Brig boss calls for his side to be clinical

Curtis Thompson has returned to the club
Curtis Thompson has returned to the club
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Neil Crowe is hoping his Bamber Bridge team will be a little easier on his nerves tomorrow when Northwich Victoria visit the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

The Brig boss watched his men secure all three points at Brighouse Town on Saturday, although they made heavy work of it.

Despite dominating proceedings in the opening period, the men from Irongate went in at the interval only 2-1 ahead.

Curtis Thompson’s double in the opening half-hour put the visitors into ascendency, but the lead was halved by Town in the 43rd minute.

On a difficult pitch, Bamber Bridge then became embroiled in a war of attrition in the second half and they had to wait until 15 minutes from the end before increasing their lead, courtesy of Ally Waddecar’s penalty.

Even then, Brig gave their opponents a glimmer of hope by conceding in the final minute and they had to withstand a late barrage from the home side before finally sealing all three points.

Crowe admits he is thrilled with the style of football his men have been producing in recent months.

But he warned that their inability to put their chances away, coupled with a propensity to concede late on in games, could prove costly in the NPL First Division North promotion race.

“Without exaggerating, we could have been 6-1 up at 
half-time,” Crowe said.

“We missed a penalty, we hit the crossbar and had two clear cut chances.

“I said to the lads at half-time that they had played really well...there was not much I could say apart from that they needed to start finishing the chances we were creating.

“We are just not clinical enough in front of goal – it’s not just the strikers, it’s everyone.

“Glenn Steel missed from six-yards out, Curtis Thompson hit the crossbar and missed a penalty.

“Curtis scored two but he could have had four goals at half-time.

“I think a bit of composure is needed in front of goal.

“But we played some really good stuff on an awful pitch.

“I certainly won’t be asking them to change the way we play.

“We are knocking the ball around well and I think when the pitches start to dry out – that’s going to suit us better.”

Crowe would also like to see his men tighten up at the back especially late on in games.

“Conceding late goal has become a bit of an Achilles heel for us,” Crowe added.

“I think because we are not killing teams off, our back four are coming under pressure.

“If you go in at half-time 6-1 up like we should have done, the game’s over – there’s no coming back from that.

“When it’s only 2-1, they are still in it – we had to dig deep in the second half.”

Meanwhile, Crowe believes the return of Thompson of the club could be a pivotal moment in the season.

The youngster left for Premier Division outfit Skelmersdale United earlier in the season but spent much of his time at Selby Place on the sidelines.

“To be fair, he’s a good player,” Crowe said. “When he expressed an interest in coming back, I said we would definitely like to have him back.

“He’s happy and he’s going to start enjoying his football again – he hasn’t been doing that the last few month. He hasn’t played much in the last eight weeks.”