Bamber Bridge’s best performance of the season arrived just in the nick of time as far as manager Neil Crowe is concerned.
The Brig boss was feeling the pressure after enduring one of the worst runs of his managerial career.
Four successive defeats and a run of just two victories from their opening 10 games had plunged Crowe’s men to the bottom reaches of the NPL First Division North.
However, the past couple of weeks have seen an upturn in the club’s fortunes with seven points collected from a possible nine.
And on Saturday they enjoyed their most emphatic win of the season to date when high-flying Farsley were thumped 4-0 at Irongate.
Andy Bell grabbed all the headlines with a sparkling hat-trick, but Crowe also took great pleasure from his team’s clean sheet – the third successive game they have achieved a shut-out.
Crowe said: “Saturday was probably our best performance of the season.
“We played very well as a team. It was really pleasing.
“It was great to see Belly get a hat-trick but we all know he’s got goals in him – he’s made a career out of scoring goals.
“The most pleasing thing for me was the clean sheet. We’ve changed our system a little bit and gone back to 4-4-2, which has worked for us as a side – we’ve looked a lot more solid.
“We’ve been on a bad run, so we’ve gone back to basics and started being a bit harder to beat.
“We’d rather win games 1-0 than 4-3.
“You do feel a bit of pressure because it’s a results -based business at the end of the day.
“It does not matter if you play well, but end up losing. The results are all that matters.
“We’ve tried to fill the players with a bit of confidence.
“The last two weeks have made us all feel a bit better than the three or four weeks before. Hopefully we can build on it.”
Brig’s original fixture this weekend was scheduled to be against Ossett Town, but their involvement in the FA Trophy means Crowe’s men now have a trip to Radcliffe Borough to look forward to tomorrow.
Borough are in a similar position to their opponents tomorrow – just two places below them in the table.
However, they can leap-frog Brig if they can collect all three points tomorrow.
And like the men from Irongate, Borough have found a little bit of form of late after enduring a torrid start to the the season.
They are unbeaten in their last three league games and recorded a fine 2-0 victory at last season’s runners-up Curzon Ashton last Saturday.
Crowe added: “There’s no big change in our planning for Radcliffe as opposed to Ossett.
“They are fairly like for like. They had a good result at the weekend beating Curzon Ashton so it’s not going to be easy.”
Crowe is sweating on the fitness of experienced defender Jerome Fitzgerald, who has recently joined the club.
It is no coincidence that Brig’s defensive record has improved since the former Chorley and Guiseley centre-back moved to Irongate.
“Jerome is 50/50 for tomorrow. He had to come off at half-time on Saturday with a hamstring strain,” Crowe said.
“But apart from him, everybody else is fit to play.”