Bardsey showed West Yorkshire League Premier title hopefuls Leeds City there is still a very long way to go before the championship is decided on Saturday.
Lee Barraclough’s troops won the contest 2-0 at a wind-swept Keswick Lane, the victory taking the reigning champions a point clear of City at the top of the table.
Ahead of the crunch clash, Bardsey were missing star marksman Rob DIckinson to a suspension, as well as a clutch of other key names.
But they needn’t have worried. Striker Danny Maw was a handful all afternoon and shot Bardsey into a 1-0 lead in the first half, while the chain-mail defensive partnership of Mick Mills and Stuart Berry refused to give City a genuine look-in throughout the 90 minutes.
“It was a tough game, we knew it would be,” said boss Lee Barraclough.
“We had a good few missing but I think we were good value at 2-0.
“The first half was quite even but once we’d scored they resorted to going long and we knew we could beat them.
“Danny Maw got the ball down on the floor and went past the centre half, that’s what he does and it was a great goal. The second was a bit scrappy but it was worked well.
“We’re top by a point, and we get a week off from the league now so we can relax a bit, and give some of the other lads a run-out in the County Cup and keep the squad moving.
“I don’t think we missed Rob Dickinson too much, the system we played took him out of if.
“The men of the match today were Mick Mills, Jamie Thomspon and Danny Maw.”
The first half was a superb illustration of exactly why these two sides are locked in a title battle.
Extremely tight, sensibly refereed, and played at a pace which would have exhausted Usain Bolt, it was difficult to call who would be first to score.
With Maw upfront, and the tireless work rate of midfielders Micky Longfellow, captain Jamie Thompson and wide man Ryan Bailey, Bardsey were determined to show City who was boss.
But City had some potent threats themselves, again, full of pace and trickery, with striker James Hochstrasser a key danger, while winger Alex Miller also found some holes out wide.
Both Maw and Miller saw shots safely pouched by their opposite keepers, and Thompson was unlucky not to tuck away a great pass laid on just inside the box by Maw after 11 minutes.
Bardsey keeper Chris Barrow was at full stretch to deny a rifled shot by City’s Charlie Lumley, and also thwarted Jez Dixon after a Miller through-ball.
Racing from end to end, the deadlock remained nil-nil up until the half-hour.
A Thompson shot had been blocked by Dixon, but Bardsey pushed straight back.
From 20 yards out, Maw dummied his way into the box, dribbling past Dan Freeman and lashing home past City keeper Declan Flowers.
City were unmoved, and when Longfellow upended Mitch Cameron just outside the box, Miller’s free kick could have brought them back into it.
But the wind was not blowing their way, as Cameron’s shot sailed miles wide.
Bardsey had a great opportunity to make it 2-0 when Bailey laid off for Maw to the right of Flowers, but the referee had blown for offside just as his perfect cross-cum-shot sailed into the net
Then just before the break, Dutson’s foul on Bailey gifted them a free kick 20 yards out.
A good delivery by right back John Swift was inches away from reaching the on-rushing Mills, but just failed to connect.
Bardsey took their lead into half-time and it looked as though CIty were going to battle them every step of the way in the second half.
But just three minutes after the restart, Bardsey killed off the game altogether.
A clumsy challenge on Bailey by City’s central defender Freeman gifted Bardsey a free kick.
Mike Toney’s set piece didn’t produce a goal, but as the ball popped back out, Maw was on hand to scoop it up.
His shot was parried by Flowers but Mick Mills was on hand to poke home at the near post.
At 2-0 down, City’s heads seemed to drop and they resorted to long-range efforts and below-par delivery from set pieces after that.
Bardsey meanwhile looked like they knew how to close a game like this out, and their defence was excellent.
Berry threw his body in the way to stop a shot from Dixon, while left back Wayne Hudson also refused to surrender an inch.
With the game not far off being won, boss Lee Barraclough reshuffled his pack.
Longfellow had already left the field with a pulled calf, replaced by Matt Dalton but Maw was taken off for Steve Palfrey, before Toney was swapped for Jason Davies.
Palfrey picked up where Maw had left off, and with 12 minutes left, after beating Leroy McIntosh for pace was clear through on goal, on to be pulled up for offside.
City had a few half-chances towards the end, Hochstrasser stopped first by Hudson before Barrow punched away two further efforts.
Right at the death, Bardsey almost had their third.
A fine curling shot out on the left by Davies beat Flowers and had to be headed off the line by Tim Baines, but the hosts could be content with three points in the back and a return to the top of the table.
Elsewhere BOROUGHBRIDGE thumped Kippax 4-0, Ripon City won 2-0 at Otley Town and Wetherby Athletic lost 1-0 at Brighouse Old Boys.
Bardsey: Chris Barrow, John Swift, Wayne Hudson, Mick Mills, Stuart Berry, Mick Longfellow, Ryan Bailey, Jamie Thompson, Danny Maw, Graeme Bingley, Mike Toney; Subs Matt Dalton, Steve Palfrey, Jason Davies; Not used, Craig Nicholas, Shaun Stevens.
Leeds City: Declan Flowers, Dan Freeman, Tim Baines, Matty Johnson, Alex Miller, Adam Dutson, Jez Dixon, Mitch Cameron, James Hochstrasser, Leroy McIntosh, Charlie Lumley; Subs Jack Tarte, Baz Frankland, Jake McCann, Nick Bishop, Rob Potter.