Matt Lawlor’s getting Bamber Bridge heading in the right direction
Seeing his headed equaliser take a slight deflection on its way into the net on Saturday gave Bamber Bridge captain Matt Lawlor an even sweeter feeling inside.
The Brig skipper earned his men a point at NPL Premier Division title favourites South Shields when he rose highest at a corner to secure a 3-3 draw.
The fact that his header took a slight deflection off his marker Jon Shaw – thus deceiving the Mariners’ goalkeeper Liam Connell – drew a wry smile from Lawlor during his celebrations.
He had felt responsible for seeing his side go behind on the stroke of half-time when he lost track of Shaw in his own penalty to allow the home skipper to volley home.
“I’ve scored quite a few goals this season,” said Lawlor, who plays in the heart of defence.
“I am not really known for being too much of a threat in the opposition’s penalty area – I remember getting two in one match which is unheard of.
“But I managed to get half a yard on my marker – it was going in but it took a slight deflection off him which made it a little bit sweeter.
“He had scored for them, they hit the crossbar and he put the rebound in. I was marking him so I needed to get one back for us.”
The result was terrific especially as it was the first time in nearly a year that South Shields had dropped a point at home. Unfortunately, Brig could not follow that up with victory over local rivals Lancaster City on Tuesday at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
A controversial 95th-minute penalty from Alistair Waddecar – awarded after a Danny Forbes was grappled in the box following a corner – rescued a point in a 2-2 draw.
Lawlor said: “In the end it was a good result for us because on the balance of play, they probably feel they should have taken the three points.
“We went 1-0 up but stopped playing after that.
“They are very direct, very physical and they play to their strengths.
“I wouldn’t take many of their players ahead of ours apart from Matty Blinkhorn who was the difference.
“He was class and is one of the best strikers in the league.
“The penalty, they will probably feel it’s a bit soft. You see a million of them not given every week so they will feel hard done to.”
This weekend, Brig travel to Stafford Rangers, who are one point and place above the relegation zone.
Brig are five points above the bottom three and Lawlor admits it is important his men keep churning out results.
“We need to start grinding out results,” he said. “We are going to these not so much horrible grounds, but horrible pitches and we can’t just play our football.