Bamber Bridge 0 - 0 Skelmersdale Utd (3 February 2018)
Alan Bateson reports as 10 man Brig are held to a 0-0 draw against a determined Skelmersdale Utd side.
It just wasn’t to be for Bamber Bridge as they battled their way to a 0-0 draw at home to Skelmersdale Utd on a cold wet afternoon at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium. Down to 10 men for almost 75 minutes Brig created the chances to win the match but ultimately Skem’s desire not to lose saw them leave with a deserved point.
From the off, it was clear the visitors from West Lancashire where up the game as they started the brighter of the two sides. In the opening minute a swift Skem break lead to curling 15 yard effort from inside the box that Lloyd Rigby did well to arch backwards and push over the bar. The very wet pitch, was cutting up and preventing Brig from playing their normal passing game and the visitors where quick to take possession and launch their own attacks.
On 17 minutes following another quick break, The home side where reduced to 10 men when Adam Dodd was red carded for a challenge on the edge of the box as the Skem forward seems set to race clear. The follwing few minutes saw some tough tackling from both sides. Regan Linney was hacked to the ground in the left corner as he turned to cross. The Skem challenge lead to a yellow card for the visitors. Lloyd Rigby was forced into another fine save on 25 minutes as Skem tried to make their numerical advantage count.
On 37 minutes Brigs first shot on target cam e following good work down the right from Linney, Ali Waddecar getting in a shot that was comfortably gathered by the keeper. Brig threatened again moments later when some fine one touch play between Nightingale and Linney saw the shot blocked as The home side ended the half on the offensive. Lewis Nightingale again came close on 44 minutes, and in swinging corner from the left was headed clear, the Brig midfielder controlled the ball and then curled a fine effort from the edge of the box that just cleared the bar. In injury time Matt Dudley found space on the edge of the area but his shot flashed wide.
Half time and Brig had ended the half on top with Skelmersdale having controlled the first 30 minutes. 0-0 at the break.
Chris Marlow was introduced at the start of the 2nd half as a substitute replacing Matt Dudley. With just 9 minutes of the 2nd half played Brig where warded a penalty, as
Regan Linney burst down the left wing, cut in to the area and was upended as he read-ied himself to shoot. Macauley Wilson stepped up and placed the ball to the keepers left, The keeper guessed right and dived to make a fine save,
Undeterred by the penalty miss Brig pressed again as the fluent passing football re-turned. A superb one touch passing move down the left wing almost brought the goal of the season. Ali Waddecar, and Lewis Nightingale combined with Ali backheeling the ball in the path of Lewis, his 1st touch was slightly heavy allowing the increasingly busy Skem keeper to dive at his feet and make the save,
Bamber Bridge where now looking a goal threat and the ten men where working tirelessly looking for the opener. Stu Vasey replaced Macauley Wilson on 70 minutes and Jamie Milligan replaced Danny Forbes on 73 mins as the rain fell and the pitch cut up even more.
On 75 minutes Regan Linney again broke free down the left, as he beat the defender he was clearly felled on the edge of the box. Inexplicably the referee booked the Brig striker for diving. The home fans anger at the referee increased moments later when a free kick was hoisted into the Skem area, The keeper rose to claim the ball but was impeded by a member of his own team. The referee blew for a foul and a free kick to Skelmersdale !
Bamber Bridge where now piling on the pressure, Regan again cut in from the left and struck a fine shot that the keeper saved with his legs, the rebound was hammered back goalbound but deflected for a corner.
Lewis Nightingale then had another 20 yard effort saved by the visitors keeper who by this stage was clearly keeping them in the game. He came to the rescue again as the match approached injury time, fine work again from Waddecar and Nightingale led to another goalbound effort that he dived to save.
Moments later and the full time whistle blew. 0-0 and the Bamber Bridge players looked deflated. They will later reflect that they have played for 75 minutes with 10 men against a strong and determined Skelmersdale side. Brig have had the chances to win the game and on another day may well have taken all 3 points.
Man of the match (voted for by match sponsors Tom Jackson & Friends): Regan Linney
Match reporter: Alan Bateson