Harrogate and District League: Kirk Deighton and Clifford reach final
Kirk Deighton Rangers and Clifford will meet in the Harrogate and District League Senior Cup final winning semi-finals 1-0 on Saturday.
Rangers secured their place with victory over top of the league Rawdon Old Boys in a feisty encounter that saw four players dismissed for violent conduct.
Rawdon had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the scores level after a host of saves denied Rangers in the opening half an hour.
Deighton finally got the goal their pressure deserved on the hour mark, when James Ripley scored a fine goal from the edge of the box.
Deighton stopper Jonty Smith was then called upon to deny Rawdon with a splendid save on 70 minutes.
But the game took a darker turn, when a Rawdon player thought he had been impeded on the edge of the box, and, after his appeals fell on death ears, a scuffle broke out between the players.
The ensuing melee led to three red cards for Rawdon and one for Deighton, which Deighton manager Dan Marshall said “spoilt a really cracking cup tie”
Clifford needed extra-time to overcome Kirkby Malzeard 1-0 in a semi-final that was nowhere near as action packed as the other side of the draw.
Windy conditions and a bobbly pitch hampered Clifford, with the best chance falling to Sam Farthing in the first half, but neither side were able to make a breakthrough.
Extra-time rolled on, and it took a penalty for Clifford to finally get on the scoresheet. Gerard McCargo was brought down in the Kirkby box and the resulting spot kick was duly dispatched by centre-back Henry McStay, who went on to collect the man of the match award.
Manager Matthew Wilson hailed an “immense” performance by the central defensive partnership of McStay and Dave Whittaker, and is relishing the chance of winning some silverware.
“We’re really looking forward to it, we’ve played Deighton twice this season, winning one and losing one, but we can’t wait.
“We’ve one more league match then a bit of a break, so we may try and organise a friendly to keep ourselves ticking over.”
Spirits are equally high at Kirk Deighton, with manager Dan Marshall eagerly awaiting the match.
He said: “It’s going to be a tight game, Clifford can beat anybody on their day but we are confident, we have to be positive and we back ourselves fully.”
Meanwhile, Division One leaders Hampsthwaite United moved within one victory away from returning to the Premier with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Beckwithshaw Saints Reserves.
United came from behind twice goals from Charlie Hartley and Stephen Trueman, captain Andy Spencer produced a spectacular effort to swing the game in Hamps’ favour.
In the Premier Division, Knaresborough Celtic secured a comprehensive 5-1 victory over bottom of the table Pannal Sports, who are without a win in 10 matches.
Beckwithshaw Saints and Leyburn United played out to a 2-2 draw, which leaves both teams in the middle of the relegation dogfight.
In Division One, Thirsk Falcons Reserves ran out 4-2 winners over the team just below them in the league standing, the Harlow hill Reserves,
Pately Bridge continues their chase for a top three finish with an assured 4-1 victory over Burley Trojans, who find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle.
They now find themselves only two points behind third place Beckwithshaw, who have a game in hand over the league rivals.
In the League Challenge Cup, Division Two AFC Horsforth managed to overcome Bedale Town, who currently sit 25 places above them in the Premier Division.
Horsforth managed to edge the game 3-2, in a hard fought victory, securing their place in the semi-final against Harlow Hill.
Fifth Placed Bramham’s push for the top three continued in fine form with a 2-1 victory over seventh placed Dalton. Bramham now lie six points behind Pately Bridge in fourth, but have three games in hand on their nearest opponents.