Brighouse Town 2 Thackley 2
Town made a superb start to this game; closing down well and first to most balls.
In the second minute, Ernest Boafo robbed a defender 30 yards from goal and advanced into the box before smashing a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal that ended up on the opposite flank with Danny Naidole. The skilful winger put the ball straight back into the danger area for Luke Gibson to volley wide at the far post.
Central midfielders James Hurtley and Ben Thornton were controlling the midfield so it was no surprise when Town took the lead on six minutes.
Luke Gibson was the provider busting through a couple of challenges before his low cross was scooped into the net by Tom Matthews even though he was sat on the ground after blocking an attempted clearance!
Buoyed by the goal, Town continued to dominate; Mark Bower in the visitors’ goal was quick off his line to get to a through ball before Matthews and minutes later Matthews had a shot blocked.
Town were playing some decent football despite the heavy pitch, one such move on the quarter hour mark saw Ben Thornton’s shot saved by Bower.
Thackley equalised against the run of play on 18 minutes as the Town defence tried to play the offside trap, which allowed Dempsey Smith a clear run at goal and he finished well past Tom Taylor.
The goal brought Thackley to life and suddenly they were the team that were on top and Town had a major let-off when Kris Hargreaves’s dangerous cross was turned onto the crossbar by under pressure Town defender James Sutcliffe who was relieved to see the ball bounce away to safety.
There was no denying the merit of Thackley’s second goal as the dangerous Brice Tiani raced clear before cutting inside Leon Henry and thumping a left foot shot past Taylor to give the Bradford side the lead on 40 minutes.
Town boss Paul Quinn used his half time team talk to remind the players of what they needed to do to and Town immediately won a free kick just outside the box and Naidole’s curling free kick forced Bower to tip over.
Bower was indebted to defender Liam Hudson when Matthews beat him with a low shot from a Gibson pass, only for the centre half to race back and clear the ball off the goal line.
But no one came to the keeper’s rescue when Naidole’s pass released Boafo who confidently rolled his shot into the net to give Town the equaliser.
Thackley played themselves back into the match with a style of football that made good use of both short and long passes – luckily for Town, Tom Taylor’s handling of balls pumped into the box was first class.
The closing minutes of the game belonged to Town, who twice thought they had snatched a winning goal.
Boafo hit a low right foot shot that Bower tipped against the inside of the post and Tom Matthews swivelled to hit a volley that looked destined for the roof of the net before Bower made an outstanding save to tip the ball over the bar.