West Yorkshire League: Community-spirited Headingley are aiming to defy the relegation odds

HEADINGLEY are determined to overcome the odds and secure their Premier Division status for 2019/20.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 6:25 am
Nathan Kemp celebrates scoring Carlton Athletic's third goal in the win over Beeston St Anthony's. PIC: Steve Riding

The Leeds side are locked in a deep battle with Rawdon Old Boys over the last relegation spot, but joint-manager Tom Monkhouse is determined to keep motivation high.

He said: “It’s been a mixed season. After four games we found ourselves rock bottom with no points.

Reece Fennell shoots for Carlton but his shot goes wide as Beeston goalkeeper Stehen Kerr has it covered. PIC: Steve Riding

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“You wouldn’t blame some people for thinking that this was the writing on the wall, but we were confident that we had real quality within our squad and, if we could keep morale high, then results would start to turn.

“As we neared the halfway point in the season, we sat in mid-table, with games in hand on those above us.

“However, 2019 has been nothing short of disastrous for us with a mixture of poor performances, injuries and absentees and, unfortunately, it has seen us drop into the relegation zone.

“It’s very difficult after such a bad run, but we know we have the fight and the passion to do everything we can to stay in this division.”

Anees Younis shoots for Carlton against Beeston St Anthony's. PIC: Steve Riding

Headingley are a relatively new club having been founded in 2001, but their charitable work has the entire club and its community proud.

“In recent months, we have built a relationship with a new charity called ‘Gambling with Lives’,” Monkhouse explained.

“This is a charity close to our hearts after we lost a player to an addiction back in 2013.

“We hold an annual tournament where we bring old and new players together for a footballing feast and raise money for a chosen charity – this year it was ‘Gambling with Lives’ and we raised over £3,000.

“Since then we became the first club in England to have a gambling charity as our main sponsor. It’s events like this, along with our unbelievable social scene, that makes Headingley AFC a club that people are proud to be part of.”

Second-bottom Salts – mathematically – saved their Premier Division status for another few days with a 4-3 win over Rawdon Old Boys. But Salts must win all of their remaining three games to have any chance of remaining in the division.

Bottom club Wyke Wanderers are already down and fourth-bottom Rawdon are one point and one place above Headingley, having played a game more.

Carlton Athletic are now within touching distance of a third-straight title after they defeated their closest challengers Beeston St Anthony’s 3-0.

Nathan Kemp, James Kitson and Ben Scargill were all on target for the visitors who stretch their lead at the top to 10 points with four games left to play.

That result saw Beeston fall behind Leeds City on goal difference and Ilkley Town, who picked up a point in their final league game of the season in a 1-1 draw with Knaresborough Town.

Darren Munday put Town ahead, before Tom Hesketh rescued a point for the hosts just before half-time. Beeston, though, have games left.

It is equally as tight in the midfield pack, with Knaresborough’s 1-0 win over Wyke Wanderers and Field’s 3-1 triumph over Huddersfield Amateur leaving Huddersfield, Horbury Town, Field and Knaresborough all tied on 37 points from seventh to 10th on the league ladder.

Boroughbridge stretched their lead at the Division One summit with a 5-2 victory over Hartshead. After defeating title rivals Aberford Albion 2-1 earlier in the week, Bridge now enjoy a five-point lead with two left to play.

Hartshead were 5-1 victors over Leeds Modernians, while Featherstone Colliery won 5-4 in a goal-fest at Kirk Deighton Rangers.

Campion Reserves, meanwhile, wrapped up the Division Two title with a 5-0 win over Kellingley Welfare. Ripon City also defeated Brighouse Old Boys 2-1.