West Yorkshire League: Pitts puts title talk on hold despite perfect ten

Ben Andrew scores for Rothwell against Middleton Park. PIC: Steve Riding
Ben Andrew scores for Rothwell against Middleton Park. PIC: Steve Riding
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Carlton Athletic manager Mark Pitts is refusing to let his players get too far ahead of themselves after his side thumped Brighouse Old Boys 10-0 on Saturday to record their 10th win out of 10 matches in a league they are dominating.

Pitts, who has already made it clear that his side are using last season’s near misses in the league, County Cup and District Cup as motivation for success this time out, maintains that despite their perfect start to the season, his side are taking it one game at a time.

“We’re taking it week by week,” he said, “to start like we have done is obviously brilliant, and if you’d done it in any league you’d be buzzing, but amongst the lads we’re not even mentioning it [the 100 per cent record].”

Hat-tricks for top-scoring target man Scott Hargreaves and midfield maestro Andrew Payne did the bulk of Saturday’s damage for the table toppers, whilst there were also goals for Reece Fennell, Kris Robertshaw, James Kirson and Kingsley Wetherald.

Aside from their run of results, Carlton have scored 50 goals already this term, 20 more than anyone else in the division, and boast the league’s meanest defence, having conceded only 10. Their only slip-up this season was in the District Cup, where they came unstuck in a lacklustre performance against Real Moor.

Saturday’s defeat meant that Brighouse slipped into the relegation zone on goal difference and sit just a point above bottom club Wetherby Athletic, who did Carlton a favour in a shock 3-2 win over Beeston St Anthony’s.

“It was a boost for us,” said Pitts, reflecting on a weekend during which third-placed Field lost to Robin Hood Athletic. “Nobody could have expected Wetherby to beat Beeston and those results go to prove that, in this league, you can’t overlook anyone.

“If teams don’t turn up you can get burnt. There are some good sides further down the league that maybe just haven’t had much luck this year. In this division anybody is capable of beating anybody.

“Last weekend allowed us to open up a gap on the rest, but there are still 20-odd games left and a very long way to go. We’re not counting our chickens by any means.”

Six points back from Carlton, second-placed Beeston St Anthony’s bounced back from their shock defeat against Wetherby in unconvincing fashion.

They edged past struggling Ilkley Town 2-1 thanks to goals from Matty Moon and Ryan Bailey, whilst Danny Chadwick netted for Ilkley.

Meanwhile, Field dropped further behind in the title race after dropping points in a 2-2 draw at Pool, and fourth-placed Leeds City became the latest side to fall foul of the resurgent Robin Hood Athletic in a 2-1 defeat.

The youngsters at Wetherby Athletic picked up their second league win in as many weeks with a thrilling comeback over fellow strugglers Oxenhope Recreation.

There were goals for Andrew Graham, Arran Horton, Joe Whiteley and Finlay Edwards as Mark Foster’s side moved within a point of the safety zone.

Elsewhere, Knaresborough Town moved into fifth with a 4-3 win at Sherburn White Rose, Shelley drew 2-2 with Hunslet Club, whilst Horbury Town and Headingley settled for a 1-1 draw.

In Division One, there were braces for Wayne Ball and Daniel Empsall as Hall Green Wanderers retained their place at the top with a convincing 4-0 win against fourth-placed Howden Clough. They are sitting pretty a point ahead of Wyke Wanderers, who beat Leeds Modernians 2-1, with three games in hand.

Third-placed Hartshead overcame Old Centralians 3-0, Kippax beat Featherstone Colliery 2-1, and East End Park, in sixth, drew 2-2 with Swillington Saints.

Whitkirk Wanderers picked up their third win of the season in a 2-1 victory over Boroughbridge, whilst Aberford Albion beat Otley Town by the same scoreline.