Bamber Bridge suffer home defeat at the hands of Atherton Collieries

Bamber Bridge’s three-match winning run in the NPL Premier Division came to an end as they were defeated 2-1 by Atherton Collieries at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 8:55 am

Elliot Rokka put the visitors ahead with an early goal, before both sides went down to 10 men prior to the break when Mark Yeates and Marcus Cusani were sent off.

Aaron Smith then extended Collieries’ advantage with just under 15 minutes of normal time to play, before Brig defender Nathan Pond scored what proved to be a consolation goal on 89 minutes.

Prior to the game getting under way, the stadium observed a minute’s silence for Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings, who passed away on Monday at the age of 86.

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Nathan Pond pulled a late goal back for Brig (photo: Ruth Hornby)

The visitors had the first chance of the match on four minutes, sending a 30-yard free-kick over the bar.

They would open the scoring just three minutes later, Rokka reacting to the ball breaking to him inside the area by lashing home into the bottom corner.

Brig then came close to an equaliser on 22 minutes when Fin Sinclair-Smith danced around a defender before seeing his low shot well saved by Collieries keeper Luke Hutchinson.

Sheldon Green then saw his deflected effort go narrowly wide of the post, before the visiting defence was forced into a series of last-ditch blocks to keep Brig out from the resulting corner.

The game’s most controversial moment occurred on 38 minutes when the referee elected to send off both Yeates and Cusani after a coming together.

With the second half just minutes old, Hutchinson pulled off an outstanding save to tip a superb Sinclair-Smith strike from distance over the bar.

At the other end, Mateusz Hewelt was called into action and comfortably got behind Rokka’s close-range effort.

Matthew Thomson then made an important block at the near post to deny Aaron Smith from doubling Collieries’ advantage.

Smith would, however, go on to strike the visitors’ second goal of the night on 76 minutes, slotting the ball into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Brig set up a grandstand finish on 89 minutes when substitute Nathan Pond – making his first appearance for the club – ran into the area and guided a free-kick into the net.

Fellow substitute Rob Apter then saw his effort saved by Hutchinson in the third of five added minutes, which proved to be the last action of the game.

Despite defeat, Brig remain fourth in the NPL Premier Division table, with 26 points from 14 games.