Bamber Bridge 2 Warrington Town 1
Northern Premier League 1st Division North
Saturday 24th March 2012
By Dave Rowland
Bamber Bridge took the spoils in this well contested 2-1 win in the First Division North against their Cheshire guests, Warrington Town. The success was all the sweeter for the South Ribble side following the 1-3 league defeat suffered at the hands of ’The Wire’ at Cantilever Park a month ago and the 0-4 reverse suffered at home in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup back on the 20th September.
Warrington Town arrived at Irongate manager-less and with a weakened team after somewhat surprisingly having parted company with their manager Joey Dunn and his assistant Stuart Humphreys during the early part of the week.
Brig had to be thankful to their goalkeeper and skipper, Lee Dovey
, who pulled off, what turned out to be, a crucial penalty save in the second-half, after a goal each from the Mahoney brothers had put the home side into a two-nil interval lead. A spirited fight-back in the second period by the young patched-up Warrington side left Brig on the edge of their nerves at the end.
Bamber Bridge kicked off on a beautiful spring afternoon at Irongate and the South Ribble side took the lead after just 2 minutes play. Midfielder, Michael Clark, deftly lobbed the ball over the Warrington defence and DANNY MAHONEY lifted his shot over the head of the advancing Town goalkeeper, Paul Pritchard, and into the net.
Two minutes later the home side went close to grabbing a second goal when centre-back Matt Lawlor
headed just over following an Alistair Waddecar
corner-kick taken from the right.
Former Brig star striker, Chris Thompson, came close for ‘The Wire’ with a fine drive from the edge of the Brig box on 14 minutes after working his way in from the left. Then moments later Andy Heald headed just wide of an upright for Town following a well directed corner-kick from the right by Owen Roberts, as the game opened up.
The visiting defence then got themselves into a terrible tangle on 17 minutes but Brig failed to take advantage with a Danny Mahoney header being cleared off the goal-line by Town skipper Mike Tomlinson from a neat Waddecar cross.
A fine run and cross from Town’s Rob Hardwick on 21 minutes resulted in Dale Wright firing just wide of goal.
However, the home side did not have long to wait in order to double their account when goal number two arrived on 25 minutes. A dangerously in-swinging corner-kick executed by Waddecar was only half cleared by the Town defence and the ball fell to MATT MAHONEY on the edge of the penalty box. The midfielder kept his shot low and drove the ball home through a packed penalty-box and beyond the unsighted Pritchard.
Both sides played the ball about skilfully and despite the young Warrington side being two goals behind, they continued to show plenty of endeavour. On the stroke of half-time the visitors almost pulled a goal back when a free-kick from 25yards out by full-back Roberts, whistled inches passed the goalpost.
Brig looked a little pedestrian after the break as ‘The Wire’ opened brightly and positively. Indeed, Dovey had to be on the alert on 49 minutes when fielding a Thompson header at the near post following a long throw-in by Roberts.
At the other end, Matt Mahoney came very close to his second goal of the afternoon on 53 minutes when he sent in a low drive from the left-hand corner of the Town box which flashed across the face of goal and inches beyond the far upright.
However, Warrington were forcing the pace as they strove hard to get back into the game. They were handed a golden opportunity to do just that on 56 minutes when Dovey and Darren Green upended Thompson just inside the penalty-box after the striker was put through on goal by an exquisite pass from Liam Shipton. However, Dovey made a spectacular diving save down at his left-hand post to keep the resultant spot-kick by Wright, out. It was the Brig goalkeeper’s third penalty save on the trot, following a double success in the recent game against Witton Albion. At the end of hostilities, the save was to prove vital.
Warrington were displaying plenty of enterprise and almost got their reward on 63 minutes following a neat three-man move. Thompson headed a cross from the hard working Nick Jackson on the right, back across the face of goal but Hardwick’s volley flew just wide of goal.
Town continued to create the bulk of the openings, although actual chances were at a premium. However, their spirited efforts did see the Cheshire side pull a goal back in the 70th minute when ROB HARDWICK managed to bundle the ball home from close in following a well struck Roberts free-kick.
David Ness then came close with a fine header two minutes later from a Wright cross, as plucky Warrington sought an equaliser.
Brig almost regained their two-goal advantage in the 87th minute when full-back, George Bowyer, put in substitute Chris Scott, but the youngsters effort, though flying beyond Pritchard did not have the power to fine the net and Ness moved in to clear before the ball crossed the line.
Bamber Bridge : Dovey, Bowyer, Green, Bonaminio, Lawlor, M Mahoney, McLoughlin (Barton 61mins), Clark (Hodgkiss 73mins), D Mahoney, Waddecar, Marlow (Scott 73mins). Unused Subs : Holland and Reynolds.
Attendance : 111