Baris NCEL Premier Division
BRIGHOUSE Town completed the double over local rivals Liversedge to claim the bragging rights in the big Boxing Day derby at Clayborn.
In spite of a very strong wind having a major affect on the game and making it difficult for both sides to get the ball down and play at times, the game was nonetheless entertaining throughout.
Town could not have had a better start to the game; taking the lead after only 32 seconds. Luke Gibson, who was outstanding throughout, carried the ball in field before threading a pass through to Tom Matthews.
The young striker, who is really looking at home in a Town shirt, weighed up the situation on the edge of the box in an instant, slipped the ball around one side of a defender before running around the other and then coolly lifting the ball over the advancing keeper for a fine goal.
It was Town who had to play into the strong wind in the first half and this allowed Liversedge to get the ball into the Town box from deep. Liversedge looked particularly dangerous from set pieces and long throws with ex-Town captain Darryl Leach the main threat.
On seven minutes, Ryan Brook did well to clear a back post header from Leach and moments later former Town striker Nathan Cartman smashed a low free kick from Alex Hallam against the Town crossbar.
Liversedge were having a good spell of pressure and Jamie Wasley forced Tom Brown into an important clearance near his own goal line following a wind-assisted long throw.
It was the quarter of an hour mark before Town managed to put some football together when Tom Brown won the ball and fed Matthews who linked up with Danny Naidole; the move progressed and ended with Shane Hamilton crossing into the box.
Liversedge fullback Jerome White didn’t quite get the distance he would have liked with his defensive header with the ball dropping to Luke Gibson on the edge of the box.
The skilful winger’s first touch was good, and his second touch was superb as he smashed the ball into the far corner of James Waggett’s goal to make it 2-0.
The second goal deflated Liversedge for a spell and Town were seeing plenty of the ball. Hamilton’s hard work forced a corner on 20 minutes, Naidole found Adam Wilson who clipped the top of the cross bar with his cross. Naidole and Gibson then combined to put Hamilton through but Larkin got back to block his shot.
Just as it looked like Liversedge’s heads were dropping, they pulled a goal back, Leach’s back post header was turned over the line by Dave Bordman on 24 minutes. The game sprang into life again; Leach was booked for a tackle on Matthews and then had a header disallowed for offside. Jagger then followed Leach into the referee’s book for a similar challenge.
Town regained their composure with Greg Porter prepared to do the “ugly stuff” for the team in midfield and Anthony Haigh made good use of possession when he had the ball. Town keeper Ben Imeson’s intelligent throw released Hamilton before Matthews forced White into conceding a corner. Naidole’s flighted cross was hooked just wide of the far post by Jagger.
On 36 minutes Wasley’s cross floated against the Town cross bar then minutes later, Liversedge had better luck when Bordman’s shot from outside the box took a massive deflection to leave Imeson helpless and level the scores at 2-2.
Passions started to rise and just before half time Naidole and Hopkins were both booked for a bit of “handbags” which in fairness would have better been dealt with by a quick word and getting on with things.
Even though Town had conceded a two goal lead, the players knew how difficult Liversedge would find defending in the second half against the wind but they could not have hoped to score again within the first minute of restart.
Naidole let fly from 25 yards and when his shot came back off the cross bar, Tom Matthews reacted first to make it 3-2. Town poured forward, Hamilton shot wide after Haigh found him with a clever pass and Matthews broke clear down the right flank but his cross didn’t find a colleague. Haigh’s free kick then found Jagger well placed but he couldn’t keep his header on target.
Liversedge finally settled and Cartman nearly equalised with their first attack of the half on 55 minutes when he hooked Leach’s flick-on just wide. Town were dominant however, Haigh forced Waggett into a brilliant save from his 25yds dipping shot and from the resulting corner Jagger again won the ball but headed wide.
Danny Hull replaced the hardworking Hamilton on 60 minutes and five minutes later a bizarre incident held the game up for 12 minutes. Referee Alan Hull went down, unchallenged it has to be said! with what looked like a muscle injury that meant he could no longer take part in the game, an sssistant taking over in the middle and a volunteer taking over as a linesman.
Town didn’t let the break in play affect their concentration because straight from the restart Naidole made it 4-2 when he seemed to mesmerise the home defence on the edge of the box with his footwork before finding the bottom corner of Waggett’s net on 66 minutes.
Despite a two goal deficit, Liversedge were never going to throw the towel in and Wasley worked hard down the right flank to get back into the game but he was against Tom Brown who was in fine form for Town. Waggett again excelled with save from Haigh’s volley as Town were finding plenty of space as Liversedge threw men forward.
Naidole got a well earned rest with twelve minutes remaining, Sam Akroyd replacing him to bolster the midfield and close the game out for Town. Hull’s energy was causing the tiring home defence problems; one burst down the right wing from Jagger’s pass nearly gave Town another goal but Matthews couldn’t beat Waggett after Hull had squared the ball to him.
Town did manage to finish off with a fifth goal on 90 minutes when Gibson’s perfectly hit cross-shot found the net just inside the post with unerring accuracy to cap a fine performance by the diminutive winger.
Manager Paul Quinn was rightly proud of his players after the match:
“When you have good players who are also prepared to work hard for each other, then you’re always in with a chance of winning football matches,” he said.
Quinn added :“We defended as a team when we needed to, and the quality of the goals we scored was top class”