Promotion rivals Scarborough Athletic dealt Brighouse Town’s hopes a blow with a 2-0 victory at a packed Dual Seal Stadium on Saturday.
A record crowd for Town of 1,059 saw the huge, experienced team of Athletic boost their promotion chances when they took control of the last 30 minutes of the game to sink the hearts of the Town supporters.
Although Brighouse were not entirely outplayed, size and experience was key in Scarborough’s victory.
The atmosphere around the ground was electric. The away fans were also joined by former Bradford City and Hull City striker Dean Windass, whose wife Helen is the sister of their assistant manager Darren France.
Windass follows the team whenever he can and also put his boots back on for the club last season.
Almost 20 minutes had gone before there was any real chances. Scarborough’s Peter Davidson cut inside his marker but his shot was deflected for a corner from which a shot from Jimmy Beadle was wide of the mark.
James Hurtley looked to hit back for Town but his effort went straight at Arran Reid. The ball went up the other end and a Tony Hackworth header from a Bryan Hughes cross was gathered by Tom Taylor.
Athletic gave away possession and had keeper Reid to thank when Luke Gibson forced him to make a fingertip save while Taylor reciprocated at the opposite end when Beadle created a chance for skipper Hackworth. Jaggar went in to assist Taylor on the line and came off the worst when he clashed with Hackworth and left the pitch, Joe Mitchell coming off the bench.
At half time Brighouse made another substitution with Craig Thornton coming on for Luke Gibson and it was all Town in the opening 10 minutes with Mitchell testing Athletic’s keeper.
Another blow for Brighouse was the loss of Leon Henry with a hamstring problem and Ben Charlesworth took his place off the bench.
However, the tables started to turn and the visitors took the lead on 63 minutes after sustained pressure.
Hughes’ corner was flicked on to an unmarked Ryan Blott and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net.
With time running out Brighouse were looking for an equaliser but with just 12 minutes to go Hughes put the ball through for Beadle who rifled his shot past Taylor.
Scarborough now just need four points from their last two games to secure the title, and although Brighouse still have four matches left, it would need Scarborough to lose one of their games for them to be in with a shout.
Manager Paul Quinn said afterwards: “Of course we are very disappointed. I don’t really know how to sum up my emotions.
“Scarborough deserved their win, they took their chances well. The boys did their best but came up short and it just wasn’t our day.
“Losing our captain early on didn’t help as you don’t really want to be making changes that early. However, we can’t hide behind that. We felt at half time that if we could give more support to Tom Matthews it might turn around, but we didn’t take our chances and we were punished.
“The battle is on while we still have a chance. There are 12 points available and although it is out of our hands, which isn’t ideal, we will keep fighting.”
Brighouse Town 0
Scarborough Athletic 2
Baris Northern Counties East League Premier Division
Brighouse: Taylor, Hewitt, Henry, Wilson, Jaggar, B Thornton, Hall, Hurtley, Naidole, Matthews, Gibson. Substitutes: Charlesworth, Brown, C Thornton, Mitchell, Porter
Scarborough: Reid, Ingram, Horne, Milne, Plummer, Davidson, Hughes, Hackworth, Blott, Beadle, Miller. Substitutes: Kemp, Hawkes, Brown, Bennett, Anyonwu Ugdchukwu