Bridlington Town 1
Tadcaster Albion 2
NCEL Premier Division
IT WAS ‘Super Saturday’ at The Olympics but a totally different story for Bridlington Town as they kicked off their NCEL campaign.
The Seasiders were beaten, deservedly, by an impressive Tadcaster side who seem likely to be one of the contenders for the gold medals when title honours are given out in the spring.
Last season’s shock opening day defeat at Maltby Main was the result which ultimately cost Town the top spot in the final reckoning, and although this setback was not as surprising, the signs were not great.
Two goals in a minute just after the hour mark gave the Brewers the points in as urprisingly low-key encounter, after the hosts had been fortunate to find themselves ahead at half time.
Bridlington could point out that they were depleted, and that they had been given a tricky opening test against a team who had won at Queensgate last season, but it is a bit early in the season for excuses.
Chris Jenkinson was getting married, Billy Logan was on holiday and Frank Belt and Ash Allanson are coaching overseas for the forthcoming weeks and months. Fortunately, Wayne Aziz arrived suited and booted after dashing from another wedding he was a guest at, while three returning players were named in the starting line-up Tom Lee, Alex Rhodes and Scott Phillips. Two more players made their debuts, Edward Cass at right back and Tom Richardson in midfield, while the bench looked very inexperienced.
Tadcaster included Stuart Rice, who never really managed to establish himself at Bridlington last season, but who went on to be one of the best players on display in this match. Typical.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with Rhodes having Town’s first effort on 10 minutes, firing a long-range shot over the bar after he was left with plenty of time and space.
Cass saved the home side moment’s later, heading off the line, when Ryan Qualter rose at the back post to meet a left wing corner following a lightning quick Albion break after a Brid free kick.
Josh Greening’s 25-yard shot was comfortably gathered by Scott Pallister, while Rice saw his effort deflected narrowly wide of the post.
Tadcaster looked very good in possession, but were lacking a killer final ball, and it was a surprise when the hosts took the lead five minutes before half-time.
Greening showed impressive pace down the right wing and calmly laid the ball back for Scott Phillips to pick his spot from 12 yards out.
Visiting skipper Robert Pell should have levelled straight away but he sliced a very good chance wide and Town took a lead they hardly merited into the interval.
Craig Hogg and Greening made early inroads into the Albion penalty areabut failed to create a clear-cut chance as the second half started in niggly fashion.
The game turned on 56 minutes when Brid skipper Tom Fleming limped off. Within seconds Nick Thompson should have levelled.
He cut through Town’s defence far too easily and dinked his shot over Mark Wilberforce but wide of the near post.
However, two goals in a minute arrived shortly aftewards. Firstly, Rice fed Nathan Kamara on the right and his low cross was turned in by Steve Jeff from close range.
Straight from the kick-off, sub Danny Gray was afforded too much room on the dge of the box and he turned and fired a right-foot shot past Wilberforce’s left hand.
Tadcaster were quicker to everything and Thompson could have sneaked in to add a third as Hogg became increasingly isolated up front.
Thompson again worried Wilberforce with an effort which cleared the bar, while there was a moment of controversy at the other end.
Hogg broke the offside trap and his volley was parried skywards by Pallister who scrambled back to punch the ball clear from under his crossbar, with the striker appealing the ball had crossed the line.
If another goal was to arrive, it was likely to be from the visitors. Gray’s acrobatic attempt was just too high and Tom Owen fizzed a shot wide after more good build-up play.
With Whitley Bay arriving at Queensgate on Saturday in the FA Cup, Bridlington’s season may get worse before it gets better.