Bamber Bridge got right back on track in the First Division North with this 2-1 victory over perennial strugglers Radcliffe Borough on Saturday.
It was the Irongate side’s first win in six outings in either league or cup.
The home side almost got their noses in front as early as the second minute when the visitors’ goalkeeper, Dave Stevenson, got down quickly to save at the foot of his goalpost following a snap-shot by Griff Jones.
Brig responded and created two fine chances within a couple of minutes.
The first opportunity, a three-man move, was started by Matt Mahoney, who threaded the ball through to ‘Brig’ debutant striker, Sefton Gonzales, who in turn flicked his pass on to the inrushing Danny Mahoney, but ‘Boro’ goalkeeper, Nick Culkin, came off his line quickly to block Mahoney’s effort with his feet.
A minute later Alex Porter shot inches past the far post with a rising shot following some good work on the left by Danny Mahoney.
Bamber Bridge were beginning to build some sustained pressure on the home goal and nearly scored a freak goal on 17 minutes, when a low in-swinging Porter corner from the left, ricocheted off Michael White’s foot and flew inches past the near goalpost.
Then Gonzales just failed to reach a fine Danny Mahoney cross a minute later. Culkin denied Porter at full-stretch on 22 minutes when the wingman’s free-kick was heading straight for the top corner.
Former Manchester Utd man Culkin was keeping the lively visitors at bay with a string of fine saves.
Stuart Howson put Danny Mahoney away down the left flank on 27 minutes and when the midfielder’s cross came over, Gonzales put in a thumping header, but Culkin brilliantly turned the effort aside.
However, Brig’s endeavours were deservedly rewarded on the half-hour mark when Matt Mahoney sent in a high through-ball from the midfield which was pounced on by the alert Gonzales, who smacked his header beyond the advancing Culkin and into the net.
However, Radcliffe Borough drew level with a controversial equaliser just before the break.
Boro full-back, Andy Barlow launched a clearance over the heads of the visiting defence.
Ben Wharton looked suspiciously off-side but he latched onto the ball and rounded the stranded Stevenson before planting the ball home into the empty net
Despite a promising start to the second period, disaster threatened to derail Brig on 56 minutes when they conceded a penalty after Luke Atherton was adjudged to have wrestled Wharton to the ground inside the box near the bye-line. Griff Jones did everything right as he sent his spot-kick hurtling towards the left-hand corner of the goal. Stevenson dived low to save down at his right-hand post, much to the delight and relief of the travelling support. Indeed, it was a moment to savour and from this point on the visitors all-but camped in the home team’s half, as they went in earnest search of plunder.
Culkin denied Gonzales once again on 65 minutes, tipping the striker’s well directed header over the crossbar following Porter’s inch perfect corner-kick.
However, the visitors were plugging away and looked increasingly dangerous as the game wore on.
Danny Mahoney fired inches beyond the angle of post and crossbar with a a rising shot on 72 minutes following some neat interplay with his brother Matt.
Bamber Bridge got at the home back-line with great enthusiasm and gained, what proved to be the winning goal on 83 minutes.
White knocked the ball on to substitute Simon Lakeland near the half-way line and the former Carlisle United man advanced at speed towards the retreating home defence.
Lakeland found Alistair Waddecar on the left-hand edge of the penalty-box with a perfect through-ball and Waddecar swept the ball into the roof of the net.
The drama was not quite over just yet, as ‘Brig’s Matty Jones was sent off in the 87th minute after a rash challenge on Wharton.
Bamber Bridge: Stevenson, Bowyer, Howson, Atherton, White, Jones, Waddecar, D Mahoney, Gonzales (Bonaminio 86mins), M Mahoney (Lakeland 75mins), Porter. Unused Subs : Reynolds and Marlow.