Stafford Rangers 1 - 0 Bamber Bridge
Alan Bateson reports as Brig come unstuck at Stafford.
This was really a case of “After the Lord Mayor's Show". Following last weekends heroics at South Shields and the midweek fightback against Lancaster City, this was simply a bridge too far Bamber Bridge, who in the end succumbed rather meekly to a determined Stafford Rangers outfit.
The match started in what is now unfortunately becoming the norm in away games. The home side first out of the traps and taking the lead with essentially their first attempt at goal. A long throw in wasn’t dealt with and Striker James Charles was able to control the ball and dispatch it into the bottom corner. Long balls in to the penalty area have certainly become the Achilles heel of Bamber Bridge in recent times and the goals against column is littered with similar type goals.
Brig once again found themselves chasing the game and on this occasion it wasn’t to be. Certainly no lack of effort, but on a bobbly pitch, The visitors just couldn’t getting their passing game going and never threatened the home goal in the entire first half. Indeed it was the home side, with their tails up who always looked more likely to increase their lead. Lloyd Rigby in the Brig goal was by far the busier of the two keepers as the home side peppered the goal with long balls and efforts from distance. Stafford were winning every 50/50 and as half time approached the only surprise was the lead was still only by the one goal.
The second half started with Bamber Bridge looking a little brighter, The team have really shown themselves to be the 2nd half fightback Kings in recent weeks and it was hoped this would be no exception. However, Following an early attempt from Scott Harries giving the home keeper his 1st shot of the match to deal with, the home side regained control and the pattern of the 1st half continued. Again Lloyd Rigby was called upon to keep Brig in the game and made several impressive saves, leading to corner after corner for the Staffordshire outfit.
Brig made changes in an attempt to rescue a point. Danny Forbes who taken a knock was replaced by Chris Churchman and Regan Linney who was making his 1st full start of the season following his operation was replaced by Ben Thomas. The introduction of Thomas certainly livened Brig up and has the match approached the final stages the home side started to drop deeper and Brig began to enjoy their best and only decent spell of the match. Ali Waddecar, who had been the only threat to the Rangers defence came so close to equalising as he burst free down the right, cut into the area and struck a daisy cutter of a shot across the keeper that cannoned to safety off the far post.
Stafford counter attacked and ex Brigger, Andy Haworth saw a fine strike superbly tipped on to the bar by Brig Man of the Match Lloyd Rigby. With added time approaching A delightful chipped ball into the Stafford area was superbly brought down by Waddecar, in the centre of the penalty area, Ali looked poised to find the bottom corner of the net only to see the keeper spread himself and save with his legs. And with it went the last chance of any salvation for Bamber Bridge, who on the day didn’t deserve anything from the match.
As the referee sounded the final whistle, the roar from the home fans and players indicated the importance of the 3 points to the hosts. Bamber Bridge can have no complaints and we move on to Wednesday evening’s, Lancashire Trophy Semi Final with the spectre of a relegation dogfight looming. Results elsewhere favoured Brig who remain 7 points clear of the drop zone, but the next two League matches against South Shields at home and Gainsborough Trinity away look formidable tasks, as the Whites look to get back to winning ways. It’s going to be an interesting end to the season.
Full Time: Stafford Rangers -1 Bamber Bridge – 0
Bamber Bridge: Rigby, Spooner, Dodd, Lawlor (Capt), McCarten, Wisdom, Waddecar, Forbes, Dudley, Harries, Linney
Subs: Roccia, Doughty, Churchman, Thomas, Buchan
Match reporter: Alan Bateson