Golcar Utd 3-3 Brighouse Town Res Aet. (1-4) after Pens.
After several attempts, this 3rd round County Cup game against Golcar Utd finally went ahead. And both teams didn't dissapoint, as the good crowd that had braved the cold, to watch the game, had a great afternoons entertainment, as both sides went at it each other, from the first whistle to the last.
It was Brighouse who started slightly the better of the two teams, and it was Town who created the first real chance of the game. When Andy hawker was brought down just inside the Golcar half, Dave Woffenden sent over a beautifully flighted free kick that eluded everybody but Town's Jaime Fradgley, the midfielder guided the ball back across goal for Mathew Parker, but at full stretch the big centre half, couldn't get enough on the ball to divert it home from close range, and the grateful Golcar Keeper, dived on the loose ball before it crossed the goal line.
Joe Swallow was getting plenty of the ball, and joy down the right flank, but Golcar just seemed to get that last ditch tackle in to stop Towns advances. Brighouse's back four of Luke Wilcynski, Parker, Sam Coop and Jake Driver were snuffing out most of Golcars attacks, with central midfielders Jaime Fradgley and Gregg Porter creating a first line of defence. On fifteen minutes Golcar had their first chance, when good work by Callum Meade found Simon Rawnsley in town's box, but his shot was well saved by Paul Hagreen.
On twenty minutes Town took the lead, when Porter slipped Joe Swallow in down the right, the winger cut in and beat his marker, before slamming the ball into the far top left hand corner of the net, for a stunning opening goal. It could've been two minutes later, when Dave Woffenden ghosted past the right full back, before crossing to the back post, where a free Andy Hawker narrowly headed the ball over the Golcar cross bar.
Hawker was at the hub of everything good that Brighouse were producing, as he led the line superbly. Somewhat against the run of play, Golcar then drew level, when from a poor Brighouse free kick, Golcar broke down the right, as the Golcar winger entered the box, Town's Sam Coop challenged the wide man, who then went to ground, and from the halfway line the referee awarded a somewhat hotly disputed penalty. Simon Rawnsley stepped up and sent Hagreen the wrong way to restore parity.
Within three minutes Golcar took the lead when a cross from the right found Rawnsley, who turned and shot in one motion, Town's keeper Paul Hagreen made a great save to deny the Golcar frontman, but as the ball broke loose Rawnsley was first to react, and the striker bundled the ball into the empty net. The game now went from end to end as both sides created chances, first Hawkers shot came back of the Golcar keeper, and was cleared by a fortunate golcar defender. Golcars Callum Meade then went close but his shot was saved at the near post by Hagreen.
At the Interval Manager Darren Laycock asked for more of the same, even though Town were losing they had been the better of the two sides. And had created the better chances in the first half. Assistant Mark Brady challenged the team to step up the work rate, and tempo, as Golcar were struggling to keep up with towns fast paced attacks.
The game continued it's frenetic pace, as the game went from end to end. Andy Hawker was the first to go close in the second half, when he received a Swallow pass, and turned and shot, but the Golcar keeper tipped the ball round the post. Golcars left winger got the better of Jake Driver before advancing into he box and pulling a great save out of Hagreen.
Town then replaced Woffenden, who was feeling under the weather, with midfielder Adam Oldfield. And on 60 minutes Town drew level, when Porter slipped the ball into Andy Hawker, and the young frontman got a bit of luck his play deserved, when his shot took a deflection, it gave the Golcar keeper no chance as it looped over his head, and into the back of the net.
The game now went from end to end with both sides having chances to take the lead, with both keepers making saves. Probably the best chance of the half fell to Jaime Fradgley, who latched onto a Joe Swallow pull back, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the bar from 12 yards out. With twenty minutes left Golcar seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and had a couple of good chances, with Rawnsley and the left midfielder of Golcar going close, and Mathew Parkers last ditch tackle that somehow diverted the ball wide of the post, when it looked for all this world it was going to find its way into the empty town net.
With Golcar now on top, manager Darren Laycock and assistant Mark Brady replaced the now tiring Jaime Fradgley who had given his all in pursuit of the cause, with young under 19's academy player Thomas Rose. This seemed to do the trick, as the team was lifted and finished the game stronger of the two sides. With Hawker having another shot cleared of the Golcar line, and Porter seeing is shot from the edge of the box narrowly clearing the Golcar cross bar. At the final whistle both sides had wasted chances, to win this highly entertaining game.
With town finishing the stronger of the two sides, it seemed only right they would fancy their chances in extra time. But extra time couldn't of started any worse for Brighouse, as Simon Rawnsley escaped the clutches of Town's back four, before calmly slotting the ball past the outstretched hand of Paul Hagreen, within a minute of the restart. The early setback would've upset many a side, but Towns youngsters raised there game. And were again on the front foot, as Hawker was again leading the line with Marshal Riley.
Hawker went close twice in as many minutes as he had both shots blocked on the goal line, one by a keeper and the other by the quick witted defender who was first to react to the loose ball. The second half of extra time became more and more stretched, as both sides pushed for that all important next goal. With time running out both sides had chances with Meade for Golcar going close, and Hawker and Swallow going close for Town. With time running out and only a minute remaining on the watch, young Thomas Rose latched onto a Jake Driver pass after the fullback had been thrown forward, Drivers pass split the Golcar defence wide open and Rose raced clear, the young midfielder steadied himself before calmly chipping the now prone Golcar keeper. This later proved to be the killer goal as Golcar were visibly and mentally rocked. Within seconds the restart the referee blew up for the end of Extra time and now penalties.
With Town finishing on a high, Laycock and Brady had numerous options for penalty takers, as all the lads wanted to take one, with nearly everybody stepping forward to be first up. Mathew Parker won the toss, and Town's Joe Swallow went first, he calmly stepped up, and slotted the penalty home. Golcars Simon Rawnsley went next, but Paul Hagreen wasn't going to be beaten twice, in the same game buy the Golcar frontman, and he guessed the right way to save Golcars first penalty. The confidence could be seen to be draining away from the Golcar team, and when young Thomas Rose smashed he ball home to give town a 2-0 lead, the Golcar team had gone.
Golcars Callum Meade dispatched his penalty to make it 2-1, but Andy Hawker cracked his penalty home, to restore Towns two goal advantage. The writing was on the wall, when Paul Hagreen again guessed the right way, and the big keeper made another penalty save, to leave Captain Mathew Parker with the chance of putting Brighouse into the fourth round, and the town captain calmly stepped up, and rolled he ball into the back of the net, to send Brighouse through to the next found of the county cup.
It was a great performance from the team, as they worked so hard for the result, and deserved to progress through to the next round of the county cup.