Boro test is start of monumental month for Brig

Matt Mahoney is a fitness doubt for Brig
Matt Mahoney is a fitness doubt for Brig
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Bamber Bridge’s automatic promotion hopes are still very much in their own hands, despite the club slipping further off the pace this week.

While Brig can feel proud of the way they battled back from 3-1 down at Brighouse Town on Saturday to earn a draw, in the grand scheme of things it did not help their promotion bid.

The three teams above them in the table all claimed maximum points at the weekend and then took advantage of Brig’s inactivity in midweek to stretch the gap even further.

Leaders South Shields’ draw with third-placed Hyde United on Tuesday night means they are now nine points clear of Brig, who are fourth.

Scarborough Athletic’s 3-1 win at Ramsbottom United saw them leap-frog aboveHyde to go two points off the top.

The men from Irongate – currently placed fourth in the NPL First Division – have the opportunity to claw some ground back on the leading trio over the course of the next month.

This weekend, they welcome Scarborough Athletc to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium before hosting third-placed Hyde United a week later.

The reverse of those two fixtures then take place during the early part of next month before leaders South Shields travel to Lancashire on March 20.

Brig’s director of football Neil Crowe accepts the team has a make-0r-break month ahead of them, but is confident they can turn the screw on the teams above them.

“Come the end of March, we will have a good idea of where we are,” said Crowe.

“Our run-in is not as hard as the games that we have coming up over the next few weeks. If we can get through this period, with a good points return it will put us in with a great chance. Scarborough is going to be a difficult game. Looking at their results this season, there have not been many people who have got the better of them.

“But this is where we want to be. The goal is to win promotion and if we can do that, it would be superb.

“This season there is no better chance with the two going up automatically and one from the play-offs.

“We are right in the mix and I believe we are as good as anyone on our day.

Crowe felt Brig deserved more than the point they garnered on Saturday, but praised the players for the way they fought back.

“We could have won the game with the chances we had in the first half,” he said. “Overall, it’s not a bad result. Credit to the lads to come back from 3-1 down with 15 minutes to go.”

Brig have a slight doubt over defender Matt Mahoney, who looks like he will need an operation in the summer on his troublesome calf.

Elsewhere, Clitheroe – fresh from beating Charnock Richard on penalties in the LFA Challenge Trophy semi-final – face Mossley this weekend. Kendal Town are at Hyde United.