Beeston St Anthony’s poor disciplinary record has to improve if they are to stay top of the Premier Division, says their manager Mark Greaves.
The side have accumulated six red cards in their 13 league matches this season and have tasted defeat each time they’ve had men sent off, against Ilkley, Hall Green and fellow title challengers Leeds City, where they were reduced to eight men.
Saturday’s 3-1 win over Pool was their tenth in the league, and when they’ve kept a full complement of players on the pitch, Beeston have won every game.
“It’s all about discipline,” Greaves said. “It’s about understanding that teams are going to come at you and want to beat you and being tougher mentally and not throwing the towel in. We’ve got to get better at that, definitely.
“One or two players have let us down, but those lads understand that.
“We’ve been unlucky with a couple but sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and admit we were in the wrong. It’s about talking to the lads and being honest about things, and making them try to understand that.”
With Ilkley suffering a shock 2-1 defeat to Horbury Town and Leeds City going down 3-0 to Horbury, Greaves’ side took the opportunity to move seven points clear of the chasing pack by beating struggling Pool in a match dominated by a howling gale.
Forward Sean Jeavons added his eighth goal of the season before strikes for Kristen Williams and Sam Morrell did the business in their 3-1 win.
“The wind had a big effect on the game. It blew right down the pitch from one end to the other, and we played against the wind first half and came in 1-0 up and the lads had really performed well.
“Then in the second half we went back to 1-1 and we were really up against it for a while.
“Pool are struggling at the moment, but if you look at their fixtures they’ve played all the top teams already this season and they’re in a false position. They finished fifth last year and are a good side.
“Our keeper made an absolute worldy save at 2-1 and we ended up getting another to win 3-1. We had to work very hard for that win.”
Greaves resigned from his post as Garforth Town’s assistant boss to take over from Mark Halmshaw over the summer, and has been enjoying the move from Northern Counties football.
“Everyone knows what Beeston St Anthony’s are about, you know they’re a good side, always competing and winning things, especially over the last few years.
“I’m really enjoying it. The quality is better than I thought it would be, there are some really, really good players and most of them could play Northern Counties. It might be classed as a step down but in terms of the standard and the players, there’s huge quality there.”
Elsewhere in the division, Field continued their resurgence with an impressive 2-1 win at reigning champions Carlton, who stay seventh. Carlton have three games in hand on Beeston but sit 11 points off the pace, and despite this, Greaves still sees them as a major title threat.
“Carlton are definitely still contenders, and we’ve still got to play them twice. If they take six points off us, then they’ve pulled it back. Those are the games that leagues are won on.
“It’s all about discipline. If we keep 11 players on the pitch we’ll win a lot of games. It’s about being smarter and thinking about what we’re doing sometimes.”
In the division’s remaining games, sixth-placed Shelley continued their sorry slide away from the top spots as they drew 1-1 at Robin Hood to make it six games without a win, whilst Hall Green made it four from four with a gutsy 2-1 win at home to Knaresborough.
Hartshead beat bottom side Sherburn White Rose 3-2, and Huddersfield Amateur’s match with Headingley was postponed.
Oxenhope Recreation secretary Ray Broadbent hopes success in the cup can act as a springboard to turn around his club’s ailing fortunes in the league, writes ALEX MILLER.
They beat Aberford Albion 2-1 in the League Cup to mark their second cup win in a month, but this success is less forthcoming in Division One, where they find themselves second from bottom after relegation from the top tier last season.
“The cup wins have certainly been good for confidence,” Broadbent said, “but we would prefer for them to have come in the league so we can start to move away from the relegation scrap we’ve found ourselves in.
“We weren’t expecting to be in this position at the start of the season, to be honest. We were hoping we’d be able to bounce straight back into the Premier Division.”
It’s been a tough couple of years for the Keighley side, who lost several players in the summer of 2016 and haven’t yet been able to recover.
“We’ve got a really good crop of youngsters who, in time, will become very good players. It’s a matter of keeping them all together because they will come good, there are some 18 and 19 year olds that are going to be extremely good footballers.”
One shock of the congested round of League Cup fixtures was to the detriment of out-of-sorts Leeds Modernians, who went down 2-0 to Division Two Kirk Deighton thanks to goals for Luke Duberry and Daniel Grannon.
Similarly, Kellingley Welfare shocked Rothwell 2-0, and the third bottom-tier side to overcome a higher-ladder outfit was Swillington Saints, who beat Howden Clough on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
Boroughbridge beat East End Park 4-2 and Whitkirk Wanderers eased past Huddersfield YM 4-0. There was no real chance of a shock at Kippax, who beat Garforth Rangers 3-0, whilst third-tier leaders Otley Town beat Knaresborough Celtic 3-1.
There were no goals in the weekend’s only non-Premier Division league fixture as Featherstone passed up the opportunity to leapfrog Rawdon Old Boys into the Division one top spot.