Brighouse Town slipped to fourth in the Evo-Stik NPL’s East section with a 2-1 defeat away to Pontefract Collieries yesterday.
They had no complaints about the outcome against hosts who bossed the first half and are homing in on the runners-up berth - and home advantage in the play-offs - behind champions-elect Morpeth Town.
Collieries were first to every ball and applied plenty of pressure in the opening 45 minutes. Keeper Jordan Porter had to be alert as Collieries pressed on a dry, bumpy pitch while Ryan Musselwhite was redundant at the other end.
The home side took the lead through Gavin Rothery after eight minutes and should have added a second shortly after from a cross by Eli Hey, who was left rolling in agony with a broken knee cap.
The game had been billed as a clash of the sections’s leading scorers, the Calder Valley-based Hey and Town’s Aaron Martin.
Brighouse were relieved to turn round with only a one-goal deficit and improved following the introduction of Gabriel Johnson, who wasted no time in making it 1-1 when he stooped to head home Martin’s knock-down.
The home side’s winner came on 76 minutes when, after a bout of head tennis, the ball fell to centre back Jake Picton a couple of yards inside the area and he hammered it into the net.
The visitors had chances to get back on terms but were generally second best of the day.
The second to fourth-placed finishers contest the end of season play-offs and Brighouse are still well placed to reach them as there is a six-point gap back to sixth-placed Tadcaster Albion, who lost 2-1 to third-placed Ossett United.
Brighouse’s next match is away to 15th-placed Pickering Town next Saturday. Pickering drew 1-1 with Spalding yesterday and travel to Pontefract on Tuesday to replay a game which was abandoned recently due to floodlight failure with the home side leading 2-0.