West Yorkshire League: Bardsey wait for crown as Athletic show grit

Beeston St Anthonys v Bardsey West Yorkshire League Premier Division sat 12th april 2014 Jamie Thompson of Bardsey tackled Lee Turnbull of Beeston   100393m picture Steve Riding
Beeston St Anthonys v Bardsey West Yorkshire League Premier Division sat 12th april 2014 Jamie Thompson of Bardsey tackled Lee Turnbull of Beeston 100393m picture Steve Riding
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Bardsey were last night checking their phones to find out if they had been crowned West Yorkshire League champions, again.

Field, the only team that can deny Lee Barraclough’s men a fourth title in five years, needed to beat Brighouse Old Boys yesterday evening to keep the title race alive, after the News went to press.

Bardsey, themselves, missed an opportunity to wrap up the league title away at fierce rivals Beeston St Anthony’s on Saturday as they fell to only their second defeat of the season 1-0.

With the title almost assured, Barraclough admitted his players had already started planning the after season celebrations.

He said: “I firmly believe we can lose the last two games and win the league because Field aren’t going to win all theirs.

“We are on 68 points, and if Field win all their last eight games they would go to 69. I can’t see that happening.”

Despite his attentions on the top of the league, the Keswick Laners’ gaffer lent his support to neighbouring Wetherby in their race to beat the drop.

Athletic recorded back to back wins for the first time to bolster their hopes of pulling off a remarkable survival.

Inspirational winger Jack Emmett scored a dramatic winner, after earlier scoring Athletic’s opener, to secure a 3-2 victory over Shelley.

On their survival chances, boss Mark Forster said: “I believe, and I think the lads are starting to believe it now too.

“The lads are doing it for themselves and they are making a very big fist of it.

“I still think we need three wins out of five. If we do that, we will stay up.”

Barraclough added: “I want them to stay up. They have some good young footballers and play football the right way.

“You want to keep the local derbies in the league.”

Athletic tackle relegation candidates Otley Town at the Ings on Saturday (2.30pm), and they would close within three points of their opponents with a win.

Whitkirk Wanderers seem set for the drop after failing to show up at Oxenhope Recreation on Saturday, leaving Kippax, Wetherby and Otley fighting to stave off the remaining drop spot.

On the weekend clash, Forster added: “If we can beat them, they will have to start looking over their shoulders”

Bardsey conceded their first goal in more than seven and a half hours as they lost at Beeston.

Rob Dickinson, John Swift and Danny Maw were all absent and Barrclough’s men lacked their usual cutting edge.

This week, the leaders will wrap up the championship with victory away at Hunslet Club.

Barraclough added: “That was the first goal we had conceded in seven and a half hours. That’s not done very often and we have never done that before,
“Hunslet is another tough place to go. It’s in inner city Leeds, with tough kids. We will have to match them in the battle.”