Pontefract Collieries boss Craig Rouse praises commitment of players in battling derby draw with Brighouse Town
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The Pitching In NPL East game swung one way then the other before Adam Haw’s late penalty sealed a point for Ponte.
They had initially looked in control in muddy conditions that were only given the go-ahead after two pitch inspections.
In further pouring rain Bailey Thompson headed them ahead in the first half from Jack Boyle’s superb cross, but Brighouse turned the game round to lead and would have been further ahead had it not been for a penalty save by home keeper Lloyd Allinson.
In the end it was a tale of two penalties as Colls were awarded one in the 89th minute after Louie Chorlton was brought down and Haw put his spot kick away to make it a 2-2 draw, which was a fair result according to Ponte boss Rouse.
He said: “We started with a makeshift back three and ended up with a makeshift back four with our two first choice centre-halves unavailable through suspension – but what you can’t question with this bunch of players is their commitment and their fitness levels.
"They’ve worked ever so hard to get themselves back in the game. Louie showed fantastic energy levels to get himself up the pitch and get brought down. Adam tucks away the penalty and in the last five or six minutes we’re thinking can we get a winner?
"We got in behind twice and they did, but unfortunately for both teams people were losing their footing and people were giving up possession in good areas due to slipping.
"It was an honest performance from both teams and probably a fair result.”
Rouse admitted conditions were far from ideal, but praised the club’s ground staff for being able to get the game on after torrential rain in the week and on the day.
He said: “We’ve got to commend the club for doing everything they can to try and get the game on.
"We came down Thursday and it was like a pond so we’ve got to commend the efforts to work on the pitch. Big props to them.
"Pitches aren’t going to get any better now and we’re going to play on a lot of surfaces like this so it’ll be a good learning curve for us.”
Despite the draw Colls moved up a place to fourth and now turn their attentions to an away game at Winterton Rangers this Saturday with their opponents third from bottom.
"You can’t look at the league table with only about 10 points separating teams at the top of the league to the bottom of the league,” added Rouse.
"Everyone’s beating each other and it’s something you have to be mindful of. Winterton are a side that have come up this year so they will have that enthusiasm so it’s important we stamp our authority on the game quickly.”