Albion end sorry Brig’s play-off prospects

WENT CLOSE: Luke Atherton
WENT CLOSE: Luke Atherton

Witton Albion 2

Bamber Bridge 0

Bamber Bridge went down to their third defeat in succession last Wednesday night, with a 2-0 reverse against Witton Albion.

Brig kicked off on a pleasant spring evening in Cheshire, but it was Albion who forced the pace in the opening minutes, and won a succession of corner-kicks, none of which came to anything.

However, Albion’s early endeavours found their reward with a goal in the 13th minute, when Ben Harrison found Josh Hancock in space on the right-hand corner of the penalty box.

The wingman fired home with confidence, beyond Brig goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe, and into the corner of the net.

Despite this early setback, the South Ribble side began to settle down, and went in search of an equaliser.

Striker Neil Black and winger Alistair Waddecar, in particular, were causing problems down the right flank, and the home defence looked anything but comfortable with the lively pair.

After 37 minutes, Brig had a good case for a penalty, when a defender took out Black as he was racing in to meet a Waddecar cross from the right.

However, much to everybody’s surprise, the referee waved the vociferous claims away.

While Tony Greenwood’s side were calling all the shots just prior to the interval, it was Albion that came the closest to a second goal, when Kinsey brought the best out of Hinchliffe, who saved the striker’s drive at full-stretch.

The home side changed their kit at the break and started the second-half in royal blue after a clash of colours.

Hincliffe kept his team in the game with a succession of saves, and Louis Mayers was just wide of goal after 67 minutes, when he met a Matt Atherton cross on the half-volley.

At this stage, there was little to choose between the sides, and Brig looked quite capable of snatching a point.

However, the Lancastrians were completely undone on 82 minutes when, following a free-kick by Paul Ennis on the right, player/coach Brian Pritchard touched the ball home from close range after a goalmouth scramble.

It was a fatal blow to Bamber Bridge’s hopes of rescuing something from the game, and virtually kills off their outside play-off hopes.

Two late efforts by the visitors were worthy of some reward.

First, Albion goalkeeper Matt Cooper made a superb save to keep out a Peter Wright drive following a Sean Williams free-kick, and then, in the dying seconds, a Luke Atherton header hit the Albion crossbar following a Waddecar corner-kick.

Bamber Bridge: Hinchliffe, Bowyer, Crowder (Williams 79mins), L Atherton, White, Jones, Waddecar, Clark, Wright, Black (Mayers 57mins), Marlow (M Atherton 63mins). Unused Subs: Reynolds and Galliers.