Cleethorpes Town 3 - 3 Bamber Bridge (FA Cup 2QR, 22 Sept 2018)
Alan Bateson reports as Brig leave it late in the FA Cup.
Bamber Bridge left North Lincolnshire, still in the FA Cup following a terrific late fight back and a superb Brad Carsley Hat trick that rescued a 3-3 draw from a situation that had looked lost midway through the 2nd half.
Cleethorpes Town from The EvoStik Div 1 East had started the game at a tremendous pace and had Brig on the back foot almost directly from the kick off, forcing two cor-ners in the opening minute and striking the crossbar from the 2nd corner.
Brig were struggling to cope with the power and pace of the hosts in the early stages and it came as no surprise when they took the lead on 15 minutes. Brody Robertson, picked up a through ball that split the Bamber Bridge defence and calmly slotted it passed Lloyd Rigby in the Brig goal.
Cleethorpes continued to dominate possession as Brig slowly but surely tried to get their own passing game going. Matt Lawlor and Brad Carsley both saw headed attempts drift wide of the post as the visitors started to create chances. Matt Dudley came close as he was picked up a fine Ali Waddecar pass but the keeper was out like a flash to close him down and make the save as Dudley attempted to find the bottom corner.
However, on 32 minutes the equaliser arrived. Dudley was involved again, sending over an inviting cross from the right wing. Brad Carsley rose majestically to meet it and guide a fabulous header over the advancing keeper into the far corner of the net.
The next few minutes saw both sides pushing to get in front before Bamber Bridge gifted the home side the lead. A long diagonal 60 yard ball looked to be heading straight for Lloyd Rigby in the Brig goal, but he hesitated allowing Robertson to get there first, side step the keeper and slot the ball into the empty net for his and the home sides 2nd goal.
Brig again responded and just before half time Matt Lawlor was again unlucky as his powerful header was well saved by the home keeper, the ball rebounded to Ali Waddecar whose first time shot was deflected away for a corner.
Half time and on the balance of play, Cleethorpes deservedly lead 2-1
Cleethorpes Town started the 2nd half as they had started the 1st and and forced 2 corners in the opening minute of the half. Brig repelled the danger and responded themselves, forcing two corners in quick succession.
On 59 minutes following another Bamber Bridge corner, the home side increased the lead, The keeper jumped to claim the corner and immediately launched the ball upfield, The ball was sent out to the left wing, where a deep cross was floated in, Josh Batty met it with a clean header to give the hosts breathing space in the tie and a 3-1 lead.
Brig manager Neil Reynolds made a couple of changes on 64 minutes Bringing on Jamie Milligan and Jordan Darr for Matt Dudley and James Boyd. The changes paid dividends as Brig started to get a foothold in a game that had looked to be drifting away from them.
In the 71st minute Jordan Darr found space on the right of goal and struck a ferocious drive that the home keeper did well to to push over the bar. From the resultant corner Brad Carsley rose superbly again at the far post to head back over the keeper and into the net to give the visitors hope.
With the home side now rattled and Brig pushing for the equaliser Reno made his final substitution, bringing on Hyuga Tanner for the hard working Danny Forbes, and moments later Brig were level. Ali Waddecar cut inside from the left and his low shot beat the keeper and cannoned back off the inside of the post, Cleethorpes failed to clear the ball and it fell at the feet of Brad Carsley, on the right hand side of the 6 yard box. Brad composed himself before hammering a fierce shot goal bound that the keeper tried in vain to stop, getting a good hand to the ball but the power of the shot saw the ball nestling in the far corner of then net, to the delight of the travelling Brig-gers behind the goal.
The home side were clearly stunned but almost retook the lead when a shot from distance struck the outside of the post and rebounded to safety. At the other end Matt Lawlor rose to head a left sided corner that beat the keeper but fell inches wide of the post.
The referee added 6 minutes of stoppage time and Lloyd Rigby made a fine late save to keep the scores level. The full time whistle arrived with the Brig Faithfull more than happy with a replay. The home supporters reflecting on a chance lost when at 3-1 they had looked comfortable.
So, we do it all again on Tuesday evening in the replay at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium as Brig will look to capitalise on home advantage to make the next round of the FA cup.
Full Time: Cleethorpes Town - 3 Bamber Bridge - 3
Bamber Bridge: Rigby, Dawson, White, Lawlor (capt.), Charnock, Potts, Waddecar, Forbes, Carsley, Dudley, Boyd.
Subs: Dogherty, Darr, Milligan, Churchman, Tanner
Match reporter: Alan Bateson
Photo courtesy of The Bootiful Game: https://www.facebook.com/TheBootifulGame