Second half saves the day for Brig

Bamber Bridge goalscorer Alistair Waddiker. Pics by Stefan Willoughby
Bamber Bridge goalscorer Alistair Waddiker. Pics by Stefan Willoughby

A superb second-half display of attacking football saw Bamber Bridge bounce back from going behind to convincingly beat Cammell Laird on Saturday.

Strikes from Michael White, Ali Waddecar and Ryan Salmon saw Neil Crowe’s charges make the best possible start to their Evo Stik League First Division North campaign.

The first half was a frustrating affair and looked like being more of the same lack of clinical finishing that dogged Brig throughout last season’s campaign as they created chances without getting the scoreboard moving.

They were nearly a goal down early on as a mix-up at the back between White and George Bowyer allowed David McNamara to run in on goal, only for the post to come to Brig’s rescue with goalkeeper Lee Dovey well beaten.

Brig responded immediately and created several clear chances in a hectic opening period, Matty Jones striking the post after a sweeping move and Chris Marlow’s follow-up being hacked off the goal line by a Cammell Laird defender.

They had the ball in the net on 25 minutes but Marlow’s effort was ruled out for an infringement.

On 39 minutes all Brig’s good work was undone when White and Luke Atherton gave away a penalty for a foul on Aaron Bowen, who then sent Dovey the wrong way with the spot.

They created another chance just before the break when Bowyer’s pass put Waddecar into space for a shot, but his effort went across the face of goal and Brig went in behind following a half they had dominated.

The second period, however, was a different story as Brig discovered their ruthlessness in front of goal to take the game away from the home side.

Cammell Laird were indebted to goalkeeper Phil Palethorpe for preserving their lead as he made a spectacular double save, first keeping out Howson’s header before tipping a point-blank Salmon header over the cross bar.

On 54 minutes Brig finally got the goal their efforts deserved as White, Brig’s top goalscorer last season, headed in a Waddecar corner.

From this point there was only one way the game was heading and on 66 minutes Waddecar ran on to a pin-point through ball from Matt Mahoney and curled his shot into the net from just inside the penalty area.

Seven minutes later Brig wrapped up the points with an individual goal from Salmon, who ran down the right channel after a pass from Bowyer before squeezing his shot home from a narrow angle.

It could have been more as Salmon had another shot which came off the woodwork and Palethorpe saved from both Marlow and Waddecar, Brig finishing in total control to seal a very impressive start to their campaign.

Bamber Bridge: Lee Dovey, George Bowyer, Stuart Howson, Luke Atherton, Michael White, Matty Jones, Ali Waddecar, Matt Mahoney, Ryan Salmon, Greg Johnstone (John Cass 65), Chris Marlow (Simon Lakeland 83).

Unused subs: Neil Reynolds, Phil Jackson and Stephen Green. Attendance: 68.