Brighouse Town excelled in Northumbria last Saturday afternoon in the season’s opener at Ashington United when sharing the points in a 4-4 draw.
They were in fact leading 4-2 as referee Givi Todua signalled nine minutes of added time and through the match had never been behind against the 2022-23 EBAC Northern League champions backed by a fervent home crowd of 442.
Following even exchanges in the first 15 minutes Town took the lead in the 17th minute through Sam Drake and despite six minutes later the home side’s star man Craig Spooner levelling, it was Town who went in at the break leading 2-1 after the impressive Jayden Major found the net on 28 minutes from a cross into the box from skipper Josh Grant..
Just before the hour mark the home side drew level courtesy of an own goal from Town debutant and right back Curtis Peters, who for the 114 minutes of the game was superb.
After this setback Town really went on the offensive and dominated with Brandon Webster, Aderemi Effunnuga, Jamie Allsop, Grant and Drake pushing for a winning goal.
In the 70th minute Allsop scored and eight minutes later substitute Myron Gibbons went one on one with the home keeper and deftly put the ball in the net for 4-2.
Jack Crook was on the pitch for Ashley Butterworth and Jack Wilson came on for Mo Qasim and the fresh legs were telling. Gibbons had another chance one-on-one to make it five but he tried to lift it over the keeper who just got a hand to it.
On 90 minutes the board went up for nine minutes added time with nine minutes on it after a previous five at half-time.
Two minutes into extra time and Town goalkeeper Harry Garman, who had looked cool, calm and collected, saved a shot but Mr Todua said he wanted the ball near to the edge of the box has the shot had grazed him and he gave a dropped ball to the home side. Charles Exley fired home to make it 4-3. The home crowd were on their feet and five minutes later they got an equaliser through Darren Lough with seven minutes on the clock.
Town held out for what was in the end a disappointing result they didn’t deserve.
Manager Vill Powell was delighted with the performance.
“The lads were good from start to finish and each and everyone put in a real shift,” he said.
“At the start of the day to come away with a point from up here would have been and outstanding result but it could so easily have been three points.”
Monday’s home game with another newly promoted side, North Ferriby, also ended in a draw, Town coming from 3-2 behind to level matters in the 81st minute.
Town were soon out of the traps from the kick-off and Bradford City loanee signing Samuel Bentley got the ball over the line in a crowded goalmouth in under a minute.
North Ferriby were gifted an equaliser in the 11th minute when a hesitant Town defence didn’t clear the ball and it allowed full-back Josh Dennett a clear strike on goal. It was then end-to-end before Town went into the lead again courtesy of a Mo Qasim penalty in the 24th, given for hands ball. He struck it sweetly, giving the experienced Tom Jackson no chance.
Town had two very good chances of adding to their score, first through Myron Gibbons when he went one-on-one with Jackson but the keeper just pushed it wide and then the unmarked Jack Wilson had a great chance from a cross out on the right but he sent his shot wide of the post.
North Ferriby cashed in and had two goals in the net inside five minutes as half-time approached to take a 3-2 lead.
First, Danny East slammed home a penalty for hand ball and then four minutes later in the 44th minute Jack Johnson capitalised on a huge throw-in by Dennett to beat Harry Garman.
Town, who this season are showing a lot of commitment and energy, knew they shouldn’t be trailing and set about putting things right. There were some frenetic battles in both penalty areas and one resulted in a sending off for the away side in the 64th minute. Full back Josh Morrall, right under referee Richard Holmes’ nose, committed a dangerous reckless tackle and was immediately shown a red card.
Town introduced three substitutes over a ten minute period in Ashley Butterworth, Jayden Major and Malachi Bailey to replace aching limbs from two games in 72 hours.
With the fresh legs and extra man Town did start to press the visitors and after a sustained period of play Butterworth scored a deserved equaliser in the 81st minute after converting a cross from the left.
Town pushed for the winner and their visitors also came away on the counter attack and caused one or two problems in the driving rain, especially four minutes into added time as centre half Alex Phillipson made a tremendous tackle in the six yard box to deny North Ferriby a last gasp winner.
On Saturday Town switch to FA Cup action with a Preliminary round tie at Colne (3pm). Manager Vill Powell had them watched in Tuesday night’s home game with Blackpool side Squires Gate while he took in the Stocksbridge v Liversedge game with Town four miles down the road at Claybourn on Bank Holiday Monday.
There is a coach for Colne leaving the Dusty Miller at 11.45. Should the sides be level at the end of the tie the replay will be at Town’s Heffernan Utilities Stadium on Monday night (7.45pm).
Town are taking on a month’s youth loan, centre-back Ben Tweed, 18, from Harrogate Town.