Proud Crowe vows for Brig to bounce back even stronger

Bamber Bridge's Danny Mahoney
Bamber Bridge's Danny Mahoney
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Neil Crowe insists his Bamber Bridge side will come back better than ever after suffering a second consecutive

play-off final defeat.

Brig were well in the game against big spenders Darlington 1883 on Saturday.

But a terrible five minutes in the second half saw them concede two goals and their promotion dreams fade away.

The defeat for Brig ensures they will be spending another season in the Evo-Stik Division One North.

Despite their play-off woes, Brig boss Crowe feels his side have the ability to bounce back.

“We’re all still absolutely gutted,” he said.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow, the way we lost the game was very disappointing as it was two set-pieces.

“The two strongest teams have gone up now in Salford and Darlington.

“They were much more physical than everybody and they had a lot more money.

“It won’t be easy next year as there are still some good sides, but we’ll be back and we’ll be looking to compete.”

It could have been different for Brig if they had taken their chances in the opening 45 minutes on Saturday.

Crowe’s side were much the better side in the first half and had several chances.

But Brig were left to rue those missed chances as they created little on the Darlington goal in the second half.

In tight games, chances need to be converted and Crowe felt it was a turning point in the game.

“I thought we were by far the better team in the first half,” he said.

“We didn’t take our chances and capitalise, but we should have been leading at half-time.

“The wind played a huge part in the game.

“We had it in the first half and they had it in the second.

“They took their chances and that was the difference between the two teams.”

Brig were dealt a double blow before Saturday’s fixture.

Club captain Matty Kay failed a fitness test and Jon Macken admitted he felt a tight muscle in the warm-up.

But refusing to blame the defeat on injuries, Crowe had praise for all of his squad.

“I felt sorry for Matty Kay, as he played all season and then missed the biggest game of the season,” he said.

“As for Jon, he felt tight in the warm-up.

“We didn’t really want to put him on but we had to change something.

“But the squad has been excellent – Macken and Paul McKenna have been superb, for us.

“They have brought experience and they take the time to talk to the lads and I think the squad has risen to their

involvement.”

Crowe has no plans to make any major changes in the close season but he admits he would like to freshen up the squad.

Brig have already secured a number of friendlies for pre-season and the players will make a return to training at the end of June.

“I’d maybe two or three new faces – that extra quality will help us,” he said.

“Everybody is happy to stay and they will all be invited back for pre-season.”

This Friday, the club will be holding their annual presentation night.

All fans are invited and it starts at 8pm at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.