Grindleton Reserves 2
Four teams remain in the hunt for the Craven League Division Two title after leaders Broomhill hit back from a lacklustre display to rescue a point with a solid comeback.
After another two-week lay-off, Broomhill never hit a high gear in the first 45 minutes and paid the price during a sustained period of pressure, which resulted in the Badgers conceding two quick goals.
The opening goal came from poor marking by the Broomhill defence. After winning the initial header from an inswinging corner, the defence didn’t react to the falling ball but a Grindleton striker did and cleanly connected with the volley into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
The second came from a cross into the box which was headed over Jake Yaxley.
Although Broomhill never upped the tempo, a number of chances were still being created and emphasis was placed on not getting frustrated.
Strikers Andy Tanner and Andy King were kept relatively quiet in the first half by the Grindleton defence – although the latter hit a post from 20 yards following a mazy run, skipping past four defenders on the way.
The second half began in much the same manner and Broomhill were slow in the opening stages.
While not really threatening the Badgers’ goal, the Grindleton strikers kept man of the match Chris Holroyd and David Rhodes busy throughout; not giving them any time to play the forward balls they are both capable of.
One great chance to score fell to King who only managed to hit the diving keeper after a great squared ball from full-back Chris Reynolds.
With the whole Broomhill squad expecting the net to bulge, it appeared that it would just be one of those days with nothing falling for the Badgers.
On the hour, manager Stewart Kinnear brought on winger Jamie Greenwood and midfielder Aaron Whitaker soon after.
These changes were made in order to alter the Broomhill formation and try utilise the wings a little more.
Heading in to the last 15 minutes, Broomhill threw everything forward towards the tiring Grindleton defence and the breakthrough finally came through King. Whitaker picked up the ball and ran with it into the Grindleton half.
After playing a pass to King’s feet on the edge of the box, he swivelled and hit an unstoppable left-footed shot into the despairing keeper’s bottom corner.
The pressure Broomhill suffered in the first half was now being applied towards the hosts, with the Badgers sensing that another goal was imminent; and with five minutes to go, it came through Whitaker’s header.
A corner was swung in and was cleared to the edge of the box. Greenwood headed the ball back into the danger area and, after the Grindleton defence had stepped up, Whitaker ran through and looped a header over the keeper to equalise.
Broomhill pressed further, hoping to seal a dramatic victory by throwing everyone forward.
Tanner headed over the bar and Simon Harris had an effort smartly saved from 30 yards in the dying seconds.
Although this wasn’t a great performance from the Badgers, and despite dropping their first league points since October, the ability to come back from a two-goal margin and keep fighting until the final whistle is certainly a positive that manager Kinnear will be comforted with heading into the vital final two games of the season.
Broomhill lead FC Sporting Keighley by three points with both teams having two games to play. Oxenhope Thirds are a further three points adrift but have two games in hand, while Grassington Reserves are fourth, seven points adrift of the leaders with three to play.
Broomhill: Yaxley, Smith (Harris 75), Holroyd, Rhodes, Reynolds, Ward (Greenwood 60), Hardman, Hill (Whitaker 65), Slater, Tanner, King.
Grindleton Reserves 2