Bamber Bridge 1 - 1 Atherton Collieries (28 April 2018)
George Hodgson reports as Brig secure a home-tie for the play-offs.
Bamber Bridge’s 1-1 draw with Atherton Collieries and results elsewhere saw them claim 4th spot in the Evo-Stik North.
That league finish means Neil Reynolds’ side have secured a home tie in the Play-Off semi final and final should they beat Tadcaster Albion on Tuesday.
There was a slight concern for Brig in the opening five minutes when captain Matt Lawlor stayed down following a strong challenge, but the tough defender was back on his feet after treatment.
It was a cagey first 20-minutes, with Danny Forbes’ header over the bar from a corner the only real highlight despite some tidy football from Brig.
After spending the majority of time in their own half, the visitors did come close when Ian Howard’s stabbed volley goalward was cleared.
And on the half hour mark Atherton must’ve wondered how they didn’t hit the front.
Ben Hardcastle hit the post after finding himself one-on-one and Liam O’Neil volleyed over on the follow up with the empty net at his mercy.
With five minutes of the half to play though Atherton did find the back of the net, when Farrell found a route through on goal to volley home the opener.
Brig rallied, and Adam Dodd went close to levelling, but Farrell’s goal proved enough to send Neil Reynolds’ side in trailing at the break.
HALF TIME: Bamber Bridge 0-1 Atherton Collieries
Brig made two changes at half time with Chris Marlow & Matt Dudley making way for Brad Carsley & Lewis Nightingale.
And the latter came desperately close to equalising early in the second half when he flashed an effort inches wide of the far-right post.
With results elsewhere going in their favour Brig were forcing the issue and Regan Linney went close when he poked an effort wide following good work from Stuart Vasey.
On 80 minutes the leaders were reduced to ten men when substitute Jordan Cover was shown a straight red for an adjudged elbow on Kieran Charnock.
With the visitors a man down Brig were throwing everything at it – they had two penalty appeals waved away, before Linney cut inside and struck wide.
But with injury time beckoning, the referee did point to the spot when Adam Dodd was hacked down.
Up stepped Lewis Nightingale to smash home the equaliser from 12 yards and earn Brig a share of the spoils.
Atherton centre back Tom Messer was shown a second yellow for a foul on Alistair Waddecar with seconds to play, but Brig couldn’t quite make their two-man advantage count with a minute on the clock left.
They now turn their attentions to Tuesday night, when Tadcaster Albion travel to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium for the one-legged Play-Off Semi Final.
Man of the Match (voted for by sponsors Bob Attwell and Friends): No. 14 Lewis Nightingale
Match reporter: George Hodgson @GHodgsonSport