WHITKIRK Wanderers boss Les Nelson has set his sights on the league’s ‘big three’ after his newly promoted side’s 10th win of a progressive campaign.
Just three games were played in the West Yorkshire Premier on Saturday with Whitkirk 1-0 winners at Horbury Town.
A Callum Harrrison strike saw Wanderers consolidate their hold on sixth with the Blues only four behind fifth-placed Hunslet Club and seven behind fourth-placed Ilkley Town – both of whom have a game in hand.
There are then another seven points to third-placed Leeds City who are three adrift of leaders Carlton Athletic and second-placed Beeston St Anthony’s.
Whitkirk, though, are a new addition to the top tier having finished runners up in Division One last year and Nelson believes the gap to the ‘big guns’ can be bridged successfully in the next two years.
“I would say that we are not far off at all,” said Nelson. “We have beaten both Carlton in the league and Leeds City in the cup, who are both very good teams as have they shown they are always up there. Let’s also not forget Beeston who are well in the mix also.
“I have good relationships with all three managers and over the last year or so I have discussed what to expect in the league with some of them and so far it has been what I have expected. I would almost certainly say that I would hope to see us up there challenging for the title in the next year or two.”
After a first half in which Whitkirk hit the crossbar, Harrrison’s free-kick proved the difference in Saturday’s clash at eighth-placed Horbury for whom boss Darren Barnes started. Nelson added: “I think we deserved the win but take nothing away from Horbury who battled all the way and never gave in and could have nicked an equaliser at the death.
“Well done to the Horbury gaffer who got his boots on rolling back the years. We had a laugh and a joke before. He’s a top bloke and we will no doubt get together preseason for a friendly and a Pepsi!”
Longer term, though, Nelson hopes continued progression at Whitkirk can eventually have the club calling to crack open something rather stronger.
Nelson added: “We have a great set-up and structure – all senior teams bar our development team are challenging for either cups or leagues so that shows we are going in the right direction as a club. We are bringing through some fantastic, youthful, talented players, and to be able to help players such as Carl Robinson, Mason Howley, Jovanni Sterling, Kwame Boateng to name but a few, who have all played for professional clubs and giving them a platform in senior football, is great.
“I’m already planning for next year and working hard behind the scenes to further improve the club’s senior structure with the aim to keep on moving forward.
“It’s all exciting what we are doing and the buzz around the place is fantastic from players to the committee members and, not least, the fans.
“We also have one of the best junior set-ups around with all junior teams doing extremely well, so the aim has to be also to give the juniors the best platform we can to bring them through.
“I would just like to say a thank you to all our managers at the club, committee members and volunteers. Without them the club would not be what it is today.”
KNARESBOROUGH Town edged themselves further away from the bottom two of the West Yorkshire Premier Division after they came from behind to beat Headingley 2-1, writes ANDREW GATE.
Town were trailing 1-0 at half-time but Jonathon Maulin levelled the scoring on 50 minutes with Craig Robinson then netting the winner 10 minutes from time.
Knaresborough’s win keeps them within one point of 13th-placed Sherburn White Rose who also secured a vital win at the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Rawdon Old Boys.
Arran Hodgson was on the scoresheet as White Rose stay in 13th spot, only one point behind Headingley.
In Division One, Hall Green United took full advantage of Boroughbridge’s postponement as they moved to the top of the table after a 4-1 victory over East End Park.
First-half goals from Daniel Empsall and Laith Jundi set United well on their way as they raced into a 3-0 lead at the interval before going on to secure the win in the second half.
Fifth-placed Kirk Deighton Rangers also kept up with the promotion chasing pack as they romped to a 4-0 victory at Pool, with the away side’s day being compounded by a red card shown to Jordan Wagstaff after two bookings. There was also a big win for Leeds Modernians as they hit four past Otley Town in a 4-0 victory and Kippax overcame Wetherby Athletic 3-1.
In Division Two, there was more misery for bottom-of-the-table Balidon Trinity Athletic as they were thrashed 7-1 away at Hunsworth. Glasshoughton Rock were victors in an eight-goal thriller over Knaresborough Celtic as they closed the gap to top-of-the-table Campion in a 5-3 win.
Kellingley Welfare romped to a 5-2 victory over Tingley Athletic with five separate goalscorers while Alofts also ran out 3-1 winners over Swillington Saints to stay seventh.