Brig find the Gate into next round temporarily shut

Ally Waddecar in action against Squires Gate
Ally Waddecar in action against Squires Gate

Bamber Bridge face an FA Cup replay in Blackpool tonight, Tuesday, after this frustrating draw with Squires Gate on Saturday.

Neil Crowe and his side were left to lament a host of missed chances as the North West Counties Premier Division outfit twice came from behind to keep themselves in the competition.

Andy Bell found the net twice for Brig but the striker squandered numerous opportunities, including a second-half penalty that went well wide of the target.

And the visitors punished Brig for their profligacy in front of goal, despite barely threatening themselves.

The hosts started brightest, with the visitors’ keeper Ben Fletcher called into action to repel early shots from Alistair Waddecar and Bell.

But he could do nothing about the opener, Bell stabbing home from close range after Squires Gate failed to clear a Waddecar corner.

The hosts continued to pile on the pressure but were left stunned 10 minutes later, as Andy Richards’ 25-yard strike left Lee Dovey rooted to the spot.

After the break, the game resumed in much the same way, with Brig forcing the play as Gate sat back and soaked up the pressure.

Nevertheless, Waddecar won a penalty after a foul by Joshua Westwood.

Scorer Bell stepped up but his effort never looked like troubling Fletcher in the Squires Gate goal.

It was the story of the match for Brig, who struggled to find the target throughout, Matt Lawlor and Bell heading over in quick succession.

However, with nine minutes left on the clock, Danny Leigh’s cross was swept home by Bell, and it looked as if Bamber Bridge were going to take their place in the hat for the second qualifying round.

But Alex McKendrick’s volley five minutes from time ensured a hard-earned draw for the visitors.