West Yorkshire League Division One: Oxenhope Rec 3 Howden Clough 2

OXENHOPE climbed out of the relegation zone with a narrow victory which should have been far more comfortable considering their domination.

Played in a biting cold wind on a sticky and uneven pitch, the home side started quickly with a succession of corners and shots from distance.

On 20 minutes the pressure told. A diagonal ball into the box was collected by Lee Reilly, who beat his marker and rounded the keeper before slotting home.

Within two minutes the visitors levelled when a cross from the left to the far post was headed in. This gave Howden a lift and they went on the offensive.

A looping header was turned over by Oxenhope keeper Stu Devlin and he was called upon again to touch the ball round the post with a diving save.

On the half-hour Oxenhope regained the lead. Reilly and Tom Marshall linked up well before the latter’s shot was blocked but went in off a defender.

This settled the home side and they regained the initiative. Sean Quinlan went close when he weaved his way through but the Howden keeper blocked his effort.

Owen Williamson, who was a constant threat down the left, played a through-ball to Reilly, which saw the striker hit the bar. His shot came down on the line in the mud and was hacked away by a relieved defender.

A short corner routine between James Bailey and Marshall saw the cross headed towards goal by Luke Scott but the keeper turned the ball over the bar.

Oxenhope were rocked back on their heels when Howden Clough scored in their first attack of the second half. Cutting through the defence, a Howden striker confidently rifled in the equaliser.

The home side responded with Reilly and Bailey going close before the latter, on 55 minutes, swung in a corner and Luke Scott swept the ball past the keeper to restore the lead.

From then on it was all Oxenhope as they mounted wave upon wave of attacks. Man of the match Williamson produced all the ammunition as the home side laid siege to the Howden goal but efforts were either saved or blocked.

Both teams became heavy-legged as the pitch took its toll.

In the last minute the visitors had a chance to pull off an unlikely draw when a free-kick was fired into the box. The striker hit the ball first time but it flew off the back of one of his colleagues and wide of the post, much to Rec's relief.

This victory lifted them three places in the table and out of the relegation zone with games in hand.

On Saturday they visit Craven League Premier Division side Cross Hills in the quarter-final of the Keighley Cup (1.30pm).

Oxenhope: Devlin, Fleetwood, Scott D, Nelson S, Scott L, Quinlan, Makinson (Bailey E), Bailey J, Reilly, Marshall, Williamson.

West Yorkshire League Trophy Round Two: Kippax Reserves 2 Oxenhope Reserves 8

Alliance Division One side Oxenhope Reserves eased their way into the next round against Division Two side Kippax Reserves.

Jamie Longley grabbed a hat-trick and there were braces from Will Lee and Jason McGee, plus a goal from Connor Pepper.

On Saturday the reserves host Keighley Veterans in the Keighley Supplementary Cup (1.30pm).