The Reds move back into play off spot !!
Brighouse 1 Ossett Town 1
The Reds travelled the short journey to West Yorkshire rivals Brighouse Town for a fixture which had twice been previously subject to last minute postponements due to excessive rain.
Going into the game on the back of a comprehensive 4-0 victory of Radcliffe last Saturday, Grant Black would be looking to his players for a similar performance.
Brighouse were sat only 4 points behind Ossett at the start of this game so not losing this game was vital to the Reds to have a chance of moving back up into a play off position whilst 3 points to Brighouse would narrow the gap between the sides to only one point !
The game started as expected with Brighouse dominating the play for the first 15 minutes and creating a good scoring opportunity in the 10th minute after the home side broke quickly from defence after an Ossett corner leaving Ridley one on one with the Brighouse No 6. Ridders did just enough to stop him getting a clean shot off and Overton was relieved to see the shot go wide of his near post.
Brighouse won a corner which was met by their centre back who was gifted a free header from 6 yards and should have scored but the attempt was deflected out for another corner. From the corner the ball dropped to Wharton who hit a first time volley goal bound from 12 yards but Overton was equal to it as he pulled off a superb instinctive save to keep the Reds in the game.
Brighouse were looking dangerous from corners and had two chances to to take the lead, but saw both headers go over the bar.
At the other end Ossett started to put pressure on the home defence and saw a quick succession of shots from Curtis, Ridley and Frost go over the bar.
A altercation between Frost and a Brighouse defender escalated into handbags between several players culminating in Jason Yates receiving a yellow card.
Ossett continued to attack the Brighouse defence which saw the the home side putting in some tasty tackles, the Reds players proved they were not going to be intimidated & responded back to these tactics in the same manner, more than holding their own.
Half Time: 0-0
An entertaining & even first half with Brighouse missing the better chances to score and Ossett definitely growing stronger and stronger the more the game progressed.
Brighouse spoilt the game somewhat by their constant intimidation of the officials questioning every decision. The referee should have clamped down on it early and shown he was not going to allow it, unfortunately he didn't !
Ossett came out for the 2nd half looking the side more likely to score and in the 59th minute got their rewards from a Pembleton corner which was cleared to the edge of the box followed by two shots which were blocked inside the area before the ball dropped to Ashley Jackson who smashed a left foot half volley into the roof of the net from 15 yards.
Brighouse 0 Ossett 1
In the 61st minute, Pembleton received a yellow card for a strong challenge deemed to be a foul by the referee.
Brighouse did still present some anxious moments going forward and looking particularly dangerous on the break but the keeper and back four dealt with everything with confidence.
To counter the home sides tactics Frost was replaced by Rikki Paylor who dropped into centre midfield to try and sure things up.
The Reds looked to have control of the game when the referee awarded a free kick against Yates which never in a million years was even close to a foul.
From the free kick, Brighouse broke down the right and delivered a powerful cross into the 6 yard box, Overton looked to have caught the ball but it spilled out of his hands and rebounded into the net off the knee of James Pollard from a yard out.
Brighouse 1 Ossett 1
Steve Ridley is replaced by Daz Lucas.
Tyrone Gay is booked
A long kick from Overton finds Curtis wide on the right, he beats the defender and shoots only to see the ball hit the side netting.
A long throw from Jackson is defended out for a corner to the Reds. From the corner the ball is headed back across goal and as the ball drops from a height Jackson lines up his shot and before the ball comes back into play he is clumsily knocked to the ground for what, without doubt as later video evidence showed, was a clear cut, stone wall penalty. The Ref waved play on amongst a protest of players and spectators alike.
The Referee indicated 4 minutes of added time and in the last minute of the game Ossett fired in a cross to the far post which the keeper came for, to be fair Taylor hadn't really put a foot wrong in the game but on this occasion he dropped the ball and it came to Jackson who couldn't quite adjust his feet quickly enough and had to rush his shot from 8 yards which went wide and a golden opportunity to secure the win passed as the Ref blew for full time.
All in all a good point for Grant Black and the players in what was always going to be a difficult game, especially against a strong Brighouse side now unbeaten in their last 8 games.
The draw earned the Reds the point they needed to move back into the play off positions and they will now hope that Bamber Bridge can get a result against Colne on Tuesday night before the Reds travel away for a tricky fixture at Ramsbottom on Saturday 8th April looking for 3 points to keep the dream of the play offs alive.