Armthorpe 3 v Brighouse Town 2
Cartman double not enough for Town
Town's match in the Doncaster area was one of the few to beat the weather, but unfortunately they lost by the odd goal in five in a game where their was very little between the two sides and maybe a draw would have been a fairer result.
Town made an excellent start to the match, creating a half chance in the opening minute when Nicky Boshell's looped pass from the back post couldn't quite find the onrushing Wayne Crossley in front of goal. Five minutes later Graham Marchant broke free on the edge of the box and although he had the option to shoot, he squared the ball to Boshell who was in a better position but home keeper Jamie Green smothered his shot well.
After such a bright start it was very disappointing for Town to concede the opening goal on 10 mins. Ex-professional Leo Fortune-West used all his experience to lose his marker with a clever run and head home unchallenged from 6yds out. The goal spurred Armthorpe into a period of dominance, hitting Fortune-West early with balls out of defence and Town took a while to sort out their tactics to nullify this threat. During this period, Town's only real scare came in the 24th minute when impressive right back, Henry Sibenge forced Lee Ashforth to make a good stop from his 25 yds drive and Town managed to clear the ball after the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
Town worked their way back into the game with some good football on a very bobbly pitch, their best move coming on 28 mins when good interplay between Boshell, Marchant and Crossley released Danny Hull to drive into the box and have his cross diverted for a corner. Town kept up the pressure, but without creating clear-cut chances, Matty Sparkes going close with a 20 yarder on 37 mins. Darryl Leach and Ash Townsend were now dealing with the long ball threat of Armthorpe, but Ben Muirhead and Craig Morley were always a threat with their pace on the wings.
Just before the break, Town produced another couple of good moves, an excellent pass from Simon Wood found Crossley who skipped past his marker and crossed to the near post where Marchant couldn't quite stretch enough to get his shot on target. Then Alex Hallam latched onto a clearance to hammer a shot a yard wide for the last action of the half.
Although Town had played reasonably well in the first half, they were nonetheless a goal behind and Mark Brier had obviously asked the players to up the tempo in the second half. The Manager got the response he asked for, as the locals dominated from the start. Boshell burst down the left wing before cutting inside into the penalty box and feeding Cartman who couldn't get a shot away when well placed. Alex Hallam then made a tremendous 50yd run out of defence before his low cross was dummied by Cartman allowing Marchant to shoot on target. Town's pressure finally brought a deserved breakthrough on 69 mins with a well taken goal from Cartman. Danny Hull started the move with a good ball from the centre of the park that found Simon Wood wide on the right, he fed Marchant with a clever pass and then crossed the returned ball first time into the box for Crossley to flick on, and Cartman to expertly hook the ball into the top corner.
Town replaced Matt Sparkes with Damien Hopkins for a straight swap in midfield. After playing so well to get back into the game, Town disappointingly lost the initiative after the equaliser and Armthorpe came back into the game and nearly regained the lead immediately when Ash Townsend diverted a cross against his own post and Town managed to scramble the ball to safety. Boshell broke for Town down the left, again feeding Cartman with a pull back, but the diminutive striker couldn't oblige in front of goal for Town.
Although Town had done most of the pressing, Armthorpe took the lead on 76 mins when Town lost two headers in succession from a free-kick, the second being planted past Ashford by Craig Wilkinson to make it 2-1 to the home side. Town immediately made a double substitution, Antony Brown and Lee Burgess replacing Crossley and Marchant, but before either had time to make an impact Town had conceded again, failing to deal with a corner and the ball being poked home by Craig Morley.
Town could never be accused of throwing the towel in, and the players to their credit gave everything to try get back into the game, none more so than Alex Hallam who's excellent cross forced Stuart Preston to head out from underneath his own crossbar. Town did pull a goal back in the second minute of stoppage time when Hallam and Boshell combined for Cartman to score his second from close range.
Town weren't at their best, but this wasn't a bad performance although all three goals could have been defended better. Town have the perfect opportunity to quickly put things right when, due to a quirk in the fixture list, Town will entertain Armthorpe at the Dual Seal Stadium next week.