Late penalty makes it 11 games unbeaten for Town

Bridlington Town 2 Clipstone 1
Bridlington Town 2 Clipstone 1

Bridlington Town extended their unbeaten run to 11 games after a late Andy Norfolk penalty secured a 2-1 win over Clipstone.

Har work has been the hallmark of their impressive run, and this game was no different, as the Seasiders showed their battling qualities to collect the three points.

After a frenetic start saw two goals in the first five minutes, the game looked to be heading for a draw until Norfolk kept his nerve from the spot in the 84th minute, after Will Waudby had been tripped.

It was the seventh time in the 11-game run that Town had scored in the last 10 minutes of a game, and it is proving a useful habit to have.

The Queensgate pitch passed a morning inspection, and the hosts wasted no time in taking full advantage of that decision.

Benn Lewis miscued a cross from the right wing and it looped up miles into the area. Visiting keeper Steve Hernandez made the bold decision to come to the edge of his area to try to claim the ball, but was hampered by team-mates and opponents.

He tried to punch clear but a poor connection saw the ball land at the feet of Eddy Birch.

The midfielder, who was making his first home appearance since resigning from Hull United, took a touch, steadied himself and side-footed the ball back past Hernandez from the edge of the area.

Town were one up inside the first minute, but it was a lead they held for only four minutes as a goalkeeping blunder at the other end proved equally costly.

Chris Jenkinson recovered well to block Jahmal Smith’s shot at the expense of a corner.

Town has made the mistake of not putting a defender on the near post and James Ashmore’s inswinging corner was only punched into his own net by keeper James Hitchcock, in scenes which looked like they had come from the Liverpool school of how to defend a corner.

Clipstone defender Damian Magee somehow escaped a card after an awful two-footed tackle on Conner Harman on the edge of the penalty area, but Town could not impose any punishment from the free kick.

A lovely Town passing move ended with Norfolk’s weak shot failing to trouble Hernandez before Harman’s low shot went just past the post after Jenkinson had kept an attack alive.

Town continued to be on the front foot, and Tim Taylor’s back heel sent Norfolk away one-on-one, but Hernandez held his nerve and make the save.

For the last 15 minutes of the first half, Clipstone looked the more likely scorers. Hitchcock was at full stretch to keep out an effort from 23-goal Alec Denton, who had started the day as the division’s top scorer.

Smith won a tackle with Danny Brunton but sent an audacious lob over the bar and then atoned for his earlier mistake by producing a stunning save.

He clawed out Ashmore’s free kick from the foot of his post and Alex Knaggs completed the clearance.

The Bridlington number one was then quick to foil Nicky Walker, diving at his feet in the area.

With the final move of the half, Town’s captain Tom Fleiming surged forward from the halfway and released Will Waudby. His cross found Norfolk, but Hernandez gathered the striker’s attempt and it remained all square.

After the all-action start to the first half, the opening minutes of the second period were much more tame.

Lewis’ shot took a deflection which took the sting out of it and Taylor lashed wide after good persistence by Norfolk led to an opportunity.

At the other end, Ellis Wall was just off target and then Hitchcock fielded Smith’s long-range effort.

Midway through the second half, Hernandez made his best save of the game, diving to his right to push away Waudby’s flying header.

Wall had a much easier headed chance for Clipstone, but when unmarked as he met Walker’s deep cross, he nodded over.

Town won another free kick in a dangerous position, after a foul on sub Chris Adams, and while the visitors’ keeper only watched Birch’s shot, it dipped the wrong side of the post.

Both sides then had chances within a matter of seconds, as Adams couldn’t get a clean connection when he met Norfolk’s knock down, and then Clipstone raced away on the counter attack but Walker sent his effort well over the bar.

Birch was in the right place at the right time, to clear from inside his own six yard box and it looked like Town would have to settle for a point against a team they had beaten on their travels just two weeks ago.

But with just six minutes to go, Birch found Adams. His attempt was cleared of the line by Clipstone and then as Waudby tried to keep the pressure on, he was tripped by substitute Liam Nelthorpe.

The Nottinghamshire side were furious when referee Stephen Wade pointed to the spot, but Norfolk ignored the protests and calmly sent Hernandez the wrong way with the penalty.

there was still time for a scare. Hitchcock needlessly spilled Ashmore’s cross and Denton’s shot clipped a defender and diverted over the crossbar.

The same player then went on a slalom run down the right flank, but when he got into the box, he lifted an effort too high.

In the closing minutes, Adams set up fellow sub Paul Wray, but Hernandez saved, and Town eased through the last few seconds to make it 11 games without defeat.