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Vics' extended the current unbeaten run to an outstanding thirteen matches with a battling 1-1 draw away at promotion contenders Bamber Bridge. It was the fourth match in eight days in a punishing fixture schedule.

Josh Amis handed Vics' an early lead, heading home in the tenth minute - only for ex-Vics' hit-man Alex Taylor to blast home an equaliser mid-way through the first half.

The result sees Vics move up one place to tenth in the EvoStik NPL Division One North table.

 

Saturday 5th April 2014.  Irongate, Bamber Bridge.

EvoStikNPL Division One North.

 

LINE-UPS

 

Bamber Bridge  Dovey, Mahoney, Bowyer, Alexander, Marlow, Kay (C), Waddecar, Thompson, Johnstone, Taylor, Williams.  Subs - Watt, Buchan, Reid, Clark, Reynolds.

 

Vics  Deasy, Smalley, Henry, Schofield, Wisdom (C), Greenwood, Hadfield, Summerskill, Amis, Stott (Harries 83'), Clarke (Sanogo 60').  All subs used.

 

Bookings  -  Vics' - Henry 56', Hadfield 58'.  Bamber Bridge - Alexander 61'.

 

Unavailable for Vics'   Daniel Meadowcroft (thigh strain), Marc Joseph (suspended), Gary Burnett (family).

 

Vics' opened the match brightly and with a real spring in their step - despite an arduous fixture list in the last week. Brig' had the best opportunity of the first half though; Greg Johnstone skied a shot over the cross-bar when well placed following a corner by Ally Waddecar in the 9th minute.  

Vics' took the lead in the next minute however; Josh Amis heading home powerfully following a fine free-kick delivery into him on the edge of the 6 yard box from centre-field - after Brian Summerskill had been upended by Brig' midfield man Curtis Thompson. Vics' midfield and Brian Summerskill in particular - were now repelling the home side's attacks at will and were in no danger whatsoever; until Brig' wide-man Ally Waddecar played a one-two on the right edge of the box with Greg Johnstone, Johnstone's header was parried well by Deasy to ex-Vics' striker Alex Taylor ten yards out and he struck an instant shot right-footed that crashed into the net off the underside of the cross-bar. Taylor's celebration was almost muted, out of respect for his former team-mates and employers.

The game ebbed and flowed until the 43rd minute - Ally Waddecar shooting from 25 yards out , the ball only just clearing the Vics' bar. Half-time arrived with the score locked at 1-1.

The second half started with Vics' on the attack immediately - Ashley Stott’s sliding shot six yards from goal was saved superbly by 'keeper Lee Dovey - after the ball had deflected to him.

From the resulting corner Amis very nearly put his name on the scoresheet again  – but his header fell just wide of Dovey’s right-hand post.

In the 60th minute, Schofield headed in Greenwood's deep free-kick from the left - but the linesman harshly chalked the effort off for offside. Abou Sanogo then replaced Mike Clarke - and two minutes later he picked up a threaded through-ball into his feet by Brian Summerskill; and blasted a screamer just wide of Dovey's far-post. The rest of the half was somewhat uneventful; Vics' had a real scare three minutes from time - Brig' sub Jerome Watt volleyed into the grateful hands of Vics' ‘keeper Tim Deasy from 6 yards out when unmarked – after a superb free-kick was floated into the box by Matt Mahoney.

Vics' saw out the additional four minutes at the end of the game with considerable ease and collected a valuable point and remain undefeated since the Prescot Cables away reverse on 11th February.

 

Vics M.O.M  Brian Summerskill - Energetic performance - broke up the hosts' attacks at will and kept the engine room ticking over all game.

 

Vics' manager Jim Gannon's reaction to the game -

 

Another good performance today and keeps the unbeaten run going - which now stands at 13 matches. What did you think of the game, Jim? I thought the players acquitted themselves well but looked very leggy in the closing stages, but it is understandable given that 4 matches have been completed in 8 days.

 

We always feared that today’s game would be the toughest, not just an away game, the level of the opposition, but the high demands placed on part time players with 4 games in 8 days. We made a few changes where we could to freshen up certain areas of the team and that helped in the first half, but as the game wore on it was very visible the fatigue amongst all the players. During my half time team talk I called on the players to dig deep and be assured that if they did keep strong they would feel very proud that they have got something out of the game and capped a great weeks work. And to a man I felt they couldn’t have dug any deeper. So given the fatigue I guess we are pleased to get another positive result.

 

In the context of the game I felt we had the better of the first half. Our shape worked really well to contain their threat, and with three central strikers starting and playing down the middle we always posed a threat. We looked especially dangerous on the counter attack and from set plays. It was great to see another goal scored from a set play. Josh rose brilliantly to finish a great crossed free kick from Matty. We scored from a similar set play in the second half and it was disappointing as Ryan was far from offside. I think the linesman assumed that Callum Henry was going for the ball and adjudged him to be offside. If he had delayed his decision a little longer he may well have given the benefit of the doubt to us and allowed the goal to stand.

 

After the game I reflected on a number of areas where we can make improvements but for now I must give credit to our defence throughout the game. The Bridge’s frontline is very sharp and they played in a very aggressive 4.2.4. shape. I have given credit to Callum and Ryan in previous games but today Danny Wisdom was outstanding against the impressive direct style of Ally Waddecar. Chris Smalley also kept his winger very quiet and consequently Bamber Bridge FC offered little threat from that side. In midfield, I felt that Jordan did a sterling job in protecting the back four and with Brian Summerskill and Matty Greenwood showing fantastic fitness to cover ground they made the three man midfield work very effectively. Up front it was great to welcome Ashley Stott back for his first start and he played off our two big strikers very well.   

 

We now look forward to Tuesday night and it will be very welcoming to have Gary Burnett and hopefully Danny Meadowcroft back for another tough away task at Mossley FC.
 
 
Up next for Vics' is an EvoStikNPL D1N match away at Mossley AFC on Tuesday April 8th, kick-off 19:45.
 
 

Match report by Jamie Dewsbury.