Pickering Town 5 Bridlington Town 4
IF ever there was a game of football for the neutral, this was it.
There have been many high-scoring games involving both Pickering Town and Bridlington Town so far this season - there had been over 150 goals in the teams’ league games alone prior to this game.
So it should have been easy to predict a thriller. The difficult choice would have been who would take three points.
In the end the result went with form - Pickering’s 5-4 triumph their sixth win in seven matches, coming off the back of their fine North Riding Senior Cup 3-2 win over York City.
In contrast, Bridlington have now only won just twice in their last six matches.
With many connections between the two sides and Scarborough itself - no less than 11 former Scarborough Athletic and Scarborough FC players in the squads - there was bound to be an added competitive edge to the fixture - and so it proved.
A large crowd of 275 packed into Mill Lane for kick-off, the attendance boosted by many Athletic supporters who made the journey following the postponement of their game at Dinnington.
The referee was obviously keen to get on with proceedings - kicking off early at 2.55pm.
Many making their way into the ground at the last minute missed the first goal - a peach of a strike from outside the box from Tom Adams to give the home side the lead.
Brid began to lift their game however, Lee Wright forcing a save from Rob Clark in the Pikes goal.
But Clark couldn’t get near Brid’s next effort - as Craig Hogg equalised with a deft header back across goal and into the net from Ash Allanson’s centre.
The old saying that you are never more vulnerable than after just scoring was proved correct, when Adams swept in a half-volley just 30 seconds later to make it 2-1, finishing Josh Greening’s good work on the right.
A defensive mistake allowed Steve Lyon to get in a snap shot, but Clark was equal to it.
Pickering stretched their lead to 3-1 after 35 minutes.
Joe Danby surged forward from right-back, beat Danny Brunton, and laid the ball back to Lyle Hillier whose goal-bound shot took a huge deflection, wrong-footed Mark Wilberforce and squirmed over the line.
Brid finished the half the stronger side, and their pressure told when sub Alex Rhodes fed Scott Phillips on the right.
His deep and accurate cross was headed in by Hogg for a carbon-copy of his first goal to make it 3-2 at the break.
Hogg didn’t have long after half-time to wait for his hat-trick.
He controlled a Lyon cross surperbly, before turning and finding the top-corner to square things up once again.
Clark pulled off a great save from Phillips’ close-range effort a minute later, as Brid looked to take the lead for the first time.
Pickering lost Joe Danby to injury after a crunching 50-50 with visiting skipper Tom Fleming - Robbie Hawkes entering the fray with Joel Ramm switching to cover Danby at full-back.
A daisy-cutter from Nathan Cook almost put the home side ahead, but Wilberforce held well.
Brid went ahead on 66 minutes with the move of the match.
Fleming drove the ball out of midfield and found Hogg on the right. He crossed to the far post, where Lyon headed down for Phillips to finish from six yards for his first goal for the club since his move from Barton Town.
Pikes’ heads didn’t drop however, and an inspired substitution from Mitch Cook gave the home side impetus and new life.
Darren Clough replaced Nathan Cook, and immediately began to use his pace to good effect.
Brid kept coming forward themselves however, and Phillips was unlucky not to score when sub Gareth Owen’s cross was missed by Carl Cook - who otherwise had an outstanding game at centre-back along with skipper Wayne Aziz.
Clough’s pace brought the equaliser on 73 minutes when he outstripped Tom Lee and Dave Kemp in the centre of Brid’s defence and slotted past Wilberforce.
A penalty shout was waved away when Owen was seemingly held back by Dean Craig - had the Brid man gone down a different outcome may have occured.
But there was no doubting the next penalty shout, when Wilberforce rashly fouled Clough just inside the area after a pacy run from the sub.
Adams grabbed the ball quickly to attempt to claim a hat-trick, and although his initial spot-kick was saved, he followed up to put his side 5-4 ahead.
Brid still had time to equalise once again, but their best chance went begging when Phillips and James Bennett saw their combined effort guided wide by Craig.
An amazing game of football, with credit to both sides. However, it is certain that the home dressing room would have be the happier of the two with the final outcome.
Pickering Town: Clark, Aziz, Craig, Adams, C Cook, N Cook (Clough), Danby (Hawkes), Logan, Hillier (Rose), Greening, Ramm. Unused subs: McNaughton, Martin.
Bridlington Town: Wilberforce, Wright (Rhodes), Brunton, Allanson, Kemp, Lee, Bennett, Fleming, Phillips, Lyon (Palmer), Hogg (Owen). Unused subs: Harrison, Moody.
Goals: 1-0 Adams 4, 1-1 Hogg 22, 2-1 Adams 23, 3-1 Hillier 35, 3-2 Hogg 42, 3-3 Hogg 49, 3-4 Phillips 66, 4-4 Clough 73, 5-4 Adams 83.