Witton Albion 2 - 2 Bamber Bridge.
Goals from Waddecar and Charnock secure a point at a wet and windy Witton.
Travelling down the M6 for this afternoon's match, in atrocious weather conditions, we were in some doubt as to whether this game would actually take place. The pitch at the Wincham Stadium, home of Witton Albion was in fine condition however, and despite the wind and the rain, the two sides put on a very entertaining match for watching spectators.
Bamber Bridge were forced into an early change even before kick off when the referee decided there would be a clash of colours with the home strip being red and white stripes at the front and all white on the back. Brig entered the field wearing Navy Blue shirts, courtesy of Witton Albion.
The opening minutes of the match saw both teams looking to play their way into the game, the wind causing problems for both sides. The first chance of the game fell to Albion but a shot from the edge of the box whistled past the post. The home side had the edge and only great defending to block a goalbound effort kept the scores level. Danny Roccia in goal for the Lancashire side then made the first of several fine saves, tipping he ball around the post for a corner.
As the half wore on, Brig grew into the game. Adam Dodd tested the home keeper with a 15 yard shot, before Brig won a series of corners. As the 3rd corner was cleared, Danny Forbes looped the ball back into the box, the home keeper looked to have the ball safely in his hands but dropped it only for Chris Marlow's shot to be blocked and bundled out for a further corner.
The visors had the chance to take the lead on 41 minutes when Matt Dudley was tripped in the box. Up stepped Ali Waddecar, he struck what looked a fine penalty but keeper Greg Hall flung himself to his left to palm away the spot kick. The save lifted Albion and twice in the closing minutes of the half Danny Roccia was called upon to make top saves, sending the sides in level at the break.
Brig started the brighter of the teams in the 2nd half. Ali almost put Brig in front when he tried a 30 yard effort after the keeper had miss hit a clearance, the ball just landing wide of the post. However it was the Brig No.7 who was to open the scoring on 58 minutes. A free kick awarded 20 yards form goal was superbly lofted over the wall leaving the Albion keeper rooted to the spot.
The goal clearly lifted “The Navy Blues” who were now passing the ball around with aplomb. The lead however was shortlived when on 71 minutes Witton were awarded a penalty. Chris Marlow adjudged to have brought down the home striker just inside the box. Michael Wilson stepped up and slammed the ball into the back of the net to level the scores somewhat against the run of play. Worse was to come just 90 seconds later when Brig failed to deal with a low ball into the area, allowing Tom Ownes to crash the ball home from close range.
Brig’s resilience was to pay dividends however, as they poured forward looking for the equaliser, Goose saw a volley flash wide following a corner, A Darren McKnight free kick was blocked by the wall but hooked back into the box where Kieran Charnock rose at the back post, his fine header being well saved by Hall in goal for the hosts.
Moments later Ali whipped over a superb cross from the right, Darren McKnight met it with a diving header in to the ground, the ball bounced up over the keeper but also agonisingly over the bar. Brig made a late change when Talisman striker Brad Carsley came on for Chris Churchman on 85 minutes. Brad certainly made his presence felt winning a free kick at the edge of the box in the 92nd minute, that was cleared, but returned into the penalty area to the feet of Kieran Charnock who from 12 yards out, took one touch before smashing the ball into the top corner to the delight of the Brig fans behind the goal. The equaliser was no more than Brig deserved and 1 point was almost 3 in the last minute of stoppage time when Matt Dudley dived to get his head on a cross from the right. The ball however stopped dead in the mud and the keeper was able to claim it.
That was the last action of an eventful match with Brig claiming a worthy point and most certainly leaving the happier of the two teams, having claimed that point in injury time.
Full Time: Witton Albion 1 - Bamber Bridge - 1
Brig: Roccia, Spooner, Dodd, Lawlor (Capt.), Charnock, Churchman, Waddecar, Forbes, Dudley, McKnight, Marlow
Subs: Doughty, Dawson, Carsley, Argent-Barnes, Young
Match Reporter: Alan Bateson
Full gallery of match photos available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmodKMEJ