TOWN started the new season with a hard earned win against a strong Pickering side.
The Pikes took charge of the first half but Paul Quinn sorted a few things out at half time and Town came out to dominate the second half and claim the points.
Pikes were on the front foot from the start and Town keeper Tom Taylor made a good save after only three minutes when he tipped a Steve Baxter free kick over the bar. From the resulting corner Ernest Boafa threw himself in front of a goal-bound shot from Liam Shepherd for an important block.
Town were guilty of giving the ball away in their own half by trying to over-play and were inviting pressure on themselves. This was the case on six minutes when Baxter broke clear but Taylor again came to the rescue for Town.
It took Town until the 13th minute before they threatened the Pikes goal; Joe Mitchell turning Tom Brown’s cross wide of goal. However, Town’s next attack brought them a goal. Sam Akeroyd’s pass found the run of Tom Matthews down the left wing; his dangerous cross was hacked away by Simon Sturdy but only as far as diving keeper Aaron Reid and the ball ricocheted for Ernest Boafa to have the simple job of knocking it over the line to give Town the lead.
Town were still having plenty of defending to do; Tom Brown getting back well to deny Joe Danby on the line and Taylor saving from Liam Salt. On the half hour mark, Alex Hallam did brilliantly well to get back and disposess Carl Stewart just as he was about to have a clear strike at goal. Town centre backs, Nick Jagger and Adam Wilson, were on top of their game making vital tackles and winning plenty of important headers. Before the break, Hallam had a dangerous in-swinging cross saved by Reid and Stewart fired a low shot across the face of goal, but Town were more than pleased to go in at half time leading, knowing they had played anywhere near to their best.
Town started the second half in a far more purposeful manner than the first. After only four minutes, a glorious move and pin-point cross from Matthews saw Boafa’s bullet header fly a fraction over the bar. Matthews than cut in from the left and curled a right foot shot towards the top corner that had goal written all over it until Reid pulled off a superb save.
It was all Town now apart from a Baxter header that just went wide. Tom Brown released Matthews through on goal and the Town striker’s rasping low shot brought another top class save from Reid. From the resulting corner, James Hurtley’s header was cleared off the line by Pikes’ defender Dean Craig.
On 60 minutes, Town replaced Joe Mitchell with Leon Henry as they continued to pile on the pressure and create chances. Akeroyd’s excellent delivery from a corner found Matthews in space at the back post but he flashed his header wide of the upright. Matthews then set up Akeroyd to burst into the box and was desperately unlucky to see his lofted shot over the advancing keeper come back off the crossbar.
The Pikes were struggling to get hold of the ball, but substitute Lewis Taylor did sound a warning to Town with a low shot just off target on 70 minutes. This was a rare attack from Pickering as Town were in control with Greg Porter and Hurtley bossing the midfield. Jagger broke up an attack and strode out of defence before releasing Matthews who carried the ball to the edge of the box, then setting up Porter to smash the ball a couple of yards wide.
The hard working Boafa was replaced by Ben Thornton on 77 minutes and the sub was soon in the action, bringing another save from Reid after good build up by Matthews. Town continued to push for that decisive second goal but also with half an eye to making sure they didn’t give anything away at the back, and for the main, they got this balance spot on. The lively Leon Henry crossed for Akeroyd and Matthews to both have shots blocked and some good possession football allowed Town to see the game out without to many scares.
An excellent second half, where they created numerous chances justified a Town win but they will want to start future games a lot better than they did in this game. However, the team spirit that was so evident last season shone throw again as the players worked hard for each to turn things around and take control of the game against a strong Pickering side.
At last week’s Brighouse Town AGM there was a slight restructuring of the management committee.
Over the last 12 months chairman Chris Lister has confided in colleagues he has been a little uncomfortable with his title of chairman because he’s unable to get to as many games and committee meetings as he would like due to work commitments running his own business.
Vice chairman Ray McLaughlin during that time has gradually taken on more of the day-to-day duties of the chairman’s role, allowing Lister to concentrate on more behind the scenes activities such as the finances and sponsorship.
McLaughlin explains: “Therefore, we have decided to formalise this arrangement and assign the titles to more reflect the actual duties we both perform.
“On this basis,Chris will assume the new title of CEO and I will now assume the title of chairman.
This will hopefully even out the workload between Chris and myself, without really affecting the running of the club, but secretary Malcolm Taylor has agreed to making himself the first contact point for all matters concerning Brighouse Town which should help both Chris and myself as we both work full time during the day.
“We also have a fantastic hard working committee, and we see ourselves as a team off the pitch working together to give the team on the pitch the best possible chance of being successful.”