Bridlington Town 3
Barton Town Old Boys 1
NCEL Premier Division
THREE second half goals eventually got the better of a stubborn and solid Barton team, littered with former Bridlington players
Barton created the early chances, ex-Town defender Ash Dexter sending a close range header straight at Mark Wilberforce and Steve Norton fluffing his lines after Gareth Barlow sent him clear.
But the opening quarter of the game saw few decent opportunities at either end.
Wilberforce made a spectacular save to keep out an ambitious long-range effort from Josh Schofield, after good work down the right flank by the impressive Alex Sherwood and Ash Lattimore.
The Seasiders were forced into a change midway through the half when Chris Batchelor injured himself tackling Norton, and Tom Lee replaced him at left back.
It was not until after this that they produced their first shot on target, as Billy logan skipped past Schofield and fired in a low swerving shot.
David Bramley gathered and immediately set up a counter attack that ended with Schofield being put clear, but his weak shot was blocked by Wilberforce.
Another former Town favourite, Danny Brunton, too often left out instead of left back last season, scampered forward to create another chance for the visitors, but Schofield couldn’t find the net again, and at the other end Dexter’s last ditch tackle stopped Hogg from sending Carl Stewart through on goal.
Bridlington were a shadow of their usual selves and should have fallen behind on 34 minutes, but Ryan Cooper wastefully shot over after the ball fell nicely to him inside the box.
Barton were looking reasonably untroubled, if a little uninventive going forward, and the hosts’ passing was poor all around the pitch. It took until injury time before the fashioned a real chance. Stewart clipped a shot past Bramley but Mike Gibson was on hand to clear from inside his own six-yard box.
Dexter continued to thwart his old mates after the break, blocking a shot by Hogg, who departed soon afterwards after a quiet afternoon.
Slowly, Town started to look like they might be the ones to break the deadlock, with Logan’s adventures forward from right back looking like the most likely method of breaking down the Swans. The opportunities became more frequent for the reds, though they remained long-range efforts or half-chances at best.
Nathan Cook’s long ball was misjudged by Dexter but Stewart’s effort was beaten away by Bramley. The keeper then denied Cook when he tried his luck from 30 yards.
On 62 minutes, the opening goal arrived. Bramley had got away with one weak punch, but his luck was out the second time. He got a poor contact to a left-wing corner, Lee volleyed the ball back through a crowded penalty area and Scott Phillips tapped home from three yards.
Having looked happy with a draw, the Swans found themselves two down before they’d had chance to rethink their gameplan.
They were left looking for an offside flag which never arrived. Carl Stewart stumbled round the keeper and fired a low shot in the corner past a defender on the line.
Having kept his cards in his pocket all afternoon, Hull referee Wayne Grunnill then felt the need to book five players in the last 20 minutes.
In amongst the flurry of yellows, Town added a third. Lee swept a lovely cross into the box and an unmarked Stewart slid forward to divert it past Bramley from six yards.
Minutes later the prolific marksmen had the ball in the net again but he was denied a hat-trick by an offside decision.
Lee nearly got the goal his performance deserved when he ran the full length of the pitch to get on the end of a move involving Phillips and Josh Greening, but he was crowded out as he tried to get his shot away.
Barton rallied in injury time. Firstly, another ex-Seasider Gareth Owen hit the inside of the post from 20 yards, then in the 94th minute, Town failed to properly clear a corner and another sub Joe Cooper rifled through a packed penalty area and past Wilberforce for a consolation.
A 12th straight league win, against a team with four ex-Seasiders and at least four other East Yorkshire-based players and yet only 139 were there to see it.
What more can the club do?