Hednesford 1, Bamber Bridge 1: New boy Matt Barnes scores on his debut

Brig boss Micky Taylor (left) and assistant Neil Crowe (photo: Ruth Hornby)
Brig boss Micky Taylor (left) and assistant Neil Crowe (photo: Ruth Hornby)
Share this article

Bamber Bridge returned from their first ever visit to Keys Park with a well earned point after a 1-1 draw with Hednesford Town on Saturday afternoon.

The two clubs had never faced each other before so both can still claim never to have been beaten by the other.

Brig had new loan signing from Bolton Wanderers Matty Argent-Barnes making his debut and he went on to put in a man-of-the-match performance and claim a debut goal in the second half.

The visitors could have been punished as early as the second minute when a chance fell to the home side in the penalty area but the shot was spooned over the bar. Shortly after Brig were forced into a change with Danny Forbes limping off to be replaced by Darren McKnight

Alistair Waddecar had the ball in the net on five minutes but the assistant referee had the flag raised to chalk off the goal.

Matt Barnes then stuck a fierce 15-yard shot that was blocked and cleared for a corner.

The game was swinging from end to end but it was the visitors creating the better chances. Barnes again found himself with space in the area but his volley from 12 yards cleared the bar. Waddecar came close as he drilled a 20 yard shot just wide before trying an audacious chip that was just too high.

Brad Carsley then got in on the act when he ended a fine Brig passing move with a superb curling shot that looked destined for the bottom corner before the home keeper flung himself across his goal to push it around the post and out for a corner.

Into the second half and Brig continued to press, another great Barnes run was halted as he burst into the box but was closed down as he attempted to shoot.

Not to be denied however, it was Barnes who gave the Lancashire side a deserved lead on 55 minutes.

A great ball through the middle found Chris Marlow, he strode towards the penalty before playing a superb square pass to Barnes, he controlled the ball, cut inside from the right and lashed home an unstoppable shot to the delight of the Brig faithful behind the goal.

On the hour, Matt Dudley came on to replaceCarsley as Brig continued to look the more likely to add to the scoreline.

Waddecar was sent tumbling in the box on 67 minutes with what looked a certain foul, the referee thought differently and waved away the Brig appeals for a penalty. Marlow then tried his luck with a low 20 yard drive that flashed just wide.

As the clock ticked towards the final 15 minutes the home side started to push Brig back.

Having missed an earlier chance with a free header from a right wing cross, the hosts were not to be denied on 81 minutes, when Daniel Sweeney picked up the ball 30 yards from goal turned, advanced towards the edge of the box before unleashing a great strike that beat Lloyd Rigby in goal to level the scores.

The final minutes saw the home side pile on the pressure looking for the winner. Brig held firm however, to claim a deserved and valuable away point.

Brig: Rigby, Dawson, Lawlor (C), Dodd, Charnock, Churchman, Waddecar, Forbes, Carsley, Argent-Barnes, Marlow. Subs: Vasey, Dudley, Spooner, McKnight, Darr

Att: 244