Since the start of pre-season, manager Martin Carruthers’ preparations had been dogged by injury and absence and today's clash at Greenwich Avenue proved to be no different, with the United boss fielding two trialists in the starting eleven and missing a number of key faces.
However, last season’s Notts FA Cup hat-trick hero Stuart Hendrie made a welcome return to the line-up, whilst 2014/15’s top scorer Reuben Wiggins-Thomas made his second pre-season appearance on the bench, following his return from injury.
A lacklustre first half saw some nice passing play from both sides but little in the way of chances created.
Brighouse’s Kurt Harris came close to open the scoring after 12 minutes but the striker miscued his shot, after his connection on a cross from the right wing sent the ball trickling wide of young Basford keeper Jake Wood’s post.
The visitors did break the deadlock after 27 minutes courtesy of Leon Henry but it was Brighouse midfielder Ryan Hall who did all the hard work, when his shot was well-saved by Wood, following a mazy run past at least three defenders before Henry was able to pounce on the rebound to slot the ball home.
Still searching for a real chance on goal, the start of the second half didn’t seem to get any better for United, as the visitors piled on the pressure, with Wood making two good saves, firstly from a free kick on 52 minutes and then down low to his left from a Jack Normanton shot, six minutes later.
The Basford crossbar was then rattled twice in two minutes, Adam Field’s header on 62 minutes was closely followed a James Pollard screamer from 30 yards out, which bounced down in front of the goal line before it was cleared.
On 69 minutes, Brighouse then deservedly doubled their lead after Pollard’s free kick out on the left flank somehow managed to evade a mass of bodies in United’s penalty area and go straight into the net.
This proved to be a wake-up call for Basford, as they began to take control of the last twenty minutes of the match. Jermaine Hollis’ shot almost found its way into the visitors’ net on 87 minutes but just went wide of Paul Hagreen’s left-hand post before Hendrie was able to net a consolation in the last minute, following some excellent work from Anthony O’Neil-Dwyer.
United now have a week to regroup and build their fitness before their Evo-Stik Divison One South debut at Gresley FC next Saturday (15th August). Kick off is at 3pm and don’t forget that there will be a supporters bus leaving Greenwich Avenue at 12.15pm on matchday, costing just £5 return.
To book a seat on the bus please contact Danny England on 07507666070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.