MOST of last weekend’s West Riding County League games went ahead, and Second Division leaders Athletico were hoping to retain the large gap between themselves and the chasing pack that now includes visitors Burley Trojans.

Early on, a great free kick from Isma Ali led to skipper Ikra Ali putting Athletico 1–0 up. There were few chances for either side, with good play from Aqsa Ahmad.

The second half saw a brilliant, deserved equaliser from Holly Limon, earning Troggs a share of the points.

Queensbury Celtic were away to second-place Knaresborough Town, with the fixture switched to the nearby King James 3G pitch.

A competitive first half saw a hard-working performance from Queensbury. Although Knaresborough scored four goals, they had missed a good number of other chances to increase that score significantly. It also has to be said that Queensbury didn’t come to defend, and offered a threat up-front when they were able to work the ball up to their strikers.

The second half saw the hosts finishing well to end the match at 11–0 up. Queensbury Celtic acquitted themselves superbly, continuing to try and play football throughout the 90 minutes, and contributed a huge amount to the game that may not be reflected in the final score. Player of the Match: Leah Jones.

Bradford City’s u21s were away to Rangers Athletic at Oxford Road.

It was a tough challenge for Rangers against a young City side. The hosts worked hard to press on and attack as well as cover the ground getting back to defend, Abbi Hughes playing a crucial role in defence, controlling the back line as well as pushing forward to put pressure on the opposition. Overall a great performance, but it was City who walked away with the three points to retain their third place in the table, with good work from Ella Barnes, and three well-taken goals, one from Megan Davis and a Crystal Boyce brace.

In County Premier, Thackley were at home to Silsden Juniors, with both sides seeking points to move further away from the foot of the table.

A battling Thackley fought back from being 4–1 behind, to score two late goals to finish with a slightly more respectable 5–3 score-line, with Megan Butterworth, Lois Cooper and Carly Doyle on target. But it was still a loss to an improved, young Silsden side, who scored through Player-of-the-match Kayla Williams, Victoria Greenwood on her début, and a coolly-taken hat-trick from Megan Gillibrand.

Bradford (Park Avenue)’s visitors were second-place Leeds Medics & Dentists, who are celebrating 25 years since formation.

Medics were first of the mark. However, Bradford were soon level after a fantastic goal from Kirsty Russell-Holt, who got on the end of a brilliant ball in from Kerrie Zserdicky-Shirt. Unfortunately Medics scored again to take a 2–1 lead into the break.

Although Bradford had managed to level the score in the first half, things didn’t quite seem to click today, and Medics scored one more to take the points with a 3–1 win. Young Hannah Harrison, who has recently played with Bradford City Girls, was relentless at centre-back, deservedly earning her first Player-of-the-match award.

In County Third, Field took the short trip to top-of-the-table Skipton Town Development, for what was anticipated to be a tight game.

The first half was indeed evenly-matched, with both teams creating chances and having good periods of possession. Skipton’s ’keeper Laura Thurling made a few good saves, and Field were saved by the bar twice after two strikes from distance. Late in the first half, Field’s resistance was finally broken, following fancy footwork from the League’s top scorer, Elly Field, who danced her way through the Field defence, and powered a shot home.

Early in the second half, Field were dealt another blow via a quick-fire Katherine Sharp goal. However, after 75 minutes of play, the visitors were back in the game after Charlotte Hill’s effort that Skipton’s defender couldn’t prevent from going in. With only five minutes to go, a Sarah Binns corner was met by Meg Howell, whose header flew like a bullet into the roof of the net, for Field to grab themselves a much-deserved equaliser. The remaining minutes saw Field play out with composure to secure a 2–2 draw and maintain their unbeaten league run.

County First leaders Ilkley Town had a tough test away to Republica Internationale.

It wasn’t one for the purists, on a challenging pitch that led to a difficult, scrappy game. However Ilkley recorded a 2–1 win, with goals from Izzy Armstrong and Eva Curran, as they currently top the table with an eight-point margin, after challengers Farsley Celtic and Leeds Hyde Park drew 1–1 at the Citadel. A Georgia Bull header was cancelled out by an Eve Southwell goal five minutes from time.

