Crowe backs shot shy forwards

Brig's Ryan Salmon in action v Skelmersdale United. Pics by Stefan Willoughby

Brig's Ryan Salmon in action v Skelmersdale United. Pics by Stefan Willoughby

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Bamber Bridge FC boss Neil Crowe is backing his forwards Alex Porter and Ryan Salmon to rediscover their form that terrorised Evostik League defences four seasons ago.

The QED Stadium side lie in 10th spot after letting a 2-1 lead slip in the final minute to share the points against promotion chasing rivals Skelmersdale United on Monday.

Despite a 6-0 win over Clitheroe in their second game of the season, Brig have only managed five goals in their five matches.

However, Crowe says Brig could be four points better off in their past two games against Skem and Woodley Sports if they’d turned the draws into wins.

“There is no need to panic,” he said. “Woodley have spent a lot of money at the start of the season and I would say they will be up challenging.

“Meanwhile, Skem have reached the play-off for the past couple of years.

“We need to be competing with those teams if we want to get in the play-offs and we got two draws against them.

“Against Woodley if Alex (Porter) had scored the penalty then I think we would have won and would have been on 12 points.

“Our league position after six games does not worry me. I will be more interested in what we can do in March.”

Porter hit the post with his penalty on Saturday and it was his second miss of the season after failing to convert from the spot against Blackburn Rovers.

Crowe said: “Alex only played 15 minutes against Woodley and then the game against Skem was his first full game back from injury.

“Of course missing the penalty was disappointing but I am confident that he will be back scoring them again.

“Michael White is our first choice taker but with his ankle injury we don’t know how long he is going to be out for.

“Alex will continue to take them and it is going to take him five or six games to be at his best.

“Ryan Salmon has been great as well because his work rate is unbelievable and we would not have scored on Monday if it was not for him.

“He will get lots of goals because he puts defenders under lots of pressure and hassles them.”

Bamber Bridge were 1-0 down at half-time against Skelmersdale United but a resurgent second half display saw the hosts hit back with goals by Simon Lakeland and Alistair Waddecar.

However, Phil Mooney broke Brig’s hearts in the dying minutes as they failed to clear the danger.

Crowe has pulled off a major coup in replacing injured captain Michael White with ex-Chorley and Guiseley ace Jerome Fitzgerald.

He said: “I was amazed that Jerome was available because he has been there and done it all.

“We have not signed him on loan from anyone so he is here for as long as we need him which is great.”

There was more bad news for Bamber Bridge on Bank Holiday as goalkeeper Lee Dovey chipped a bone in his ankle.