REPORT | Winning run ends to Yorkshire rivals
By Jay Taylor
Tadcaster Albion surrendered the lead twice at the i2i Stadium as two goals in two second half minutes saw Pontefract Collieries snatch all three points.
Albion were forced into making one change to the side that comfortably saw off Spalding a fortnight ago as James Hodges deputised in goal for club captain Michael Ingham who is away on work commitments.
With the i2i pitch looking in stunning condition taking into account the recent floods, Taddy could have found the net within two minutes as a quick short corner caught out the visitors but Joe Lumsden smashed over the bar from eight yards out.
It was a fast and frenetic opening to proceedings in a sun basked Tadcaster as the away side went close on eight minutes. Paddy Miller was adamant he was elbowed by Eli Hey yet play was allowed to go on with Rothery flicking Nick Guest in behind who helped over James Hodges but Chris Howarth was on hand to head clear.
The Brewers were looking dangerous on the front foot in the early stages as another big chance fell at the feet of top scorer Joe Lumsden. Casey Stewart used his touch and pace to power beyond Conner Smythe down the right-hand side before his cross cannoned off Aiden Savory perfectly into the path of Lumsden but he side-footed agonisingly wide of the upright.
Nevertheless Lumsden made it third time lucky in front of goal as he broke the deadlock on 21 minutes. A lovely ball over the top from Casey Stewart was latched onto by the Taddy front man who flicked it past the onrushing Musselwhite for his 23rd goal of the season.
Pontefract responded well to going behind as Vaughan Redford slid Guest in behind but James Hodges stormed straight out to the scene to thwart the forward. It was a relentless contest throughout with many impressive interchanges in the final third but Albion almost doubled their lead in fortuitous fashion. Aiden Savory played it back to Ellis Barkworth from a throw-in before the full-back’s cross looked to be sailing into the far corner, but narrowly wide it dropped.
From Taddy being perilously close to going two goals ahead at one end, Pontefract levelled on 36 minutes at the other. Redford beat Barkworth in the air before pulling back to Nick Guest who’s hooked shot bounced past Hodges and Mycoe on the line. Colls almost turned the scoreline completely on its head with five minutes until the break as Hey and Redford played a clever one-two but Hodges was alert and brave once more to deny the division’s top scorer. Every throw-in in Albion’s half was put down and left for Jack Greenhough to launch it Rory Delap style; but Paddy Miller, Harry Coates and co were defending them well.
With both sides having prolonged spells of pressure, it was Taddy who started the second half in the ascendency as Lumsden squandered a glorious opportunity to regain the lead. Casey Stewart floated a corner onto the head of an unmarked Lumsden, and with the goalkeeper stranded, he powered a header wide of the mark. However, the Brewers were back in front on 55 minutes as Will Annan scored one of the goals of the season. After seven confident passes, Jason Mycoe fired into Annan who turned 25 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the very top corner.
With 20 minutes to go, Colls bounced back again as Hey and Redford combined once more only to be denied by the impressive Hodges for a third time. However the unrelenting Pontefract pegged their Yorkshire counterparts back again on 75 minutes. Tricky substitute Michael Dunn twisted and turned before a loose leg from Ellis Barkworth saw referee Akeel Ahmed point to the penalty spot. Vaughan Redford stepped up and coolly sent Hodges the wrong way.
Things then went from bad to worse for Simon Collins’ side as Pontefract netted a second goal in two minutes to take the lead for the first time. Substitute Michael Dunn provided the crucial impact off the bench robbing Barkworth of possession before pulling back to Gavin Rothery who drove into the bottom corner.
As Taddy went all out in search of an equaliser, they couldn’t have gone any closer than they did with five minutes left on the clock. Ellis Barkworth sent Joe Lumsden racing away in behind, Musselwhite came an almightily long way off his line which allowed the striker to round the goalkeeper and with the angle acute, he could only fire off the post before blasting off target in his second attempt.
Full-Time: Tadcaster Albion 2-3 Pontefract Collieries
Tadcaster: Hodges, Barkworth, Howarth, Mycoe (Rose 73), Coates, Miller (Porritt 82), Stewart, Davidson©, Lumsden, Savory, Annan
Unused: Burn, Hardy
Pontefract: Musselwhite, Greenhough, Smythe (Jeffs 60), Bailey (Williams 70), Picton, Clarke©, Rothery, Cromack, Hey, Redford, Guest (Dunn 60)
Unused: Jackson, Brown