In County Fourth, a youthful, well-organised Ilkley Development side took on Sherburn White Rose Development in a very competitive fixture. Both sides have improved throughout the season, and both held a clean sheet at half time.

The second half started with Sherburn gaining a 1-0 lead. However they could do nothing about a long-range effort from Ilkley’s substitute Vicky Beard, who levelled proceedings. On 75 minutes, a scramble in the box saw Ilkley take the lead through Evie Woolford, and ultimately the three points.

In the same division, Brighouse Town Juniors have continued their good form, with victories over Eccleshill United, Halifax Friendly, and Goole.

Unfortunately, Wakefield Reserves have withdrawn from the League, with all their results and fixtures expunged.

This coming weekend’s local fixtures include: Athletico v Garforth, City’s u21s v Burley, Brighouse Sports v Medics & Dentists, Field v Railway Reserves, Halifax FC v Hashtag United, Queensbury v Horsforth St Margaret’s, Silsden v Sherburn, and Thackley v Morley.

The prestigious West Riding County Cup reached its semi-final stage, with Leeds United away to County Premier side Leeds Modernians, and holders Halifax FC travelling over to Regional League team Altofts.

Last season, Leeds Modernians were knocked out at the Quarter-final stage by Leeds United (who then withdrew from the competition). However this season they have booked their spot in the semi-finals with wins over Thackley and Harrogate Railway, and an impressive 5-0 victory over Ossett United. Leeds United have also seen resounding victories over Harrogate Town and Brighouse Town Juniors to reach this level of the contest.

On a heavy but playable pitch, in front of an impressive attendance of 476 spectators, United started brightly, dominating possession, and moving the ball quickly despite the poor surface. After 20 minutes of chances, Leeds took the lead, with midfielder Leoni Price sweeping the ball home from the edge of the area past the despairing dive of Tara Flaherty, but Simon Wood’s side were unable to extend their lead going into the break.

The second half saw the hosts start brightly, as they searched for an equaliser. On the hour mark, Mods’ skipper Tanya Fozzard charged down a United clearance to level things up. Five minutes later, the hosts turned the tie on its head. Aimee Myers, who also plays in the Wednesday afternoon Community & Education League for Bradford City’s U19, shot towards the goal, and a mix-up between Alice Hughes and goalkeeper Abi Megeary saw the ball ricochet off the goalkeeper and into the back of the net, as Mods took the lead. The Whites brought on Harriet Jakeman and Lucy Turner, and threw bodies forward searching for a response. With less than ten minutes to go, Mods’ forward ’Tilda Beckley put the game to bed on the counter with a composed finish into the corner, for a 3–1 win, and a place in the Final.

Meanwhile, Altofts had seen wins against Huddersfield Amateur, Sherburn White Rose and Lower Hopton, and opponents Halifax FC had recorded big scores against Silsden and Knaresborough Town before meeting in the other semi-final.

In the first half, Altofts did have a few chances of their own. They were stopped in their tracks by Darcie Sugden-Brooke to deny a huge chance, and a few instances where they found themselves one-on-one with Becky Flaherty in goal but each chance wasn’t to be for Altofts, who went into the break 5–0 down.

Soon after the break, Halifax FC continued their scoring, as a brilliant pass from Maddie Oliver in the build-up allowed Katie Ramsden to finish beautifully in the bottom right corner. A ball played through by Danielle Whitham found Ellie White, who saw an opportunity to lob it out of positioned keeper and took it. After being set up by Karri Chan with some very intelligent football, young talent Izzy Armson earned her way onto the score sheet, and indeed her place as a new regular first-team squad member, with a beautiful finish on the half volley, as the game finished 8–0 to Halifax FC.

In other news, Halifax FC have confirmed that Maisie Norde and Lucy Cook have left the club to seek playing opportunities elsewhere, wishing them well for the future.

This coming weekend, Halifax FC have another big semi-final, this time in the FA National League Cup, as they welcome Hashtag United to Quaker Lane.