Pickering halt Town’s 17-game unbeaten run

Pickering Town v Bridlington Town
Pickering Town v Bridlington Town

Pickering Town 3

Bridlington Town 1

NCEL Premier Division

BRIDLINGTON Town’s 17-match unbeaten league run, stretching back to September 1, ground to a halt at Mill Lane on Saturday without the Allanson ingredient.

Despite taking the lead just before the break, Brid appeared to still be in the dressing room as the Pikes equalised almost from the restart and from then on they struggled to match their opponents who were obviously up for the game.

Ash Allanson, who had played in every game of the unbeaten run and not yet been on the losing side this season, was unavailable for the game.

Town made the first inroads when Craig Hogg played in a pass from Billy Logan for Carl Stewart but Tom Reid managed to clear from inside the six-yard box then Nathan Cook curled a 30-yard effort wide.

Simon Sturdy had been giving ex-Pike Carl Stewart particularly close attention and when the Pickering skipper barged into the striker from behind, he collided with John Heads. Both players left the field for treatment before returning to the fray with Stewart sporting a bandage on a head wound.

Minutes later Sturdy clattered into Tom Fleming and was booked but again a free kick, taken by Logan, failed to work the goalkeeper.

Hogg was next to be in the wars when he slipped chasing a long ball from Tom Lee and was treated for a rib injury before continuing.

Pickering gained four consecutive flag kicks as the Seasiders’ struggled to get the ball away from some accurately flighted in swinging corners.

Brid gradually started to gain control of the midfield and had their best spell in the final quarter-hour of the half. Fleming and Hogg swapped passes on the left flank before Fleming crossed to the far side where Stewart hit a volley downwards and on to a post before Chris Gowen hacked the ball clear.

Hogg’s injury eventually forced him out of the game after 33 minutes and Scott Phillips replaced him.

Mark Wilberforce pulled off a fine diving catch when former Bridlington player Joe Danby connected with a cross from Tom Reid.

Two minutes before the break the Seasiders’ got their noses in front when Josh Greening scored his seventh goal in five games by converting a cross from Phillips after the substitute had been fed by Fleming.

Straight after the break, Town were caught cold by Joel Ramm who found room on the right, after the visitors had lost possession, and scooped the ball into the goalmouth where it struck the far post before crossing the line.

Buoyed by their good fortune Pickering upped their game and Danby hit a post with Liam Salt following up to send in a low shot that was held by Wilberforce.

A Pickering free kick from 25 yards was deflected for a corner after Chris Jenkinson had picked up his fifth booking of the season for a foul on Danby. Shortly afterwards Frank Belt came on in place of Jenkinson.

Pickering were now by far the better side and Danby hit the woodwork for a second time with an effort from outside of the penalty area striking the crossbar then, as the Pikes pressed forward, Wilberforce caught a centre from Heads.

After 73 minutes Tom Reid underlined Pickering’s superiority with a strike from out on the left that flew over Wilberforce and into the far corner of the net.

The visitors started to show more urgency as they went after an equaliser but Aaron Reid got to the ball ahead of Stewart as he chased it into the area then Greening took a pass from Fleming but there was nobody forward enough to take advantage of his ball in. Chris Batchelor could only find the side netting with a left foot strike from Palmer’s pass.

Phillips played a quick free kick from Logan back to Cook who drove well over the top and Belt’s long cross from the right landed on top of the net.

Five minutes from time Fleming also received his fifth yellow card for a foul and Phillips followed him into the book for dissent.

Pickering were defending desperately to keep Town at bay and Greening made ground on the left before crossing to Stewart who couldn’t rise high enough and headed the ball over the bar.

With 90 minutes up Pickering were reduced to ten men when referee Duncan Street deemed that Heads had no intention of getting the ball with a lunge on Greening and showed him a straight red card.

Deep into time added on Wilberforce’s attempted clearance struck Danby and with the ball heading for an empty net substitute Steve Baxter followed it in although the goal was officially given to Danby.

The cautions received by Jenkinson and Fleming means that they could both miss the opening game of 2013 away at Tadcaster Albion while Greening’s goal had elevated him into the league’s top 10 scorers along with teammates Stewart and Hogg.