Vernon penalty double keeps hopes alive!

Vernon penalty double keeps hopes alive!

Scott Vernon converted two penalty kicks in the second-half, as the Owls twice battled back to earn a point in West Yorkshire. The 2-2 result leaves Clee needing to probably win 5 of their last 6 games to make the play-offs.

A real headache before the game for manager Dave Smith, with Paul Walker failing a late fitness test on a troublesome back. Tim Lowe went to centre-half to partner Oli Donald. The versatile Sam Topliss moved across to the right and Loz McKay got the nod at left-back.

Two further changes in midfield saw Craig Disley and Brody Robertson recalled. Jack Richardson and Lewis Collins gave way on this occasion and the side lined up as follows:

Goal: Theo Richardson

Defence: Sam Topliss, Tim Lowe, Oli Donald, Loz McKay

Midfield defence: Craig Disley, Alex Flett (captain)

Midfield attack: Brody Robertson, Danny North, Jon Oglesby

Attack: Scott Vernon

Subs: Lewis Collins, Matt Bloomer, Josh Batty, Jack Richardson, Luke Mascall

A delightful Spring day in the Pennines, as the action began. However, Clee got off to the worst possible start, falling behind in the 4th minute. A floated corner from the right was met by the head of Jenkinson. Stopper Richardson reacted instinctively to produce a smart save, but Kurt Harris was on hand to blast home from close range.

The Owls were rocked by this setback and struggled to get a foothold on the bobbly surface. In the 11th minute though, the visitors did produce a flowing move and a low North shot tested Porter, who was happy to palm behind. However, Brighouse generally carried the greater threat and, shortly before the halfway mark of the opening period, Ibrahim screwed horribly wide when in on Richardson.

Gradually, the visitors began to get into their stride and the contest became intriguingly poised. After a couple of corners had caused confusion in the home box, a quick break-out by Brighouse led to Normanton firing over the bar.

Donald was caught in the 36th minute by a late challenge from Ibrahim, for which the striker saw yellow. In fact, matters were becoming feisty with a series of robust challenges flying in. Mr Elliott was receiving some “advice”, particularly from the Brighouse bench but, to the naked eye from the Main Stand, appeared to be calling most decisions correctly.

The last half-chance for the Owls before time was called saw a Disley effort blocked away by a covering defender.

HT Brighouse Town 1 (Harris 4) Cleethorpes Town 0

As has so often been the case this season, Clee produced a very fast start after the interval and drew level after 49 minutes.

A ball into the danger zone was clearly handled and the referee, who was well positioned to view the incident, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Mass protests followed, with Brighouse claiming that it was a Clee player who had infringed. The official was not persuaded and, after a delay, Scott Vernon coolly sent the penalty beyond Porter.

Buoyed by restoring parity, the Owls enjoyed their best period. Robertson controlled superbly before having his shot parried and then Oglesby went within inches of stunning the home faithful. Picking up the ball on the left-hand apex of the area, the winger cut inside his marker and unleashed a fierce drive. Agonisingly, it flashed just over.

With 67 minutes on the watch, the management made a double substitution. Jack Richardson and Josh Batty were introduced in place of Craig Disley and the recently carded Danny North.

The contest was finely poised and the adjusted Owls’ defence was coping well with the Brighouse threat. The partnership of Donald and Lowe were constantly required to be on their mettle to snuff out high balls. Also, McKay was making the most of his unexpected chance, belying the fact that he had not started for the first team since early November.

Just when it seemed that Clee may edge an absorbing afternoon, calamity struck in the 72nd minute. Brighouse fashioned an attack through the inside-left channel and the forward went down over an outstretched leg. Once again, no hesitation from the man with the whistle and Zeph Thomas sent Richardson the wrong way.

Rather than knock the stuffing out of the visitors, Clee pressed forward and were soon rewarded with an incredible 3rd penalty award of the day.

Substitute Batty, who had his back to goal, was bundled into by keeper Porter and crashed to the turf. All eyes turned to the referee and his outstretched right arm signalled a golden chance for the Owls. Scott Vernon, who has the happy knack of being seemingly able to place his spot kicks in a variety of places, cut through the tension by smashing home the equaliser.

With time running out and both sides throwing in everything, there was still one more hugely controversial moment to come. Home stopper Porter misjudged a high bouncing ball and handled outside his area. With the fine travelling support baying for a red, the referee baffled the Owls by awarding a free-kick but opting to keep the cards in his pocket. To compound the frustration, Porter easily gathered Oglesby’s daisy-cutter.

Amazingly, there was still a chance for a winner at both ends inside the final 90 seconds of stoppage time. Firstly, Clee were given another free-kick 20-yards out. Captain Flett stepped up but was off-target. Then, in the final play, Richardson flew through the air to pull off a one-handed stop to deny the hosts.

HT Brighouse Town 2 (Harris 4, Thomas 72 pen) Cleethorpes Town 2 (Vernon 49 pen, 76 pen) Attendance: 217

Difficult to know at this stage whether it was a good or bad draw! On the face of it, we appear to have lost ground, now sitting 7 points behind the coveted 5th spot. However, delve a little deeper and you see that it is Pontefract v Brighouse and Ossett v Tadcaster next weekend.

This means that some of our rivals are going to be losing ground and, if we beat Belper and win our game in hand at Stocksbridge, we should be right in the thick of it by the time we travel to a possible pivotal fixture at Sheffield.

Pleased with the battling spirit and, whilst all 3 penalties were disputed, I can definitely see why the referee gave them. What is more perplexing is how did the Brighouse keeper escape punishment for handling outside the box?!

Anyway, on to my man-of-the-match and it is Scott Vernon. Led the line well again and obviously was ice-cool to slot home both spot kicks. Another player to catch the eye was Loz McKay. Never easy to come in at the last minute and I thought he did well. In fact, apart from conceding very early, our back-line showed great heart.

Jon Oglesby showed glimpses yesterday to me of getting back towards his best and, on another day, may have scored. Likewise, Alex Flett seemed to be popping up all over the park.

Finally, good away following yesterday – many thanks to everyone for the loyal support!


Saturday 6th April – 3pm

Belper Town – Evostik East

New Linden, Clee Road, Grimsby, DN32 8QL


Adults £8, Over 65s & 16-18 £4, Under 16s £2


Contact Grimsby Independent
Email us:
Follows us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest local stories, breaking news and to join the conversation

Contact Gi Grimsby
Email us:
Follows us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest local stories, breaking news and to join the conversation


    Leave a Reply