West Yorkshire League: Claxton & Co have got Modernians on the up

Alex Thomas of Ossett Albion takes a tumble as he is tackled by Mark Chestner of AFC Horsforth.
Alex Thomas of Ossett Albion takes a tumble as he is tackled by Mark Chestner of AFC Horsforth.
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The aspirations of Leeds Modernians FC are on the rise week on week as they stretched their unbeaten run to five league matches on Saturday.

They disposed of struggling Otley Town 4-0 in a one-sided affair to go fifth in West Yorkshire League Division One, a position the side will want to improve on as the season goes on, so says their manager Alex Pouncett.

Thomas of Ossett Albion takes on the  AFC Horsforth defence.

Thomas of Ossett Albion takes on the AFC Horsforth defence.

“We want to finish as high as possible,” he said. “We’re certainly looking at the top four as a very achievable goal, and once you’re in the mix there who knows what can happen. We’re on a great run – if you’d asked me a few weeks ago where we would finish I’d have a completely different response.”

Rampant Mods had goals from James Lee, Adam Plattew, Danny Claxton and Danny Forrest to thank for the win, all of whom Pouncett believes are hugely important players in his side’s season.

Claxton, who is their top goalscorer this season with five goals in four matches, has been a revelation since moving up front from centre-back this season in what has proved to be a lightbulb moment for Mods.

“It’s worked great,” said Pouncett. “We’ve struggled in recent years with having a big frontman to come in and hold the ball up, and it was screaming out for someone like Danny to have a go. He’s a great defender but he’s done brilliantly for us this year.”

Pouncett had originally considered this to be a rebuilding season for the side in his first term as manager, having taken over from Rob Turner in the Summer. Early drubbings at the hands of Otley Town and Huddersfield Amateur could have set the tone for the season, but a strong sense of spirit from a committed squad, along with the return of some key players has been the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes.

He added: “We’ve got 16 strong first teamers in the squad, but we had a fair few of them missing for the first couple of games on holiday, some with suspensions, and our two students hadn’t returned to Leeds yet. I’m delighted at how we have gone on since.”

Elsewhere in Division One, Boroughbridge missed out on the chance to take the top spot as they drew 1-1 at Old Centralians, whilst Hartshead recorded the stand out result of the day as they hammered a hapless Whitkirk Wanderers 10-1. The in-form Howden Clough overcame Swillington Saints 4-2, whilst Wyke Wanderers beat Kippax 3-2.

Clashes with the league side’s representative commitments meant that only four games were played this weekend in the Premier Division, as Leeds City continued their unbeaten start by beating Hunslet Club 2-0 thanks to first-half goals from Charles Lumley and Joe Tasker. City have the league’s best defensive record with only six goals conceded, and will be hoping to close the four point deficit with table-topping Carlton Athletic in the coming weeks.

Oxenhope Recreation recorded their second win of the season as goals from Anthony Cox and Gareth Ritson, alongside an own goal, saw them come back from conceding an Ashley Austin brace and a 2-1 half-time deficit to secure a 3-2 victory at Headingley.

Elsewhere, two Aaran Nicholson strikes did the damage for Shelley who ran out 2-1 winners at Ilkley Town. Joe Evans saw red for the visitors in a bad tempered affair. Brighouse Old Boys are now winless in five after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Robin Hood Athletic. Goals for Scott Murgatroyd and Joe Ritson did the damage for the away side. Substitute Elliot Fris bagged for Brighouse.

Further down the ladder in Division Two, Ossett Albion took advantage of Rawdon Old Boys’ postponement at Rothwell to expand their lead at the top to seven points by beating third-placed AFC Horsforth 3-0. Basement dwellers Garforth Rangers picked up their second point of the season after a goalless draw with Ripon City, whilst Nostell Miners Welfare beat Baildon Trinity Athletic 4-1.