A FINE GOAL, two own goals, missed chances, end-to-end play, skilful football, a strong wind and a sloping pitch all merged together to provide the faithful spectators of Linthwaite and Kirkburton with a classic and entertaining cup encounter.
Playing with the advantage of the wind and the slope, Linthwaite got away to a strong start and First Division Kirkburton had to pull out all the stops to prevent the Second Division leaders from scoring.
With 10 minutes played, the visitors looked to have weathered the storm and began to threaten the Linthwaite goal but, just as they were getting going, they were undone by a combination of a Ryan Patterson long throw and the strong wind.
It carried the throw longer than expected and, although keeper Adam Clifford managed to get a fingertip to it, he managed only to re-direct it into his own net.
Linthwaite continued to pile on the pressure and Kirkburton’s Stuart Rylance, James Smith, Dominic Francis and Luke Booth did a superb job to keep their side in the game while Cainan Wright put in a tremendous amount of relieve some of the pressure, and it was from a Wright cross that Kirkburton grabbed the equaliser.
Daniel Morgan met the cross at the near post and his flick towards goal was enough to wrong foot the otherwise reliable Callum Augustine and he could do no more than turn the ball into his own net.
Linthwaite tried everything to get past the visitors’ defence and Luke Naylor almost made the breakthrough with a couple of half chances, but both shots flew inches over the bar.
Having survived the first half, Kirkburton must have fancied their chances now that the elements were in their favour and, yet again, the wind played its part when a Kirkburton long throw, almost the same as Linthwaite’s first-half effort, eluded everyone except Morgan who, at the far post, calmly headed the ball into the bottom corner of the Linthwaite net.
At this point Kirkburton looked well in control but the home side, knowing that defeat meant the end of their cup hopes, began to work their way back into the game and were unlucky when a goalbound shot was cleared off the line by Luke Booth.
Centre-backs Patterson and Augustine were outstanding in the Linthwaite defence and with the assistance of Conor Sykes and Carl Grocott, Kirkburton’s shooting chances were limited.
A Stuart Rylance shot from 20 yards whistled just past the left upright and a Dominic Francis free kick hit bar and post before rebounding to safety.
Linthwaite went on all-out attack in the last 10 minutes of the game but their search for an equaliser was finally ended by the referee’s whistle.
Kirkburton now face a fourth-round meeting with title-chasing Rothwell, with a place in the semi-finals at stake.Linthwaite, meanwhile, can concentrate their efforts on promotion and a possible Division II title.