Bamber Bridge 2 Ramsbottom 3
Neil Reynolds’ side fell to their first home defeat of the season at the hands of visitors Ramsbottom United, writes GEORGE HODGSON.
For 70 minutes of the game the visitors were deservedly 3-0 ahead, but two goals late in the day for Brig almost set them on their way to a remarkable comeback.
After a scrappy start to the game, the first chance fell Bamber Bridge’s way.
Danny Forbes nicked the ball in midfield and slipped in Carsley with a perfectly weighted pass – the No.9 forced a smart save from Taberner in the Ramsbottom goal.
After the visitors had grown into the game, they were dealt a blow with striker Yvez Zama forced off with a hamstring injury.
Zama was replaced by striker Sam Heathcote.
After an even first 20 minutes, it was the visitors who seized the initiative, with a lovely strike from the edge of the box.
Brig captain Michael Potts was dispossessed in midfield and Eddie Moran surged forward to drill the visitors ahead with a pinpoint drive from the edge of the box.
Ramsbottom then had the chance to add to their lead when Heathcote was played in down the left, but his tame effort was routine work for Lloyd Rigby.
After a strong first half-hour from the visitors, Brig had a decent couple of minutes where they really put the pressure on Ramsbottom, but the ball just would not break their way.
Regan Linney had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Craig Buxton – the striker appeared to be hacked down in the box.
Moments later the striker’s frustration showed, as he was booked for a foul.
Stuart Vasey almost drew Brig level in the 38th minute mark, the full-back glancing a header agonisingly wide of the far right-hand post.
Ben Richardson was the next to have a strike for Ramsbottom, the No.11 drilled a powerful shot into the grateful arms of Rigby.
It only took five minutes of the second half for Neil Reynolds to introduce a couple of substitutions.
Regan Linney and Danny Forbes made way for Matthew Dudley and Jamie Milligan.
Another chance fell Heathcote’s way on the 56th minute, the striker was fed in by Dean, but he failed to connect properly with his shot.
A minute later Ramsbottom doubled their lead after great wing play from Phillip Dean.
The winger cut inside and unleashed a curling effort that struck the left-hand post, only for Jerome Wright to smash home his team’s second on the rebound.
Ben Richardson then had the chance to seal the points with just under 30 minutes to play, but Rigby rushed out to save well after the forward beat the offside trap.
Both sides made a substitute on the 70th minute, James Boyd came on for Stuart Vasey for Brig, whilst Richardson made way for Jamie Rother.
The visitors found the net for a third time with 15 minutes to play.
Lewis Baines made a superb block on the line to deny Heathcote, but seconds after seeing his shot blocked the striker made amends.
Dean shimmied his way into the box and pulled the ball across the net for Heathcote to tap in his side’s third from a yard out.
Substitute James Boyd did hand Brig a lifeline when he headed home Alistair Waddecar’s cross from the right with just over five-minutes to play.
Dudley went close to closing the deficit further with a volley that was well blocked by Thompson, before the referee waved away two penalty appeals.
Brad Carsley looked destined to pull one back in stoppage time, but the striker stabbed the ball inches over the crossbar from Waddecar’s delivery.
The hosts’ relentless pressure did tell when Waddecar rattled home a loose ball with a minute to play.
Brig are no strangers to grandstand finished and in a match that looked long gone, Boyd could have nicked a point at the death.
Carsley won the knockdown from Milligan’s ball into the box, but Boyd’s volley fell straight at Taberner.