TOWN rode their luck but came away with three valuable points against last season’s FA Vase semi-finalists Staveley. The Chesterfield district visitors were left wondering how they hadn’t managed to even score in this match, let alone win it, after they created numerous chances especially in a dominant first half performance.
Town started the game well and saw plenty of the ball in the opening 10 minutes without really creating a chance. After that, Staveley took hold of the game with some excellent build up play and showed why they are arguably the best side in the League when in possession of the ball.
Jordon Eagers had already gone close after a goalmouth scramble on 10 minutes, when a minute later Joe Thornton crashed a shot against the post following a neat back-heel from Andy Fox. The Town back four were working overtime to keep Staveley out and behind them Tom Taylor was in superb form in goal.
The Town midfield were struggling to create anything going forward as Staveley played the ball about confidently. Town then lost midfielder Greg Porter to injury, James Sutcliffe replacing him.
Town had another let off when a cross into the box found Thornton in space 10 yards out but Taylor spread himself to deny what looked a certain goal. On 27 minutes Thornton passed to Fox and he saw his low shot hit the inside of the post and bounce into the grateful arms of Taylor.
Staveley were still dominating possession, but Town were managing to restrict clear cut chances although Taylor still had plenty of handling practice to keep him busy.
Town would have been delighted to get to half time with the game scoreless, but two minutes before the break they got a real bonus when taking the lead. The ball was fed wide to James Hurtley whose excellent cross skimmed off the head of a defender leaving Tom Matthews to side foot home at the back post.
Staveley started the second half with a couple of early chances; Taylor denying Thornton with a good save and Fox curling a shot just wide. On 55 minutes Ernest Boafo hit a low near post shot into the side netting after Ben Thornton and Luke Gibson had combined. Soon after, Ben Thornton’s effort just cleared the crossbar after good build up from Hurtley, Boafo and Matthews in what was Town’s best move of the match.
Midway through the half Staveley started to get on top again. Thornton’s dangerous cross forced Adam Wilson to make a superb clearance and from the resulting corner from Fox, Thornton put a free header over the bar from six yards out. Nick Jagger then made a crucial clearance from substitute Matt Brissett’s shot.
Ryan Hall replaced Luke Gibson on 74 minutes and the youngster’s pace gave Town a good outlet on the break. Boafo made a strong run towards the box before squaring the ball to Ben Thornton; a deflection looked like it would beat keeper Tom Turner but he managed to gather the ball under his crossbar.
Staveley were inches away from equalising when Thornton whipped in a cross that was deflected towards goal and James Sutcliffe reacted well to clear on the goal line.
Staveley started to throw more men forward in search of an equaliser and leave gaps at the back. Hall turned superbly on halfway and raced away from marker James Colliver, but his low shot was well saved by the advancing keeper.
Ben Charlesworth replaced Matthews on 83 minutes and his physical presence at both ends of the field eased the pressure. Charlesworth’s accurate long pass found Hall who pulled the ball back for Sutcliffe to fire over with a couple of minutes to go.
Brighouse Town 1 Staveley MW 0
By Ray McLaughlin
Baris NCEL Premier Division