New formation almost does trick
By Chris Musson
Bamber Bridge 2-1 Clitheroe 10-04-2018
With Brig coming into the game on the back of two defeats, Clitheroe could not have chosen a better time to face them. However, they almost played them back into form in the first minute when, from a free kick just outside the box, Chris Thompson’s bar was firmly rattled. Charlie’s Russell had a huge slice which went for a corner on three minutes, and it was only then that the Blues’ fans cottoned on to the new formation of three centre backs, with Russell wedged between Danny Brady and Ian Rowlands.
Chris Churchman had his best game since his return by some distance and on 14 minutes he lofted a pass over the defence to a rampaging Stephen Rigby, who could only fire directly at the keeper. The away team’s football was growing in confidence and passes on the deck were opening up the Brig defence with increasing regularity. On 18 minutes, Rigby wriggled through the defence, but George West could only fire at the keeper. Clitheroe took the lead on 26 minutes when Rowlands headed home a George Hughes’ corner. It was no more than the Blues deserved and Kurt Willoughby almost helped extend the lead just before half time when he powered a 30 yard free kick , which was spilled by the keeper, only for the pieces to be hurriedly swept away by the defence.
Brig raced out of the traps in the second half and Clitheroe sat back and forgot the passing game that had served them so well, and paid the price. On 52 minutes, Rowlands hauled a Brig player down on the edge of the box and the subsequent free kick was bent expertly over the wall for the equaliser. Three minutes later, a lofted ball behind the defence saw ex Farsley striker Nightingale run unchallenged and slot the ball home across Thompson. Brig built the pressure and on at least three occasions Thompson had to make crucial challenges well out of his box. The key moment came when Rigby found himself one on one with the keeper, it could not avoid the keeper with the angled goal gaping.
When the final whistle went, there was disappointment but a real sense that the era of wing backs may be about to make its return to Shawbridge.
Team : Chris Thompson, Jacob Gregory, Stephen Rigby, Ian Rowlands, Danny Brady (c) (Michael Samson), Charlie Russell, Joe Mitchell (Ross Dent), George Hughes, Kurt Willoughby, George West, Chris Churchman. Subs - Ross Dent, Michael Samson. Not used - Adam Bolton, Robbie Bromley.