After a long winter break of four weeks, and a number of postponements, Brighouse Old Boys finally progressed through in the West Riding Challenge Cup with a comfortable victory over the side lying third in the Halifax AFL Premier Division.
Brighouse were nearly at full strength, adopting a 4-4-2 formation with Rob Kenny and Tom Gorringe on the flanks, James Fletcher and Jimmy Cummings in central midfield supporting Mike Pearson and Lee Burgess up front.
Ian Brock and Andy Burton were absent from the back four, Lee Williams and Joe Nelson coming back in. Andy Hall, Luke Johnson and ‘keeper Jason Hibbert completed the selection.
The concern of the Brighouse management team that the four week break may have dulled the cutting edge of their attack was allayed in the first 15 minutes when the expansive passing game of the away team caused Ryburn all sorts of problems.
Ryburn just couldn’t handle the positional and linking play of Burgess, with Pearson’s strong running a perfect foil driving deep into the heart of the defence.
One move from defence to attack emphasized Brighouse’s dominance, combining slick passing from fullbacks Johnson and Nelson to set up Kenny on the right and his pinpoint cross was just put over the bar by Burgess,
A similar passing move saw Brighouse open the scoreing. A skilful take of the ball by Burgess and a quick turn wrong footed the Ryburn defence before a penetrating pass found Gorringe whose first touch was excellent and he placed the ball past Craig Walker in the Ryburn goal.
A second followed shortly after when a long ball from the Brighouse defence was directed towards the head of Burgess. Ryburn centre back Glen Wilkinson fouled the centre forward and the referee had no option but to give a freekick. A badly misplaced wall allowed captain Fletcher to drill the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net,
A strong performance from Ryburn striker Chris Silkstone threatened the Brighouse goal but Andy Hall and Lee Williams were outstanding with Hibbert pulling off two saves to keep his goal intact ahead of the break.
Although they never gave up, Ryburn could not break the stranglehold Brighouse had on the match and the away team’s neat cultured play in difficult conditions was winning through.
It seemed that more goals would be inevitable and so it proved. The third came when a set piece was not cleared by the Ryburn defence and the ball fell to Burgess who prodded it towards the goal. The shot was deflected by a defender into his own net.
The fourth Brighouse goal came from another assist by Burgess, a deflection this time, into the path of Kenny who powered it into the roof of the net.
The pacy, tricky Calvin Lee replaced Pearson up front and Alex Tait took the place of Gorringe on the left.
Lee’s speed was too much for the Ryburn defenders and he was unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions.
Ryburn finally scored a goal when a free kick from outside the area was directed past Hibbert but this proved to be no more than a consolation as Brighouse immediately went up the other end and substitute Chris Wdowczyk scored the goal of the game, a 25 yard left footed shot into the back of the net.
Ryburn Utd 1
Brighouse Old Boys 5