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Boroughbridge AFC Match Reports 19/20
August to December
10/08/19 - Boroughbridge AFC 4-0 Leeds City - League
Over the summer there has been work carried out on the pitch, a tough pre-season schedule and lots and lots of fitness work. On Saturday all that hard work came together as ‘Bridge played out a four nil victory against a good Leeds City side. Pre-match Daz Ekin was faced with the usual headaches that accompany games at the start of the season: holidays, honeymoons and being away on flood patrol were some of the reason for various absentees. Nevertheless, it was a strong ‘Bridge side that took to the field for the opening game of the campaign. The early signs were promising, and the hosts almost took the lead in the 10th minute as Jake Fletcher went close from a Phil Milsom cross. Minutes later and Michael Snowden almost concerted from a Lewis Pye corner. After 20 minutes of pressure from the hosts it was the visitors who came closest to taking the lead. A well worked free kick was scrambled away just as Leeds City were about to celebrate a goal. ‘Bridge looked to carry the attacking threat to City and a Phil Milsom header was well saved by the visiting ‘keeper. Minutes later it was the ‘Bridge faithful who were celebrating. A move down the right was started by Joe Chisholm, moving the ball to Freddie Jackson his flick found Milsom, who hit a low shot into the bottom corner. The goal certainly settled ‘Bridge, but City continued to look dangerous from set pieces and Liam Corbet made a good save from close range to deny City. On the half hour mark ‘Bridge doubled their lead. This time Jake Fletcher powered into the area, as he stumbled the ball broke to Milsom who fired into the net from a tight angle.

Ekin made very clear at the interval that the job was only half done. City looked dangerous from set plays and also had some good footballers in their ranks, so everyone had to be mindful that an early goal would put them right back in the contest. When the visitors did mount an attack, they found the ‘Bridge defence of Chisholm, Millea, Herron and Wix in commanding form and more often that not shots were blocked and cleared without too much danger. Then on 55 minutes ‘Bridge claimed their third, this time Jake Fletcher supplied the finish after a good build up involving Simpson and Milsom. With games coming thick and fast over the first few weeks of the season, Ekin looked to make changes and Luke Fletcher, Matty and Steve Coles were introduced to the fray with Millea, Chisholm and Jake Fletcher making way. The instructions from the bench were clear: keep a clean sheet. This saw Snowden breaking up play and making sure City were not able to mount one final push. As the game drew to a close and with torrential rain battering the Aldborough Road ground, Chris Simpson made the points absolutely save with a trademark finish on 86 minutes. So, as the referee brought the game to a close a drenched but happy crowd made their way to the bar to celebrate a winning return to the Premier Division.

Reflecting after the game Ekin was pleased that everyone came through the game unscathed. Four goals and a clean sheet to boot was just the start that ‘Bridge needed and will provide the team with confidence moving onto the next game. The gaffer was also pleased with the work rate and fitness levels shown in very testing conditions. This certainly vindicated all the hard work in training that the squad put in.

Several players were in the running for the day’s Man of the Match award. Jack Herron had a solid display and centre half Freddie Jackson covered every blade of grass on his debut. However, it was the Blonde Rivaldo who took the honours. Two goals and an assist were just the start Ekin was demanding from Phil Milsom and the number eleven did not disappoint.

Team: Corbett, Chisholm, Herron, Millea, Wix, Snowden, Jackson, Pye, Simpson, Milsom and Fletcher.
Subs: L Fletcher, M Coles and S Coles for Chisholm, Millea and J Fletcher.
Man of Match - Phil Milsom
17/08/19 - Hunslet Club 2-1 Boroughbridge AFC - League
After a frustrating start to the season where 'Bridge have seen a game chalked off due to a team pulling out of the league after just two games (Leeds City) and a postponed fixture against Knaresborough Town, a game finally got underway at Hunslet. With conditions just about perfect 'Bridge got the chance to officially sample life in the West Yorkshire Premier Division. They left Hunslet with a hard lesson learned: in this division, if you don't take your chances you will be punished. With several key members still missing from the squad 'Bridge were able to hand a debut to Nick Cressey, recently signed from North Riding Premier Division side Thirsk Falcons. In the early exchanges both teams had half-chances with Dom Creamer and Chris Simpson making the Hunslet 'keeper work to keep shots at bay. At the other end the centre-half partnership of Jack Herron and Jonty Maullin were keeping the Hunslet forwards in check. The game burst into life on the half hour mark: first Liam Corbet made a good save in the 'Bridge goal and then Kieran Corley fired wide of the post with the visiting backline frantically appealing for offside. On 40 minutes Chris Simpson went close with a header as did Jonty Maullin from a corner kick.

As the second half got underway with 'Bridge mourning the missed chances, as so often happens it's the opposition who capitalise and that is exactly what Hunslet did. A corner was not cleared and when Ryan Grant swung a boot at it there were a series of deflections before the ball nestled beyond the reach of Corbett into the net. 'Bridge responded well and Milsom got the visitors back into the game after being felled in the area by Dave Pickering. Up stepped Chris Simpson who made sure from the spot. As the game wore on changes were made with Jake Fletcher and Mark Burniston being introduced for Phil Wix and Nicholas Cressey and the visitors nearly took the lead with Dom Creamer shot from just inside the area. Then the killer blow, a poor clearance fell at the feet of substitute Danny Walker and his low shot beat the outstretched hands of Corbett in the 'Bridge goal. More half chances came and went. Hunslet defended for their lives and a last minute freekick sailed just over the bar. Last season 'Bridge would have conceded two goals and probably still gone on to win, but against a strong, determined Hunslet side they did not get that luxury and left south Leeds just thinking of what might have been.
Man of Match - Jack Herron
21/08/19 - Boroughbridge AFC 4-0 Sherburn White Rose - League
With a good training session on Monday night under their belts, 'Bridge took to the field on the Wednesday evening hoping to put Saturday's disappointment behind them. They were able to welcome back Callum Rodgers and Liam Glennon to the squad and it was an expectant crowd that descended on Aldborough Road hoping to see a turnaround in fortunes. After a relatively quiet opening, with both teams cancelling each other out, it was 'Bridge who suddenly burst into life. A strong run from Dom Creamer brought the first of many stunning saves from Lee Kelsey in the Sherburn goal. The 'keeper was on hand again to deny Chris Simpson after good work from Milsom with a neat pass to the Bridge number nine. Lewis Pye was starting to dictate the game from his number ten role and another neat passing move saw the ball deflected for a corner. From the resulting corner Jonty Maullin thought he had scored as the ball cannoned of the bar and it then looked like a defender had turned the ball over the line before Simpson made absolutely sure. With the back line of Freddie Jackson, Jack Herron, Jonty Maullin and Cal Rodgers nullifying all Sherburn's attacks, you felt that 'Bridge must capitalize on this to settle the nerves. Phil Milsom went close with a header then on the 35 minute mark the hosts extended their lead. Michael Snowden won the ball in the middle of the park, fed Creamer who found Simpson five yards out and he made no mistake.

