This was a potential pitfall for the cup holders, away to Stump Cross, a team fourth in the Halifax Premier Division, on an uneven pitch, and with an unpredictable blustery wind.
But Brighouse Old Boys came away with a victory moving into the quarter finals of the cup.
Playing four-four-two, Old Boys struggled to get into the game in the first half. The Stump Cross team especially their midfield were tenacious in the tackle not allowing Reece Bray and the cultured Tom Gorringe the time and space to put forwards Mike Pearson and Alex Tait in on goal.
In fact chances for either side were few and far between in the opening forty five, both keepers were rarely threatened, the defensive line of fullbacks Joe Nalson and Luke Johnson plus centre backs Andy Hall and Ian Brock stopping Stump Cross in their tracks.
A similar pattern emerged in the second half, Stump harassing the county side,stopping their normal one touch quick passing game but again not really threatening Jason Hibbert in the Brighouse side’s goal. A free kick outside the box to either side came to nothing, Stump shooting wide, Old Boys hitting the wall but gradually the superior fitness of the county side began to tell. A change was made, captain James Fletcher pushing up front and right winger Jimmy Cummings moving into the middle of midfield. This galvanised Old Boys and gaps were being found in the previously inpenetratable Stump defence. A corn er taken by Fletcher on the right was cleared but Old Boys worked it back to him on the right hand edge of the area. A pinpoint cross drilled into the centre was powerfully headed home by Johnson but the referee controversially ruled it out for offside.
Old Boys were now dominating possession and with just ten minutes to go scored the eventual winning goal. A shot from the left went across the face of the Stump goal, unmarked at the back post was Pearson who pounced on the ball and put it away from an acute angle, With only minutes left a double substitution was made by Old Boys, Mitch Hirst on for Pearson, Steve Ashford for Tait; the fresh legs helping them to run down the clock and clinch the tie. So, the quarter finals beckon, one more match crossed off in their bid to retain the trophy.
Stump Cross 0
Brighouse Old Boys 1
Albert Crabtree Halifax and District AFL Cup round three
Brighouse Old Boys played 90 minutes of floodlight football on Tuesday evening ahead of Saturday’s home West Yorkshire Premier Division game with Oxenhope Recreation (2.00).
Both Lidget Green-based Field and the Old Boys management wanted to get their postponed League cup tie out of the way, despite manager Phil Garbe taking a weakened team.
“I had half a team out but wanted it out of the way as no way do I want a backlog like last season,” he said.
“The pitch was freezing up all the time we were playing but it was the same for both sides and in the end we lost 4-1. With 15 minutes to go we trailed 2-1 and I pushed players up and then they found the gaps and put two more goals in.
“We want to concentrate on the league and also the Albert Crabtree Halifax Cup that we hold and especially after our 1-0 away win last Saturday to Stump Cross on a very bobbly pitch.
“This Saturday Oxenhope come to us on the back of some mixed form after blazing a trail with bags of goals in the early part of the season. They sit just above us so it should be a tight encounter but I am confident with my only doubt centre back Andy Hall (shoulder). I dropped Alex Tait back there on Tuesday and he is equally at home in both positions.”