Matlock Town 2 - 1 Bamber Bridge
Alan Bateson reports as Brig fail to halt the "March of The Gladiators".
Bamber Bridge failed to halt “The March Of The Gladiators” as the home side made it 9 games unbeaten in their rapid climb up The Evo Stik Northern Premier League.
Following an impeccably observed minutes silence in honour of Remembrance Sunday, The match started at a frantic pace and Brig came closest to opening the scoring when a free kick from the edge of the box, was taken by Ali Waddecar and whistled just inches over the bar. Moments later and Waddecar again came close, this time seeing his goal bound shot saved by the home keeper. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was as good as it got for the remainder of the first half as the Gladiators settled in to their rhythm and completely dominated the half.
In the 12th minute Matlock took the lead, one of many crosses in to the area that Brig struggled to deal with, found the unmarked head of Craig King who nodded the right wing cross passed Danny Roccia in goal. Before Brig had time to come to terms, the Hosts had added a second. Another cross into the box, this time by goalscorer King, wasn’t dealt with and centre half Whitehead was able to slam the ball home from close range giving Roccia no chance whatsoever.
At this stage the home side where rampant and looking likely to add to their two early goals. Bamber Bridge to their credit dug in, and without being able to create much in an attacking sense certainly turned the tide to halt the relentless attacks of a Matlock side that had scored 16 goals in their last 4 outings.
The second half started in much the same fashion with Matlock controlling the pace of the game, as the half wore on however, Brig began to push forward and started to look a threat. Stu Vasey met a corner from the left with a fine header but it fell just wide of the post. Shortly after, Matt Barnes struck a 20 yard shot from he edge of the box that the home keeper saved comfortably.
Brig then pulled a goal back. A cross whipped in from the left by Darren McKnight was flicked on by Ali Waddecar and found the bottom corner of the net. Buoyed by the goal Brig now started to look far more dangerous as the hosts dropped back to protect their slender advantage. A fine sweeping move saw Matt Dudley pick out Ali Waddecar, his square ball arrived at the feet of Matt Barnes who got in a great strike only to see the home keeper make a great save as he raced from his goal.
The home side still looked dangerous on the break but with the game entering the final stages it was Bamber Bridge asking all the questions. Brig boss Mickey Taylor made two late changes. Jordan Darr replacing Matt Barnes and Kieran Young coming on to make his first team debut in place of Matt Dudley.
The visitors continued to press and and a series of crosses saw the home keeper under pressure as he twice in quick succession had to punch clear. Matt Lawlor followed up on the second clearance but his powerful 18 yard shot was charged down.
That was to be the last opportunity for Brig as the referee brought proceedings to a close. A 2- 1 defeat for the Lancashire side and on the balance of play over the ninety minutes the scoreline was probably a true reflection of the game.
Brig can be heartened though for their doggedness and never say die die attitude that meant the result was in the balance right up to the final whistle.
Matlock Town - 2 Bamber Bridge - 1
Brig: Roccia, Spooner, Marlow, Lawlor, Charnock, Churchman, Waddecar, McKnight, Vasey, Dudley, Argent-Barnes
Subs: Darr, Carsley, Young, Rigby, Doughty