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Match report: Beverley Town 2 - 1 Worsbrough Bridge Athletic

Coaches can plan all week for a match, making detailed preparations, ensuring the players know the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses, and what tactics to employ. Mostly, that works. Sometimes, once in a million maybe, your captain is sent off after 15 seconds and Plan A goes flying out the window at the speed of light. That’s exactly what happened to Beverley on Tuesday evening against Worsbrough Bridge Athletic, but what resulted was a victory against

the odds, with outstanding commitment, tactical acumen and persistence that was a credit to everyone involved. It also gave the Beavers a third consecutive league victory for the first time this season, and kept them nicely nestled in the play-off places.

Often supporters might miss an early goal as they’ve left ordering their latest pint just that bit too late, and come to the stands not realising their side is a goal up or down. Seldom do they miss the fact that they’re a player down. In fairness to the referee, the dismissal was probably the easiest decision he had to make all night, as a misunderstanding between keeper Tom Nicholson and centre-half James Piercy resulted in the latter bringing down the Worsbrough

striker, and the red card had to follow. As stunning a start to a match as you could possibly get, but Beverley quickly adapted, with the decision to play with three at the back and drop wide men Olly Baldwin and Grant Tait into wing-back roles proving to be pivotal to the performance.

Once the shock had been removed from the system, Beverley hit their stride and the dismissal seemed to affect their opponents more, as they hadn’t the nous, ability or application to make Beverley pay. With Matt Plummer, Alex Knaggs and Luke Sellers strung across the back, working as an outstanding back three, Beverley looked comfortable, and the workrate of every player in a blue shirt was phenomenal on an evening when they could have simply felt sorry for themselves and buckled.

As the half wore on, it seemed as though it was Beverley who had the extra man, creating four chances in the space of eight minutes in the middle of the half. Scott Phillips created a chance for Joe McFadyen, whose shot was well blocked by the keeper, before the two combined again and Phillips’ header went just the wrong side of the post. Plummer’s shot from a Baldwin cross drifted just wide, and McFadyen blazed over as the Worsbrough goal led a charmed life. That was the end of the Beverley pressure for the half, though, as the visitors finally realised it might be a good idea to try to stretch the Beverley players across the pitch and get them to cover more distance, but, to be honest, they didn’t do it very well at all, and lacked the pace, power and guile to cause Beverley any issues. That was, until the final minute of the half.

From our vantage point on the other side of the pitch, it seemed as though the referee changed his mind as to whose throw-in it was, and gave it to Worsbrough, followed by a foul on the edge of the box wide out, which was subsequently drilled home across a crowded goalmouth.

It seemed that the missed chances would come back to haunt Beverley, but they had other ideas in a second-half that will live long in the memory. The first significant action of the half came just before the hour, when McFadyen’s looping header was spilled by the keeper, Phillips poked the ball closer to goal, and Knaggs was on hand to tap home for his first goal of the season. The pressure was all Beverley’s, as Worsbrough continued to have no clue as to how to exploit their numerical advantage, but a golden opportunity was spurned on 65 minutes when the keeper atoned for his earlier error by saving Phillips’ penalty. The fact that the penalty was given for handball after the ball smacked a Worsbrough defender firmly on the backside suggests that, on this occasion, justice was done.

The visitors proceeded to rack up yellow cards as the half went on, and a sin bin on 72 minutes left them down to 10 men for 10 minutes, in which time Beverley took the lead. With 15 minutes of normal time to play, Connor Harman, who had possibly his finest game in a Beverley shirt, working tirelessly with Nathan Ofori in midfield, angled a free kick up to Phillips, whose deft touch allowed McFadyen to curl in a shot that for all the world looked to be heading for the bottom corner until the keeper tipped it behind.

With the pressure mounting, the keeper’s Jekyll and Hyde performance continued as, from a second resulting corner, he stood and waited for the ball to come into his hands, while Knaggs decided otherwise and powered a header into the net to become the somewhat unlikely two-goal hero of the evening.

With that, Beverley reverted to a flat back four, which allowed Worsbrough a bit more of the ball, but other than a shot from distance that looked initially dangerous before drifting wide, the only concern towards the end was as to quite how much injury time was going to be played. But, fear not, the final whistle was eventually blown and the spoils were Beverley’s. Using words such as heroic never seems fitting, as this is football, not a warzone, but this was

as fine a backs-to-the-wall performance as you’re likely to witness, and one that should give all at the club great confidence for the tough fixtures to come.



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