BRIGHOUSE Town’s attempt to make progress in the County Cup at the expense of their Calderdale rivals FC Halifax Town ultimately ended in glorious failure.
But the players can be proud of their performance as they pushed their illustrious neighbours all the way in a game that was competitive throughout.
Halifax’s fast start caught Town a little cold and resulted in the Shaymen taking the lead after only four minutes when Lee Gregory squared the ball for Jason St Juste to tap-in.
Town were struggling to cope with Halifax’s extra man in midfield, so the Town defence of Tom Brown, Adam Wilson, Ryan Brook and James Sutcliffe were working overtime to keep them in the game.
It took Town till past the 10 minute mark to threaten the Halifax goal.
Anthony Haigh hit a speculative 35-yard shot just wide and Alex O’Keefe delivered a dangerous cross which Phil Senior gathered well.
Halifax continued to dominate and only a superbly timed tackle in the box by Wilson and a good save by Ben Imeson prevented further goals.
The pressure finally told on 19 minutes when good build up by Scott Eastwood allowed Jamie Rainford to pick his spot from 20 yards out.
Town responded well to conceding the second goal and mounted a couple of attacks;.
Shane Hamilton fed Tom Matthews who shot over the bar and Haigh had a brilliant volley from Danny Naidole’s corner cleared off the line.
As the half hour mark approached, Scott Hogan fired wide and Imeson pulled off a great save when Harry Winter burst through one-on-one.
Winter was also denied by a latch-ditch tackle by Brook as he broke into the box.
As half-time approached there were signs that Town had settled more into the match and were gaining confidence to play their own game and not sit back and watch their opponents dictate the match.
Town nearly conceded in the opening minutes of the second half when Hogan latched on to a back pass but struck the bar with his shot.
After this let off, Town played some good football as Paul Quinn’s tactical changes at half-time evened up possession in midfield and O’Keefe was making inroads down the left wing for Town.
This spell of pressure paid off on 57 minutes when Shane Hamilton pulled a goal back for Town with a close range shot.
Halifax hit back and Imeson had to be alert to sweep outside his box when Anton Foster broke through, but the next Halifax goal was not long in coming when St Juste cut in from the left wing on a mazy run before feeding Reece Richards who rounded Imeson to make it 3-1.
Town replaced Quinn and O’Keefe with Greg Porter and Josh Martin and both players quickly made an impression on the game.
Porter more than held his own in midfield and young Martin was not scared to run at the Halifax defence on the flank.
In the final 15 minutes of the game, Town had their most sustained spell of pressure with Martin and Matthews heavily involved in play around the edge of the Halifax box, but in fairness the Shaymen were not leaving many gaps to turn this pressure into chances.
The hard working Matthews was replaced by Antony Brown with eight minutes remaining and he was his usual aggressive self and caused his marker plenty of problems.
Town were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude with a brilliantly taken goal on 87 minutes when Hamilton muscled his way through and finished superbly from the edge of the box.
It set up a nervy last few minutes for the visitors who used all their extra experience to run the clock down and make it through to the quarter finals.
It was defeat for Town in front of a 272 crowd but manager Paul Quinn was delighted with the performance of his players.
he was pleased with the way they kept working for the full 90 minutes and the team spirit that has developed between the players really showed despite them being behind for nearly the entire game.