Brighouse Town’s Christmas programme earned them a valuable four points but it could so easily have been six!
In the two games with Ashington AFC on December 23 and away to Winterton Rangers on Boxing Day, they also registered their first victory in twelve league and cup games.
Against Ashington they drew 3-3 and then four days later won 2-1 against the north Lincolnshire side in sight of the Humber Bridge.
Away to the Northumbrian outfit back in August, Town drew 4-4, but with just 10 seconds left of added-on time, and leading 3-2, it very much looked like all three points until right at the death, they conceded another late goal from a corner.
Jack Normanton opened the scoring for Town with a penalty in the 27th minute after Mo Qasim had been brought down in the box and that is how it stayed until the half-time whistle.
Oliver Thompson, on loan from National League side Gateshead, and the team’s outstanding player, levelled matters shortly into the second half ahead of what could only be described as a six goal thriller.
Kieron Ceesay hit back for Town after great build up to make it 2-1 but five minutes later it was 2-2 as Thompson grabbed his second.
Sam Drake, a second half substitute, made it 3-2 to Town in the 81st minute after a sublime cross in front of goal from Qasim coming in strongly from the left.
Town, with fellow subs Jordan Helliwell and Ash Butterworth now on, did try earnestly to add a fourth but the visitors keeper Karl Dryden was on form behind his two centre-backs, Gary Ormston and Darren Lough.
Referee Karl Parker added six extra minutes and it needed what has been lacking all season, some game management in the dying moments of a game. However, as the referee was into his final minute, Ashington gained a corner and in a goal mouth scramble, striker Paul Van-Zandvliet poked the ball home for the equaliser.
Town’s management team and players were gutted, as were the home supporters baying for a rare win.
At Winterton’s tidy stadium and on a good surface, Town were a goal down after just two minutes when from a free kick, some 35 yards out on the right, the ball was swung in to the six yard box and Scott Matthews beat the hesitant visiting defence and keeper Jamie Hassall.
Town gradually worked their way into the game and on 28 minutes Ceesay had the ball in the back of the net but referee Conor Ledgway disallowed it for hand ball. Town supporters behind the goal and their players were up in arms, but it made no difference, the match official waved them all away and it remained 1-0.
Five minutes later and Qasim had a shot kicked off the line ahead of home striker Steven Ridley hitting a post with an inviting open goal in front of him. Five minutes later Town vice-captain Curtis Peters had a strong shot turned round the post by William Mitchell for a corner.
It remained 1-0 at the break but Town had been building momentum and this carried on in the second half with their defence of Peters, Brandon Webster, Matty Nebard and Jamie Allsop tightening things up and pushing forward.
Wing-back Webster played a binder in the second half, tormenting the home defence up the left and midfielder Cameron Bedford was also winning balls and getting attacks moving.
Once the fresh legs of Jordan Helliwell, Ash Butterworth and Jack Crook had got on, the home defence was creaking and a goal looked imminent.
Town had to wait until the 88th minute when Crook pounced to the delight of his teammates and the away support.
Four minutes later and Town were in the lead with leading goalscorer Qasim blasting home to make it 2-1.
Game management was called for and it did `happen’ in this game and there was sheer delight on the bench and on the pitch at the final whistle.