Bamber Bridge play-off final hero Chris Marlow revealed that past agonies made Saturday’s promotion success taste even sweeter.
The long-serving stalwart of the club has suffered his fair share of heartache during his 11 years at Irongate.
A veteran of two play-off final defeats in the past, left-winger Marlow popped up with an 80th-minute winner on Saturday as Brig finally achieved their long-held ambition of winning promotion to the NPL Premier Division.
The 1-0 win over Prescot Cables at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium sparked joyous scenes at the final whistle and Marlow admitted there was a feeling of pride, elation and relief that the club had finally got over the line.
“The previous play-off final defeats, we were unlucky,” the ex-Preston North End youth player said.
“We lost the first one to Ramsbottom United in extra-time – that was really gutting.
“Then the second we lost up at Darlington.
“I thought it was never going to happen, but it’s third time lucky.
“I have been here at the club for so long and I’m just so pleased for everybody – the players, the backroom staff, the management team – they have been fantastic.
“We have worked so hard all season and I’m just so pleased for everybody.”
Already part of the furniture at Brig due to his long-service, Marlow – who has made more than 300 first-team appearances – has now written his name into club folklore after hitting the winner on Saturday.
“I know I can’t believe it to be honest,” said Marlow.
“When you’re on the bench, you’re just looking to get a game and make an impact when you do come on.
“So to come on and score the winner, I couldn’t have thought of anything better. I just absolutely loved it.”
Marlow believes Brig’s promotion this season was fully deserved – even if the final was not the most entertaining of games.
“We were disappointed not to go up automatically because we know the play-offs can be a bit of a lottery,” he said.
“But without being arrogant, we felt we were the best team in the play-offs.
“I don’t know how well we played in the final, but we just dug in, got the goal. Fortunately, the lads saw it through to the end of the game.”