THE West Yorkshire League’s 2015 champions Field are suffering a huge player shortage, compounded by two manager departures this season.
Field fell to a heavy 7-2 defeat away to Ilkley at the weekend, with many players out of position as the former league champions struggled to raise a squad.
Reserves team manager Matthew Vickers has taken charge of the senior side until the end of the season, sharing the role with reserves co-manager Nick Martin.
Reflecting on the turmoil at the club, Vickers said: “Things aren’t too great right now.
“The first-team manager has left and quite a few of the lads are cup tied, so had to play in the reserves.
“It was a great effort for us just to get a team out today against Ilkley.”
Many in attendance at Ilkley’s Ben Rhydding Sports Club venue were baffled when goalkeeper Daniel Farrar was sent up front just after half-time.
Forward Jack Webster took over in goal, although Farrar then quickly got on the scoresheet.
“Farrar was up front last week and played really well,” explained Vickers.
“Webster suffered an ankle injury so we wanted to see how he coped before we put him in net, I guess when we made the switch, that reflected in the scoreline.
“The fact we are struggling for players is frustrating, but that’s amateur football for you, every club goes through it.
“A couple of years ago we were winning everything under the sun, and now to this.
“The club is always looking to recruit and we need to make sure we have 14 players for both teams which we can’t do at the moment.
“I don’t think there is too much difference between managing the second team and the first.
“I know everyone in that changing room as they have all played for the reserves at some point, but this is a learning curve for myself during this bad patch.
“We aren’t going to recruit a new manager until next year, so hopefully they will have some pulling power and contacts to improve the squad.”
The win for Ilkley allowed them to take another chunk out of Beeston’s lead at the top, with the early-season pacesetters suffering a 3-2 defeat to in-form Hunslet.
Hartshead and Hall Green United remain level on points after their 3-3 draw at Princess Mary’s Athletics Track.
The sides occupy 12th and 13th places respectively, yet find themselves only nine points behind Ilkley in second. Two goals for Matthew Jackson along with strikes from Slater Barnes and Mike Hall wrapped up a comfortable 4-0 win for Huddersfield Amateur over Sherburn. White Rose have not won a league match since August.
Pool and Robin Hood Athletic played out a 2-2 draw, while Leeds City picked up a vital 4-0 win over Shelley, allowing them to leapfrog their rivals into third with six games in hand.
James Hochstrasser’s City double was supported by goals from Andrew Crossland and Sean Fitzpatrick.
Knaresborough Town were in West Yorkshire League Cup action and they breezed past Headingley 4-1.
Goals came from Michael Fargher, Brandon Andrews-Bligh and a brace from Lewis Pye.
WHITKIRK WANDERERS lead Division One on goal difference after Rawdon Old Boys were held to a 2-2 draw at sixth-placed Boroughbridge, writes JAMIE WOODHOUSE.
As Rawdon had to settle for a point, two goals from Daniel Sheriffe plus one each from Jamie Hainsworth and Glenn Hendrix gave Whitkirk a 4-1 win at home to bottom club Brighouse Old Boys.
East End Park are now just four points off top spot after their 3-0 home win over Wetherby Athletic.
Featherstone Colliery also remain in the title hunt after they dispatched Leeds Modernians 3-1 thanks to goals from Andrew Burton, James Dunn and Jordan Hale. Victory for Oxenhope Recreation over Howden Clough means the sides are now level on points in what is an extremely tight relegation battle.
Lee Reilly and Luke Scott had seemingly done enough to earn only a point for Oxenhope, before a Howden Clough own goal gifted all three points to the hosts.
Altofts were able to put an end to their poor form to triumph 3-0 at home to Kippax. The hosts had failed to win any of their previous eight games.
Wyke Wanderers lost ground in their title push, after a surprise 2-1 loss to Rothwell.
In Division Two, Kirk Deighton Rangers are now only one point off leaders Swillington Saints after they hammered winless Garforth Rangers 4-0.
Swillington are now looking nervously over their shoulders at Kirk Deighton following their 3-3 draw with Knaresborough Celtic.
A red card for Shaun O’Neill did little to help Saints as they fall into the clutches of the chasing pack.
Hosts Huddersfield YMCA played out a 2-2 draw with Hampsthwaite United while Kellingley Welfare and Ripon City also drew 1-1 at Kellingley Social Centre.