Brighouse Town 4 v Pickering Town 2
Town sign off at the Dual Seal with win against in-form Pikes.
Brighouse Town ended their home campaign with a hard earned win against in-form Pickering Town. A strong wind blowing down the length of the field made this somewhat a game of two half’s but ultimately, the lethal finishing of Tom Matthews with a hat-trick turned the game in Town’s favour.
Town dominated the first half and pushed Pickering back from the first whistle. A through ball from Greg Porter nearly got Tom Matthews in on goal but he was crowded out, and a Danny Hull cross saw Matthews head just wide, both efforts within the first five minutes. Town skipper Nick Jaggar came up from the back to head a James Sutcliffe free kick which Adam Mitchell saved on 9mins. A minute later, Pickering broke and took the lead with their first attack of the game. Town gave the ball away and Steve Baxter punished them with an excellent finish.
Undeterred, Town continued to press forward. Danny Hull brought a routine save from Mitchell with a shot from 20yds and Leon Henry’s curling near post cross was fumbled away for a corner by Mitchell soon after. Town’s play deserved a goal and it duly arrived on 18 mins; Anthony Haigh’s astute pass found Tom Matthews on the edge of the box, he flicked the ball over the last defender and volleyed it past the advancing keeper with ease.
Town piled on the pressure with Haigh hitting the inside of the post on 25 mins after a pass from Matthews and some excellent link up play from Sutcliffe, Matthews and Haigh eventually saw Matthews cross taken by Mitchell. Town got the second goal their dominance deserved on 27 mins. Matthews played a superb ball wide to Sutcliffe and he looked up and picked out the run of Danny Hull into the box and the in-form Town midfielder finished well to give Town a 2-1 lead.
Town didn’t let up and looked for more goals; Jaggar was desperately unlucky to miss the far post by inches as he stretched to meet a Haigh cross on 32 mins, but the home crowd at the Dual Seal were rubbing their eye’s in disbelief when it was Matthews who headed a simple looking chance from a Sutcliffe corner over the bar on 35 mins – he’s human after all !!
As the half came to a close, Adam Wilson had to be alert to defend a cross from the right wing, but Pickering managed to equalise against the run of play on 40 mins, although it was another great finish by Baxter to score his second of the game. Greg Porter had time to hit a powerful shot over the bar before the half time whistle as Town went in at the break wondering how they weren’t ahead.
The conditions were now in Pickering’s favour and it showed as the visitors now enjoyed more of the play and Town’s more defensive minded players Ryan Brook and Porter came to the fore, although it’s fair to say the whole side were working hard for the cause. Baxter had a close range effort blocked for a corner and Ben Imeson made a good save from a 20 yd effort after good build up play from the visitors.
On 64 mins, it was Town’s turn to score against the run of play, when Matthews netted a superb solo goal. He collected a long clearance on half way which he controlled, turned, and ran at the Pickering defence. Some defenders backed off, some tried to tackle him but all to no avail and he found himself with only the keeper to beat which he managed to do with aplomb to make it 3-2.
Play was more even after the goal, with Naidole and Henry looking dangerous down the Town left flank but Paul Quinn made a double substitution on 74 mins, replacing Sutcliffe and Haigh with Tom Brown and Ben Grech to make sure Town kept the energy levels high going into the final stages. Ben Imeson saved well from the Pickering fullback’s effort from 20 yds and Baxter fired wide from an acute angle on 80 mins as Pickering showed they hadn’t given up on getting something out of the game.
The hard working Naidole was replaced by Sam Akeroyd with ten minutes left and the young midfielder was soon spreading the ball wide for Leon Henry to cross for Matthews to head over. Matthews completed his hat-trick on 88 mins and killed the game off by coolly placing the ball past Mitchell after running onto a slide rule pass from Ben Grech.
Town relaxed and nearly got caught with a long through ball that Carl Stewart latched onto and lobbed over Imeson but Tom Brown raced back to clear just before the final minute.
Town ended their home campaign with a win against a good Pickering side that keeps them third in the league table with only two games left to play, the long away trips to Bridlington and Lincoln MR.