IT wasn’t pretty at times but Town got the job done against an Armthorpe side that always makes it difficult for opponents on their own patch. Tom Matthew’s nine minute hat-trick was obviously a major factor in the victory, but a solid team performance was the platform for the win.
Town’s confident start could have ended the contest within the first 20 minutes. From the kick-off, Matthews raced clear toward goal, but his cut back which would have given debutant Ryan Hall a tap-in was cut out with a last minute interception.
Armthorpe did possess a threat with their long throw tactic, trying to utilise 6ft 4in Leo Fortune-West’s aerial ability and his flick on to former Manchester United product Ben Muirhead after four minutes saw Tom Taylor make a save.
It was Town who were totally dominating though; Ryan Hall had a low shot saved and then a long ball out of defence from the outstanding Adam Wilson released James Hurtley but he could only poke the ball the wrong side of the upright as the home keeper Will Briggs rushed off his line.
On the quarter hour, Ernest Boafo showed great skill to beat three defenders on the edge of the box but missed the target. Matthew’s then latched onto a through ball, but his lob over the advancing keeper landed on the roof of the net. A rare break from Armthorpe saw Hurtley intercept and then feed Matthews who beat two defenders before crashing a shot against the crossbar.
Town finally made the breakthrough on 32 minutes with a good team goal. Hall showed good vision to find Hurtley in space just outside the box and his first time pass allowed Matthews to shoot low and hard from 18 yards forcing Briggs to parry the ball out to Boafo who tucked the rebound home from an acute angle.
Town created more chances before the break; Ben Charlesworth, who had a superb game and largely came out on top in his physical battle with Fortune-West, won an important tackle and played the ball to Matthews who in turn laid the ball back to Greg Porter who had his low drive saved by Briggs. Porter had two more attempts at goal before the break; his first from a Matthews pass was well blocked and then he couldn’t quite find the finish after working a nice wall-pass with Hall.
Just before half time Taylor produced a brilliant tip over from Craig Aspinall’s goal-bound pile driver, and then the Town keeper reacted smartly to save Muirhead’s glancing shot after Fortune-West had flicked on.
After dominating the first half, Town found themselves on level terms within the first two minutes of the restart. Town had several opportunities to clear the ball but ended up giving away a free kick on the edge of their box. Berivan Khaled stepped up and smashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
Town responded well with Leon Henry’s tenacity showing the way. Ben Thornton released Hall to cross for Hurtley who was inches away from a diving header. Boafo and Hall had a couple of chances before Hurtley’s pass found Matthews on 60 minutes and he expertly fired home to restore Town’s lead.
Six minutes later, Boafo showed great pace on the break to set Matthews up to make it 3-1. Matthews wasn’t finished yet, and he made it three goals in nine minutes when he finished off a great team move.
Keeper Taylor’s distribution started the move that saw Hall release Thornton in the box and when his shot was only parried by Briggs, Hurtley laid the ball back to Matthews who completed his hat-trick and made it 4-1 to Town.
Boafo pulled a hamstring and had to be replaced by Antony Brown and Paul Quinn quickly got more fresh legs onto the park; Jamie Arundel replacing Hall and James Sutcliffe replacing Thornton.
Armthorpe rallied and pulled a well worked goal back on 77 minutes when the lively Paul Ashton produced a good finish from the edge of the box. A minute later, Town had a let-off when Khaled’s inswinging free-kick from wide eluded everyone in the box and bounced to safety off the crossbar.
On 86 minutes, James Sutcliffe ended any hopes of an Armthorpe comeback when he curled a trademark free kick into the top corner to make it 5-2.
In the final minute Joe Mitchell’s deep cross found the head of Brown but his header was saved by Briggs for the final action of the game.
Armthorpe Welfare 2
Brighouse Town 5
Baris NCEL Premier Division
By Ray McLaughlin
BRIGHOUSE Town finally got their FA Youth Cup campaign underway with a 2-0 win at Guiseley.
Town took the lead in the second minute when Robbie Wadsworth reacted quickest to fire low from close range and it was 2-0 five minutes later this time top scorer Eli Hey smashing home.
A very high standard of football from both young sides made for a very entertaininig game for the 100 plus spectators,
Guiseley came out like a steam train for the second half in an attempt to try and dictate play. Town resisted and defended brilliantly, breaking on the counter to good effect.
Town did what all good sides do and saw out the game to complet an outstanding victory against a very good side and they could have added to their lead with late chances but will no doubt be happy with the win and clean sheet for Richard Roberts and the rest of the defence who were superb.
Town will be at home to Hall Road Rangers or Harrogate Town in the next round.