BRIGHOUSE Town produced a devastating display of finishing, scoring seven times and leapfrogging Parkgate in the table up to sixth position.
Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, this was a very tough game against a good Parkgate side that had scored six goals in each of their last three homes games.
Unusually, for such a one-sided scoreline, as much credit should be given to the way Town defended as to the way they attacked, so manager Paul Quinn was delighted with a near perfect team performance.
Parkgate clearly intended to start quickly and put Town under pressure, with strikers Ashley Worsfold and Brian Cusworth a handful for centre backs Nick Jaggar and Adam Wilson but Town were up to the task.
Plenty of balls were being delivered into the box by Parkgate, Matthew Outram particularly adept with either foot, but Ben Imeson in the Town goal showed excellent handling and came off his line well to help his defence.
Town’s first foray into their opponents’ half created a chance when Tom Matthew’s shot was well blocked after he was played in by Leon Henry on eight minutes.
After 15 minutes Town looked to have weathered the early onslaught without really allowing any clear cut chances to be created and were now starting to cause the home side some problems.
On 17 minutes Henry and Danny Hull combined well to set up Matthews but he was tackled before he got his shot away and Hull then fired over with Henry again supplying the cross.
A “one-two” on the edge of the Town box on 25 minutes between Cusworth and Worsfold saw the latter’s low shot well saved by Imeson but four minutes later Town broke and took the lead.
Hull and Matthews worked a chance for Luke Gibson to nick the ball past the keeper and roll it into the empty net.
Parkgate tried to respond through Cusworth but he was denied by an excellent tackle from Wilson and Tom Brown and Ryan Brook were doing a good job of stifling the supply from the flanks.
Town made it 2-0 on 35 minutes with a brilliant finish from Matthews who controlled a long through ball, shrugged off a defender and then coolly placed the ball past the keeper.
The second goal spurred Town on and they were playing some great flowing football.
Hull’s surge into the box was denied by a good tackle and Henry’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Bailey.
On the stroke of half-time, Town nearly increased their lead with another good move.
Hull won the ball and released Matthews inside the box. He squared the ball back to Hull but the keeper pulled off a great save to keep his side in the game.
This reprieve was only temporary as Town came out in the second half and blew Parkgate away with some scintillating football.
Jaggar had already created a half chance for Matthews before the outstanding Greg Porter won the ball in midfield and played a slide rule pass for Matthews to run on to and slip the ball past the advancing keeper to make it 3-0 on 52 minutes.
Parkgate responded with a Worsfold effort that was saved for a corner which resulted in Imeson saving a header from Cusworth.
Town immediately broke with pace. Matthews released Henry down the wing and his cross was expertly steered into the net by Hull to make it 4-0 on 55 minutes.
Town poured forward and made it 5-0 two minutes later. Henry fed Hull who drew the keeper and squared the ball across the face of goal towards Matthews who pressurised Parkgate captain Matthew Griffin into putting the ball into his own net.
Town made a double substitution to add some fresh legs on a hot afternoon. Shane Hamilton and James Sutcliffe replaced Haigh and Gibson but Town’s dominance was not affected and they made it 6-0 in the 63rd minute.
Matthews flicked on at the near post from a corner and defender Wilson’s back post volley was worthy of a top striker.
Parkgate showed what a good side they are by taking the game to Town despite the scoreline and they got some reward by pulling a goal back on 66 minutes from sub Chris Wood.
Paul Quinn introduced himself off the bench to give the hard working Porter a rest and help Town withstand another spell of pressure from Parkgate.
Imeson made a couple of important saves in a mad goalmouth scramble that Town somehow managed to keep the ball out.
Town settled and got back on top. Hamilton broke clear but had his powerful near post shot saved by Bailey, then on 81 minutes Sutcliffe made it 7-1 with a beautifully executed free kick from 25 yards out that left Bailey clasping at fresh air.
Town finished the game still creating chances. Matthews and Henry set Sutcliffe up to hit a low shot on target and Tom Brown broke forward late on and crossed for Henry to have his header saved.
A 7-1 victory away from home against any side in the NCEL Premier Division deserves credit, but to do it against such a good side as Parkgate makes it all the more impressive. The challenge for Town now is to keep this level of performance up to the end of the season.