IT was a close-fought victory for the perpetual motion team from Brighouse, as they ran out narrow winners in a potentially difficult away fixture.
A heavy pitch possibly mitigating Brighouses’s style of play, adapting to the changing conditions plus coping with the various challenges that this season can throw at them the secret to success, Old Boys were well aware of the need to carry on their winning sequence.
From the start, a physical challenge not to shirk, a more inexperienced team could have wilted, but Old Boys matched Centralians’ competitive play and ended up deserved winners.
Brighouse, led by a powerful midfield platform, took the initiative straight to Centralians.
Captain James Fletcher, Jimmy Cummings and Damian Place were running the show, setting the tempo for the pace of Peter Kuleczko and Martin Newham to threaten the Centralians’ defence.
A Cummings run on the right, a low cross and a sliding attempt by crafty cockney Adam Williams was the best chance in the first half.
Central defenders Lee Williams and Reece Bray halted the counter-attacks from Centralians until a groin injury incapacitated Williams and he had to come off, replaced by new signing Ian Brock.
It was perhaps a worrying height difference against the tall twin strike force of the Centralians’ forward line but, the clever play of Bray and the pace of Brock stifled the home team’s attacking prowess.
The game was goalless at half-time and Old Boys came out in a positive frame of mind eager to start proceedings and take the game to their West Yorkshire opponents.
This they did, exploiting the space on the flanks, both wingers Newham and Kuleczko and attacking fullbacks Joe Nelson and Luke Johnson putting dangerous crosses into the heart of the Centralians defence.
It was from one of these that Old Boys opened the scoring.
A low cross on the right from Nelson was touched goalwards by Kuleczko, the ball deflecting off the shin of Newham and into the net for a deserved lead.
Old Centralians however came back strongly at the away side.
One chance was only prevented by an excellent fingertip save by Jason Hibbert, pushing the ball over the bar.
With Place, man of the match, Cummings and Fletcher running the show, Old Boys looked the most likely to score and from one attack they hit the post.
But, against the run of play, Centralians got back into the game.
A corner from the right was not cleared and a dangerous bobbling ball again was not dealt with and was pounced on by a home team forward for the equalising goal.
Fresh legs were needed for Old Boys, with Paul Taylor replacing Adam Williams up front and James Coates on the right for Kuleckzko.
The game seemed to be destined to end in a draw, but an innocuous right-footed curling cross from the left into the heart of the penalty area by Newham was gatherted by Fletcher with his back to the goal.
An exquisite turn saw him stretching his leg out and with the deftest of touches lifting the ball over the defender and into the net, with the keeper rooted on his spot.
With only minutes to go Old Boys played down the time until the final whistle.
Old Boys are now joint third in the table, three points behind second place and on current form the best in the league.
However, waiting for them round the corner is next week’s table topping fixture between the Old Boys and the outstanding perfomers in the league so far, Rothwell.
The Brighouse side will be seeking revenge for the corresponding match earlier in the season when Rothwell beat them 6 - 1, inflicting their heaviest defeat of this season’s campaign.