A SURPRISINGLY lacklustre performance by Trafford dented their play-off hopes as they were outplayed on home soil by a Brighouse side that belied their lowly league position with a 2-0 win.

The visitors were in control from the start with Aidan Kirby curling a shot over from the left and Iwan Heeley blasting a free kick that was held at the second attempt by Grant Shenton.

Shenton then misjudged a deep cross by Rhys Jenkinson that bounced back into play off the bar and Trafford’s first attempt on goal came on the half-hour mark when James Dean and Aaron Burns linked neatly with the latter firing straight at Chris Butt from just outside the penalty area.

Butt produced a full-length save to thwart Dean but a generally disappointing first half came to a close with Adam Field whistling a drive inches wide of Shenton’s left-hand post.

Within five minutes of the restart Brighouse forged ahead when Trafford midfielder Jack Dorney was dispossessed on the halfway line and Waide Fairhurst was left in acres of space to drive forward and coolly clip the ball over the advancing Shenton.

Fairhurst almost struck again three minutes later when he glanced a header wide of the near post and Trafford manager Tom Baker introduced substitutes Andy Keogh and Michael Monaghan in an attempt to instil greater urgency into his struggling side.

However, in the 59th minute the visitors doubled their lead when Shenton produced a brilliant reflex save to parry a back-heel by Tom Haigh but the ball was cleared only as far as Iwan Heeley and he struck a wicked swerving shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner.

Trafford were failing to make any inroads into the well-drilled Brighouse defence and in the 82nd minute Rhys Jenkinson almost made it three when he unleashed a thunderbolt from 30 yards that cannoned back into play off the bar.

Heeley then miskicked completely at the back post following a cross from the left and Trafford’s misery was complete in the dying seconds when Aaron Burns blasted a free kick well over from 20 yards.

Trafford face another stern test on Saturday when they travel to play Evo-Stik North's fourth-placed side, Bamber Bridge, before hosting league leaders Scarborough Athletic on February 3.