Bridlington Town 4
Hall Road Rangers 1
THIS was one of those afternoons when Town were in a no-win situation. Fail to record three points and the title chase was virtually over, put struggling Hall Road to the sword and some people would still complain you didn’t do it by a big enough margin.
In the end, The Seasiders eased to a routine victory against inexperienced opposition without needing to get out of third gear, but the fact Scarborough Athletic overcame Parkgate and Brighouse Town rattled eight past Lincoln Moorlands Railway means it was merely a case of trying to hang on to their coat-tails.
Time is running out to close the gap and the top two don’t look like dropping points.
Bouncing back after last week’s defeat at Tadcaster, Brid again had to do the business on a heavy pitch, but they made a positive start.
Josh Greening was a threat all afternoon and spurned two chances in the first 10 minutes. He should have opened the scoring when one-on-one with Rick Watson but the keeper blocked with his feet and the striker then headed Frank Belt’s cross wide.
After a quarter-of-an-hour Eddy Birch got in behind Town’s defence but his shot from a narrow angle was foiled by Mark Wilberforce, while Greening was faced with an even tighter angle at the other end but found the side netting.
Halfway through the first half he finally made the breakthrough. Chris Batchelor’s pass prised open the Rangers defence and Greening flicked the ball over the keeper with the outside of his left foot.
Three minutes later, it was 2-0, and Town helped to get referee Duncan Street out of a very sticky situation. Greening nipped in to take the ball round keeper Watson, who impeded him as he went past. Greening’s persistence saw him shrug off the challenge and slot the ball into the empty net, but the official had already blown for a penalty.
Not only had the advantage not been applied, but how could it therefore not have been deemed a clear goalscoring chance? No red card emerged, not even a yellow, and there was the obvious fear that Watson would make the decision even worse by saving the penalty, but Batchelor fired the spot kick straight down the middle.
Rob Petch was unlucky not to pull goal back when he cut inside from the left of the penalty area and beat Wilberforce with a lovely curling shot which clipped the top of the bar.
Town were playing well within themselves, perhaps with an eye on the East Riding Senior Cup semi-final, but could have added a third when Watson spilled Batchelor’s 25-yard effort but redeemed himself by denying Nathan Cook from the rebound.
Either side of the break, there were a smattering of subsitiutions and yellow cards, but few clear-cut chances, although Hall Road sub Jamie Reeson looked to have a very good claim for a penalty turned down, when he was tripped by Cook.
On the hour-mark, sub Scott Phillips made an immediate impression. Hugely unfortunate to have been dropped to the bench, within a minute of his introduction he was fouled 15 yards inside the visitors’ half. Ash Allanson delivered a pin-point free kick and Phillips flicked a clever header into the net.
Watson continued his duel with Greening by denying him again, and from the resulting corner, Chris Jenkinson’s header was straight at the keeper.
But he was helpless when another sub Ben Silburn delivered a lovely cross from the right and an unmarked Phillips stooped to head home from six yards.
Greening showed a nice trick to create himself another opportunity but dragged a shot wide of the far post, with Phillips screaming for a pass to complete another quick-fire hat-trick.
On a rare Hall Road break, Birch engineered room but Wilberforce beat away his attempt as Town looked like securing a rare clean sheet. But it wasn’t to be, as a mix-up between Wilberforce and Wayne Aziz gifted a consolation to Jordan Cox who tapped into an unguarded net.
Billy Logan’s cheeky chip which hit the bar was the closest the Seasiders came to boosting their goal difference, but the for and against columns won’t matter if Scarborough and Brighouse remain invincible.