If 'Bridge thought the second half was going to be an easy ride, they were soon in for a shock. Whatever the Sherburn Management said at half-time fired up their side as they looked for an early goal to get back into the game. Liam Corbett pulled of an excellent save to deny Joseph Fella and then a shot from Arran Hodgson hit the post. Tempers were starting to get a little frayed and the hard-working Nick Cressey found himself in the referee's book for an altercation with a Sherburn player. After soaking up the pressure 'Bridge could have been three nil up after a lovely move instigated by Dom Creamer evaded the Sherburn backline, only for the onrushing Phil Milsom to be unable to keep his shot down leaving the game in the balance. With 20 minutes to go 'Bridge made changes as Callum Rodgers, Lewis Pye and Nick Cressey made way for Phil Wix, Liam Glennon and Jake Fletcher. The Sherburn 'keeper made another good save to deny both Simpson and Fletcher, but the pressure told as Simpson hit a low drive from the edge of the area for the third. Phil Wix, who had been full of running when he came on, capped off the victory with the goal of the night as his long-range shot flew into the net. Phil Milsom, who ran his marker silly all night, was denied by the post at the end, but a four nil victory was well received as the referee called the game to a close.
Man of Match - Chris Simpson
28/08/19 - Whitkirk Wanderers 1-3 Boroughbridge AFC - League
‘Bridge made the trip to face a Whitkirk Wanderers side in confident mood on the back of a six two victory at the weekend. Daz Ekin was back in the dug-out to find his side also with a positive mood following a win against Sherburn White Rose the previous week and with the knowledge that previous trips to Whitkirk have not ended well.

Boroughbridge started brightly and Dom Creamer almost provided the early impetus with a shot that was eventually blocked on the line by a Whitkirk defender. This was never going to a game for the faint hearted and a midfield battle ensued with tackles flying in from all angles. Whitkirk welcomed back Oliver Maude and his intentions were clear from the off to dominate the opposition and both he and Adam Barlow were starting to make Whitkirk tick keeping Liam Corbett alert as he made a good save from Jason Kitchen. At the midway point both defences were on top with Liam Glennon, making his first full start of the season keeping the busy Mathew Waller in check, whilst Jack Herron, Callum Rodgers and Freddie Jackson were all producing solid displays. The referee was certainly having a busy evening as Whitkirk played right on the edge; however it was to be Jack Herron who picked up the first yellow card of the evening. As the half wore on ‘Bridge started to seize the initiative, with Lewis Pye starting to pull the strings and from a corner kick on the 40-minute mark Michael Snowden went close with a header. The breakthrough came on the stroke of half time when a Dom Creamer corner was met by Jonty Maullin and his powerful header gave Paul Diamond no chance.

The words from the Management at half time were simple, keep possession and our discipline and within a minute of the restart this message had worked perfectly. A Chris Simpson header found Creamer who left the full back in his wake and his low cross was met by Phil Milsom, only for ‘Bridge’s goal celebrations to be cut short by the assistant referee’s flag for what must have been a very close off-side. Minutes later and ‘Bridge were celebrating again but this time there was no flag as Creamer’s low cross was met by Milsom who powered the ball home from close range. Whitkirk needed to respond and Liam Corbett made two excellent saves from powerful shots from the edge of the area and Waller then got a clear run into the box from a long ball with his shot going narrowly wide. Just like against Sherburn, ‘Bridge soaked up the pressure and tried to play on the counter-attack, Chris Simpson went close with a low shot and Lewis Pye had a long-range effort. Then on the 70-minute mark ‘Bridge made it three through the Creamer/Milsom combination as Milsom tapped in from close range a Creamer pass for his second on the night. Legs started to tire as Whitkirk mounted attack after attack searching for a way back into the game. Jake Fletcher and Nick Cressey were introduced with Liam Glennon and Jack Herron making way and Fletcher had a chance but his shot from close range went just over the bar before Chris Simpson brought out a good save from Diamond as the minutes ticked away. Then on the 80 minute mark Whitkirk pulled a goal back as Scott Jones rose the highest from a corner to power a header past Corbett. Last ditch tackles by Callum Rodgers and Michael Snowden were needed to keep Whitkirk at bay as the hosts looked for a way back into the game, but Bridge remained resolute and were well worth their three one victory.

The Man of the Match proved to be a close affair and with every ‘Bridge player putting in a real shift it was a difficult one to pick. Rogers and Herron were excellent at the back, while the pace of Creamer and Milsom caused problems all night. However, Jonty Maullin covered literally every blade of grass on the Whitkirk pitch and that and his vital opening goal just edged him above several other contenders.

Team: L Corbett, L Glennon, F Jackson, M Snowden, J Herron, C Rodgers, D Creamer, J Maullin, L Pye, C Simpson and P Milsom
Subs: D Millea (Not used), J Fletcher, N Cressey
Man of Match - Jonty Maullin
31/08/19 - Boroughbridge AFC 2-1 Huddersfield Amateur - League
After their excellent win at Whitkirk and with Milsom and Simpson both absent ‘Bridge brought Nick Cressey and the returning Dan Clayton into their side for their home fixture against Huddersfield Amateurs.

