Ovenden triumph after stern test

Ovenden WR celebrate their Halifax FA Saturday Cup success
Ovenden WR celebrate their Halifax FA Saturday Cup success
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Ovenden West Riding made their annual pilgrimage to the Shay tonight to collect the Halifax FA Saturday Cup.

Danny Megson’s side duly walked off with the silverware again but only after being pushed to the limit by a young and talented Brighouse Town development side.

The score was 2-1, the match taking a dramatic turn four minutes into extra time when Brighouse centre back Ellis Nichols was sent off for stopping a goal-bound shot with his hand and Andy Bailey thumped home the penalty.

Bailey had given Ovenden the lead with a power-packed shot in the closing seconds of the first half, Brighouse centre forward Lamin Janneh prolonging the evening’s action with an 87th minute equaliser from a narrow angle.

Both sides have another trophy opportunity this season - Ovenden In the West Riding CA Premier Division Cup against Campion on Saturday week and Brighouse in a Galaxy Lancashire League cup final against Colne on Sunday.

The Shay pitch has suffered more well-documented problems this season and tonight’s combatants no doubt play on a better surface every Saturday.

They still tried to play their normal passing games, Ovenden with the extra physical strength provided by the likes of Bailey, Graham Hall and substitute Glyn Beal while Brighouse had energy and enthusiasm in abundance.

Ovenden had to cope with losing their ‘keeper Gary Allchin with a leg injury on 30 minutes and first-time custodian Steve Senior donned the gloves and Allchin’s extra-sized shirt - much to the amusement of the crowd - in confident style and with great success.

Each side squandering one good chance in a first half which Brighouse arguable shaded in terms of quality of play, if not on the scoresheet.

Bailey headed a foot wide from Jordan Coduri’s left-wing cross on 15 minutes and Janneh turned and shot narrowly off target a couple of minutes later.

Ovenden’s number 10 eventually made the breakthrough when he held off a couple of defenders and lashed the ball past Matt Hirst before the Brighouse ‘keeper had time to move.

The shooting opportunities increased in the second half with Senior making two fine saves from Tom Haigh in the opening five minutes.

Ovenden, who had utilised Hall’s monster throw-ins to make ground in the first half, responded with efforts from Matt Jones, John Booth and Bailey as Brighouse started to push forward and leave gaps at the back.

It looked as though Brighouse would draw a blank when Janneh missed a golden chance with eight minutes left but he made amends after good approach play involving Haigh and substitute Ryan Thompson.

Hirst made a fine save from well-advanced fullback Jay Carney at the start of extra time but he then went walkabout in his area and Nichols paid the price trying to defend the goal.

Bailey’s penalty was fairly central but almost unstoppable and Hirst was left picking the ball out of the net.

An Ovenden defence in which skipper Robbie Graham was now playing a key role, following an injury to Scott Eastwood, had only one further scare when Senior clawed the ball away for a corner in the final 15 minutes.