AN impressive and well-drilled Brighouse Town team, playing without a recognised forward line, won their final pre-season friendly in Nottinghamshire.
Town’s manager Paul Quinn was without strikers Daniel Facey, whose partner is expecting their first child any day, holidaying Ernest Bofoa and Steve Hollingworth, who was married in Cyprus this past week.
The Basford manager had last season’s Notts FA Cup hat-trick hero Stuart Hendrie making a welcome return to the line-up, whilst 2014-15’s top scorer Reuben Wiggins-Thomas made his second pre-season appearance on the bench, following his return from injury.
A lacklustre first half saw some nice passing play from both sides but little in the way of chances created.
Brighouse’s Kurt Harris, who was pushed forward from midfield to lead the line, came close to opening the scoring after 12 minutes but he miscued his shot. After connecting with the ball from a cross from the right wing he sent it trickling wide of young Basford keeper Jake Wood’s post.
Town did break the deadlock after 27 minutes, courtesy of skipper Leon Henry, but it was midfielder Ryan Hall who did all the hard work. When his shot was well-parried by Wood, following a mazy run past at least three defenders, Henry was able to pounce on the rebound to slot the ball home.
Basford, still searching for a chance on goal at the start of the second half, didn’t seem to find things in that direction getting any better for them as Town piled on the pressure.
Wood made two good saves, firstly from a free-kick on 52 minutes and then down low to his left from a Jack Normanton shot, six minutes later.
The Basford crossbar was then rattled twice in two minutes, centre-back Adam Field’s header on 62 minutes was closely followed by a James Pollard screamer from 30 yards out, which bounced down in front of the goal line before it was cleared.
On 69 minutes, Town then deservedly doubled their lead after Pollard’s free-kick out on the left flank somehow managed to evade a mass of bodies in United’s penalty area and go straight into the net.
This proved to be a wake-up call for Basford, as they began to take control of the last 20 minutes of the match.
Jermaine Hollis’ shot almost found its way into the visitors’ net on 87 minutes but just went wide of Paul Hagreen’s left-hand post before Hendrie was able to net a consolation in the last minute, following some excellent work from Anthony O’Neil-Dwyer.
Quinn said: “I was delighted with the contribution from young Kurt Harris up front, he worked his socks off in the heat, while James Pollard had a very good game.
“He has settled in well since joining us and it has helped he knew Isaac Baldwin and Kurt Harris before coming on board.
“He has struck up a very good midfield partnership with Hurts (James Hurtley) and its good news for the season ahead after what has been a very good pre-season.
"We brought Tom Haigh off after he was suffering from heat exhaustion and gave Development team player Jack Normanton a run for 30 minutes and he showed up well.”