pleased with the results,” Liddell told the YEP. “It’s a little too early to tell what will happen but this time last year we only had five points on the board so its a much better start than then and if we are looking to go one better than last season we are certainly giving it our best shot.

“We are glad that we have got a few tricky games out of the way too. At the start of the season there was a lot of talk about Shelley and Robin Hood given the league a good go this year so to take six points from those two games was excellent.

“We played very well in the first half of the Robin Hood game which shows the promise we have got this season and I look forward to witnessing that style of football a lot more frequently this year. I expect Beeston and Field to be there and if Carlton keep getting results then I’m sure they’ll be there too. Wetherby will be up there this year if they can keep the back-bone of their squad together.”

Field sit two points behind Carlton and Leeds after ‘recovering’ from the opening day 2-2 draw with visiting Otley Town with back to back wins against Wyke Wanderers and Robin Hood. Beeston St Anthony’s – 5-0 victors at Knaresborough on Saturday – have six points out of a possible nine along with Horbury Town and Wetherby Athletic but big day one winners Hunslet Club have dropped to tenth after consecutive losses against Carlton and Pool.

But it is perhaps the occupant of the division’s bottom spot that is most notable – former multiple champions Bardsey.

The Keswick Laners are in the middle of a major rebuilding process after the departure of boss Lee Barraclough and, even as arch rivals, Liddell’s message is a genuine get well soon.

Liddell added: “Bardsey are going through a transition period and we hope that they can come through it quickly.

“Our games against Bardsey have been exciting for the past nine seasons and it wasn’t the same playing against them on Saturday. “The atmosphere was flat and I think that had an impact on the way we played as we didn’t perform to the levels we can.

“Jason Miller was outstanding and got three assists but other than that there wasn’t much to shout home about.

“Bardsey have made the West Yorkshire League extremely competitive and not having them at full strength only weakens the West Yorkshire Prem’.”

City welcome Pool tonight as action resumes with Bardsey at Wetherby and leaders Carlton at home to Beeston. Stanley United, Headingley and Ilkley Town all have 100 per cent records in Division One.

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LITTLETOWN bounced back from a dramatic 4-5 midweek defeat to Kirkburton with a fine 4-2 win over Salts to make it two wins from three in the West Riding County Amateur Premier, writes Oliver Roby.

After kicking off their campaign with an impressive 12-0 win, a brace from Matthew Crookes brought them back down to earth on Wednesday. But Littletown returned to winning ways in style on Saturday as in-form Matthew Bugg bagged two goals, taking his tally to eight already this season, to overcome their previously unbeaten opponents.

Meanwhile, in Division One, Overthorpe continued their unpredictable campaign with a 1-1 draw against Holmfirth Town. ’Thorpe began the year with a 5-1 defeat to Newsome, but they responded well with a 4-2 win over Thornes four days later before Sunday’s tie, which came courtesy of a first half goal for James Wilson.

Elsewhere, Westbrook YMCA have endured a sticky season so far and remain winless after three games. Their campaign got off to a tough start as they fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Thornes before a 2-1 reverse against Ventus/Yeadon Celtic. But worse was to come last weekend as they slumped to a hefty 8-1 loss against DRAM Community. Craig Thompson put them to the sword with four goals. They will be looking to pick up their first point of the season when they travel to Wibsey tonight.

After a promising start, Wakefield City have followed a similar path to Westbrook with successive defeats. A 1-0 win over Ventus/Yeadon on the opening day already seems like a distant memory for the Sandal Hall side as a 1-0 home defeat to Newsome was followed by a 6-2 collapse against West Horton.

Ryan Barker and Ryan Southward scored first half goals for City at the weekend, but Horton pulled clear in the second period.

Ventus/Yeadon sit firmly in mid table after three rounds. After their 1-0 reverse against Wakefield in round one, they overcame local rivals Westbrook 2-1 last week thanks to goals from Daniel Backhouse and Kyle Shah. But three second half goals from Honley saw them fall to a 4-2 defeat on Sunday, despite goals either side of half time from Mathew Hannan and Sean Jack.

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Ferrybridge Progressive got their season off to a flier with a 3-0 victory over Nevison Leap in the Castleford Sunday Premier Division, writes DAISY YOUNG.

James Hicks bagged a brace, with Lee Waites grabbing the other. Fryston got their season off to a winning start by beating Pontefract Squash 3-1 thanks to goals from Liam Cooper, Jamie Simpson and Andrew Burton. Railway Inn and Queens Head drew 1-1 with Jordan Palmer grabbing Queens’ goal.

Smawthorne are top of Division One after their 7-2 success over Townville Allstars which included braces from Daniel Barnes and Matthew Clayton. Eagle beat Pontefract & Castleford United 4-2 with goals from James Hayes, Stephen Hayes and Tom Eastwood. George & Dragon FC Pollington beat Pontefract CFC 4-0 after goals from Ryan Bruce, Darryl Lawson, Joe Lock, Jack Rowley. Upton Wangbrook beat Whitwood Metrostars 6-2 and AFC Bass House AFC Cutsyke 1-0.

Newly promoted Kirkstall Crusaders beat Kirk Deighton Rangers 2-1 in the Harrogate Colin Lowe Premier Division. Harlow Hill thrashed Kirkby Malzeard 7-1 to claim top spot. Clifford beat Beckwithshaw Saints 5-0 to go second. Rawdon Old Boys suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Bedale Town. Wetherby Athletic A beat Knaresborough 2-1. AFC Horsforth top Division Two after their 6-2 triumph over Ripon Red Arrows.

Ben Jones, left of Old Centralians and Matthew Martin of Swillington challenge.

Slideshow: Swillington v Old Centralians