Whatever happens to Sherburn White Rose this season, forward Danny Middleton is unlikely to forget the final 15 minutes of his side’s 5-1 win over Headingley on Saturday.
The goal-hungry frontman bagged a smash-and-grab hat-trick and was sent off within the final few moments of a match which saw his side catapulted up to fifth.
“It took the gloss off it to be honest,” admitted Sherburn manager Martin Shaw. “Danny is a top player but, to be honest ,you’ve seen the best and worst of him in a small period of time there.
“Both yellows were for bad language, and it just wasn’t clever. The last one was after Headingley scored in the last minute and Danny blew up at our keeper, which is obviously daft at 5-1 up with a minute to go.”
“With it being the last minute I’m not sure the ref had to show him another yellow card and I hoped common sense might have prevailed, but it’s happened and we’ve got to do without him for a match in a couple of weeks now.”
Despite Middleton’s dismissal, Shaw was proud of his players’ performance on what he described as an outstanding display against one of the division’s better sides. Alongside Middleton’s goal rush, which now takes him to 11 in 13 games, Brett Smith scored a first-half brace.
Along with Headingley, Sherburn were promoted from Division One having finished third last season, and whilst Shaw, who took over as manager in August, is proud of the position the club finds itself in, it doesn’t come as too much of a shock
“When I took over I was told the objectives were quite simple – to stay up,” he said. “As the season has gone on I think we have proven that we should finish in the top half.
“I keep telling the lads that we need 30 points or more to stay up and that’s still what we’re aiming for, but I think that we can look at the top six.
“You’ve got some really good sides in Carlton, Beeston, Field and Leeds City, but outside of them I think you’ve got a few teams hoping to get themselves just outside them.”
Sherburn’s win took them ahead of Knaresborough Town and Field.
Knaresborough were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by Ilkley Town, who had a goal from Adam Fowler and a late clincher from Dan Henderson to thank for their first win in five, whilst Field’s game at home to Shelley was postponed.
Further up the table, Carlton continued their dominance with a 6-0 win over relegation-threatened Oxenhope Recreational thanks to stellar performances from the dynamite duo of Scott Hargreaves, who scored two goals, and Reece Fennell, who claimed a hat trick for the big-hitters.
Dan Chadwick completed the scoreline.
Second-placed Beeston St Anthony’s packed their scoring boots in a 5-2 win against Brighouse Old Boys. James Allan and Matt Nebard bagged two apiece for the reigning champions.
Pool kept up their recent good form with a 3-1 win over Horbury Town, and Leeds City, meanwhile, saw off Wetherby Town 3-1.
In the league’s highest-scoring encounter of the weekend, Hunslet Club beat Robin Hood Athletic 7-4.
In Division One, third-placed Wyke Wanderers kept the heat on the absent sides above them by beating struggling Swillington Saints 4-2.
Leeds Modernians edged out Whitkirk Wanderers 2-1 and Huddersfield Amateur beat East End Park 3-1.
Old Centralians matched a result with their up-curve in form to beat Kippax 3-2, and Boroughbridge beat Howden Clough 4-3 to win the weekend’s battle of the midtable.