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Stephen Booth blasts Bingley Bees to key summit victory
Stephen Booth made up for an early miss by scoring a hat-trick as Bingley Bees beat local rivals Airedale seconds 6-2 in the Yorkshire League to remain top of Division Five North.
The Bees, who had climbed to the summit the previous week, were on the attack from the opening minute and it seemed it ought to be only a matter of time before they went ahead.
Instead they had to wait until midway through the first half when, after the normally dependable Booth had passed up a golden chance, Michael Crawshaw cashed in on a rebound off the Airedale keeper.
Booth then atoned for his earlier error by doubling the home side’s lead, with Joe Manning and Gavin Waddell quickly stretching the advantage before the interval.
The Bees let their guard down at the start of the second half and Airedale grabbed two goals in quick succession to create a few nervous moments.
But Booth restored order by netting twice to complete his treble as Bingley improved their goal difference over title rivals York University thirds, who are level on points, and Driffield seconds, who are one behind.
Meanwhile, the Bingley ladies team remain in trouble at the foot of the Premier Division after a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Thirsk, who are now three points and five places above the Bees as a result.
The ladies second team also slipped to defeat as they went down 7-3 at third-placed Kingston-upon-Hull thirds.
The hosts powered into a three-goal lead inside the first quarter of the game and the Bees were indebted to keeper Rachel Fuller for preventing a heavier deficit.
It was the second half before mid-table Bingley even looked like making an impact on the scoreline, by which time they were 5-0 down.
Jane Sharkey pulled one back and when defender Jenny Bone, from a short-corner routine, and Cath Wood, from open play, also scored, a memorable comeback looked possible.
But Hull ended that possibility with two further goals before the final whistle.
The highlight of a disappointing day for Bingley was the performance of their youngest player Maddy Silberberg at right forward.
Her skill and agility against a number of experienced opponents earned her the player of the match vote from both teams.