West Yorkshire League: Carlton defy odds to net back-to-back title wins

Carlton Athletic, winners of the West Yorkshore League Premier Division 2017/18. PIC: Steve Riding
Carlton Athletic, winners of the West Yorkshore League Premier Division 2017/18. PIC: Steve Riding
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Carlton Athletic have been crowned West Yorkshire Premier Division champions for the second successive season.

After Beeston St Anthony’s defeat to Huddersfield Amateur last week, the title race had become a straight fight between Carlton and Leeds City, but with games in hand Carlton were able to knock Leeds off top spot in their final week of fixtures.

Carlton manager Mark Pitts said: “The team are absolutely delighted.

“Nobody thought we could win the league because we were 24 points off the leaders in February, so it was a huge mountain to climb. But the team dug in and got the job done so it’s a great atmosphere right now.

“It’s impressive that we have won back-to-back titles, which is so difficult to do at any level of football.

“After winning three trophies last season we actually lost a lot of players.

“This showed as we were in the bottom four this season after a month and the weather was horrendous through the winter.

“Some of the lads who left came back as things didn’t work out and they galvanised the squad again, so it shows the strength of the club because in the last few months we were relentless.

“The league had no choice but to throw a huge amount of fixtures at us but we took it game by game, kept getting the results and, in my eyes, we came out worthy champions.”

Despite Beeston’s close challenge, Pitts insists that Leeds were always the main focus for his side.

“The big threat was always Leeds because they had the points on the board, but crucially their slip-up against Robin Hood Athletic put us on their tails,” he said.

“With all due respect, Beeston lost too many games to be honest which ended their title bid, but credit to them, they put up a good fight.

“Their loss to Huddersfield certainly gave us some more breathing space, knowing we just needed a point against Hartshead to go top, which ultimately we did.

“We went to Beeston in the last game targeting three points, as we didn’t want to win the title on goal difference and we beat them 2-0, so it was a good end to a challenging season.”

Consecutive league titles raised the question of whether Carlton would look to move on from the West Yorkshire League, but Pitts confirmed that the club have no intentions of leaving the league.

“We can’t move up to the North East Counties because we don’t have the facilities – or the money,” he said.

“You need a solid budget to go into that league and compete, so we are going to stay in the West Yorkshire League where the teams are all on a level playing field.”

Carlton practically wrapped up the title in midweek, after a 2-2 draw at Hartshead put them at the top on goal difference with a huge advantage over Leeds.

Hartshead, who had gone undefeated at home for the majority of the season, have lost that home fortress auror in recent weeks, with their 5-1 home defeat to Field making their chances of taking any points off Carlton appear very slim.

Liam Fox and Stephen Smith were, however, on target for Hartshead, as they ensured Carlton couldn’t go into their final match against Beeston St Anthony’s as confirmed league winners.

Carlton, however, got the job done come the weekend as they ran out 2-0 winners at Beeston St Anthony’s.

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West Riding Third Division champions, Thackley, capped off a superb season by thrashing Boroughbridge 6-0 to lift the Supplementary Cup, writes CONNOR CRAIG-JACKSON.

The ever-prolific Lois Cooper made it ten goals in four matches, bagging a brace for Thackley who were already 3-0 up by half-time.

Megan Butterworth also bagged a double while Annie Nicol and Kath Connell got on the scoresheet for the ‘cup queens’ to seal their dominant 6-0 victory.

It was the perfect way for the Third Division ‘invincibles’ to prepare for life in the league above, comfortably seeing off one of the sides they will encounter in the Second Division next season as they look to become yet another West Riding side to win back-to-back promotions.

l Clubs can apply to enter the SSE Women’s FA Cup for the 2018/19 season at www.westridingfa.com

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LINTHWAITE wrapped up their first-ever Heavy Woollen Sunday League Premier Division title last Friday night with a 4-3 win over fellow Huddersfield-based side, FC Walkers Hounds.

The result sees Linthwaite finish the season 11 points clear of their closest rivals, Navigation.

With Championshp winners Deighton WMC and runners-up Old Bank WMC having already completed their season, it was left to Wellington Westgate to cement third place which they did with a 4-3 win at sixth-placed Clifton Rangers.

In the only other game played, Overthorpe Sports Club continued their end-of-season resurgence with a 7-3 victory over Ravenswharfe.

A Steve Hadden hat-trick, plus doubles from Tom Hirst and Danny Kennedy saw Overthorpe claim the three points, with Cory Joseph (2) and Duane Fascione replying for Ravenswharfe.

Division One was already completed last week with Snowdon winning the title, two points clear of Clifton Rangers Reserves and Battyeford.