Brighouse Town bounce back with narrow win over Frickley Athletic

A 66th-minute strike from Tom Robinson settled a feisty West Yorkshire derby between high-flying Brighouse Town and mid-table Frickley Athletic.

Town, after their shock 1-0 reverse the week before at Stocksbridge Park Steels, failed to show the form in the first half that has taken them to second place in the Evo-Stik East table.

They did show glimpses of improvement in the second half, and looked a much sharper and confident outfit.

Referee Jake Topp did well to keep his red card in his pocket as he wielded his yellow card eight times - four cautions for either side - in what was a full-blooded encounter.

Athletic’s play-off hopes took a major blow with this defeat, with chairman Stuart Highfield feeling Saturday’s match was Frickley’s last chance to push for a play-off spot.

The visitors had been rocked in midweek by the loss of their centre forward and leading goalscorer Ant Wilson to National League North club Gainsborough Trinity.

Town’s opportunities in the first half were limited after a first-minute chance for Gabriel Johnson and at the other end, Town’s keeper Jordan Porter was on form to deny Jacob Hazel on two occasions, Miracle Okafor and Jamie McGuire, who were on good form for the visitors.

The Frickley back three of Jameel Ible, Thomas Burgin and Gregory Young kept the shackles on the prolific Aaron Martin and Johnson.

Town’s wide players Tyler Williams and Robinson did have better chances with their markers but any balls into the middle were snuffed out while the visiting custodian Hugo Warhurst had a relatively quiet first 45 minutes.

In the early stages of the second half, Rarmani Edmonds-Green and Thomas Haigh worked the ball to the flanks and Williams started to make life hard for Ben Algar.

The only goal of the game came from the left as Martin challenged for a diagonal ball from deep.

It fell to Robinson who controlled it brilliantly before lashing it low and hard into the far corner past the despairing Warhurst.

Five minutes later and another ball from the left, courtesy of Williams, found the head of Robinson, but his effort went just over the bar. Iwan Heeley was now on for Edmonds-Green, who had been pushed forward into midfield with the return of James Hurtley from a back injury.

Robinson was denied a second goal by Warhurst who also denied Martin after he headed on goal from a Mohammed Ibrahim cross following his substitution for Robinson.

Frickley were battling for an equaliser and Rhys Jenkinson saved the Town goal from a McGuire strike and Porter thwarted the experienced Jacob Hazel on two occasions, while both Hurley and the ever-consistent Kurt Harris were up for every flighted ball.

The referee added four minutes, and in that time, Town’s game management came to the fore as they took play into the Frickley half and worked the corners well to wind down the clock.

The result keeps Vill Powell’s side in second place and seven points behind leaders Morpeth, who won 1-0 at Ossett United.