Sat 23 Jan 2016, Brigg Town v Tadcaster Albion (NCEL Prem)

Match Details: Brigg Town 1 Tadcaster Albion 3 (NCEL Premier Division)

Goalscorers: [Brigg] David Dean (81); [Tadcaster] Jimmy Beadle (45, 63, 65)

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Destination: The Hawthorns, Hawthorn Avenue, Brigg, DN20 8PG.
Competition: ‘Toolstation’ Northern Counties East League, Premier Division
Admission: £6
Attendance: 126

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Pre-amble: A bit of history is in order here, as Brigg are approximately the eighth oldest club in the English Leagues. Formed in 1864 (so just seven years behind Sheffield FC), they were then one of the 16 founder members of the Lincolnshire FA in 1881. After spending their formative years in the local leagues, in 1976 they joined the Midland League and had an almost immediate impact, winning the League championship the following season. 1982 saw them join the inaugural Northern Counties East League, where they find themselves again today, though having spent a decade in the higher-ranked Northern Premier League between 2004 and 2015. Their best ever FA Cup run came relatively recently in 2001-02, when they reached the First Round Proper for the first time, losing to Tranmere Rovers. The club has also won the FA Vase on two occasions (1995-96 and 2002-03), and has eight Lincolnshire League championships to its name from the 1950s onwards.

Ground Overview: The club has played at its present location of Hawthorn Avenue since 1959, with the ground boasting a bar and social club adjacent to the turnstiles, and a couple of small covered areas and a very small seating area nearby. The opposite side of the ground features an impressive 250-seater stand which covers almost the entire length of the pitch. Then behind each goal is a small amount of uncovered hard-standing. Just of late the club has had issues with the reliability of its floodlighting, which is the reason today’s game kicked off an hour early at 2pm. With Brigg also battling to avoid relegation this season, it is to be hoped that the club can stabilise its league status and adjust to the NCEL before it begins to impact on the overall infrastructure and development of the club.

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Match review: At the opposite edge of the fortune cookie, title-chasing Tadcaster have the appearance of a team who feel that this could be their year. Following recent progress which has seen them narrowly miss out on topping the NCEL previously, there is a studied confidence about the side which continued throughout today’s game. Brigg gave a good account of themselves and had some periods where they were on top, but you always felt that Taddy would be the ones to step up a gear when goals were required.

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Tadcaster also gave a league debut today to a lucky young lad named Jonathan Greening (pictured above), previously languishing in low-quality League football with the likes of Manchester United. Though at times he appeared to find the pace and added effort needed for non-league hard to adjust to, the future looks rosy for him for the rest of the season, with Tadcaster prepared to give him a go while he adapts to proper football and real grass (and mud) pitches.

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Hat-trick hero Jimmy Beadle was an obvious choice today for man-of-the-match, but elsewhere other Taddy players such as Josh Greening and Matt Heath put just as important a shift in, trumped only by Beadle’s finishing skills – the pick of the bunch being the 20-yard top-corner screamer on 64 minutes which completed his hat-trick. Prior to this, we had seen Taddy take the lead through a Beadle header on the stroke of half time, then a doubling of the lead just past the hour mark via a further JB header (though suggestions that his newly shaved bonce meant he didn’t actually have a clue where any of his headers would end up remain unsubstantiated).

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The home side applied some pressure after this, eventually pulling a goal back through David Deane with ten minutes left on the clock – Dean finishing expertly from a well-worked move and efficient cross by Elliott Broughton – but realistically Tadcaster never looked in danger of not coming away with the three points as the game closed out. Brigg certainly look capable of avoiding the drop on this form, but need to take their chances better than they did today if they are to transform that endeavour into results. Meanwhile, Tadcaster march on and look a good bet for the title – providing such hurdles as their lack of home games through flooding, and the inevitable fixture backlog which will ensue at the business end of the season from this, can be taken in their stride. Oh, and it was over a month since Taddy had last played a competitive game – rust, what rust? Beadle’s About! (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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