A superb 2nd half turnaround saw Bamber Bridge return from The Marston Road Ground, home of Stafford Rangers with all 3 points in a wind affected Northern Premier League encounter.
The home side started with the wind at their backs and with their long ball and incredible long throw tactics, they pushed Brig back in the early exchanges. Mateusz Hewelt in the Brig goal was under constant pressure as the ball was launched into the Brig box at every opportunity. The home side forced a series of corners before their pressure told in the 15th minute when following another corner, this time from the right, the ball was stabbed home from close range.
Buoyed by the goal, Stafford piled on the pressure and at this stage Brig were struggling to gain any kind of foothold in the match. The first chance for the Lancashire visitors arrived on 25 minutes, Rob Apter shooting from the right of the area, his low drive was parried by the keeper and cleared for a corner. Ewan Bange met the corner with a powerful header but it flashed wide of the post.
With Rangers still on top, Brig slowly but surely stated to build there way back into the match and on 35 minutes came so close to an equaliser. Ewan Bange controlling a low ball from the left in the penalty area, with his back to goal he turned and got in a great effort from wide on the left. The home keeper at full stretch tipped it ove the bar for a corner. Brig we’re ending the half on top and right on the whistle the home side were relieved to see a shot from the left flash across goal and out for a goal kick
A second half change saw Danny Forbes replaced by Joe Rodwell - Grant. With the wind now behind Brig, it was the visitors who were now on the front foot. An early opportunity came as a low right wing cross flashed across the 6 yard line before being cleared by the home defence. The home side, who were now relying on long balls and long throw-ins, appealed for a penalty as Sheldon Green made a firm but fair challenge in the penalty area. The referee quite rightly waving away the appeal.
On the hour Rob Apter who was once again the tormentor in chief for Brig raced clear from a superb through ball down the centre of the pitch, The Stafford keeper making a fine save with his legs as Rob got in a shot from 15 yards, The ball rebounded to Ewan Bange who’s follow up shot was was blocked and cleared.
On 55 minutes Brig Manager Jamie Milligan made two further changes. Brig had been awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal just to the left of the area. The changes were made before the free kick and both Chris Churchman and Matt Dudley entered the fray to replace Ewan Bange and Akeil Raffie.
Play resumed with Rob Apter lining up the free kick. The Blackpool loanee strode forward and smashed an absolute beauty over the wall and into the back of the net off the underside of the bar. Cue wild celebrations behind the goal.
Brig poured foward and just a minute later Nathan Pond found himself unmarked 8 yards out, his header being well held by the home keeper. Minutes later, Pondy came close again, this time bringing down a looping Matt Dudley cross from the left before shooting, a superb last ditch tackle saw the shot deflected behind for a corner. That was headed behind for a second corner which was met by Nathan Pond with a superb header, the ball just going over the bar and landing on the roof of the net.
The Bamber Bridge fans behind the goal didn’t have much longer to wait for the winner. As on 70 minutes the visitors took the lead. Again terrific work wide on the right from Rob Apter, as he raced clear before striking a shot towards the far post, the keeper parried the ball but only as far as Sheldon Green who slid in to force the ball over the line to put Brig in front.
It had been an incredible turn around with Brig playing some superb passing football to counter the the aerial style of Stafford Rangers. The home side as you’d expect there everything foward but the Brig defence stood firm heading clear every long ball and long throw, Bamber bridge on the other hand still looked sharp on the break. A late free kick for the home side was headed over the bar and the majority of the home support in the 643 crowd headed for the exits. The game ended with another fine attacking move from Brig, Man of the match Apter again involved, this time playing in Joe Rodwell Grant who’s shot from the edge of the area whistled just wide.
The full time whistle came just seconds later and the Bamber Bridge players and supporters celebrated another fantastic 3 points and a hard fought victory. A really inspiring second half display from Bamber Bridge and another example of this squad of players coming from behind to seal the points. Onward to the Lancashire Cup on Tuesday evening and an appetising home tie against Chorley.
Full Time: Stafford Rangers - 1. Bamber Bridge - 2
Bamber Bridge: Hewelt, Thomson, Coulson, Spooner (Capt), Pond, Raffie, Apter, Forbes, Bange, Carey, Greem
Subs: Dudley, Rodwell-Grant, Gourley, Churchman, Sinclair