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Bamber Bridge 3
Bange (36' pen), Baxter (51'), Edwards (65')
3 FC United of Manchester
Woodcock (5'), Munro (19'), Gabidon (56')

Match Report: Bamber Bridge 3-3 FC United of Manchester

Report by Noah Mills

Ten-man Bamber Bridge came from behind twice to earn a hard-earned point against FC United of Manchester in a brilliant game at Irongate.

The first half didn't take long to get going, with just four minutes before a goal. A searching run down the right-hand side for FC United saw the cross fall to Guy Hall on the left-hand side of the box. He was calm before forcing James Pradic into a quality save across his body, only for the rebound to fall to Max Woodcock to place in the opener. 

Six minutes later United could scarcely believe it wasn't two. Woodcock beat Pradic to the ball and looked to tap home, but was stopped by some great defending by Brig skipper Macauley Wilson. One minute later, fortune was in Brig's favour, as after another superb save by Pradic, FC United were then denied by the post. 

United would find their second six minutes later after Charlie Munro went on an inspired solo run past three defenders into the box, before coolly finding the top right corner and creating breathing room for the visitors.

Brig bounced back well from the setback and were able to settle into the game after 25 minutes of relentless pressure from FC United. After 10 minutes on top, Brig thought they had one back after a goal mouth scramble was bundled in, but the referee deemed a handball in the build-up.

Five minutes later, a Chris Churchman cross resulted in another goalmouth scramble. This time, a Ewan Bange shot was deemed to have hit Curtis Jones’ outstretched arm and Brig had a penalty. 

Bange would step up from 12 yards to leather the penalty into the bottom right and earn Brig a route back into the game. 

United would have the last big chance of the half. With some fancy footwork on the right, Dontai Gabidon unleashed a piledriver that looked destined for the top right, only for a powerful Pradic hand to tip it over the bar with a stunning stop.

The second half began like the first, but with Brig grabbing an early goal. Just five minutes in Baxter picked up the ball on the edge of the box before a series of twists and turns left the United defence on ice. He then smashed the ball past Boyes into the goal to level the game up.

With the momentum fully in Brig’s favour, the game changed on the 52-minute mark after a controversial second yellow sent Potts for an early shower. 

With the majority of the second half, it looked like it could have been United’s game for the taking. That feeling was hammered home just moments later as Gabidon was not to be denied this time, wrong-footing Pradic with a shot that crept into the bottom right corner.

With the opposition down to 10 men, United seized back control of the game and another spell of pressure led to some more superb defending from Wilson to deny Gabidon a second. 

From the resulting corner, Jones got himself free and looked certain to seal the three points for United if it hadn’t been for yet another wonderful piece of goalkeeping from Pradic.

Still in the game, Brig countered down the right-hand side, and Edwards mesmerised the defenders before unleashing a goal-bound shot that took a fortunate deflection and trickled, slowly, into the net like a snail to restore parity with 25 minutes left on the clock.

Going into the final 10 minutes the game started to open up, with United looking to take the lead again and Brig hoping to sneak a winner on the counter. 

Bange thought he had done so after Scarborough did brilliantly on the right to keep an attack alive, finding the number nine with a cutback before his effort cannoned mightily off the crossbar - to the relief of FC United.

One minute later United played a short corner to the edge of the box but Munro couldn’t keep the effort down. Brig countered, and a dangerous cross was flicked on by Bould who couldn’t get enough dip on the shot to score what would have been the winner with his first touch.

Going into the final minute, both sides had tame long-range efforts that failed to really trouble the keepers and find a winner. 

Overall, a draw was probably a fair result in an exciting end to end game that sees Brig remain in 17th going into Saturday's game away at Radcliffe.

Published Wednesday 22nd November 2023