Colne Come Close at Brig
By Dave Priestley
Colne came within minutes of a win after another outstanding performance at Bamber Bridge on Saturday.
The Reds outplayed their hosts for most of the game and created a bagfull of chances but succumbed to a late penalty in the closing stages as Bamber Bridge staged a fighting comeback.
Colne started brightly with Waqas Azam pushing forward and providing good balls into the home penalty area. Sam Howell forced a good save from home keeper Lloyd Rigby after seven minutes and Rigby was again in action after 15 minutes to keep out Matty Morgan’s shot following a well worked free kick by the Reds. From the resulting corner, Jonathan Hodgkinson’s header was cleared off the line and Andy Hollins’ follow-up shot was deflected wide of the post in a crowded goalmouth.
As Bamber Bridge threatened at the other end, Hodgkinson made a vital tackle to stop the run of Alistair Waddecar at the expense of a corner and Lee Pugh headed the resulting cross away under pressure in the Reds goalmouth.
But Colne’s lively attackers continued to create chances around the home penalty area and the Reds took the lead on the half hour from a free kick which was rolled to Alex Curran and his shot through a crowd of defenders gave Rigby no chance in the home goal. The Reds looked to double their lead before the interval with further raids as Ollie Crankshaw used his speed to stretch the Brig defence and Bradley Knox shot just wide as he followed up Curran’s shot which had been blocked in the area.
The second half began in similar fashion and Colne came close after 55 minutes when Curran made a great run into the penalty area and his angled shot came back off the crossbar and Crankshaw’s follow-up shot was deflected wide off defenders for a corner. As the Reds continued to press, Brig had another lucky escape when Crankshaw’s angled shot came back off the far post and was cleared by defenders. Colne forced a series of corners but were unable to capitalise on them and Bamber Bridge defended determinedly.
A triple substitution by the home side gave them fresh attacking ideas and they began to threaten the Colne goal with some high crosses into the penalty area. Azam did well to clear the ball off the line after 76 minutes and four minutes later, the ball was again cleared from the Reds goalmouth after striking the underside of the crossbar with the Colne defence at full stretch.
After 88 minutes, Colne conceded a penalty when Waddecar was brought down as he made a run into the Reds area and Jamie Milligan fired home the spot kick to level the scores at 1-1.
Colne might still have grabbed the winner in the remaining minutes as Leon Creech burst through into the home area and shot just over the crossbar and Curran had two more shots deflected wide by a resolute Brig defence who were happy to have salvaged a draw from the game and consolidated their position in the play off places.