Taylor strike earns Town’s first draw of the season

Bridlington Town 2 Thackley 2
Bridlington Town 2 Thackley 2

Battered by torrential rain from start to finish, Bridlington Town and Thackley played out a 2-2 draw which was anything but a damp squib.

The fact the game went ahead and resembled a decent afternoon’s entertainment, rather than a total farce, means credit must be given to all involved - and not just the two teams.

Bridlington’s grounds staff should take great pride from the fact their pitch was the only one good enough in the NCEL Premier Division to withstand the conditions.

Referee Wayne Grunnill also deserves praise. The decision to let the game go ahead was a big call but one you would have to say he got right. Heavy rain had fallen from 10am and he inspected the pitch at 2pm and 2:30pm before determining that

The fact that the pitch did not deteriorate during the 90 minutes justified his choice not to give everyone an afternoon off.

But the two sets of players also did their bit to put on a show in what was likely to be the worst weather many of them are likely to have played in.

Thackley led for almost all of the second half but Tim Taylor scored a late equaliser and the point took the Seasiders up to third in the table.

Their six-game winning run had come to an end, but no-one would begrudge the Bradford side a share of the spoils, especially given the quality of both their goals

Both sides went close in the opening minutes with Conner Harman’s lofted effort from 35 yards hitting the Thackley bar before going over for a goal kick and Bridlington goalkeeper James Hitchcock turning over a shot from Tom Dugdale.

The visitors shaded the proceedings in the opening half-hour and took the lead early in the 31st minute when a corner from the left-wing was half cleared by the Town defence, and landed at the feet of Ryan Farrell, 30 yards out.

You can imagine his team-mates thinking ‘don’t shoot from there’ but he hit a first-time rocket which whistled past Hitchcock and into the net.

Town hit back immediately and within a minute the scores were level again when Andy Norfolk broke down the right, outpacing Byron Littlefair before cutting in to fire past visiting goalkeeper Gibraltar-born Dayle Coleing.

Hitchcock was required to make a flying save to deny Dugdale but The Seasiders’ came more into it and Will Waudby took advantage of a slip by Craig Bentham but his cross was put behind for a corner and Coleing saved from a Joel Sutton shot from distance.

The keeper also gathered a Benn Lewis effort at the second attempt but five minutes before half time Thackley regained the lead. A move down the right-hand side ended with an acrobatic overhead kick from Ben Cohen hitting the back of the net.

Coleing was in action early in the second half preventing Jerry White from putting through his own goal then saving a Taylor back heel from close rage after Norfolk’s cross.

Town used up their quota of substitutes in the first 15 minutes as they went in search of an equaliser, with the replacements including Matty Richardson, who stepped up from the reserves to make his first team debut, and Chris Adams, who had just returned from several months travelling overseas.

Coleing parried a Sutton effort but there was no one to follow it up, then Sutton drove wide from a corner.

Chris Jenkinson flashed a 30-yard shot wide of the post but Thackley were also posing a threat and Taylor was needed to make a crucial interception after the visitors broke the offside trap.

A couple of Sutton free kicks came to nothing but Town eventually broke through five minutes from time following a four-man move that ended with Taylor scoring from a pass by Benn Lewis.

Near the end skipper Chris Jenkinson played the ball through to put Norfolk clear on goal but with his attempt heading for the bottom corner of the net that man Coleing produced a wonderful save.

The point lifted Bridlington into third place three points behind second-placed Worksop Town but having played more games than the majority of teams around them.