In their previous match against Bridlington, Town got the performance but not the result, but in this game against Arnold Town the opposite was the case although the win was nevertheless deserved.
Both sides started the game at a good pace; Leon Henry driving towards goal and shooting a yard wide and Arnold’ ex-Doncaster Rovers star Tristan Whitman volleying over the top inside the first five minutes.
Henry then set up Danny Naidole to cross for Tom Matthews to head wide from close range. Arnold were struggling to cope with Town’s pace and James Hurtley headed Naidole’s corner wide and then Naidole himself tested the visitors’ keeper Jack West with a 25 yard effort.
Hurtley did brilliantly to track back into the box to deny Aaron Large after an Arnold break, but the Town pressure finally brought it’s reward with a goal on 12 minutes. Good build up play allowed Tom Matthews to deliver a slide rule pass to Ben Thornton and he showed great composure to steer the ball past the advancing West.
Town continued to dominate; Adam Wilson’s pass sent Ernest Boafo on a mazy run and his dangerous cross was nearly turned into his own net by defender Matt Blake. Arnold created a good shooting chance for Whitman after some neat passing but Tom Taylor in the Town goal tipped his shot over the bar.
Another Naidole corner was headed onto the crossbar by Jaggar, quickly followed by a Town break and a driven low cross from Matthews which was well cleared.
Arnold started to get into the game; first a good back post header from Nick Labatte was well saved by Taylor, then a smart half-volley from Rick Law was just off target, followed by a run and low shot from Large that again Taylor had to deal with.
Things got even better for them on 41 minutes when they grabbed an equaliser with a superbly executed free kick from Aaron Large that found the top corner.
The goal woke Town up and Naidole nearly regained the lead with a volley from Boafo’s cross that was saved by West.
Town started the second half on top but they couldn’t really get any fluency into their play.
The first chance of the half came on 58 minutes when Matthew’s right wing cross was a fraction away from giving Boafo a free header from six yards out.
Paul Quinn made his first substitution on 60 minutes, Joe Mitchell replacing Thornton in midfield. Five minutes later Town had regained the lead when Adam Wilson’s perfectly delivered cross from wide right, was headed home by Tom Matthews.
Quinn immediately brought on the more defensively minded Tom Brown for midfielder Hurtley with a clear intention of not giving away the lead again.
There was little in the way of goalmouth action, although Town had a major let-off on 75 minutes when Law crashed a shot against the upright and away to safety.
Town made their last change with 10 minutes remaining; Naidole leaving the field to be replaced by Ben Charlesworth who did a good job holding the ball up for Town in an unaccustomed centre forward role.
Boafo went on another powerful run before passing to Matthews but he was driven wide of goal before being tackled. Matthews then chased down a backpass to West and managed to block the keeper’s attempted clearance, but West managed to recover as the ball rolled towards goal.
Brighouse Town 2
Baris NCEL Premier Division
By Ray McLaughlin