Both sides started with attacking content with the visitors looking the threatening of the two as the used the width of the pitch to utilise their speedy wingers. They had an early opportunity when Sam Halstead fired over a Slater Barnes cross which ‘Bridge did not heed and on 11 minutes an unmarked Glynn Haley headed home another Barnes cross. The home side responded through the pace of Dom Creamer and Freddie Jackson who began to gain some inroads to the Amateurs back line but with the centre backs of Matthew Parker and Matt Eastwood backed by keeper Lee McGrath remaining cool under pressure restoring parity was not going to be easy. Amateurs nearly paid the price for their composure when Creamer nipped in to pinch the ball only for the keeper to recover quickly to tip away Jonty Maulin’s effort. This gave ‘Bridge the impetus they were looking for and McGrath clawed away a Dan Clayton free kick bound for the top corner before Mike Snowden headed home a Clayton corner to bring the sides level on 31 minutes. The incentive gained from the goal was quickly negated by an injury to the inform Creamer that forced the winger to leave the field with Phil Wix taking his place.

It was a cagey opening after the break by both teams with chances at a premium and any efforts on target were comfortable handled by the respective keepers Liam Corbett and Lee McGrath. Only 15 minutes into the second half however ‘Bridge were forced to make a second change with the struggling Clayton replaced by Steve Walker, Jackson taking over the left back spot and Maullin going into midfield leaving Lewis Pye to take on the wide role. The enforced shuffling of the pack began to pay dividends with Pye having more influence on the game as Nick Cressey was just wide from one of his crosses and minutes later he drifted in from the left before passing to Walker and his stunning drive nestled into the bottom corner giving McGrath no chance. This opened up the game a little more with Amateurs now pushing for the equaliser only to find the ‘Bridge back four and Corbett unyielding. One reflex save by Corbett was of particular note and another occasion, when a goal looked certain, Jack Herron managed to scramble the ball away to safety. It wasn’t all one way traffic and ‘Bridge had opportunities to put the game out of reach with Walker rattling the inside of the post and Maullin having his driving run thwarted by the excellent McGrath but they did enough to secure the three points.

This was typical of what ‘Bridge can expect in the Premier Division with all games highly competitive and, outside the top three of four, results will be decided by the odd defensive error or an exceptional strike with ‘Bridge today the benefactors of the latter. Every player again contributed to the victory and the importance of a strong bench was also emphasised as a must in this League. The voting for Man of the Match was shared amongst five players with Callum Rogers shading it by one for another complete defensive performance.

Team:- L Corbett, L Glennon, D Clayton, M Snowden, J Herron, C Rodgers, D Creamer, L Pye, J Maullin, N Cressey, F Jackson Subs:- P Wix, S Walker, D Millea
Man of Match - Callum Rogers
07/09/19 - Horbury Town 1-0 Boroughbridge AFC - League
’Bridge travelled to Horbury with two games in hand and only three points separating the two sides together with the knowledge that any result but a defeat would be a bonus. The loss of Mike Snowden, Liam Glennon and the injured Dom Creamer were exacerbated by the late withdrawal of Freddie Jackson but compensated by the return of Phil Milsom and Chris Simpson and teenagers Joe Chisolm and Jordan Atkinson making up the 14 man squad.

‘Bridge made a positive start with Jonty Maullin and Phil Wix bringing early saves from Tom Padgett who was forced into a further action on 8 minutes pushing a Lewis Pye effort for a corner after he had been set up by Phil Milsom and Maullin. A free kick given away on 14 minutes by Jack Herron nearly brought reward for the home side as Lamin Bojang’s effort rattled the ‘Bridge bar and as the game progressed the Bojang brothers began to have an effect on the outcome. On 22 minutes Corbett saved from Gibril and in the next eight minutes he denied both Gibril and Lamin before producing a brilliant save to thwart a 30 yard drive from Neil Samardzja. The play switched to the other end as Simpson turned sharply from a Wix throw only to shoot wide and on 40 minutes Milsom was flattened by the keeper when he was clean through but the Match Official did not agree with the ‘Bridge bench who were sure it was a penalty. This was made worse on the stroke of half time when Luke Playford played in Gibril Bojang who drifted by a couple of defenders and unleashed an unstoppable shot past the despairing Corbett.

The second half was a different affair with chances at a premium and arguably the best of these fell to Phil Milsom who just failed to get a foot on an excellent cross. ‘Bridge always had to be mindful of the Bojang trio who posed a constant threat and an integral part of a good football Horbury side likely to pose a threat to any side. Frustration in the ‘Bridge side began to show with Steve Walker was sin binned and Nick Cressey booked as they battled away but in the end they had concede defeat. The Man of the Match was another close affair with Callum Rogers just shading it from Liam Corbett.
Man of Match - Callum Rogers
05/10/19 - Boroughbridge AFC 2-4 Headingley AFC - League
After a September the 'Bridge would rather forget, everyone at Aldborough Road was optimistic that a new month would bring a turnaround in fortunes. However, no-one passed this message onto the opposition and by the final whistle it was Headingley AFC who were celebrating the victory, while the hosts were once more left to contemplate another 'bad day at the office'.

With no game the previous week due to the logistics of the UCI World Cycle Championships, it was hoped that the break would re-charge the players batteries and the benefit would be seen on the pitch. Unfortunately, 'Bridge are learning that if you are not 100% on your game in this league you will be punished, and that is exactly what a very good Headingley side did. When you are on a bad run of form that last thing that you need to happen is concede an early goal, but that is exactly what happened. A long ball out of defence caught the 'Bridge rear guard out of position. As Luke Fletcher tried to make a tackle, Mark Freeman was able to knock the ball past him and place the ball past Liam Corbett in the home nets. 'Bridge tried to steady themselves are were unlucky when a neat move involving Freddie Jackson and Joe Chisholm ended when the cross to Chris Simpson was cleared by Joe Cooper. A long-range effort from Joe Dorkings was smothered by the Headingley ‘keeper and just as you thought 'Bridge were beginning to make inroads, they went further behind. This time a corner was only half cleared. A cross to the far post found Cooper unmarked and in acres of space and he made no mistake with his close-range header. To their credit the 'Bridge players did not let their heads drop and Chris Simpson was unlucky not to half the deficit when his shot was well saved by Callam Taylor. 'Bridge were to go three down with the half drawing to a close. As the home bench shouted to the referee about what looked like to be a foul on Simpson, play was waived on. Oliver Carter latched onto the ball and his shot from 25 years was too good for Corbett in the 'Bridge goal.

