Charlesworth seals thrilling fightback

Football - Brighouse Town v FC Halifax Town'Ben Charlesworth for Brighouse
Football - Brighouse Town v FC Halifax Town'Ben Charlesworth for Brighouse

BRIGHOUSE Town earned an historic first ever victory in the FA Cup, but they did it the hard way, coming from two goals down at half time to reply with three unanswered second half goals to beat Silsden in an extra preliminary round tie.

The winner was scored by Town’s longest serving player, Ben Charlesworth, with only five minutes remaining and sets up a home preliminary round clash against Bradford side Ecclehsill United on August 25.

Silsden made their intentions clear from the kick-off, adopting a very direct approach but Town soon settled and forced a corner, a free kick and a long throw in quick succession; the latter being volleyed wide by Joe Mitchell. Good work from Tom Brown and Leon Henry released Ernest Boafa who found the side netting.

Town were well on top with Danny Naidole having a shot turned away for a corner by Christian Paulet-Brigg. From the resulting corner Naidole’s cross was headed towards goal by Charlesworth and when the ball broke to Tom Matthews his shot was blocked on the line.

Town had a massive let off on 33 minutes when Lee broke down the left wing and squared the ball for Mick Garrod who only had Taylor to beat. However, the Town keeper pulled off a brilliant save. Town immediately moved the ball forward and Matthews had a shot on the turn saved.

Within 30 seconds Town found themselves a goal behind after giving the ball away in their own half. A through ball saw Garrod outpace the defence, take the ball round Taylor and slot home from an acute angle.

The goal rocked Town and Silsden had their best spell of the game, culminating in a second goal on 44 minutes. The Town defenders were guilty of over playing on the edge of their own box allowing Lee to gain possession and square the ball for Gaughan to side foot into the empty net.

Mark Booth and Mark Brady lifted the players during half time and within the first minute Matthews had pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Boafa had been pulled back inside the box when through.

Silsden responded with a free kick from Lee that went inches wide, but they struggled to find a way through the Town midfield and reverted to hitting long balls that were either headed clear by Haigh and Charlesworth or over-hit.

Town were also encouraged by Silsden’s desire to run the clock down at every opportunity. Mitchell had a free kick scooped away by the home keeper, then six minutes later Booth and Brady made the bold decision to introduce the attack minded Sam Akeroyd for the more defensive minded Porter.

Town had a great chance to equalise on 62 minutes when Matthews released Naidole who sprinted past two defenders but saw his shot pushed away for a corner by Paulet-Brigg. Naidole took the corner and Matthews’ flicked header only just cleared the crossbar.

Town then had a massive shout for a penalty turned down when Boafa appeared to be taken out as he pushed the ball past the keeper.

Matthews went close to scoring when he beat four would-be tacklers before pulling his shot inches wide. Luke Gibson, who had replaced Mitchell for Town, found Boafa with a cross at the far post but he couldn’t keep his shot down.

The pressure finally paid off on 82 minutes when Leon Henry carried the ball from midfield and when no one came to challenge him, he took aim from the edge of the box and found the bottom corner with a low show that caught the home keeper flat-footed.

Town continued to push forward and took the lead on 85 minutes. Charlesworth challenged the home keeper for a high free kick and his presence saw the keeper drop the ball at the big defender’s feet and he coolly side-footed home.

Town had a great chance to wrap the game up when Boafa’s run and left wing cross saw Leon Henry blaze over from six yards before the last kick of the game had Town fans with their hands in their mouths, John Douglas letting fly from 30 yards out. However, Tom Taylor was perfectly positioned to confidently gather the ball.