BRIGHOUSE OLD BOYS’ four-match winning streak came to an end in somewhat controversial circumstances at struggling Shelley.
After the home side’s heavy defeat the previous week, manager Kim Farand warned the players against any complacency and, in fairness, the team set off with the right attitude and sense of purpose.
The home side came out with intent but the visitors, with their excellent passing and movement and determined defending, were controlling the game.
But, after 35 minutes, the game turned when a mishit clearance from defence was picked up by the home midfield and the ball was played through to Andy Farrell, who drove it home to give Shelley the lead with virtually their first meaningful attack. Two minutes later and Old Boys were 2-0 down and down to 10 men. The ball came across into the area to Farrell and Michael Barlow moved swiftly to challenge as the shot went wid. The referee, however, decided to award a penalty and sent off Barlow. Farrell then beat Jason Hibbert from the spot.
Despite being a man down, the visitors took the game to Shelley after the break and were rewarded when James Coates’s through ball was finished in style by Richard Heins.
Striker Liam Curtis came on but before he could make an impact Old Boys were 3-1 down and reduced to nine men.
A Shelley player appeared to dive and land on the ball with his hands. Play was waved on, however, and centre-back Jonny Haigh attempted to make a last-ditch tackle but caught the player and the referee awarded a penalty and sent him off.
Old Boys made it 3-2 after 70 minutes when Coates’s corner was headed home by the irrepressible Tom Wright.
Old Boys thought they had equalised after yet another great break when Atkinson’s powerful header from Heins’s cross crashed against the underside of the bar and was cleared. Then with 10 minutes left there was more controversy when Wright’s through ball released Curtis, who broke way before he was brought down on the edge of the area.
The referee decided it was just a yellow for the Shelley centre-back and their goalkeeper made a tremendous save from from the resulting free-kick from Coates.
Then, in the last minute, the game was put beyond the visitors when the home side broke away and scored.
On Saturday, Old Boys entertain Leeds City (2.30pm).