This was not what the crowd were hoping for and Daz Ekin made sure all his players know that they must show passion in the second half and fight to get back into the game. From the restart, Phil Milsom tested the 'keeper with a long-range shot. Then 'Bridge thought they had pulled a goal back as efforts from Ashley Atkinson and Cal Rodgers were cleared off the line. Within in minutes of this bout of home pressure Headingly made the points safe when Nick Gledhill finished off a good move from close range. This certainly fired up 'Bridge with Snowden looking to drive his team forward. Jonty Maullin pulled a goal back with a long-range free-kick and further reduced the deficit with a powerful header. So, with 'Bridge now looking to make a fight of it people were starting to sense a comeback. Headingley had Taylor again to thank, after he pulled off three close range saves at the feet of Chris Simpson. With tempers starting to rise both Snowden and Rodgers found their way into David Holbrook's notebook. With 15 minutes to go 'Bridge suffered further woes as Corbett was dismissed for a handball outside the area. Luke Fletcher took the gloves and saved well from the resulting free kick. Ekin had introduced Steve Walker and James Pennington to try and change the fortunes, but to no avail. Dave Millea replaced Ashley Atkinson, who had put in a real shift at the heart of the 'Bridge defence and as the referee sounded the final whistle the hosts knew that on this occasion they had been beaten by the better side.
Man of Match - Michael Snowden
02/11/19 - Hebden Royd Red Star 3-6 Boroughbridge AFC - County Cup
The West Riding County Challenge Cup is at its best when you place your wits against sides that you would not normally encounter on a regular Saturday and that was certainly the case when Boroughbridge made the long journey to take on Hebden Royd Red Star. The hosts certainly looked like they would carry a real threat as they sat unbeaten at the top of the Halifax & District Premier League. With a pitch and facilities that were alien to some of the ‘Bridge contingent, this was always going to be a game where you had to be stand up and be counted and deal with whatever the game threw at you. With some players not quite navigating the route correctly and arriving-ten minutes before the kick-off, pre match instructions from the Manager were always going to be limited. One clear message was deal with the conditions, play your way into the game and not give away any early goals. Sadly, all three of these instructions went out of the window as ‘Bridge found themselves chasing the game after just five minutes. Joe Chisholm was caught on his heels and a low cross was turned in by the Hebden number nine. Worse was to follow as the hosts capitalised on more ‘Bridge hesitation and within ten minutes it was going to be an uphill battle after going two goals behind. The visitors then suddenly woke up and started to play as they can. Luke Fletcher and Cal Rodgers were dealing with the long ball tactics the hosts employed. In midfield Jonty Maullin and Lewis Pye started to find time on the ball and a neat move saw Joe Dorkings test the ‘keeper from close range. Minutes later and ‘Bridge thought they were back in the game. This time a it was a well struck free kick from Joe Dorkings that thundered back off the bar to safety. ‘Bridge had their tails up and you felt that a goal was coming. It was, but unfortunately for them it went to Hebden Royd. This time a well worked move and a low short that flew past Liam Corbett. It was vital that the visitors did not let their heads drop and spurred on by a vocal away support they kept their calm and were rewarded as Chris Simpson converted a penalty after Phil Milson had been fouled. Then with half time looming Phil Milson finished off an excellent move involving Freddie Jackson and Joe Dorkings to give the side a lifeline.

The second half started as the first had finished with Bridge on the front foot. The returning Jake Fletcher was making a nuisance of himself and life very difficult for his marker. He got his reward for his hard work by converting a chance to bring the scores level at three all. While this was good news, ‘Bridge still had to be on their guard as the hosts looked to regain the lead. Liam Corbett made two very good saves as the hosts enjoyed a period of pressure. Then the moment that changed the game. Joe Chisholm won the ball, played in Lewis Pye who found Phil Milsom on the edge of the area. A shot from the ‘Bridge number eleven was too good for the Hebden ‘keeper and on the hour mark the blues finally had their noses in front for the first time in the game. Hebden certainly made their intentions clear and a couple of reckless challenges saw the referee brandish several yellow cards. Boroughbridge were now starting to play some good football under difficult conditions though, and on seventy minutes found themselves further in front with Jake Fletcher applying the finishing touch making the score five three to the visitors. The hosts were certainly not finished, and the ‘Bridge defence were called into action winning tackles and headers to deny Hebden a way back into the game. On the seventy-five-minute mark ‘Bridge made the game safe as Chris Simpson scored a typical poachers goal tapping in from close range to give the visitors a six three advantage. The team had put in a massive effort to turn the game around and as legs started to tire Ekin made changes with Dave Millea, Mark Burniston and Steve Walker replacing the impressive trio of Jonty Maullin, Joe Dorkings and Jake Fletcher. There were to be no further goals, as Phil Milsom missed the chance of a hat-trick when the Hebden keeper misjudged a headed clearance but recovered in time to deny the striker.

Ekin was quick to praise his team following the hard-fought game and the spirit shown in never giving up. Heads could have dropped at three nil down, but this was never going to be the case and ‘Bridge now progress to the next round and a local derby against Kirk Deighton Rangers. Some impressive performances once the team had woken up with both Fletchers working their socks off, Milsom getting some important goals and Chris Simpson leading the line in his usual fashion. Jonty Maullin never shirked a tackle, but after a very close decision it was Cal Rodgers who just edged the Man of the Match award for his impressive defensive display.

