Reserves miss out in closely fought final

Brighouse Town Res v Bay Athletic. Andy Hawker
Brighouse Town Res v Bay Athletic. Andy Hawker

WITH the weather conditions being horrendous at the Shay, Town gave one of their best performances of the season.

Their young guns pushed Ovenden all the way in this hard fought final.

The superb pitch at The Shay meant Town could get the ball down and play, and this suited them and meant the crowd was in for a great evening’s entertainment.

The game started with neither side taking the early ascendancy.

It was Ovenden who created the first chance of any note when John Booth broke down the right flank, but striker Andy Gregory scuffed his shot into the hands of Paul Hagreen.

The game was becoming a midfield battle with neither side taking a backward step, as Town’s Gregg Porter and Thomas Rose matched Mathew Jones and Michael Ayscough stride for stride.

Town almost took the lead on 20 minutes when a quick throw by Sam Coop sent Ben Grech through on goal. He stood Ovenden’s centre half Graham Hall up, before ghosting past the big centre half, but the young striker saw his shot hit the side netting of Moroney’s goal when the far side of the net was gaping.

Ovenden reacted quickly, with Damian Randall breaking the offside trap down the left.

Hagreen came off his line to force Randall wide and the winger crossed from the left, but Town’s Dave Conway was on hand to head the ball over the bar from a yard out.

Booth was starting to cause problems for Town, as his runs from his right wing position were getting harder and harder to cover.

The deadlock was broken on 30 minutes when another run from Booth broke the Brighouse defensive line, and this time he made no mistake as he calmly slotted the ball past Hagreen to give Ovenden the lead.

Ovenden almost doubled their lead minutes later when another break by Booth found Steve Fullard but the striker could not add the finishing touch.

Town’s strikers Grech and Andy Hawker were causing problems, but Ovenden’s centre backs Hall and Ian Hudson were dominating the aerial battle.

Alex O’Keefe was providing an outlet down the left for Town, and from one break just before the interval almost grabbed town an equaliser.

O’Keefe beat his marker but the cross was gathered safely by Chris Moroney.

A minute into first half injury time Ovenden grabbed the all important second goal, when Andy Gregory broke down the right before cutting in and poking the ball past Hagreen.

At the interval first team manager Paul Quinn gave an inspirational speech which galvanised Town, sending them out into the second half with belief and a sense of determination.

At half time Town lost Dave Woffenden to injury, with Eli Hey replacing the injured right winger, and this resulted in Hey going up front and Thomas Rose moving to the right.

Within minutes of the restart Town made their intentions known, when Grech released Hey in on goal, but Moroney was alive to the break and cleared the ball from the edge of his box.

Porter and Grech were starting to gain the upper hand in midfield, as Town started to dominate possession and much of the play was now taking place in Ovenden’s half.

Coop now had the dangerous Booth shackled as the rain poured down, and as the surface was becoming wetter by the minute. Grech found space after Mathew Parker had won the ball on the half way line,

The young striker slipped the ball to Hawker, who played Hey in on goal, but again Moroney was alive to the situation and cleared the ball from the advancing Hey.

Then Town grabbed a goal with the move of the game.

Fullback Luke Hammond slipped the ball to Rose just over the half way line, the midfielder beat his marker before slipping Hey in down the right flank, and the striker pulled his marker wide before turning inside Hudson.

Hey picked his head up before slipping Rose in on goal. He had continued his run from the halfway line, and the young midfielder was first to the pass inside the box.

As Moroney came off his line, Thomas poked the ball past the advancing keeper into the empty net.

Town now had the bit between there teeth, as their young guns pushed Ovenden all the way.

Hagreen had to be on his toes as he denied Booth at the back post, as the ball got stuck in the mud.

Town were giving it all they had, and in the closing minutes they had their best chance of getting level, when Rose again broke down the right, he crossed for Hey but at full stretch the striker could not add the final touch to draw Town level.

It was testament to Town’s efforts and work rate that Ovenden were knocking the ball into the corners and playing for time.

But, at the final whistle it was Ovenden who were the victors, but Town can be proud as they pushed them all the way.