A FABULOUS curled effort from Eli Hey proved a fitting end to the season for Brighouse Under-19s, as they picked up a point against Ossett Albion in their last Northern Alliance League fixture.
Brighouse made a strong opening to the match, making particularly positive inroads down the left flank.
Dan Stirland worked the first opening from out wide as he ghosted into the penalty area, but Ossett keeper Liam Barrett managed to gather having spilled at the first attempt.
Stirland was once more involved as Town continued to press and it was he who started the best move of the first half.
His lay-off found Connor Ashworth who in turn expertly slotted the ball to Thomas Rose but Barrett made a spectacular diving save to tip his goalbound effort wide.
The Albion keeper was to have a good match for the visitors and once more denied what looked like a good goalscoring chance.
Rose saw his initial effort blocked and Hey pounced on the rebound but Barrett once more kept his side’s clean sheet intact with a fine parry.
It took until the half hour mark for Ossett to create any goalscoring opportunities, but they did go on to finish the first half strongly.
Visiting captain George Cass looked to have headed just inside the post, but Town keeper Joe Stead got down to make the save, but the deadlock was finally broken shortly afterwards.
The Town defence switched off momentarily and a free kick into the box was squared by Will Chambers allowing Seon Ripley to tap home from an acute angle.
The second half started with a good opportunity for Ossett but Town slowly turned the screw and got stronger as the game wore on.
Conner Tuff had to make a goal-saving clearance from on the line but Brighouse pushed on from the scare to start to dominate possession.
Ben Grech-Brooksbank delivered a quality free kick on to the head of Jack Sewell but the midfield man headed over, before a one-two between Ashworth and Hey culminated in the former curling wide with plenty goal to aim at.
The chances kept coming and it looked inevitable that a deserved equaliser would be Town’s reward.
Sewell stung Barrett’s fingers with a rasping shot, before Grech-Brooksbank did not quite get the contact required in hooking a shot wide when well placed.
Just desserts were served up though, and a fine finish it was from Hey.
Matthew Hartley found the attacker and he deftly dropped the shoulder to work space for the shot before whipping the ball into the corner of the net.
Both sides had late shouts to win the match, but none were able to be dispatched.
Barrett once more proved arch-nemesis for Town’s attackers as he made another fine save from a Grech-Brooksbank effort.
Substitute Will Tolley side footed wide having been found at the back post.
Ossett too could have stolen all three points, but Rikki Lee-Paylor’s free header in the box fell nicely into the hands of Paul Hagreen who had replaced Stead between the sticks at half time.
The match brought the curtain down on an incredibly successful three years of football under head coach Simon Wood in the Northern Alliance League, as the club restructures next season in alternative competitions.
On top of delivering two League Championships and a League Cup victory, as well as this season’s outstanding achievement of reaching the First Round proper of the FA Youth Cup, Wood and his coaching team have produced a string of fine players who are currently, or will in the future, be equipped to represent the Brighouse Town first team with distinction.
This is the biggest tribute to pay to Wood and his coaching team as this is the remit of any Academy set-up within a football club and he is thanked by all at Brighouse Town.