Two former Bridlington Town players made a huge dent in Bridlington Town’s promotion hopes, as Pickering Town won a feisty Boxing Day encounter at Queensgate.
Joe Danby and Billy Logan netted in the second half as the Pikes came from behind to win 3-2.
The result was harsh on the Seasiders, who had matched their championship rivals despite being reduced to 10 men after a quarter of the game.
Leading scorer Brett Agnew was sent off for a tackle on Russell Parker and Bridlington had a mountain to climb against the team who had dumped them out of the FA Vase back in October.
But they were unlucky not to salvage a point, with the Pikes needing a remarkable goalline clearance in the closing stages to preserve the three points.
Seeking revenge for the Vase exit, Bridlington made the early running. A lovely move involving Tom Fleming, Agnew and Tim Taylor ended with Jordan Harrison firing across goal.
Will Waudby was a whisker away from opening the scoring when he flashed an effort past the far post from a tight angle.
Bridlington’s momentum was halted when Agnew was sent off when his tackle on Russell Parker sparked pushing and shoving between the two teams.
When calm was restored, referee Darren Whatling sent Agnew off, and Town had to reshuffle.
Pickering had set up with a very defensive formation and still declined to push men forward even when they were up against 10 men.
The lack of ambition was punished on 28 minutes when Joel Sutton bagged his 25th goal of the season, and one of his best.
He twisted and turned on the edge of the Pickering area, before curling a looping shot up and around keeper Toby Wells.
Still, Pickering struggled to find a response and Bridlington’s only concern in the rest of the first half was an injury to Harrison, whose pace had caused problems down the right.
He eventually had to admit defeat and was replaced by Andy Norfolk.
The game turned round at the start of the second half and Pickering found themselves in front by the hour mark.
Both goals came from low crosses from the right flank, the first was blocked by a Town defender but fell into the path of Nick Thompson whose shot went through James Hitchcock’s legs and into the net from close range.
Six minutes later, Hitchcock spilled a cross and Danby, up from left back, took full advantage to put Pickering ahead.
Bridlington responded and after another old boy, Eddy Birch, was booked for fouling Sutton, Jack Walters’ free kick took a deflection off the Pikes wall and dropped just wide of the post.
Pickering sub Robert Chipps almost lived up to his name with a cross that looked set to deceive Hitchcock until he recovered to tip it on to the crossbar.
They did stretch their lead on 73 minutes, and appeared to have killed the game with a sublime goal.
A quick counter attack led to Logan chipping Hitchcock from 30 yards.
But Curtis Woodhouse’s men refused to lie down, and within four minutes had the chance to reduce the arrears.
Norfolk was pushed in a crowded penalty area as he looked to meet a floated free kick. Whatling said Denny Ingram had pushed him in the back, and how the Pickering full back stayed out of the notebook all afternoon was a mystery.
Brid had missed penalties in their last two home games so Norfolk was given the responsibility and calmly rolled the ball home.
Town sub Jamie Forrester, making his return from injury, looked lively and saw a long-range shot from distance gathered by Wells.
Then came the moment that ultimately saved the points for Pickering. With Bridlington throwing everything at them, George Bissett got back on to the goalline and somehow managed to clear Norfolk’s shot.
Chris Jenkinson was pushed up as an emergency striker in the final minutes and saw a header saved and even Hitchcock went forward for an injury-time corner but Town’s efforts went unrewarded.