Team:- Corbett, Jackson, Chisholm, L Fletcher, Rodgers, Dorkings (Millea), Pye, Maullin (M Burniston), Milsom, J Fletcher (Walker), Simpson
Man of Match - Cal Rodgers
30/11/19 - Field 1-0 Boroughbridge AFC - League
The opening exchanges of this game saw the hosts dominate possession, without creating too many clear-cut chances. When 'Bridge had the ball, they were closed down very quickly by a Field midfield that did not allow the likes of Ben Johnstone, Matty Coles or Jonty Maullin any time to settle. On 20 minutes the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead. Good link up play from Freddie Jackson and Phil Milsom provided Chris Simpson with a sight on goal, but his shot was well blocked. Minutes later Joe Dorkings hit a teasing cross into the Field area, only to see a home defender clear as Simpson was waiting to pounce. As the half wore on 'Bridge started to settle into the game, with Joe Chisholm and Freddie Jackson starting to make good runs from defence. Luke Fletcher and Cal Rodgers were looking solid at the heart of the defence and the game was now very evenly matched. Then on 35 minutes, James Beck hit a long ball straight down the middle of the pitch. Karl Fawcett was first to react, and he controlled the ball in one movement before placing the ball past over the on-rushing Liam Corbett. 'Bridge did not let their heads drop and could have been level on the stroke of half time. This time a perfectly place corner from Joe Dorkings found the head of Jonty Maullin. The ball looked destined for the bottom corner, before Beck somehow managed to make a low save to deny the midfielder.

Manager Daz Ekin was quick to point out at half time that his side couldn't afford to have slow sluggish starts to games against top opposition. However, there were positives as the visitors matched their opponents' work rate in the later stages of the half. A good start was needed, and the next goal was vital. 'Bridge certainly started the half brightly. Phil Milsom was making inroads down the left and the Field captain had to make a last- ditch tackle to deny the 'Bridge number 11. Sadly, Milsom was not able to recover from the knock and was replaced by Jake Fletcher. The blues were having the better of the half and the Field 'keeper produced another superb save to deny Maullin. Jake Fletcher went close after another excellent delivery from Dorkings. Field were now looking to hit 'Bridge on the break, but Luke Fletcher and Rodgers were equal to the task at the heart of the defence. On another day Maullin could have had a hat-trick as again he was denied, this time his header being well saved again by Beck. As legs tired Ekin introduced Phil Wix and Stephen Walker as 'Bridge pushed for that all-important goal to level the game. Then a moment of controversy as Simpson challenged with the 'keeper and as the ball bounced, the 'Bridge player reacted first and hit a low shot/pass across the Field six-yard box. As the ball was looking to go just past the post to safety Jake Fletcher was alert and steered the ball home from close range to level only to see the assistant flag for offside.

Field played out the final minutes and as the final whistle sounded a dejected 'Bridge team left the pitch bemoaning the offside ruling. For 'Bridge, Rodgers and Maullin played well, Luke Fletcher was solid at the back and Simpson put in another good shift. On this occasion though the Man of the Match went to Joe Chisholm - excellent in defence and a real attacking force.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm, F Jackson (S Walker), M Coles (P Wix), C Rodgers, L Fletcher, B Johnstone, J Dorkings, C Simpson, J Maullin, P Milsom (J Fletcher)
Man of Match - Joe Chisholm
07/12/19 - Kirk Deighton Rangers 2-0 Boroughbridge AFC - County Cup
'Bridge progressed to the last sixteen of the County Challenge Cup with a two nil victory at West Yorkshire League Division One high-fliers Kirk Deighton Rangers. Resplendent in their new kit and with home advantage, this was always going to be a potential banana skin, but to their credit 'Bridge produced a battling display to gain a well-deserved victory. Manager Daz Ekin had to dig deep into the Club's resources with several key players missing through injury or work commitments, but those that made it onto the pitch did the Club proud. The early exchanges saw a long-range effort from 'Bridge well saved by Smith in the Deighton goal. At the other end Liam Corbett did well to hold onto a well hit shot from just inside the area. As is often with local derbies, the referee is sometimes the busiest man on the field, and as tempers boiled and tackles rained in this was very much the case. First into the notebook was Mark Burniston for a mistimed tackle on a Kirk Deighton player, who needed several minutes of treatment to make it back onto the pitch. The hosts were enjoying the majority of the possession, but found the 'Bridge defence of Joe Chisholm, Chris Cullen, Luke Fletcher and Burniston a difficult barrier to break. When they did Corbett was up to the task with several key saves to keep the hosts at bay. 'Bridge nearly took the lead in bizarre fashion as a clearance from the 'keeper hit Luke Dubery and nearly went over the line, with Smith scrambling back to save. Phil Milsom powered a header just wide from a corner and the 'Bridge contingent sensed a goal was coming. When it did it was worth waiting for. After good work from Jonty Maullin in the middle of the park his lay off found Chris Simpson, followed by a perfectly weighted pass to Phil Milsom who supplied a cool finish to give 'Bridge the lead. There was still time for Mr Woods to brandish his card to James Woodward for a crude tackle on Maullin, with the Kirk Deighton number eight fortunate the colour was not red.

Again, it was Kirk Deighton on the front foot at the start of the second period and a long-range shot was well blocked by Chris Cullen. At the other end Jake Fletcher went close to finishing off a good move, but the 'Bridge striker saw his shot cannon back off the post and to safety. Ekin made his first change of the afternoon as the hard working and general menace to centre halves, Steve Walker, was replaced on the hour mark. Then it was Cal Rodgers who was introduced to the fray. John Rimmer almost got his name on the scoresheet with a neat effort and then supplied the assist from a free-kick with Chris Simpson providing the final touch. With 'Bridge now two goals up, Kirk Deighton threw caution to the wind and went more direct to try and get a goal back. Mr Woods' day got even busier after he removed Joe Barden from the pitch, brandishing a straight red to the Deighton number seven. Alastair Hogg was soon to follow after reacting to abuse he was given while trying to treat an injured 'Bridge player. With the game getting stretched Toby Hardaker thought he had found the net, but his neat run and chip ended with the ball just clearing the bar. Jake Fletcher had a chance to score at the end, but it wasn’t to be. As the referee sounded his whistle it was the 'Bridge contingent who celebrated in fashion, knowing they had overcome a dangerous Kirk Deighton Rangers outfit and progress to the next round.

