Brig cling on to play-off dreams

Brig assistant boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Stefan Willoughby)
Brig assistant boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Stefan Willoughby)
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Bamber Bridge’s NPL First Division North play-off bid is still alive and kicking – but only just.

That is the view of assistant boss Neil Reynolds, who insists his men will keep fighting for a top- five spot until it becomes mathematically impossible.

Two demoralising defeats to Burscough and Droylsden over the past week or so looked to have all but ended their promotion ambitions this season.

However, they bounced back in true gritty style on Tuesday by defeating high-flying Northwich Victoria at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, thanks to Chris Marlow’s second-half header.

The three much-needed points mean Brig are in 12th spot in the table – 13 points shy of Clitheroe, who occupy fifth position.

With 10 games left of the season to go, Reynolds accepts it is going to take a huge effort from his players to reach the play-offs for the third successive season.

But with the benefit of having games in hand on all of the teams above them in the table, Brig are eager to exert some pressure as they head into the final few weeks of the campaign.

“We are in the mini-league part of the season,” said Reynolds. “That’s what I like to call it.

“Clitheroe look to be favourites to get that last play-off spot. But we have got Clitheroe to play twice yet.

“Burscough, who are right behind Clitheroe, beat us – but they have Clitheroe to play twice.

“Farsley, Ossett, Northwich and Glossop have all had their little wobbles.

“Until it’s mathematically impossible we will keep going.

“If we were to win the next 10 games of the season, we will be there.

“The thing is, we have been here the last two years – we have got to the last two play-off finals, so we know what it takes over the last 10 games.

“They are nervous times – points will be dropped.

“If Clitheroe and Burscough don’t drop points then that will be fantastic and all credit to them.

“They will deserve to be there because the top five at the end of the season are always the best five teams in the division.”

Reynolds was thrilled to see his men defeat Northwich, especially as it came just a matter of days after losing heavily to lowly Droylsden 4-0.

That result left Reynolds and manager Neil Crowe embarrassed, but they were feeling much better after Tuesday night.

“The match on Saturday was one of those days you get in a season where, from beginning to end, everything went wrong,” Reynolds said.

“From how we packed the kit to having players ringing up in the morning saying they could not play because they were ill.

“We packed two goalkeeper kits when we had five outfield subs, so things just went from bad to worse.

“That was just one of those things – nobody was to blame.

“We had Paul Alexander, Lee Dovey and Matty Kay all missing and Regan Linney was injured.

“But I thought we thoroughly deserved to win against Northwich.

“They only had one chance which was a one-on-one and Lee Dovey stayed big and saved it. When our big chance of the game came, Chris Marlow took it.”

This weekend, Brig face Trafford away and on Easter Monday, they host Clitheroe. Jamie Milligan and Adam Dodd face fitness tests.