BRIGHOUSE TOWN manager Paul Quinn says he travelled back from the Giant Axe Stadium a disappointed man after the setback to his play-off place ambitions and with injuries to two players.
His day had started early in London when he left his in-laws house after a New year break to travel up by train and meet the squad at the ground that didn’t need a pitch inspection.
There was early elation for him as in the seventh minute Town took the lead with a superb piece of football resulting in a tremendous strike from the outside of Tom Haigh’s left boot from 25 yards which gave home keeper Mike Hale no chance.
“For 20-25 minutes we were in complete control and dominated the possession and then after Tom’s (Haigh) injury and the subsequent one for Mark Bett, who had come on for him, we dropped off the pace and allowed them to come at us,” said Quinn.
“They got their equaliser with us not clearing a corner and then gained in confidence.
“I said at half time that we had enough chances after the first goal to kill off the game and we should now go back on and take the game by the scruff of the neck once more.
“However, a few minutes into the half, when the referee gave a soft free-kick outside of the box against James Hurtley and their man put it in the net from a deflection off our wall, we disappointingly fell away
“For the rest of the second half we huffed and puffed and offered nothing in the final third. We have two or three of our players out of form and we need them to get back into their recognised form and doing what they know best.”
Haigh’s goal had come off some neat play from Ryan Hall and Ernest Boafo and, three minutes after his goal, Haigh repaid the compliment for Hall but the keeper just beat him to the ball.
Boafo skied over, Hall went close again and Isaac Baldwin had a chance but it remained 1-0 until the 25 minute when Tom Kilifin, back from his short spell at neighbours Kendal Town, scored his third goal in as many games since returning to the Dolly Blues.
A Ryan Winder corner was partially cleared by Kurt Harris, the ball came back to Winder who then fired in on goal and Kilifin flicked it wide of debutant Bradford City apprentice keeper Chandler Hallwood.
On 30 minutes, Haigh went down in a tackle and had to be helped from the field. Bett came on to replace him and was only on the field 13 minutes before he was injured stretching for a ball wide out on the left. In between times Kilifin had hit a post on 37 minutes with Hallwood left exposed and Jacob Gregory and Kilifin had created another opportunity to take the lead.
Leon Henry came on to replace Bett and in time to see Boafo miss the target when well placed,
Town were the first to attack in the second half but then disaster struck as policeman referee Nathanael Cox gave the weakest of free- kicks as Hurley appeared to collide with the home attacker just outside the box. Hallwood looked to have placed his wall and was in a good position but Winder’s free-kick came off the wall and that was that.
Town’s Adam Field, who the home sponsors gave as their man of the match, combined with Hall and Baldwin before the ball was back with Hall, who fired wide.
Hurtley burst through in great style and then should have fed the unmarked hall but was then dispossessed.
Baldwin tried but found he was losing possession while looking for an attacking option and then, as frustrations grew, Adam Wilson was booked for a tackle on Kilifin. Subsitute Ben Thornton also found himself in the book.
Lancaster had three chances inside two minutes to make the game safe but were denied and in the final minute of added time Sam Hewitt put in a back header into a crowded home goalmouth forcing Hale to make a tremendous one-handed save to deny Town at least taking a point home with them.