A SECOND-HALF slump saw Tadcaster Albion slip out of the play-off places for the first time in months as Brighouse bulldozed their way to 3-0 victory.

Taddy failed to build on an assured, albeit goalless, performance in the first 45 on a windswept afternoon and drop to sixth place in the Evo-Stik League east division.

Goals from Tom Haigh, Aaron Martin and Iwan Heeley ensured Brighouse remain second as they handed the Brewers a second defeat of 2019.

Simon Collins was able to welcome club captain Michael Ingham back into the side for the first time since dislocating his thumb back in November. Casey Stewart replaced winger Billy Whitehouse, who has moved to The New Saints, with Ellis Barkworth coming in for the injured Aaron Hardy.

With the surrounding Storm Erik providing a different kind of challenge, one that seemed to suit the hosts’ direct approach, James Hurtley spurned the first opportunity, firing over the mark from inside the penalty area.

Taddy had opted to kick with the wind in the opening 45 and goalkeeper Ingham continued to try and release teammates in behind with a quick smash out of his hands. This seemed a sensible tactic but the power of the swirls only carried straight through to his opposite number.

Stewart looked lively in the early exchanges, using his clever body feints to manoeuvre past several orange shirts, with one resulting in a yellow card to Tom Haigh. In fact, referee Mark Reeves was not shy about dipping into his pocket as he brandished six yellow cards in the first half.

Albion were looking the more threatening side in the bitterly cold sunshine with Paddy Miller picking out centre-back partner Harry Coates with a free kick only for January’s Player of the Month to divert into the hands of Jordan Porter.

The Brewers did get the better of Porter on 29 minutes, but Stewart was adjudged to have received the ball in an offside position before finding the net, although it was a tight call.

Brighouse broke the deadlock eight minutes into the second half when Haigh sprung the offside trap managing to trap the ball with his stretching leg before side-footing past the Taddy skipper. Town were a different proposition after the break, and after the opening goal, they had the bit between their teeth and were agonisingly close to a second when Tyler Williams cut inside Coates and flashed a shot a whisker wide of the far post.

Brighouse were sniffing blood while Taddy were hanging on somewhat as Heeley’s strike was well blocked by Miller before Ingham had to make an excellent save from point-blank range to deny top scorer Martin.

However, the talisman was not to be denied and, on 75 minutes, he slapped into the top near corner following a neat flick from Haigh.

The day was not to improve for Collins and Tadcaster as Iwan Heeley added a third for Brighouse on 80 minutes with another emphatic finish into the roof of the net, leaving Ingham with no chance whatsoever.