PICKERING Town manager Jimmy Reid says his side are playing their best football of the season after they foiled the ambitions of Brighouse Town.
The Pikes were full value for their point in a 1-1 draw at the Recreation Ground against the Northern Counties East League premier division’s third-placed side – particularly given they played for almost an hour with 10 men.
Referee Mark Dwyer sent off goalkeeper Arran Reid after 37 minutes following a clash with Tom Matthews just outside the penalty area, deeming him to be the last man.
Star striker Liam Salt donned the gloves and Pickering even took the lead before being pegged back and settling for a share of the spoils.
Boss Reid said: “I am highly delighted with the point, especially when you consider we played for almost an hour with ten men against third in the league. The crowd of 181 was brilliant and we hope to see that maintained, and even improved, as we are currently playing our best football.”
By the time of goalkeeper Reid’s dismissal, there had already been plenty of excitement.
Pickering had strong penalty appeals turned down after just two minutes when Joe Danby was upended, but the decision was not given, and Brighouse ’keeper Tom Taylor saved well from Joel Ramm’s 18 yard drive just a couple of minutes later.
Chris Gowen and Salt both could have scored for the home side, while at the other end, Luke Gibson and Matthews had their chances.
James Sutcliffe went close after Salt went between the sticks and Reid rang the changes at half-time – Eddie Cass coming on for Tom Reid and Tom Patterson and Gowen becoming employed as wing backs.It settled the home side and Ramm fired a great effort just wide of goal. There were still threats from Brighouse, Dean Readman clearing off the line 10 minutes after the break and Matthews shooting wide from close range.
Both sides continued to have chances as the game swung from end to end, but the Pikes forged in front after 79 minutes when Ged Dalton finished brilliantly from 16 yards into the bottom corner.
They could only hold the lead for two minutes. A cross to the back post saw Brighouse’s James Hurtley head the ball down and, this time, Matthews made no mistake from 12 yards.
In stoppage time, the visitors had Leon Henry sent off.
Pickering: A Reid, T Reid (Cass 45), Gowen, Readman, Sturdy, Taylor, Ramm, Patterson, Danby (Baxter 71), Salt, Shepherd (Dalton 72). Subs not used: Fenwick.
Reid had some more good news after the game when learning that Lewis Taylor had again turned down an approach from Bridlington Town to stay at Mill Lane.
Saturday sees the Pikes continue their run of home games when they entertain ninth-placed Retford United (3pm).
• Former Pickering striker Carl Stewart has returned to NCEL premier division rivals Tadcaster Albion from title contenders Bridlington after receiving an improved deal. Stewart is the league’s joint top scorer with 24 goals.