Some quality performances on the day. Phil Milsom showed why he is so highly rated with another quality goal, Liam Corbett was equal to all the Kirk Deighton efforts in goal and Chris Cullen was a rock at the heart of the 'Bridge defence. Another game another goal for Chris Simpson with Jonty Maullin again playing through the pain barrier but once more the Man of the Match award went to the non-stop, all action Joe Chisholm.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm, M Burniston (C Rodgers), J Maullin, L Fletcher, C Cullen, T Hardaker, J Fletcher, S Walker (J Rimmer), C Simpson, P Milsom
Man of Match - Joe Chisholm
11/01/20 - Ilkley Town 4-1 Boroughbridge AFC - League
It's fair to say the last few weeks have not been kind to Boroughbridge AFC. Having suffered a heavy defeat away at Carlton Athletic on the last Saturday of 2019, the team hoped that a new year would bring about a change of fortune. Sadly, this has not been the case and having crashed out of the County Cup away at Whitkirk the previous Saturday, the West Yorkshire League fixtures computer offered up another tough game, this time away at Ilkley Town. Daz Ekin has struggled all season to get a settled team together and this again proved the case as injuries and suspensions hampered his selection. With the hosts having both the wind and their favoured pitch conditions (the superb 4G facility) in their favour they set about taking the game to ‘Bridge from the first minute. With James Nightingale and Tom Smith dominating the early exchanges it was no surprise that Ilkley took an early lead. Neat interplay between Joe Garside and George Gommersal found Tom Smith who made no mistake at the far post. Minutes later and Tom Smith doubled the lead, again with a close -range finish. Having gone two goals down this seemed to spark 'Bridge into life. Joe Dorkings was making inroads and a deep cross just evaded the head of Chris Simpson. Lewis Pye was another 'Bridge player who was now seeing a lot of the ball and he was unlucky that there was no one on hand to tun in a dangerous cross. Mid-way through the half the visitors thought they had pulled a goal back however Ben Johnstone saw his close range shot excellently saved by the Ilkley 'keeper. Another chance fell to Johnstone, but this time his shot went wide. Jonty Maullin was working hard in midfield and the mood from the bench was that if the score was just two nil at half time, 'Bridge were still in the game. Then on the stroke of half time lady luck again was in short supply. As the Ilkley 'keeper made another good save the ball ran out for a corner, only for a goal kick to be awarded. The ball was hit long, Liam Corbett missed it and Smith was on hand to tap in for his hat-trick.

After being two goals down 'Bridge had settled and started to play some decent football but had again been guilty of making mistakes at the wrong time. With the wind behind them they pressed forward looking for a goal that would maybe spark a comeback. Chris Simpson was sent through on goal, only to be thwarted by the Ilkley 'keeper. Then as often happens the opposition come back with a chance of their own. This time Cal Rodgers was adjudged to have brought down an Ilkley player. The referee pointed to the spot and up stepped the man of the moment Tom Smith to score his and Ilkley's fourth of the game. With a big Semi-Final on the horizon Ekin made some changes and Phil Wix and James Pennington were introduced to rest players that had picked up knocks. To their credit 'Bridge continued to play good football, but the Ilkley defence stood firm until the very last minute of the game when Chris Cullen headed home a consolation goal. The final whistle and another defeat, this time by four one against a very well organised Ilkley side who moved the ball about well on their 4G surface. Their record at home is played eight, won seven and drawn one, so this was always going to be a tough ask.

'Bridge now have two massive games to look forward to on home soil - first up Ripon City in the Whitworth Cup Semi-Final followed by a West Yorkshire Premier Division clash with Hall Green United. As for Ilkley, no side will enjoy playing them at home. They possess players with real flair, have an excellent 'keeper and with Smith in your side goals are never going to be an issue. Ekin will hope his players will respond in a positive fashion starting with Saturday's game against City.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm (J Pennington), F Jackson, C Cullen, A Atkinson, C Rodgers, J Dorkings (P Wix), L Pye, J Maullin, C Simpson and B Johnstone
Man of Match - Cal Rodgers
18/01/20 - Boroughbridge AFC 1-1 Ripon City - Whitworth Cup
The visit of local rivals Ripon City for the Semi-Final of the Whitworth Cup attracted a large crowd to Aldborough Road, but, disappointingly, the game did not live up to all the hype and expectations. Both sides created half chances in the early exchanges before City took the lead mid-way through the first half. As Ben Johnstone looked to be pushed, the referee waived play on and when the ball found its way to Brandon Clarke the left back fired a low shot which nestled in the bottom corner of the net to send the away support celebrating wildly. 'Bridge could have no complaints as Ripon were in the ascendancy and Gareth Barber was proving to be a valuable outlet upfront for them, linking play and causing Chris Cullen and Ashley Atkinson all sorts of problems. 'Bridge should have been back on level terms on the half hour mark as a Joe Dorkings cross fell to Liam Spence, however, the forward, on debut, could not make a clean connection and the chance was cleared. Minutes later Jonty Maullin burst through the visitors’ defence and as he looked to shoot he appeared to be impeded. A cry for a penalty went up from players and management alike only on this occasion the referee waive the appeals away.

To say the half time scoreline was a disappointment was an understatement as Ripon were worthy of their lead. They had a game plan and it was working, whereas for all their possession 'Bridge were being wasteful with the final ball and chances had been squandered. The second half saw a vast improvement in the hosts' performance, but to their credit City were defending well and keeping their noses in front. Luke Fletcher was becoming more involved and bossing the midfield battles. As pressure began to mount, Lewis Pye latched onto a short corner and as he made his move to shoot, he was caught by a late tackle and this time the referee pointed to the spot. Maullin made no mistake and with twenty minutes to go it was all to play for. Cullen, Dorkings and James Pennington had all put in a good shift and were replaced by Joe Chisholm, Freddie Jackson and Phil Wix as legs began to tire. Cal Rodgers and Ash Atkinson went close as 'Bridge looked for the winner in normal time and at the other end Liam Corbett did well to hold onto a James McGlinchey shot. So, as the final whistle blew both teams knew that it was going to be a test from 12 yards and who could hold their nerve. On this occasion it was 'Bridge who prevailed three one and made it another appearance in the Whitworth Cup Final. As for Ripon City, on this showing it will only be a matter of time before they get promoted and start working their way back to the West Yorkshire Premier Division.

