Bamber Bridge 2-1 Tadcaster Albion (Play-Off Semi Final, 1 May 2018)
Brig come back from the dead to claim a play-off final place.
A whirlwind turnaround from Bamber Bridge in the second half saw them book their place in the Evo-Stick North Play-Off final with a 2-1 win over Tadcaster Albion.
When the visitors hit the front half way through the second half through William Annan, the Sir Tom Finney Stadium must’ve feared the worst.
But goals from Danny Forbes and Lewis Nightingale turned the tie on its head to set up a nervous last ten minutes, with Brig hearts in mouths.
As expected of a Play-Off semi-final, the game started in a tight fashion with neither side wanting to give anything away in the opening minutes.
Brig did have a handball shout for a penalty waved away inside the first minute, which would’ve set Neil Reynolds’ side up nicely for a potential dream start.
The hosts certainly made the stronger start and came the closest to opening the score when Michael Ingham’s acrobatic save turned Forbes’ goal-bound header behind.
After offering precious little in the first half hour, the visitors did carve out a slight chance when Billy Whitehouse’s cross found Mitchell Langton inside the box, but the winger’s shot was well blocked by Stuart Vasey.
That plunged the first half into life and a lovely move from Brig down the left was followed by a couple of counter attacks from the visitors.
Annan broke through on goal after the ball fell fortunately for the striker, only for his lobbed effort to bounce wide of the far post.
Both sides looked the most dangerous out wide and with five minutes of the half to play Brad Carsley was a matter of inches away from latching onto Alistair Waddecar’s deep cross.
HALF TIME: Bamber Bridge 0-0 Tadcaster Albion
Once again Brig started the livelier and the first chance fell inadvertently to Matt Lawlor, but the centre half’s first-time effort curled over the crossbar.
But like in the first half, the visitors rallied and, on the hour, took the lead when Annan headed home Whitehouse’s cross at the back post.
However, five minutes later Brig were back in the contest when Forbes lashed a loose ball home from inside the box to draw the hosts level.
And then a moment of pure class from Lewis Nightingale fired Brig into the lead with ten to play. The winger danced through a crowd of bodies inside the box and drilled the ball home at the near post – a moment of real quality in a game where you could cut the tension with a knife.
After taking the lead, Brig as expected fell under pressure with Tadcaster in hunt of a leveller, but the eleven on the pitch in black and white stood tall and defended strongly.
Tadcaster threw everything they could at it to try and send the game to extra-time, but the referee’s whistle after a long six minutes of injury time was music to Brig’s ears.
They will look to do one better in the Play-Off final on Saturday when they welcome Prescot Cables to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in what promises to be a cracker.
Match reporter: George Hodgson @GHodgsonSport