The WEST YORKSHIRE LEAGUE Premier Division title race this season is probably tighter than ever before.
Teams throughout the league refer to the top three – Carlton Athletic, Leeds City and Beeston St Anthony’s, as the standard bearers for the level they aspire to reach, if they are to follow their dreams of chasing the title trophy.
Hopes and dreams aside, it has become tradition that the aforementioned top three are the sides seen fighting it out for league and cup glory.
Another claim which is frequently heard around the Premier Division, is that year-on-year the difference between sides is decreasing, with teams now all capable of taking points off the others on their best day, and perhaps with a little luck thrown in for good measure.
This time around such a statement could not be more true, as Carlton, Leeds and Beeston all went into Christmas level with each other on 40 points.
Leeds were not in action at the weekend, so all eyes were on Carlton and Beeston as they set about moving level with the Adel-based side.
Carlton knew their superior goal difference would take them top if they emerged victorious against Whitkirk Wanderers, a result which duly happened as Anees Younis and Scott Hargreaves claimed the vital goals in a 2-1 win. Beeston faced a difficult trip to Horbury, despite the hosts suffering a sharp decline in home form during recent games. Horbury Town would fight valiantly, but Joe Rossiter and Ashley Westcarr ensured the visitors left with a 2-1 victory, and three valuable points.
Ilkley Town lead the chasing pack in fourth place and they responded to their defeat against Leeds in style, running out 5-2 winners at Robin Hood Athletic. Town’s top scorer Toby Harris struck four times, while Joe Garside made a rare appearance on the scoresheet.
In the Bradford derby, Field ran out 2-1 winners at home to Salts, meaning the visitors stay bottom of the Premier Division.
Field meanwhile moved into seventh, and despite the gap between these sides in the table, both teams served up another competitive derby, in what is Salts’ first season as a Premier Division outfit.
The first instalment of this developing rivalry had taken place over at Salts Sports Ground, where Field had once more narrowly vanquished their neighbours with a 3-2 victory.
In the Yorkshire Amateur League Premier Division, leaders Farsley Celtic Juniors will take some catching after their 4-1 victory at Stanningley Old Boys on Saturday. The Farlsey goals came from Chad Morris, Ben Wilson (2) and Louis Surtees.
Grangefield moved up to second by outplaying Calverley United 5-0. Chris Barr netted a brace and Matty Tomlinson, Rhys O’Hare and Steve Wells scored the other goals.
Leeds Medics sit in fourth place – two points behind third-placed Drighlington after they defeated eighth-placed Stanley United 3-1. Josh Whiteley gave Stanley the lead but goals from Brad Chambers, James Melia and Kieran Wardman sealed the victory for the Medics.
Elsewhere, Wibsey remain bottom of the Premier Division after Ealandians pole-vaulted out of the bottom two to sixth with a 4-2 victory.
Connah Judson notched a hat-trick for Ealandians with Josh Prestige bagging the fourth. Goals for Wibsey came from Ethan Labad and Jonathan Burston.