Town’s tough tie proves a ‘breeze’

IT had been billed as a tough encounter for Town against the current Halifax Division One leaders, but the locals showed steel, as well as plenty of class, to breeze through to the next round in a somewhat one sided game.

Town could have taken the lead as early as the fifth minute, when Jake Driver skipped passed his marker, before slipping Antony Brown in down the right flank, but his cross was hit wide of the near post by Marshall Riley with the goal keeper beaten.

Riley again went close minutes later, when good work by Brown in the penalty area gave the striker time and space, but again he placed his shot the wrong side of the post.

Riley then set up midfielder Gregg Porter just inside the box, with a neat pull back, but Porter shot wide.

Jake Driver was causing plenty of problems down the right for Town, as he beat his marker on nearly every occasion, but could not find that final ball to open up Midgley.

Porter saw his next shot cleared when a defender on the line knew nothing about it as it hit him on the head and went over the bar.

Midgley were pinned in their own half, as Town had most of the possession and territory, but occasionally they did look dangerous, without really creating anything on the break.

Set pieces looked Midgley’s best way of creating chances in the first half and, at the interval, the game was scoreless, as the visitors had defended manfully, as they worked hard to close Town down and keep the score level.

The second half started much like the first, with Town dominant on the pitch if not in the scoreline.

A succession of corners finally paid dividend, with the second half only a few minutes old.

Driver picked up a clearance from just outside the box and, from 22 yards out, crashed a thunderbolt of a shot in off the underside of the crossbar, to give Town a deserved lead.

With the half only 12 minutes old the tie was over as a contest, as Driver became provider, crossing for Brown, who tapped the ball home from close range, to give Town a 2-0 lead.

Town’s back four of Jamie Fradgley, Matty Parker, Tom Wright and Luke Wilcynski had been dominant in the first half and the second was no different, as they dealt with everything Midgley threw at them, with Town’s keeper Paul Hagreen being a mere spectator.

Town then rang the changes, with the injured Fradgley, being replaced by Sam Coop, and Dave Woffenden being replaced by Joe Swallow, with Driver moving to the left wing position.

The game was now being played entirely in the Midgley half, and midfielder Adam Oldfield should have added a third when from another Town corner Matty Parker crashed a header on to the bar, and with an empty net at his mercy, Oldfield headed over the bar from no more than three yards.

Andy Hawker replaced Riley with 20 minutes remaining, and was instantly on the score sheet when Swallow crossed from the right, for him to beat the Midgley keeper from close range.

Within minutes, it was 4-0, when a four- man, one touch passing move, finished with Hawker slipping Swallow in on goal, and from the edge of the box, he smashed the ball into the top left hand corner of the Midgley net, for the goal of the game.

Town had further chances in the dying minutes with Hawker and Brown both having excellent chances to add to their tally, but good goalkeeping denied them.

In the end it was a comfortable 4-0 win for Town’s second string, but some credit must go to Midgley, who never gave up, and worked hard and tried for the whole 90 minutes.