Referee’s whistle ruins derby spectacle as Brighouse suffer

Brighouse v FC Halifax Town
Brighouse v FC Halifax Town
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Controversy as early as the 20th minute of the game robbed the 671 spectators of a close encounter over 90 minutes.

Brighouse had been in control for those 20 minutes with some quick passing and accurate football until a rare attack by the Shaymen put their goal under pressure.

Brighouse v FC Halifax Town. Sam Walker

Brighouse v FC Halifax Town. Sam Walker

Keeper Paul Hagreen was beaten and the shot hit new central defender Dan Illingworth on an arm between his shoulder and elbow and Livesedge referee Colin Whittaker immediately pointed to the penalty spot and sent off the former Ovender WR player.

Sam Walker converted the penalty but not before FC Halifax manager Neil Aspin had spoken with the home bench and said he would have preferred in such a game for the player to be replaced from the bench. Veteran Halifax-based assessor and former Football League referee Trevor Simpson was also in the crowd.

Brighouse’s assistant manager Mark Booth also felt common sense should have prevailed.

That was also the general opinion around the ground and it certainly threw the home side out of their fluent play which had seen Ernest Boafo and Steve Hollingworth go close after entertaining play from Ryan Hall and Ben Thornton.

On 26 minutes, Brighouse almost equalised when their former short-term keeper of last season Jordan Porter, now on trial at Halifax, failed to hold Hollingworth’s shot and, as the ball was about to be scrambled home, the offside flag went up.

Seven minutes later and Halifax were two up as Adam Field headed into his own net from 12 yards out after Kingsley James had swung in a free-kick.

It had been a good but yet unfortunate first half for an enterprising home side.

Aspin made changes at the break and former Sheffield United midfielder Elliot Whitehouse sent in a 35-yard drive after 53 minutes which just went wide.

Tom Robinson replaced Hall on 57 minutes and 
Tom Metcalfe came on for Hagreen.

James Hurtley continued to work hard for Brighouse and Hamza Bencher was commanding at the back for Halifax, who went 3-0 up on 68 minutes through Jordan Burrow, whose header appeared to also come off Field as it beat the keeper.

Boafo and Henry were replaced by Will Tolley and Israel Johnson and then Halifax’s trialist forward made it 4-0 on 73 minutes when he deceived Metcalfe at the near post with a 
shot across him and the face of goal.

Five minutes later and Burrow had bagged his brace as he buried the ball from a goalmouth scramble.

Halifax had been able to keep their shape better with a full side throughout but Brighouse, as coach Rob Wilson pointed out, never shirked their responsibilities and worked flat out over 70 minutes with a man down.

“I thought ‘Hurts’ (James Hurtley) was outstanding,” he added.