Bridlington 2 Garforth 1
A dramatic last ten minutes ended in heartbreak for The Miners as Bridlington grabbed a 95th minute winner after Devonte Morton’s header looked to have earned us a deserved point.
It was a third successive opening day defeat for Rob Hunter’s men, but they can hold their heads up high after a superb team performance against the underwhelming promotion-chasers who time and again had goalkeeper Tom Jackson to thank for keeping them in the game.
The first chances of the afternoon fell to the Seasiders three minutes in when Shaquille McKenzie fired past the far post at a narrow angle. Captain Jake Day came closer moments later with a turn and shot just wide after a dangerous run by McKenzie.
Town got a foothold into the game around the 20 min-mark and started to ask real questions of the hosts who maybe expected an easier afternoon. The lively Devonte Morton was the first player to go close on 23 mins, shooting wide after his first attempt was blocked by a defender. There was a nearly a rare goal for captain James Beaston who’s strike from just outside the box went inches over the bar after more good work by Morton. Morton's turn and shot then brought a near-post save from Jackson, before defender Kieran Holmes came agonisingly close when meeting Niah Payne’s corner kick with a thumping header which the keeper brilliantly tipped over. The chance of the half surely fell to the impressive Albert Ibrahimi on 40 mins when he made his way into the box and turned at least two defenders inside out, but was perhaps too late in pulling the trigger and his shot was blocked. He almost provided a first goal for Payne moments later who’s strike Jackson kept out of the top corner. There was another let off for the hosts a minute before the break when Ibrahimi met Morton’s cross deep in the box, but his sliding effort was straight at the Brid stopper.
On 49 mins Terry Barwick struck a free-kick in a dangerous position just wide. Town looked to break, but were frustrated initially by some dubious offside decisions. There was a good chance for substitute Shaquille Clarke-Adams on 71 mins when Payne found him inside the box; lifting the ball over Jackson and also, sadly, the crossbar. Javen Benjamin tested the keeper with a curling strike two mins later after sub Helmo Silva did well to win the ball back on the right.
The opening goal finally arrived on 83 mins when a Seasiders break forward ended in substitute Joe McFadyen rounding Wells to pass into the empty net. The relief around the ground was palpable, even if chants of “We’re gonna win the league” from a section of home supporters seemed somewhat premature. The lead lasted only four minutes however as The Miners grabbed a fully deserved equalizer. Clarke-Adams made a run down the left and picked out Morton to head home, allowing away fans to celebrate a first goal in three visits to this venue. Could Town hold on for the point? Sadly football can be a cruel game sometimes, and our ultimate failure to punish the hosts when on top came back to haunt us in the 95th minute when McFadyen was left unmarked in the box to head past Wells and to give his side the three points.
Our next game sees us in FA Cup action when we make the visit Northallerton Town (kick-off 3pm).