Pontefract Collieries set sights on leaders after clinching play-offs spot

Pontefract Collieries celebrate Jake Picton's goal against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton
Pontefract Collieries celebrate Jake Picton's goal against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

Pontefract Collieries clinched a place in the Evo-Stik East Division play-offs as they came from behind to beat Pickering Town in a rearranged game.

The 3-2 victory stretched their unbeaten home record to 13 games and unbeaten run in all matches in the league to 11.

Jake Picton celebrates Pontefract Collieries' victory over Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

Jake Picton celebrates Pontefract Collieries' victory over Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

This game was having to be replayed after floodlight failure saw the original meeting of the two clubs abandoned with Colls 2-0 up and heading for victory.

Pickering this time struck first through Ryan Blott after 11 minutes and it took Ponte until just before half-time to hit back as Vaughan Redford put away a penalty.

Danny Earl put the visitors ahead again, but their lead lasted just four minutes with Nick Guest hitting back for Colls.

Guest then came up with a winner on 73 minutes and Ponte saw out the remainder to go 13 points clear of sixth-placed Tadcaster Albion with both lubs having four matches left.

Cody Cromack leaps to win a header for Pontefract Collieries against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

Cody Cromack leaps to win a header for Pontefract Collieries against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

They also closed the gap to within seven of leaders Morpeth Town so remain in alive in the title race with the table toppers next up for the in-form Colls in a big away game this Saturday.

While Morpeth are obviously still clear favourites to be champions a win this weekend for Ponte would put some pressure on the north east team.

Pontefract will be without a key player after their 2-1 victory over play-off rivals Brighouse Town last Saturday came at a cost with top scorer Eli Hey suffering a broken leg.

Hey, who was voted in the Evo-Stik East Division team of the year last week, had to leave the field just 12 minutes into the match, but his team were already ahead by that stage after midfielder Gavin Rothery struck the opener after eight minutes.

Vaughan Redford on the attack. Picture: James Heaton

Vaughan Redford on the attack. Picture: James Heaton

In a match between teams starting the day in second and third it was a close contest with the score staying 1-0 to half-time.

Brighouse levelled 11 minutes into the second half when Gabriel Johnson netted, but Colls came up with a winner when central defender Jake Picton came up from the back to find the net on 75 minutes.

Picton and his fellow defenders then held firm in the remainder to ensure the win and take another big stride towards achieving a top two finish in their first season in the league.

Colls, meanwhile, have confirmed that their Beechnut Lane ground has passed a grading inspection which will ensure they are able to continue playing Evo-Stik League football next year.

Vaughan Redford appeals for a handball against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

Vaughan Redford appeals for a handball against Brighouse Town. Picture: James Heaton

Improvement work may be needed should they get promotion, but teams can go up as long as the work is carried out in an allotted time scale.