The occasion and the large crowd were certainly more of a talking point in the Aldborough Road clubhouse after the game than the football everyone had just witnessed. One man stood out from the rest throughout the game though and that was Luke Fletcher, who fully deserved his Man of the Match award. Credit also to Liam Corbett who made three vital saves in the penalty shoot-out.

Team:- L Corbett, C Cullen (P Wix), A Atkinson, C Rodgers, J Dorkings (F Jackson), B Johnstone, J Maullin, L Fletcher, L Spence, J Pennington (J Chisholm), L Pye
Man of Match - Luke Fletcher
25/01/20 - Boroughbridge AFC 2-1 Hall Green United - League
After a tense Semi-Final victory over local rivals Ripon City, it was back to League action, with Hall Green United the visitors. Both teams earned the right to play in the West Yorkshire Premier Division through promotion last season, but it is safe to say it has not been plain sailing for either side. So, this promised to be a game where a win was vital for each team as both languished at the wrong end of the table. Daz Ekin was able to welcome back Chris Simpson and the 'Bridge number nine could have had a first half hat-trick were it not for the heroics of Hall Green 'keeper Lee McGrath.

With playing conditions almost perfect the scene was set and both teams wasted no time in introducing themselves as some strong early challenges set the tone for the game. 'Bridge were having the majority of the possession, but Hall Green looked dangerous on the break and a flowing moved saw a good chance for Jamie Miller, well saved by Liam Corbett. The first chance for the hosts came when Chris Simpson tested the 'keeper from close range, but an excellent reflex save denied the 'Bridge marksman. Minutes later Liam Spence was sent clear by Joe Chisholm, but the 'Bridge player just lost his footing and the chance was gone. Another chance fell to Simpson, but again the Hall Green 'keeper was equal to the task as he saved at the player's feet. At the other end the defence of Chris Cullen, Ash Atkinson and Cal Rodgers were being kept busy by the lively Speight and McGrath. On the half hour mark 'Bridge had thought they had taken the lead. An excellent move involving Joe Dorkings and Spence saw a low cross fired into the Hall Green penalty area. Simpson was first to react and as everyone turned away to celebrate the goal, McGrath pulled off the save of the day to keep the scores level. Following the near miss Hall Green almost made 'Bridge count, but the visiting striker's shot just cleared the bar, much to the relief of the home back line. On the stroke of half time Joe Chisholm saw his shot cannon back off the post to safety.

As the 'Bridge players trooped of the pitch at half time no one could understand how they had failed to score. Ekin's talk in the dressing room was simple: keep playing the football, be patient and chances will come. The only problem was that McGrath was in inspired form meaning the hosts needed to be more clinical. The midfield battle needed to be won again with Ben Johnstone and Luke Fletcher in the thick of it. Finally, the breakthrough did come. Hall Green failed to clear from a corner and Phil Wix was quickest to react with his neat header edging past the bodies on the line. 'Bridge now had the upper hand, but unlike the first half chances were not materialising. With the visitors mounting pressure of their own it was vital to get that second goal cushion and when it did come it was worth waiting for. An excellent cross from Johnstone found Simpson and his powerful header hit the back of the net. The game was now getting stretched as Hall Green looked for a way back in. Brave defending from Atkinson denied Tom Fowler and Corbett was being kept busy in the 'Bridge goal. As legs started to tire, Ekin introduced James Pennington and Jordan Atkinson, and the hosts should have done better when a break left the Hall Green defence exposed but again the chance was wasted. As the clock ticked down the visitors went in search of the goal that might spark a recovery. A needless corner was conceded and as the 'Bridge players were slow to organise themselves it was taken quickly, met on the volley by Jamie Miller and his shot was too good for Corbett. With minutes remaining 'Bridge had to show their resolve and see the game out. This they did and as the final whistle blew it was the players and management in blue who were celebrating a vital three points.

Following on from the narrow victory the previous week and these three points, this post-New year spell may prove to be the turning point for the second half of the season. The 'Bridge side are under no illusions that there will be many twists and turns before they can hopefully achieve safety and remain in the Premier Division, but this was a big win and one that was well deserved.

Some good performances: Ash Atkinson is getting back to full fitness, Luke Fletcher put in another good shift in the middle of the park, while Chris Simpson never gave his marker a minute's rest. However, the non-stop energy of Joe Chisholm was enough to secure him the Man of the Match in this entertaining game.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm, J Dorkings (J Atkinson), L Fletcher, A Atkinson, C Rodgers, C Cullen (J Pennington), B Johnstone, L Spence, C Simpson, P Wix
Man of Match - Joe Chisholm
01/02/20 - Boroughbridge AFC 1-1 Field - League
After a confidence boosting win, 'Bridge entertained high-flying Field in a game that was played out in gale like conditions at Aldborough Road. Injuries again disrupted the squad, but Daz Ekin was able to welcome Tom Smith back to the fold and John Rimmer made a rare first team appearance. Playing into the wind in the first half was proving difficult for the hosts and clearing their lines was a constant theme of the half. The visitors were also finding the conditions testing and passes were constantly being over hit as both teams looked to overcome the difficulty the wind was causing. 'Bridge were enjoying success of their own when they could play some football and the attacking threat of Joe Chisholm and Joe Dorkings earned the hosts a series of corners. However, these were dealt with by Field and the chances were gone. Field created a good opportunity and Freddie Jackson had to be quick to thwart Liam Charles, who was proving to be a real handful. Field started to apply the pressure and Cal Rodgers cleared well from a corner. In midfield Luke Fletcher, Rimmer and Ben Johnstone battled to retain possession and keep the pressure off the now overworked 'Bridge defence. A goal looked inevitable as a succession of corners came the visitors' way. While there were several last-ditch clearances, Danny Farrar was on hand to fire home from close range as a low hit corner deceived the 'Bridge defence. Minutes later and Field should have doubled their lead, with the home defence stretched a perfectly weighted ball was delivered to the head of Karl Fawcett, however much to the relief of the blue contingent, the striker missed the target. Minutes later and the score was level. Chris Simpson found Liam Spence on the left, the 'Bridge number ten saw the 'keeper off his line and his perfectly weighted chip nestled in the top corner. Both teams had chances to take a lead at half-time, with Chris Simpson coming the closest for 'Bridge.

