Otley Town match is abandoned after injury to keeper

Wharfedale Observer: James Davey, left, tried in vain to clear Ripon’s goal before it went in James Davey, left, tried in vain to clear Ripon’s goal before it went in

Ripon 1, Otley Town 1

Otley Town visited Ripon City on Saturday in the West Yorkshire League, and were on level terms midway through the second half when the match was abandoned due to a serious injury to veteran home goalkeeper Alistair Hogg.

In keeping with previous games, the opening exchanges were fiery, with the game constantly interrupted for free-kicks and accompanying lectures from the referee to offenders.

Slowly but surely though Town began to control the game, passing the ball around with confidence, although in truth without creating too many clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Nevertheless it was against the run of play when the home side took the lead, a speculative shot from 30 yards rebounding off the crossbar only to be bundled over the line by an onrushing forward, despite a valiant effort to clear his lines by centre back James Davey.

This was harsh on Town, but they didn’t panic and got themselves back into the match following a good move down the right.

It culminated in a cross from Harry Higgins, which the goalkeeper looked favourite to claim until Tom Walker nipped in front of him to glance a header into the roof of the net.

So it was 1-1 at half-time and Town continued to be the stronger team in the second period.

Toby Harris smashed the ball against the Ripon crossbar from 30 yards, and then both James Todd and Harris forced fine saves from Hogg.

It only seemed a matter of time before Town scored again but the game was then stopped following a collision involving Todd, Hogg and a couple of Ripon defenders.

Hogg lay prostrate on the ground for several minutes and an ambulance was called to take him to hospital for a check-up.

By this time, the light was fading and the referee took the decision to abandon the match, which will have to be replayed later in the season as 70 minutes had not yet been completed.

It was an unfortunate end to the afternoon, and all at Otley Town wish Hogg a speedy recovery.

Special thanks are also due to Phil Waite, who laid on a luxury coach for players and supporters, a gesture that was much appreciated.

This Saturday, Town are at Pool in a District Cup quarter-final (1.30).

Otley Town Reserves 1, Whitkirk Reserves 5

Otley Town went into this game against the leaders with no less than 15 squad players out due to illness, injury, suspensions and work comm-itments, so this was always going to be an uphill task.

That Otley Town managed to get 11 players on the pitch was a miracle and, despite the enormity of the task, outplayed Whitkirk in the opening 15 minutes.

It was during this period that Otley Town took the lead with a superb goal by match-day signing Andy Weedon.

Town continued to exert pressure and had at least three more chances to score but failed to do so.

Whitkirk then managed to score a goal out of nothing, which deflated Otley somewhat, and their second goal was a speculative 30-yarder that sneaked inside a post.

Otley continued to press but when Whitkirk broke and scored a third, the game was over. Two further late goals flattered Whitkirk.

Otley Town are at home to fierce rivals Pool on Saturday (2pm).

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