BRIGHOUSE TOWN will be looking to put their FA Vase disappointment behind them tonight as they resume their push for the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title.
Town’s epic trip to the Isle of Wight in the Vase’s fourth round ended with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Newport FC at their St George’s Park ground.
Brighouse, third in the table and lying six points behind leaders Scarborough, travel to mid-table Long Eaton United looking to turn their game in hand into three precious points.
And they make the much shorter trip south to the Derbyshire club’s Grange Park ground buoyed by an excellent showing in the knockout competition on the Isle Of Wight.
The cup-tie started at a frenetic pace and in the fourth minute Brighouse created their first chance when Ernest Boafo broke down the left flank and crossed only for Newport keeper Gary Streeter to smother the ball before the Town midfielder James Hurtley could pull the trigger.
Town then got away with a major scare, when a cross from Darren Powell fell nicely for Giancarlo Giancovitch but Brighouse defender Nick Jagger was on hand to block the ball for a corner.
Town started to take control and dominate their opponents and Brighouse should have taken the lead on 15 minutes when Danny Nadiole sent Tom Mathews through on goal, the Town striker went round Streeter only for the pitch to rob him of the opening goal when the Brighouse striker lost his footing on the heavy pitch and sent his shot went wide.
But eight minutes later his partner in attack Ernest Boafo made no such mistake.
Ryan Hall’s run and pass found Nadiole, the winger picked out Boafa at the back post and he calmly finished from six yards to the joy of his teammates and Brighouse’s 50 or so travelling supporters.
With midfielders Joe Mitchell and Hurtley commanding the centre of the park, Brighouse remained in the ascendancy through the rest of the first half.
On 36 minutes pressure by the visitors almost resulted in a second goal when a clearance from a corner fell to Hurtley, he played in Hall but his clipped effort went narrowly over the bar from 12 yards.
Overworked home keeper Streeter came to the home side’s rescue as he forced another Mathew’s shot for a corner soon after and two minutes before the interval Newport survived another scare, when great work by the impressive Hall put Nadiole into the box and he set up Mathews only for the striker’s goal-bound effort to be blocked by defender Oli Fleming.
The second half started much like the first with Town dominating possession and on 54 minutes Nadiole combined with Mathews on the edge of the Newport penalty area, but Nadiole put the effort wide of the mark.
Then on 63 minutes Streeter pulled off what turned out to be a game-changing save when he somehow tipped Nadiole’s goal-bound effort round the post.
The home side decided to make changes with Ian Seabrook and Jon Mckie being replaced with Mark Augustus and Ross Gregory and the game swung the way of Newport.
On 73 minutes a cross from the left was deflected into the path of Augustus, the substitute pulled the ball back into the crowded six yard box and Newport striker Ian McInnes got to the ball first and bundled it over the line for an equaliser.
Brighouse were visibly shaken after dominating for so long, and there was a further sting in the tail when two minutes later Ross Gregory cut in from the right to cross and the ball somehow eluded everybody apart from McInnes who coolly finished to give the home side the lead.
Town could have folded after conceding two quick goals, but skipper Jagger and manager Paul Quinn rallied their troops.
Luke Gibson came on from the bench and Town pushed Newport on the back foot for the last 15 minutes as they chased that equaliser.
On 77 minutes Hall combined with Mathew’s but the Newport goal lived a charmed life as the striker’s shot was blocked for a corner.
Town full back James Sutcliffe was pushed forward as a winger and he found space just outside the box, but wayward finishing cost Brighouse as he shot narrowly wide.
In the five minutes of injury time Brighouse almost scored when Ryan Hall’s shot deflected up and over Streeter, but the keeper quickly adjusted his feet to tip the ball onto the bar and over.
Town’s final chance of the game fell to Mathews in the third minute of injury time, when a trade mark run from the striker saw him elude three defenders, but the Brighouse player pulled his shot wide with Streeter wrong-footed.
Newport FC: Streeter, Butt (Oatley 61 mins), Ovnik, Giancovitch, Fleming, Holmes, Powell, Seabrook (Augustus 55 mins), McInnes, Przespolewski, Mckie (Gregory 67 mins). Subs (not used): Wetherwick, Farley
Brighouse Town: Taylor, Sutcliffe, Brown (Hewitt 78 mins), Thornton, Jagger, Mitchell (Thompson 86 mins), Hall, Hurtley (Gibson 78 mins), Boafa, Mathews, Nadiole. Subs (not used): Arundel, Brown