Words of encouragement from Ekin at half time, who was happy with the effort and commitment shown in the opening half. Field have the pace to trouble most teams, so it was important that even with wind advantage, players must focus as a vital point was in reach. The second half got off the worst possible start. Firstly, a lapse in concentration allowed the visitors an early chance, thankfully well saved by Liam Corbett. Then as Charles made a strong run he was adjudged to be held back by Chris Cullen, booked in the first half the referee made a decision to hand out a second yellow card and sadly the impressive centre-back made his way for an early bath. Faced with the prospect of being down to ten-men seem to galvanise 'Bridge and they were not going to give up the game without a fight. Johnstone was covering every blade of grass in the midfield as all the 'Bridge players tried to compensate for being a man down. Liam Corbett was in inspired form with his handling as Field looked to make the numerical advantage count. At the other end the Field 'keeper made an excellent save from Joe Dorkings as the hosts kept pressing for an unlikely winner. With legs starting to tire, Tom Smith and Phil Wix were introduced with Spence and Rimmer making way. Emmerson Cox almost caught the 'Bridge back line flat-footed, but thankfully Luke Fletcher was on hand with a last-ditch tackle to deny the Field man. As the clock ticked down and the 'Bridge Management urging the referee to blow his whistle, Chris Simpson almost snatched all three points for the hosts. A long ball upfield caught out the Field defence, as the ball fell between 'keeper and the 'Bridge number nine, Simpson just got there first but his chip went agonisingly over, just clipping the bar on its way. So, the final whistle brought relief all round. A hard-fought point played in testing conditions and with ten men for most of the second period was the least Ekin's men deserved. Unbeaten in three games at home should provide the confidence needed in the second half of the season. This was never going to be an easy game as the gale force wind made sure pretty football was out of the question. 'Bridge competed well against a strong Field side who are riding high in the Premier Division.

Some good performances - Corbett was excellent in goal, making vital saves; upfront Simpson and Spence proved a handful, while Johnstone worked hard in midfield. In defence Jackson stood out with his pace keeping the dangerous Fawcett in check for most of the game, and this was enough to earn him the Man of the Match award.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm, C Cullen, C Rodgers, F Jackson, J Dorkings, B Johnstone, J Rimmer (P Wix), L Fletcher, L Spence (T Smith), C Simpson
Man of Match - Freddie Jackson
08/02/20 - Robin Hood Athletic 4-2 Boroughbridge AFC - League Cup
One thing that has been consistent this season with 'Bridge is their inconsistency. This was demonstrated on Saturday when after two high quality performances they let their recent standards slip and were punished by a well organised Robin Hood Athletic side. The message from Daz Ekin before the game was to not give away any early goals, to stay in the game as long as possible and take our chances when they came our way. Within two minutes of the contest these words were long forgotten as 'Bridge failed to deal with the conditions and as the ball fizzed around the penalty box a Robin Hood forward was first to react and fired the hosts into an early lead. 'Bridge now had to survive the rest of the half playing into the strong wind and hopefully regroup at half-time. This plan was further tested when after ten minutes a strike from the edge of the area put the hosts two goals to the good after the visitors failed to clear their lines. To their credit, 'Bridge started to take the game to Robin Hood with Joe Dorkings causing problems down the left-hand side. Mounting pressure earned a succession of corners and a good delivery from one picked out Cal Rodgers, who powered home a header from ten yards out. Minutes later and 'Bridge were level. Chris Simpson won a header and fed Joe Dorkings wide on the left. The 'Bridge man hit a long range shot which nestled in the top corner. With the game now even 'Bridge started to go looking for the goal that would give them an unlikely lead. Lewis Pye was starting to impose himself in midfield alongside the hard-working Ben Johnstone and Luke Fletcher. A good through ball from Joe Chisholm caught the Hood backline napping and Liam Spence raced in only to be met by a strong challenge by the 'keeper and the chance was gone. With half an hour gone the goal that proved to be the game changer came. A mix up in the 'Bridge defence allowed Robin Hood to steal in and make it three two in their favour. No more real chances in the half, but that goal and given Robin Hood a boost in their confidence, while the 'Bridge players trooped off looking downcast.

Ekin spoke at half time about the need to be patient, not to over hit the passes as the wind would just take it away and be ruthless in front of goal. However, as the half progressed it was clear that Robin Hood were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure and try hit 'Bridge on the break. Passes were over hit as the wind hit gale-like conditions. When chances did come, the Hood 'keeper was equal to them every time. Ash Atkinson went close with a header from a corner and shots were fired in from all angles. With the clock ticking down 'Bridge thought they had a lifeline. Chris Simpson broke free of his marker, but as he looked to place his shot into the bottom corner out rushed the 'keeper to make an excellent last ditch save. Jonty Maullin, Phil Wix and John Rimmer were introduced as fresh legs in search of the illusive equaliser. Maullin went close and Johnstone saw his long-range effort well saved. Then with all eleven 'Bridge players up the field for a last-minute corner, the ball was cleared and with the 'Bridge defence nowhere in sight the Hood player had all the time in the world to roll the ball into an empty net for four two.

This was a Cup that the 'Bridge Management had targeted as a confidence booster in terms of continuing the good run of form and with the prospect of a 'home quarter final' to look forward to. Sadly, Robin Hood had other ideas and their never say die attitude and impressive second half defensive display meant it was the hosts who progressed into the next round. For 'Bridge they must regroup quickly - they know that they are in a real fight for survival in the Premier Division and points are vital. Cal Rodgers was the standout performer at the heart of the 'Bridge defence and was voted the Man of the Match for his efforts.

Team:- L Corbett, J Chisholm, F Jackson (P Wix), A Atkinson, C Rodgers, J Dorkings, L Fletcher (J Rimmer), B Johnstone, L Pye, C Simpson, L Spence (J Maullin)
Man of Match - Cal Rodgers
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