Captain Pembleton leads from the front at Bamber Bridge
Bamber Bridge 3 Ossett Town 2
Ossett Town made the trip across the M62 to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium for what was likely to be a tough outing for the Reds after a poor run of 10 losses in the previous eleven games especially as Bamber Bridge went into the game unbeaten in their last 5 outings. Manager Lee Ashworth strengthened the squad in midweek bringing in two experienced players in Craig Nelthorpe and Nicky Boshell who were named in the starting eleven after the departure of midfielder Steve Ridley and striker Danny South. Anthony Mackie came back in at right back after serving a three match suspension with Craig Nelthorpe into wide midfield and Nicky Boshell playing in a striker role. Martin Pembleton was named as Captain and partnered Boshell up front with regular forwards Alex Peterson injured and Kai Hancock suspended. New Assistant Manager Steve Nicholson made his managerial debut with the Reds bringing in a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.
The game started and in the opening exchanges both sides were evenly matched, both playing some good attractive football without either keeper being tested. Lee Ashworth had asked the players to show confidence, get the ball down and play a passing game whenever possible which worked well for them.
The Reds were forced into an early substitution after Josh Snowden twisted badly in a challenge and was unable to continue, he was replaced by Alex Low at Centre Back.
The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute when Gerard Garner met a cross and volleyed into the net to give Bamber a 1-0 lead.
The reds lost a little composure after going down but showed great character in coming back into the game and winning a corner. From the corner taken by Nicky Boshell and after a save by Lloyd Rigby in the Bamber goal a bit of pinball ensued in the 6 yard box before Isaac Assenso showed great strength to force the ball over the line to bring the Reds level to 1-1 in the 40th minute.
As half time approached the Reds thought they had taken the lead after a great run down the right wing by Martin Pembleton who put in a pinpoint cross which was met by Nicky Boshell 16 yards out and with a great first touch and an even better finish, he thumped the ball past Rigby. The linesman raised his flag for offside so late there was time for a cup of tea and a chat. The referee upheld the decision and disallowed the goal.
The Reds deservedly went in at half time with the scoreline standing at 1-1, a much better 45 minutes from the Reds who matched a strong Bamber side all over the pitch.
Half time: Bamber Bridge 1 Osset Town 1
The first ten minutes of the 2nd half started as the first half ended with both sides competing equally well until Linney made a surging run and was awarded a penalty as he went down in the box in the 53rd minute. Full back McCauley Wilson stepped up to take the penalty and drilled the ball low and hard past Wigglesworth to give the home side a 2-1 advantage.
On the hour mark and against the run of play Neil Reynolds side increased their lead to 3-1 after a one two between Carsley and Garner resulted in No 9 Carsley scoring at the second attempt after a good save by Wigglesworth.
Lee Ashworth made changes substituting Corey Gregory and Craig Nelthorpe who had both put in extremely hard working performances with Midfielders Sam Wright and Jake Ellam.
The game changed when in the 71st minute a cross in from the left found Jake Ellam in the box who chested the ball down, turned and slotted the ball into Pembleton 14 yards out who beat Rigby with a powerful low drive to bring the deficit down to one goal at 3-2.
The goal saw a resurgence of confidence in the reds players and the last 20 minutes of this game belonged to them as Bamber Bridge nervously defended their lead. Ossett attacked time after time but the home defence stood resolute dealing with every thing that was thrown at them. Then in the 87th minute it looked as if the Reds had equalised as Jason St Juste broke down the left and fired in a cross which was met perfectly by Nicky Boshell who powered his header back across goal from 12 yards towards the top left corner only to see keeper Rigby pull off an absolutely incredible world class save as his fingertips tipped the ball over the bar.
The final whistle blew with Bamber running out 3-2 winners and whilst the result was a disappointing one the performance was not with the Reds competing for 90 minutes against a strong team that is up there in the play off positions. The Reds showed some real creativity in their play and looked a real threat going forward against a physical and well organised back four and midfield with Pembleton and Boshell combining well together up front supported by a hard working midfield.
The players now need to take this performance into their next two home games against Clitheroe on Saturday 20th January, 3pm kick off followed by Skelmersdale on Tuesday 23rd January, kick off 19-45pm.