FA Cup heroes given almighty scare as Town rue bad fortune

Tom Haigh for Brighouse.
Tom Haigh for Brighouse.

AFTER the first 20 minutes Town gave a tremendous account of themselves and did n0t deserve to comeback across the snowy Pennines without reward.

Any neutral coming into the ground after Abou Sanogo had given the home side a 1-0 lead after 18 minutes would not have known who were league leaders and the lowest- ranked club still in the FA Cup come next weekend.

Town, even with five regulars missing, played well for the remaining 25 minutes of the first half and were better in the second 45 minutes.

On a very cold day in mid-Cheshire, the end-to-end football did keep the supporters on their toes.

Even before Sanogo had scored Town had their moments at the other end but the goal did come after some concerted pressure over five minutes.

On 13 minutes Town keeper Paul Hagreen saved well from Josh Amis, then two minutes later Iain Howard rattled the crossbar with a stunning right-foot shot, on 17 minutes Stuart Cook just headed over before they eventually found the breakthrough.

Left-winger Jordan Williams, easily Vic’s best player on the day, had a mazy run and then squared for Sanogo to rattle home a shot that was going away from Hagreen.

Town pressed the activation button and moved forward well with first Tom Haigh and then Ernest Boafo working the right side and cutting in towards the box. Haigh was then booked on 21 minutes but a Vics player did not receive the same punishment after taking out Boafo.

Town were playing some good football from the back, with the excellent Chris Fisher and the always energetic Adam Field pushing them forward. Field, Ben Thornton, Haigh and Isaac Baldwin then almost constructed the first goal but it was the same old tale, great approach play and no luck in the final third.

At the other end on 36 minutes Hagreen pulled off a quality one-handed save off Williams who had cut in and then let fly. Town looked as though they might get one as the Vics’ box resembled a pin ball machine but try as they may several blocks kept them out and then the referee’s whistle aided the homes side as a Vics player went down injured just outside the six-yard box.

Town, with skipper Adam Wilson, James Hurtley working his proverbial socks off at centre back and Sam Hewitt working the ball well in midfield alongside Kurt Harris, took complete control. Haigh had a good chance to score but was denied by Mason Springthorpe.

New signing Tommy Cooney from Sligo Rovers t replaced Thornton and his fresh legs just added more impetus to the Town attack down the left. Haigh and Boafo, who was having a hard time trying to break the shackles of 6ft 4ins skipper Mike Clarke, were within inches after weaving runs. And Hurtley on two occasions, once with his back to goal, was unlucky.

Town’s manager Paul Quinn then gave promising teenagers Connah Judson and Jack Normanton runs for Haigh and Baldwin respectively, and they showed up well against a big strong defensive and midfield unit as they also tried to get the all important goal.

“We couldn’t fault the lads for their efforts against this side and to be honest after the opening 20 minutes there was only one side in it-us,” said assistant manager Mark Booth.

Brighouse Town: Hagreen, Field, Fisher, Wilson, Hurtley, Hewitt, Harris, Thornton, Baldwin, Boafo, Haigh. Substitutes: Judson, Stead, Allison, Cooney, Normanton.

Northwich Victoria: Springthorpe, Byrne, Duxbury, Krou, Clarke, Astles, Sanogo, Cook, Amis, Howard, Williams. Substitutes: Ali, Smith, Roddy, Ball, Burnett.