PREMIER Division side Hartshead are confident they will not be fighting for survival come the end of this season.
The club were promoted to the Premier in 2017, after finishing runners-up to Hall Green in Division One. Manager Nathan Page believes a range of factors out of the club’s control has resulted in their fall to 13th place.
“Recently we have had a lot of injuries and players with work commitments so it has been hard,” he said. “We don’t have a massive squad anyway so that doesn’t help.
“I still think we are adapting to being in the Premier League, but I think we will be safe come the end of the season. We had a good run of form before Christmas but unfortunately since we came back, we have only picked up one point against Hall Green which is frustrating.
“We were a bit unlucky not to get a draw at Leeds City, but I would mainly put the poor form down to injuries and work commitments. It has restricted us.”
Hartshead haven’t played since January due to poor weather, which gives them several games in hand over other relegation-threatened sides. Page is adamant that the club has larger ambitions for the remainder of the campaign than a relegation dogfight.
“It was our aim to stay up this year but then do well in the cups,” he said. “We are in the semi-final of the District Cup and the third round of the league cup, but the plan now is to push for mid-table in the league which would be great for our first season.”
With strong rumours that the West Riding County Amateur League is set to merge with the West Yorkshire League next season, Page was excited for the benefits it could bring.
“I’ve heard the rumours,” he said. “I think it would be good for the West Yorkshire League, as it will make the competition stronger and raise refereeing standards.”
With Hartshead desperately trying to make up ground in league competition, the last thing they needed was the postponement of their fixture at the weekend against Beeston, which duly happened.
Leeds City subsequently went top after their 3-3 draw with Hunslet. City will, however, be frustrated that a brace from Mark Ferguson and a Mitchell Pattinson strike were not enough to win the game, after Hunslet’s Omri Linfoot, Killian Mabey and Kyle Swithenbank all netted.
Headingley picked up what could prove a vital point in the race to beat the drop, after goals from Joseph Cooper and Jonathan McKinley earned a 2-2 draw with Robin Hood Athletic. Lewis Richardson’s double rescued a point for Robin Hood who are now unbeaten in their last three league games.
With Ilkley Town not in action, all eyes were on Horbury who had the chance to leapfrog them into fourth in their clash with Knaresborough.
Sam Atkinson got Horbury off the mark on the 25th minute, before Sam Cook equalised for the visitors after 69 minutes. With the game seemingly heading for a draw, Gibril Bojang netted an 80th minute winner for Horbury.
Huddersfield Amateur have now conceded 19 goals in their last three games, after their 6-2 defeat to Shelley at Storthes Hall.
The win means Shelley remain third, while Huddersfield drop to 10th. In the League Cup, Carlton Athletic picked up a 1-0 win at Hall Green United.
THE postponement of Featherstone Colliery versus Whitkirk Wanderers presented the chance for other promotion contenders in Division One to recover some ground on both sides, writes JAMIE WOODHOUSE.
Rawdon Old Boys moved just three points behind Whitkirk with a game in hand after beating Leeds Modernians 2-1 on Saturday while fellow promotion contenders Wyke Wanderers could manage only a 2-2 draw with Kippax.
East End Park are the other team in with a serious shout of promotion this season, but their game with Howden Clough was postponed.
Two teams looking to reel in East End are Boroughbridge and Wetherby Athletic, who both recorded victories on Saturday. Boroughbridge ran out comfortable 3-0 winners over bottom club Brighouse Old Boys thanks to a brace from Jake Fletcher with, Phillip Wix completing the scoring.
Wetherby, meanwhile, completed a staggering 8-5 rout of Altofts. Aberford Albion demolished Oxenhope Recreation 6-1.
The weekend’s theme of postponements opening up the door for promotion hopefuls, continued in Division Two, with leaders Kirk Dreighton calling off their clash with Knaresborough Celtic.
However, with Otley Town and Newsome both in cup action, Swillington Saints had the opportunity to go level with Kirk Dreighton at the top, albeit with a far inferior goal difference, but their 2-1 defeat to Kellingley Welfare meant they remained in third, three points off top spot.
An improving Garforth Rangers are still looking for their first win this season, despite pushing Hampsthwaite United all the way in a 2-1 defeat. The sides last met in October, where Hampsthwaite ran riot in a 10-1 win, showing the positive steps Garforth have made since then.