THERE was stalemate at the Dual Seal Stadium on Saturday as Brighouse Town produced a scratchy performance against the North West Counties Premier Division side.
That meant the away league game against Scarborough was postponed on Bank Holiday Monday and Town travelled to Greater Manchester and the Borough of Wigan to face Atherton in the replay.
Manager Paul Quinn said of his side who he kept in the dressing rooms for 20 minutes after the tie: “I don’t think we’ll play as bad as that all season and come out with a draw. The positive is we are still in the FA Cup and we will regroup ahead of the replay.”
Despite Atherton coming in to the competition on the back of a series of defeats, Quinn continued: “They had nothing to lose so the pressure was off for them.”
It was a close call in the sixth minute as Mark Ayres ran the ball into the Town area to take aim but goalkeeper Paul Hagreen cleared.
The visitors continued to put pressure on Town with both Ben Hardcastle and Mark Truffas running the ball up to the area and taking shots, Hargreen deflecting one with his shoulder and catching the other.
Town’s first attempt came in the 12th minute with a long-range shot from Daniel Facey.
Another close call came on 15 minutes when Atherton’s James Kirby fired just over.
Town scored in the 22nd minute when the ball deflected off Facey and captain Leon Henry followed up and put the ball in the back of the net.
Atherton were awarded a corner in the 27th minute, Truffas hoofed the ball into the area and Mark Battersby headed over.
There was a near miss for Ernest Boafo in the 35th minute as he took the ball beautifully within 20 yards of the goal before putting his shot just wide.
Atherton followed up and once again Kirby took another strike on target and Hagreen made another super save.
Atherton again came close in the 39th minute with a shot from Battersby hitting the post.
Town responded with James Pollard passing to Facey, who hammered the ball on goal, but it came out from a block and Haigh went in but goalkeeper Danny Taberner grabbedg the ball.
At the start of the second half, Facey was replaced by Steve Hollingworth and Pollard was booked for unsporting behaviour.
In the 56th minute, Ben Hardcastle levelled as he steered the ball past Hagreen and Sam Hewitt.
Town lost Henry in the 60th minute with a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Will Tolley.
Matthew Stor was replaced by Kurt Harris and Ryan Hall was booked in the 73rd minute giving Atherton a free-kick, which Hagreen punched clear.
In the 84th minute, the visitors were disallowed a goal from Battersby as the assistant flagged for offside.
Brighouse twice went close to a winner when free-kicks from Pollard cleared the bar.
Brighouse: Hagreen, Thornton, Stor, Hewitt, Wilson, Pollard, Hall, Haigh, Boafo, Facey, Henry. Subs: Hollingworth, Stead, Tolley, Harris, Scully, Illingworth, Quinn.