Oxenhope 4 Horbury Town 3
OXENHOPE got three points on the board at the first attempt in the new season but it was a game that swung one way and then the other as both teams battled to gain any fluency against a strong cross wind.
The hosts took the lead on the half hour when good build-up play between Ollie Metcalfe and Michael Garnett set up Dan Moriarty, who drilled the ball past the Horbury keeper.
Within minutes the visitors equalised when defensive indecision allowed their striker to nip in and poke the ball over the line.
On 40 minutes Oxenhope regained their advantage from a Moriarty corner, Scott Nelson powering in to head the ball home. Just before the break Metcalfe should have increased the difference but his shot struck the foot of the post.
Early in the second half it was Tom Marshall’s turn to hit the woodwork when his shot hit from distance smacked against the crossbar.
The home side were made to regret those misses as a speculative cross-shot was headed in for the equaliser and it was now Horbury in the ascendancy.
Midway through the second half they went in front. Oxenhope’s keeper Hudson parried a shot, the ball ricocheted round the goal mouth like a pin ball, twice being cleared off the line but was eventually knocked in.
Oxenhope now pulled out all the stops and their efforts were rewarded on 80 minutes when Garnett played the ball wide to Marshall on the left.
He went past his marker and put over a weighted cross for man of the match Moriarty to bag his second.
With just two minutes left, a long ball down field by Hudson was met by Garnett, who controlled it, beat the defender and hammered the ball into the far top corner for the winner. He was subsequently engulfed under a sea of bodies by his relieved team-mates.
Oxenhope entertain Leeds City at the Recreation Ground (2.30pm) on Saturday and travel to Beeston next Wednesday (6.15pm).
Oxenhope: Hudson, Day (Gaughan), Kaine, Nelson, Walton, White (Fox), Ritson, Metcalfe (Morris), Moriarty, Garnett, Marshall.
Hunslet Reserves 3 Oxenhope Reserves 2
Oxenhope’s second string travelled to last season’s runners-up and found themselves two goals down but battled back to draw level with strikes from Liam Blacka and Will Lee.
They should have gone on to take the lead but wayward shooting let them down. The game was eventually settled when the unfortunate Dale Hawker put through his own goal.
Oxenhope Reserves 9 Field Reserves 3
On Monday night it was a close game up to half-time, with Oxenhope holding a slim 3-2 advantage, but in the second half they turned in a superb attacking performance.
The goals came in braces from Gaz Ritson, Craig Morris and 16-year-old Lewis Hopkinson, plus strikes from Leon Smith, James Bailey and Tom Thompson. The team travel to reigning Alliance League champions Beeston Reserves on Saturday (2.30pm).