REPORT | Albion’s Play-Off Hopes Bruised By Brighouse
By Jay Taylor
A second half slump saw Tadcaster Albion slip out of the play-off places for the first time in several months as Brighouse bulldozed their way to victory.
The result sees Albion drop to 7th place in the Evo-Stik East League however things were looking relatively positive at half-time, albeit goalless but Tadcaster looked the most assured of the two outfits on a windswept afternoon. Nevertheless the second half was a different story altogether as goals from Tom Haigh, Aaron Martin and Iwan Heeley handed the Brewers a second defeat of 2019.
Simon Collins was able to welcome club captain Michael Ingham back into the side for the first time since dislocating his thumb back in November. Following Billy Whitehouse’s departure to The New Saints, Casey Stewart replaced the winger with Ellis Barkworth coming in for the injured Aaron Hardy.
With the surrounding Storm Erik providing a different kind of challenge, one that seemed to suit the hosts’ direct approach more so, James Hurtley spurned the first opportunity firing over the mark from inside the penalty area. Taddy opted to kick with the wind in the opening 45 and goalkeeper Michael Ingham continued to try and release teammates in behind with a quick smash out of his hands. This seemed a sensible tactic but the power of the swirls only carried straight through to his opposite number.
Casey Stewart looked lively in the early exchanges using his clever body feints to manoeuvre past several orange shirts, one resulting in a yellow card to Tom Haigh. In fact, referee Mark Reeves wasn’t shy to dip into his pocket as he brandished six yellow cards in the first half, 4-2 in favour of the home side. Albion were looking the more threatening side in the bitterly cold sunshine with Paddy Miller picking out centre-back partner Harry Coates with a free-kick only for January’s Player of the Month to divert into the hands of Jordan Porter.
The Brewers did get the better of Porter on 29 minutes but Casey Stewart was adjudged to have received the ball in an offside position before finding the net, however on reflection the player looked level. Little followed action-wise in the remainder of the first half, just a few more bookings with scrappy free-kicks disrupting any kind of rhythm.
The hosts broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half when Tom Haigh sprung the offside trap managing to trap the ball with his stretching leg before side-footing past the Taddy skipper. Town were a different proposition after the break as the opening goal only instilled greater belief, they had the bit between their teeth and were agonisingly close to a second when Tyler Williams cut inside Harry Coates and flashed a shot a whisker wide of the far post.
Brighouse were sniffing blood whilst Taddy were hanging on somewhat as Iwan Heeley’s strike was well blocked by Paddy Miller. Whatever was said in the home dressing room at the break, it clearly worked as Ingham had to make an excellent save from point blank range to deny top scorer Aaron Martin. Having said that, the talisman wasn’t to be denied on 75 minutes when he slapped into the top near corner following a neat flick from Haigh.
The day wasn’t to improve for Collins and Tadcaster as Iwan Heeley added a third for Brighouse on 80 minutes with another emphatic finish into the roof of the net which left Ingham with no chance whatsoever.
Full-Time: Brighouse Town 3-0 Tadcaster Albion
Brighouse: Porter, Jenkinson, Wright, Jones, Harris, Hurtley (Edmonds-Green 85), Heeley (Thomas 81), Haigh, Martin©, Johnson (Ibrahim 76), Williams
Unused: Donovan, Kendall
Tadcaster: Ingham©, Barkworth, Walters, Roper, Coates, Miller, Stewart, Rose (Davidson 70), Lumsden, Howarth (Buckle 70), Savory
Unused: Mycoe, Burn