Thackley secured a 2-0 victory in the derby against Albion Sports, earning three crucial points. Goals from A. Mitchell and Prata dealt Albion Sports their first league defeat. The match was fiercely contested by both teams. There were adjustments from the midweek loss to Brighouse Town in the County Cup, with Hudson, Morgan, and J. Mitchell returning to the starting XI.
Thackley began strongly. In the 2nd minute, Greaves attempted a cross, but it was blocked for a throw-in. The ensuing long throw was cleared by Albion Sports’ defence. At the 5-minute mark, a long-range shot was deflected for a Lions corner. Priestley’s header missed the mark, drifting harmlessly wide. The pace was relentless, with Thackley’s pressing causing Albion Sports to misplace passes. In the 12th minute, Billy’s cross from the right wing narrowly missed Greaves at the back post, resulting in a corner which was subsequently cleared.
Thackley broke the deadlock in the 13th minute. Greaves executed a splendid long pass forward, striking the crossbar. A. Mitchell was poised to slot the rebound into the empty net while the keeper and defenders scrambled to recover. (GOAL – A. Mitchell (13th minute) – Thackley AFC 1 v 0 Albion Sports)
Immediately after the restart, Priestley had a golden opportunity to level the score, but Wilson made a crucial save in the one-on-one duel. Unfortunately, Donovan sustained an injury in the 17th minute and was replaced early on. Prata took his place and went on to put in an impressive performance. In the 23rd minute, the play was momentarily halted as Gorji and Dempsey collided in a challenge, with the Albion Sports player coming off worse and requiring treatment. The referee awarded a free kick to Thackley, much to the visiting management team’s displeasure. Wilson was called into action again in the 27th minute, tipping a Priestley strike over the bar before gathering the ensuing corner.
The following period witnessed a midfield struggle. In the 37th minute, Greaves’ good work earned Thackley a corner. In the 41st minute, Green delivered a free kick into the Albion Sports box, leading to Dempsey winning another corner. From the corner, Thackley had a golden opportunity to go 2-0 up. The ball was played short to Greaves, whose effort found Prata in the 6-yard box. Somehow, he managed to lift his shot over the bar when a goal seemed certain. The first half concluded with yellow cards for Billy and Bodle, and chances for both sides. Albion Sports had a corner that Thackley counterattacked from, but Green’s pass to Prata was intercepted just before he could go one-on-one. Albion Sports initiated a break, and Fox found himself with space in the box, but his shot missed wide. Thackley held a slender lead at halftime.
Half-time: Thackley AFC 1-0 Albion Sports
Everingham replaced Billy, who had also picked up a knock, at the start of the second half. The initial period of the second half saw another midfield battle, with no clear-cut chances for either side. In the 59th minute, Ellison-Tope substituted the goal-scorer A. Mitchell. In the 62nd minute, a dangerous cross from Albion Sports’ left wing found Priestley at the front post. The Thackley defence looked for the offside flag, but Priestley’s effort struck the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.
Thackley extended their lead in the 68th minute. A ball into the box found Greaves, who laid it off to Ellison-Tope. Showing excellent footwork, Ellison-Tope advanced toward goal on the left side of the 6-yard box. Instead of shooting, he displayed great composure, laying the ball back to Prata, who was unmarked around the penalty spot and fired it into the roof of the net. (GOAL – Prata (68th minute) – Thackley AFC 2 v 0 Albion Sports)
Once again, Albion Sports had a promising opportunity from the kick-off as they sought to respond. Wilson saved the initial attempt, but it fell to Fox, who shot wide when well-placed. In the 71st minute, Woodward replaced Green, who had another outstanding display in midfield. In the 75th minute, Ellison-Tope crossed to Green, who controlled the ball expertly. He attempted to set up Woodward for a shot at the edge of the area, but the pass lacked the necessary power and was cleared by the white-shirted defenders. The Albion Sports bench received a yellow card from the referee for dissent.
In the 77th minute, Albion Sports had a corner that was cleared, only to find Fox in the box again. With red-shirted Thackley players closing in to block, his shot veered wide of the post. In the final 10 minutes, the game remained wide open, with each player fighting for every ball and every challenge. In the 84th minute, J. Mitchell received a yellow card for a shirt pull in the centre of the park, following an Albion Sports throw that Thackley believed should have gone their way.
In added time, Albion Sports delivered a deep cross, which was headed across the goal after Wilson was injured while collecting. However, there were only defenders present, and the play resumed with a drop ball. In the 90+4th minute, K. Basi received a yellow card for a late challenge on Bodle as Thackley sought to launch a counter-attack.
Thackley successfully held on to a clean sheet and secured all three points.
Full-time: Thackley AFC 2-0 Albion Sports
It was a splendid derby day victory, witnessed by a crowd of 253. Albion Sports entered the game undefeated, and it was evident why, given the tough contest and the chances they created. However, on derby day, anything can happen, and Thackley capitalized on their opportunities, ultimately deserving the three points.