Oxenhope 1

Pool 0

AFTER their outstanding victory at West Yorkshire League Division One leaders Boroughbridge the previous Saturday by playing attacking, passing football, this week Oxenhope had to dig in and grind out a 1-0 win against Pool.

The home team were missing two of their key players in Mark Bentham and Scott Nelson, so the visitors had the advantage of strength and height which they used to their benefit.

Pool had the best of the early exchanges; a free-kick saw their striker have a free header and with the goal at his mercy he inexplicably put his effort over the crossbar.

Then, from another free-kick, Oxenhope defender Joe Jalil had to clear off the line.

The home side gradually started to get more into the game Tom Marshall used his trickery to set up Dan Moriarty, he put in a cross from the byline but no one was there to put the ball away.

The game now swung from end to end, Oxenhope goalkeeper Ricky Driver producing a couple of outstanding saves, while at the other end, a Luke Scott header from a corner smacked against the post, only for Pool to hit the woodwork soon after.

In the second-half with the weather and under foot conditions worsening the match turned into a midfield battle.

Driver produced another quality save at the foot of his post, while Lee Reilly and Moriarty both had half chances.

On 70 minutes the break came, Marshall weaved his way into the box along the dead ball line, the Pool keeper rushed out but in his attempt to block the danger brought Marshall down from behind. Moriarty stepped up and confidently stroked home the resulting penalty.

Pool now cranked up the pressure in search of the equaliser, as Oxenhope were forced to defend in numbers over the last 20 minutes with Oxenhope’s back line of Joe Jalil, Dan Scott, Luke Scott and Owen Williamson putting in an outstanding display of defensive football to keep the visitors at bay.

The home side’s work ethic in this game was superb as they all put in a shift to preserve their continued-up turn in form over recent weeks and now sit comfortably in mid-table.

This Saturday Oxenhope entertain Featherstone (2.30pm).

Oxenhope: Driver, Jalil, Williamson, Scott L, Scott D, White, Bailey, Moriarty (Ward), Reilly, Quinlan (Makinson), Marshall.

Meanwhile, Oxenhope’s young second string bowed out of the League Trophy at the third round stage, losing 3-0 to Ilkley Reserves.

On Saturday Oxenhope Reserves travel to high-flying Leeds City Reserves (2.30pm).