Vics' defeated high-flying Bamber Bridge by four goals to nil in a passionate and ruthless performance - extending the unbeaten sequence to sixteen matches.

Goals in the first half by Dan Meadowcroft and game-star Joshua Amis set Vics' on their way before a penalty in the second half by Brian Summerskill and a late Abou Sanogo block-buster sealed a fine victory. Vics' 'keeper Tim Deasy made a crucial penalty save shortly after Brian Summerskill's successful spot-kick.


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Tuesday 15th April, 2014.  Valley Rd, Flixton.  EvoStikNPL Division One North.




Vics-  Deasy (C), Smalley,  Henry (Clarke 49'), Meadowcroft, Joseph, Schofield, Amis, Summerskill (Phoenix 85'), Harries (Booked) (Sanogo 45'), Burnett, Stott.  All subs used.


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


Unavailable for Vics' - Hadfield (Back), Wisdom (groin), Greenwood (ankle).


Goals - Meadowcroft 23', Amis 24', Summerskill 59' (P), Sanogo 89'.


The match opened at a fast pace, with both sides looking to make the early breakthrough. Vics' nearly took the lead in the 9th minute; Josh Amis sending a shot straight into 'keeper Lee Dovey's hands after turning full-back Matt Mahoney inside-out on the edge of the box. Bridge's dangerman Ally Waddecar was the next to have an opportunity to shoot in the 22nd minute, forcing Deasy into a relatively easy save - a carbon-copy of Amis' earlier attempt - turning past Vics' full-back Ryan Schofield with ease to create the chance.

In the next act of the game in the 23rd minute, Vics took the lead - a lightning-quick raid saw the ball moved out quickly to the marauding Joshua Amis who curled an exquisite cross over to the far post where towering centre-back Dan Meadowcroft was on hand to crash a thumping header past the helpless Lee Dovey from 3 yards out.

From Bridge's resulting kick-off Vics' recovered the ball immediately, Summerskill robbing Bridge 'skipper Matt Kay and he released the flying Scott Harries who took a touch and skipped past Matt Mahoney then crossed to the edge of the 6 yard box and Joshua Amis firmly side-footed in for 2-0 - Bridge were now rocking and Vics started to pass the ball around the field with abandon and at such a high tempo the visitors couldn't cope; many fouls being commited in the latter part of the half by them. In a rare raid on the half-hour mark, Bridge' striker Greg Johnstone latched on to Waddecar's inside ball and crashed a right-foot shot against the post with Deasy well beaten. Vics' were undeterred though; in the 39th minute Marc Joseph powered down the left and swung in a dangerous cross which hit-man Gary Burnett back-flicked with his head and Dovey made a fantastic save to deny what would have been an outstanding and audacious goal. Half-time came and Vics' were in the ascendancy at 2-0 to the good.

Jim Gannon made a change at half-time replacing the impressive Scott Harries with Abou Sanogo. Misery was to follow in the 49th minute for Cal Henry - landing awkwardly on his ankle and he had to be helped off with Mike Clarke coming on his place. Ryan Schofield moved to left back and Marc Joseph slotted into the departed Cal Henrys centre-back position. Vics' extended their lead in the 59th minute, the busy Brian Summerskill despatched a penalty to Dovey's right with consummate ease, after the referee penalised Phil Doughty for handball following a Gary Burnett cross from the right.

Bridge had a chance to pull a goal back in the 73rd minute, a penalty was awarded for Ryan Schofield's foul on ex-Vics' hit-man Alex Taylor. Matt Lawlor took the spot-kick - only to see Tim Deasy pull off an amazing save, beating the powerfully struck effort out away from the goal and preventing any of the Bridge' attackers from steering in the rebound.

The outstanding Josh Amis almost claimed his second goal of the game in the 84th minute; he picked the ball up centre-field, ran ten yards and let fly with a howitzer from 25 yards that only just cleared the bar with Lee Dovey sprawling. A fourth goal for Vics' was not long in coming though; in the 89th minute sub' Abou Sanogo was fouled by Alex Taylor on the right-hand side around 25 yards out. He picked himself up to take it and blasted a right-foot screamer that cleared the Bridge' wall and dipped in mid-air and crashed into the far corner of the net. It was a truly stunning goal to seal Vics' best performance of the season to date and the whole team 1-14 were outstanding to a man.


Vics' M.O.M -  Very difficult choice in a collective team effort on the night; but Joshua Amis just shades it. A marauding performance, pulled the Bridge' defence apart at will with his incisive runs down the channels and covered every part of the pitch including some stoic defending. Clinical finish for the goal too.



Manager Jim Gannon's match-reaction -


Another fantastic win Jim, the unbeaten sequence now stretches to 16 matches!  That was a ruthless and clinical performance.


Yes you are completely right Jamie. The difference in the game was the clinical execution of our chances. In the first half both teams had very good chances. Their centre forward blazed over a very presentable chance and they also hit the post but at the other end we took our goals very well. During the second half both teams had a penalty but we buried ours and Tim Deasy made a great save on theirs. That was the simple difference. I guess the finish from Abou in particular highlighted the quality of our finishing on the night and it provided a fitting finale to the games goals.


Bamber Bridge FC were in great form and I expect them to be in the play-offs so thIs evening's game was always going to be one of our toughest tests but we came through it with flying colours. I was particularly pleased with the contributions of the younger players Josh Amis, Scott Harries and Abou Sanogo brought a touch of quality to our attacking play that made such a difference. 


But given the disruptions to the team and that nature of the game I felt the whole team adapted brilliantly and the application throughout the team was excellent. In the end the win was well deserved for their efforts.


I felt the players adapted well to the disruption during the game -  the injury to Callum, and the enforced positional changes.


Leading into the game we were unsure of the fitness of Ryan Schofield and Michael Clarke, but fortunately making a decision to rest them for the last game paid off with both coming to the game fit and ready to play. But on the flip side we were surprised to be without Jordan Hadfield (back) and Matt Greenwood (ankle) and again took the cautious approach not to risk them. Overall that meant a reshuffle across midfield and a slight change of shape with Scotty Harries giving us a another attacking outlet on the left. 


With regard to the first substitution and tactical change it was not a reflection on Scotty's attacking performance. But once we had the lead I expected the Bridge to attack with more conviction and this meant that Scotty in particular had much more demands to defend than I would have liked for him. That coupled with the fact that he was on a yellow card and being used as a marker on set plays worried me. I felt it would be best to bolster the central midfield line with Abu and let him use his height and athleticism during defending phases and set plays. 


The other change was forced with the sudden injury to Callum a short way into the second half. We were able to shuffle Marc Joseph and Ryan Schofield back into natural positions for them but had to call on our attackers to fill into wide midfield positions. They did a great job for the team. Their attitude to the changes and their application to the demands was excellent. Overall it was that huge team effort that resulted in such an emphatic win.
Up next for Vics is a home EvoStik NPL Division One North fixture at home to Salford City F.C on Saturday 19th April, kick-off 15:00.
Pick up a copy of the match-day programme 'The Vics' - only £2 on the turnstile.  The next instalment in Jamie's series - 'Vics Legends - where are they now?'  sees Phil Power in the hot-seat! Phil is the current Salford City F.C manager.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.