Brig exit FA Cup, but Fylde go through

Brig lost out to Brackley Town in the FA Cup
Brig lost out to Brackley Town in the FA Cup
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Bamber Bridge’s dreams of reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup ended at the final qualifying round of the competition

Neil Crowe’s men were beaten 3-0 away at Brackley Town, who reached the next stage of cup for the second time in three seasons.

A first half goal by Steve Diggin set the Saints on their way.

The striker was played in by a precise, threaded pass from Curtis McDonald and Diggin coolly rounded keeper Lee Dovey before planting the ball in the net on 17 minutes.

Before this the home side went close when Dovey saved acrobatically from David Moyo, somehow clawing his downward header away.

Bamber Bridge played some neat passing football but lacked an incisive goal threat although in on-loan striker Sam Joel and veteran Paul McKenna they possessed players who caught the eye.

Twice Joel threatened with long range shots when afforded time and space.

The visitors began the second period as competitively as they had contested the first. Brackley had chances for the vital second goal including Diggin’s 25 yard effort that rattled the cross-bar.

They had to wait until the 76th minute to secure the two-goal cushion. Eddie Odhiambo’s pin-point cross found Diggin who took a touch before finishing low and clinically.

As Brig pressed to get back in the game more space opened up and Richard Batchelor’s towering header from Joe Clarke’s deep cross brought Brackley’s third goal after 82 minutes.AFC There was better news for Fylde, who reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for a third time in four years after a tightly-contested 1-0 victory over rivals Barrow AFC.

Dion Charles scored the only goal of the game shortly before the half-hour mark to heap misery on the visitors, who saw Dan Pilkington dismissed for a reckless challenge on Matty Hughes.

There were not many chances for ewither side in a cagey first half. Fylde winger Charles found space in the 39th minute, however his ambitious strike from 25 yards was well over the bar. The wideman had another effort moments later and was a lot closer second time around, curling a shot just over the woodwork.

The game sprang to life three minutes after the break when Barrow midfielder Pilkington was shown a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Hughes.

Ex-Blackburn Rovers winger Andy Haworth had a good chance for the visitors five minutes later, but his weak effort was easily claimed by his former teammate Urwin.

Striker Cook went closer still with a towering header that flew narrowly wide of Urwin’s left-hand post on 54 minutes as the 10 men of Barrow continued to press.

The deadlock was finally broken a minute before the half-hour mark when Fylde man Charles stole into the area and fired past Joel Dixon with the aid of a slight deflection from a tight angle.

The hosts began to control the game and full-back Alex Whittle was close with a curling free-kick on 73 minutes after Charles had been felled 20 yards from goal.

Barrow had their best chance to level on 77 minutes when Grimes latched on to a knock-down 12 yards out, but Urwin pulled off a sensational save, clawing the ball out of the top right-hand corner.

The introduction of winger Danny Lloyd livened up proceedings and he danced past three challenges five minutes from time before firing straight at Dixon in the Barrow goal, who claimed at the second attempt.

Matt Blinkhorn and Rowe both had chances to seal the result, but a resolute Fylde side saw out the game and will be in the hat for Monday’s first round draw.In the NPL First Division North, Lancaster City won 1-0 away at Witton Albion and Kendal Town drew 1-1 at Ossett Town. Clitheroe beat Mossley 2-0, while Burscough edged Ossett Albion by the same scoreline.