Cup dream over for another year

Bamber Bridge Vs Prescot Cables'Saturday Oct 15'by Stefan Willoughby ''John Cass
Bamber Bridge Vs Prescot Cables'Saturday Oct 15'by Stefan Willoughby ''John Cass

Bamber Bridge crashed out of the FA Trophy after a disappointing defeat to Evo-Stik First Division South rivals Sheffield.

Brig’s poor record in the competition continues and the home team had the tie wrapped up by half-time following a pretty impressive show.

Despite this, their Lancashire visitors showed plenty of character in the second period, which they dominated for long spells.

Unfortunately however, Brig frustratingly spurned the many chances they had so painstakingly and spiritedly created for themselves.

For their part, the visitors did not play badly. Far from it. They were simply swept aside following a scintillating first-half display by the hosts.

Despite an opening flurry of attacks by Sheffield, Brig did not appear overawed and moved forward with conviction. An Alistair Waddecar drive on 15 minutes was well-saved by the home goalkeeper Dan Whatsize following an astute Ryan Salmon pass as the visitors tested the Sheffield defence.

The home side were playing some delightful football with their skipper, Matt Varley, and Andy Gascoigne prominent and after full-back James Kay had come close from distance in the 23rd minute they took the lead a minute later. The impressive Gascoigne put Steve Woolley away down the inside-left position and the flying wingman shot home beyond Brig goalkeeper Lee Dovey, the ball going in via the far post.

On 31 minutes, Gascoigne, exquisitely volleyed home from the edge of the box following an eye-catching exchange of passes between himself and the imposing Varley through the middle.

Brig responded and Matt Mahoney’s full-blooded drive on 36 minutes, was kept out at full-stretch by Whatsize. However, any hope of a Brig comeback was made nigh-on impossible on 40 minutes when they conceded a penalty kick after Neil Reynolds upended Graham just inside the box.

Gascoigne sent Dovey the wrong way from the resultant spot-kick for his second goal of the afternoon and the tie was effectively over.

Salmon came close from distance on 42 minutes for Brig, after a neat through-ball from Reynolds.

Bamber Bridge, though outwitted in the first 45 minutes, opened the second half brightly and their was more urgency in their play. Indeed, it was the Lancastrians who were now forcing the pace of events with some pretty slick play.

John Cass turned and shot narrowly wide on 65 minutes as Brig toiled hard to get back into the game. Another Cass effort moments later was smothered by Whatsize following a Salmon through-ball which caught the home defence flat-footed, before a Matt Jones header just cleared the Sheffield crossbar following a fierce in-swinging Darren Green corner-kick.

Despite Brig’s resurgence, the home side defended resolutely and looked dangerous when they were able to suddenly spring out from the back.

Bamber Bridge continued to make most of the running but squandered some very good opportunities to have reduced the deficit. On one such occasion Matt Mahoney put in Salmon, who inexplicably fired high and wide from an excellent position.

As it was, Brig came home without the consolation of at least a goal following a spirited second-half display which had merited some tangible reward.

Bamber Bridge: Dovey, Bowyer, Marlow (Cass 63mins), Jones, White, Reynolds (Bonaminio 63mins), Lakeland (D Green, 45mins), M Mahoney, Salmon, Porter, Waddecar.

Attendance: 249