Town leave it late again

Eddy Birch
Eddy Birch

For the second consecutive game an injury time goal earned Bridlington Town a victory.

Following the late winner in the FA Cup replay at Whitley Bay, a deflected Eddy Birch strike sunk Athersley just three minutes after they had drawn level from their second penalty of the game.

Town made two changes to the side that started the replay. With Ryan Nicholls unavailable and Ash Allanson nursing a foot injury Alex Knaggs and Paul Wray came into the side. Knaggs, Josh Heseltine and Chris Jenkinson formed a back three with full backs Danny Smith and James Whittingham pushing forward.

After a first minute Athersley corner resulted in Adam Nicholson catching a header from Josh Moore, the visitors got off to the best possible start after four minutes when Birch’s corner kick to the near post was met by Ombeni Ruhanduka who hit a half volley past goalkeeper Neil May.

Eight minutes later Athersley were given an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot when Nicholson was adjudged to have brought down Josh Moore as he broke into the Town penalty area. Nicholson’s claims that he got the ball were in vain but he made amends by diving to his right to save Lee Bennett’s kick.

The Seasiders tended to have the better of the exchanges with Ruhanduka almost capitalising on a defensive error and Tom Fleming missing the target from a good position.

Athersley came back into the game with Nicholson saving a Moore header from a free kick at the expense of a corner from which Declan Welford headed just wide. Reeson put an effort from Whittingham’s cross over the bar then after being pushed right on the edge of the penalty area, Ruhanduka fired a free kick straight at May. And Wray curled a 20-yarder the wrong side of the post.

After the break, the visitors almost increased the lead from a goalmouth scramble in the opening minute but in general it was the hosts having the better of the game but their finishing was wasteful and wayward.

Tom Fleming made an interception in his own area to stop Lee Bennett then Bennett had the ball in the Town net but the whistle had already blown for a free kick against Jenkinson who was booked.

Referee Paul Thompson allowed play to go on although an Athersley player had handled and Nicholson made a great stop from Moore when he looked certain to equalise.

With time added on approaching, Birch was penalised for an infringement in his own penalty area and Nicholson was booked for his protestations. This time Moore took the spot kick and drove it past Nicholson to atone for his earlier misses.

Kurtis Bedford made his first appearance in a Town shirt when he replaced Knaggs and as his side showed more urgency after the goal, Birch tried his luck from 25-yards with a big deflection wrong footing May.