Maltby Main 1
Bridlington Town 1
NCEL Premier Division
TOWN’S 12-match winning streak came to a halt on what was described by a Maltby supporter as the worst pitch in the league but their unbeaten run continued and kept them in pole position.
Ash Allanson, Craig Hogg and Carl Stewart were restored to the starting 11 while Frank Belt was included among the substitutes after returning from Australia. New signing Danny Buttle was ruled out through injury and substitute goalkeeper Paul Fraser was unable to travel.
The game kicked off with Town playing down the slope but it was Maltby who threatened first when Brian Cusworth fired over and Rob Branagan suffered a similar fate after a good passing move had given him the opportunity.
Stewart was set free on the right and from his cross Josh Greening’s effort was deflected for a corner from which two shots were blocked and the Maltby defence stuck to its task causing Allanson to suffer the same outcome with an attempt and follow up shot.
Adam Houghton got past two defenders and into the penalty area before he also struck the ball too high then Craig Hogg missed the target at the other end from 25 yards when he collected Billy Logan’s throw in.
Hogg crossed to Greening in the six-yard box but instead of heading the ball he tried to connect with his boot and Jamie Bailey easily collected it.
Maltby went in front after 19 minutes when, from a telling move, the ball was worked out left to Michael Cuckson and with both Billy Logan and Wayne Aziz standing off him, he shot for goal with the ball taking a deflection that sent it over Mark Wilberforce into the net.
Chris Batchelor connected with a Greening corner at the near post only to see it go just beyond the far upright.
With the pitch not conducive to a passing game Maltby were using the long route and when Cuckson got behind Chris Batchelor, Wilberforce smartly turned his effort round for a corner.
With 32 minutes gone the league leaders were given a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty. Tom Fleming passed the ball inside for Hogg who appeared to be clipped by Matthew Plant and referee Neil Guest pointed to the spot.
Town, on the whole, have been unsuccessful with penalties this season with Hogg, Nathan Cook and Greening all missing from 12 yards. This time round Carl Stewart took the responsibility and drilled it straight down the middle as former Parkgate goalkeeper Bailey dived to his left.
Another half chance was missed when Greening drove into the side netting after combining with Batchelor before Logan gave the ball away on the halfway line and it was played through to enable Cusworth to close in on Wilberforce and although the goalkeeper slipped he recovered well to deal with the situation and keep the score level at the break.
Soon after the resumption Ben Langford put an effort a yard wide following a throw in then Town pushed forward with Hogg putting Greening in and Bailey saved at the expense of a corner.
Aziz made an interception and played it to Batchelor who went forward before finding Greening but this time he miscued and the ball went behind.
Maltby hit back and Adam Houghton’s shot from wide on the right cleared Wilberforce but came back off the crossbar to safety.
Hogg dragged a shot wide and when Fleming did well on the left to make progress before crossing, Stewart directed a diving header the wrong side of the post. Stewart also headed wide from the second of two consecutive corners.
Bailey had been the busier goalkeeper and he saved a strike on the turn by Hogg from a Batchelor free kick.
The hosts gained a corner from which Houghton thought he had restored the lead with a header but his joy was turned to misery by an outstanding save from Wilberforce.
Houghton had two more attempts on Wilberforce’s goal but the first just cleared the bar and the second went into the side netting.
The Seasiders were doing most of the attacking but Maltby’s defence was in defiant mood and with Bailey behind them in top form they kept Town at bay as attempts by Allanson, Cook, Stewart and Hogg were all dealt with.
Hogg had another penalty claim when he was played through on Bailey and went down under the goalkeeper’s challenge but play was allowed to continue although it looked more of a penalty than the one that had been given in the first half.
Reece Wesley received extensive treatment for a head injury before Mark Stuart made ground to get within shooting distance only to wildly put the ball well over the bar, as Brid dropped their first points since the end of August.