Atherton Collieries 1 - 1 Bamber Bridge (11/09/17)
Alan Bateson reports on Brig's 1-1 draw at the Kensite Stadium.
Bamber Bridge returned from The Kensite Stadium, home of Atherton Collieries FC with a single point on Monday night, when they will feel they probably should have taken all three.
The game started at a frenetic pace with both teams pushing forward at every opportunity. The first chance for Bamber Bridge arrived on the 10 minute mark when Dan Mooney swung over a superb cross from the right, Ali Waddecar looked set to score but home keeper, Adam Reid made the first of many great saves to deny Brig the opener. Mooney was involved again on 14 minutes, this time cutting inside from the right and unleashing a great strike just wide of the far post.
With Brig now in the ascendancy, Reid came to home sides aid again this time saving with his legs from Waddecar. Within moments he pulled off another full stretch save down to his right to thwart Regan Linney.
At the other end Colls brought a fine save from Brig keeper Lloyd Rigby who tipped a close range effort around the post for a corner.
The game changed in the 25th minute when Atherton Collieries centre back Josh Messer received a straight red card for a lunge on Brig centre forward Brad Carsley. Bamber Bridge surged forward in pursuit of the opening goal. It looked to have arrived on 35 minutes when Regan Linney received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty area, he turned smartly, side stepped the defender and hit a screamer that was arrowing towards the top corner before Reid leapt to his left to tip the ball over the bar. From the resulting corner however, Brig did take the lead, As the ball dropped in the 6 yard box it wasn’t cleared and Danny Forbes was on hand to stab the ball home for a deserved lead.
Atherton responded and on 40 minutes a long range effort from striker Ben Hardcastle crashed against the Bamber Bridge bar.
Half time 1-1
The 2nd Half started with Brig playing down the slope and with the extra man advantage. Atherton started much the brighter of the two teams and forced two early corners. Brig where forced on to the back foot and looked to catch the home side on the break. On 60 minutes a terrific Waddecar cross from the left wing was pinched off the foot of Linney has he shaped to shoot. Moments later Brad Carsley beat the offside trap and with the keeper coming rapidly off his line, slid the ball passed him but agonisingly wide of the post.
On 61 minutes Brig made their first substitution, PNE loanee Oscar O’Neil came on to make his Bamber Bridge debut replacing Danny Forbes. Moments later Brig were unlucky again as Waddecar again cut inside from the left and curled a fine shot around the keeper only to see an acrobatic goal line clearance from the Colls defender at the far post. Dan Mooney did have the ball in the Colls net on 70 minutes but was marginally offside as he chipped the advancing keeper.
Brig made a 2nd change on 73 minutes, Jamie Milligan replacing Michael Potts, but moments later it was the home side celebrating as they grabbed an equaliser with Ben Hardastle smashing the ball in to the roof of the net following a fine move.
Colls now sensed victory and poured forward looking for the winner, however it was Brig who looked like grabbing the winner when Mooney robbed the Colls full back on the byline, cut back inside and beat the keeper with a low drive, to his dismay and once again, superb last ditch defending on the goal line prevented Brig retaking the lead. Matt Dudley replace Regan Linney as Brig tried to get their noses back in front in the final stages against a tiring 10 man Colls side, but it was the home side who almost snatched all the points in the dying seconds when a shot was cleared off the Brig goal line.
Moments later the final whistle blew to end a very entertaining encounter in some atrocious weather. Atherton probably deserving of a point for a very spirited 2nd half showing where it was difficult to tell they had a man less than the visitors. Bamber Bridge where left to rue some top class goalkeeping and superb last ditch defending by the home side.
Full Time: Atherton Collieries 1 Bamber Bridge 1
Bamber Bridge: Rigby; Staunton-Turner, Marlow, Lawlor (c), Wilson, Potts (Milligan 73), Waddecar, Forbes (O'Neill 61), Carsley, Linney (Dudley 80), Mooney
Subs (not used): Vasey; Boyd