Billington suffers knockout blow and forces abandonment

Craig Billington was knocked unconscious following an accidental collision with one of the visitors and the encounter had to be abandoned as it was decided unwise to remove him immediately from the pitch.

Thankfully, following a period of observations overnight in Calderdale Royal Infirmary Billington has now made a full a recovery.

This match between the Ex-Pro Academy based at Brighouse and a Brighouse Town Under-18s team featured a couple of overage players.

Referee Gary Porter managed a fast and high tempo game very well but had no option but to call the game off when it was clear Billington would not be able to be moved for a while before being taken to hospital.

Thjere were impressive debuts from goalkeeper Kyle Hancock, midfield player Marcus Hadfield and winger Ash Muncaster.

The match provided the management team with a good insight as to the likely team line-up for the forthcoming FA Youth Cup game at home on September 21. The goals were scored by Billington (2) and Josh Knight.

The Development team had travelled to Leeds Beckett Park on Friday night for their third Galaxy Lancashire League game of the season.

They drew 2-2 after being 2-0 ahead with five minutes to play against a RIASA East side that were strengthened by Northern Counties East League players and one on the books with Guiseley in the Vanarama National League.

The Development side were strengthened by the inclusion of first-team squad members Isaac Baldwin, Dan Illingworth, Will Tolley and Ash Scully, all needing game time.

On the 3G surface, the game was always going to be played at a high tempo and the home side settled quickly but resolute defending from Tim Wallace, Ellis Nicholls, Illingworth and Tolley and the confident handling of Luke Hirst prevented them scoring.

Baldwin and Jack Normanton both had half-chances and Macaulay Peacock hit a wayward shot for Brighouse.

The second half saw the introduction of new prospect Shelden Rodgers and Scully, with Baldwin being given a free role to play off Peacock.

This change had an immediate impact when Rodgers broke and the ball was transferred across for Normanton to finish in style.

Defensively, Brighouse continued to look assured with Jean Khasa defending very well at right-back and Wallace and Illingworth dominating at centre-back.

Baldwin had a further opportunity before, after 70 minutes, the lead was doubled when Cal Lewis drove from midfield to release Rodgers, whose shot was parried and Scully scored.

Then, the RIASA full-back was able to run almost unopposed and finish confidently into the far corner and, with the final whistle approaching, a cheap free-kick was conceded and the ball was hit into the top corner.

Manager Charles Tolley said: “Being 2-0 up with only five minutes remaining, it was disappointing to concede two late goals, but there were many positives to come out of the game.”