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Matlock Town 0
0 Bamber Bridge
Matlock T v BAMBER BRIDGE 120823

Matlock Town 0 - 0 Bamber Bridge

Bamber Bridge returned from the The Proctor Cars Stadium with a valuable point following the goalless draw at the home of The Gladiators of Matlock Town, A venue that has been notorious for it’s lack of anything but a defeat over recent seasons saw Brig put on a terrific performance from start to finish but just couldn’t unlock the resolute defence of the home side. Matlock Town where reduced to 10 men midway through the second half but clung on (is clung actually a word?), to take a point.

On arrival at the Stadium it was pouring down, misty and pretty grim but usual August UK weather, by kick off the sun was shining, but soon followed by more rain, and so it went on, round in circles all afternoon.

Bamber Bridge playing in all yellow fielded no less than 7 players making their competitive debuts including Will Squires signed on Loan from Blackpool just this morning, along with 3 players making their 2nd debuts for the club. 

Matlock had the first shooting opportunity of the match with a deflected shot from distance clearing the bar. Brig  countered with some neat and tidy football, trying to keep the ball on the deck and looking to probe their way around the Gladiators defence. The home side however, were at their most dangerous in the opening 20 minutes and following a penalty appeal that the referee waved away, James Pradic in goal for Brig had to be alert as he tipped a long range effort over the bar for a corner.

Brig then saw a penalty appeal waved away before Macca received a harsh yellow card for what  looked a very soft challenge. I think the card was more for the reaction than the challenge. By now Brig were beginning to get on top and a fine move down the left saw a cross flicked on at the near post and headed just wide at the far post. From the goal kick Michael Potts picked up the ball and struck a 25 yard piledriver just inches over the bar. The home keeper was then forced into a fine near post save before the ball was eventually scrambled away.

Bamber Bridge were now creating some real opportunities and came so close to taking the lead on the half hour as the ball was switched from left to right, a deliciously whipped in cross found Louis Holt who’s diving header from 10 yards flashed agonisingly wide of the post. Moments later and another great chance arrived, another cross from wide right was met with a delightful controlled volleyed pass from Adam Dodd into the path of the advancing Pottsy. Unfortunately he couldn’t connect as he had done just moments earlier and scuffed the shot wide.

The home side always looked dangerous with their more direct style and forced a series of corners that the Brig back line dealt with admirably. So, goalless at the break but Brig with the more clear cut chances in an entraining first 45 minutes of the season.

The Lancashire visitors started the second as the dominant side and an early free kick gave a shooting opportunity from 30 yards, the effort striking the wall and cleared. Pottsy then had a mazy run into the box from the left cutting inside and then outside, he got in a low shot but it ricocheted off the defender back on to the Brig midfielder and out for a goal kick. A Dangerous Brig corner from the left side led to the home keeper diving at the feet of Louis Holt as he prepared to shoot. On the hour Millie opted for a change with Churchy coming on for Cian Spencer-McDermott, who from here henceforth will be known as CSM !! Jordan Butterworth also made way for the introduction of Danny Edwards.

Brig were looking dominant at this stage and really pushing their hosts back, another corner was met with a towering header at the back post from Louis Holt, knocking the ball back across the face of the goal but it was hooked clear before any Brig player had the chance to force it home. On 70 minutes, The home side had a player sent off. Jack Baxter was sent racing clear towards goal but as he approached the penalty area he was hacked down. The referee had no hesitation in sending the Matlock defender for an early bath. The subsequent free kick from Macca was headed over the bar by a defender in the Matlock defensive wall.

It was pretty much one way traffic as Bamber Bridge looked to gain from their one man advantage. A series of corners were cleared as the Gladiators defence did a sterling job of protecting their goal. Louis Holt came closest to breaking the deadlock as his low daisy-cutter from the edge of the box was well saved by the keeper.  Brig made a third change on 80 minutes with Harry Benns replacing Lewis Thompson

The pressure was ever present from Brig but the luck just wasn’t on our side as the ball was zipped around the penalty area but every deflection seemed to fall the way of a home defender to clear the ball.  Danny Edwards came close on 90 minutes as he skipped into the penalty area from the right, his hard low shot again well parried by the Town keeper. Five added minutes of stoppage time came and went with Brig forcing 3 more corners before the referee brought proceedings to a close with the game ending in a goalless draw.

A great opening day performance and any point taken at Matlock Town has to be seen as a well earned reward. On balance the Bamber Bridge management will believe they could have taken all three, but it’s a very promising start and we look forward to welcoming Hyde United to Irongate this Tuesday evening.

Match reporter: Alan Bateson

Published Sunday 13th August 2023