Bamber Bridge win promotion to NPL Premier Division

Bamber Bridge manager Neil Reynolds
Bamber Bridge manager Neil Reynolds
Share this article

Bamber Bridge 1, Prescot Cables 0

Bamber Bridge have been promoted to the NPL Premier Division.

Chris Marlow's 80th minute goal handed them a 1-0 win over Prescot Cables in the First Division North play-off final.

In what was a nervy and cagey affair at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, where chances were at a premium, substitute Marlow controlled Kieran Charnock's knockdown from a corner before smashing home from eight yards.

The goal sparked wild celebration among the 1,600-plus crowd and although the home crowd had to endure a few nervy moments towards the end as Prescot threw caution to the wind, Brig held on.

Marlow, who has been part of the first team set-up for more than a decade, admitted it was a dream come true to be the man to send the club up.

"It means everything to me," the left winger said. "I have been at the club for 11 years now and it's absolutely massive for me to come on and score the winner in the play-off final.

"For the goal, I just remember Charno heading the ball back and I got it on the chest and I just remember thinking, 'Get a good connection'.

"The ball has pretty much gone down the centre and after that, it's just a big massive blur.

"I think my shirt came off and I just loved it.

"There was so much joy and I just got piled on top of by all the lads."

Earlier, neither side were able to impose themselves in the final third in the first half.

In fact, the most dramatic incident to happen was a flashpoint behind the goal where both sets of fans clashed.

A few firecrackers and smokebombs were let off, but thankfully things quietened down as stewards and police stepped in.

The nearest Neil Reynolds' men came to opening the scoring was in the 35th minute when Regan Linney broke clear after latching on to Alistair waddecar's flick-on, but Louis Coyne managed to get back and make the tackle.

Four minutes later Lloyd Dean shot wide after Waddecar had been dispossessed in midfield.

The first 20 minutes or so of the second half followed as similar pattern as the first.

Waddecar had a free-kick tipped over the bar in the 68th minute, while 11 minutes later Prescot substitute Chris Almond shot was tipped around the post by Brig No.1 Lloyd Rigby.

A minute later, the all important goal arrived when Charnock headed Lewis Nightingale's header back across goal where Marlow controlled before firing home left-footed.

He nearly scored his and Brig's second three minutes later. His deflected effort, after great work by Waddecar down the right, cannoned against the post.

The Sir Tom Finney stadium held its breath in the 86th minute when Dean's shot from inside the box went straight at Rigby.

By this time, the visitors threw everything forward, but Brig held firm to seal promotion.

Brig: Rigby, Vasey, Dodd, Marlow, Charnock, Potts (Milligan) Waddecar, Forbes, Carsley (Roscoe), Nightingale, Linney (Marlow). Subs not used: Dudley, Dovey

Prescot Cables: Barnes, Fernandes, McNally (Homson-Smith), McCulloch, Coyne, Conte, Cain (Almond), Wynne, Klein-Davies, Dean, Edgar (Monaghan). Subs not used: Herbert, Fishwick

Attendance: 1,628

Referee: Mr Elliot Swallow