Matt Dudley’s superb s stoppage time free kick was enough to see Brig advance into the next round but it wasn’t the whole story.
Ashcroft made two changes to the side that convincingly beat Skelmersdale last Saturday with Cameron Gourley being replaced by Brad Wick and Ben Fletcher stating in place off Elliot Pond. Ryan McKenna dropped back into the heart of the defence with Wicks returning in the centre of midfield next to George Thomason whilst Fletcher’s return to the starting 11 also saw him returning in midfield.
Town started the match brightly and took an early lead on the 7th minute; the ball was played over the top to Paul Turner and he beat Danny Roccia and slipped the ball into the empty goal.
Chances were few and far between in the opening half but the hosts came close to doubling their lead a minute before half time with Finlay Sinclair-Smith cutting inside but his deflected effort fizzed past the post.
Within 90 seconds of the restart of the restart Brig were back on level pegging. A scramble in the Town area wasn’t cleared and Tom Walker drilled home from 12 yards.
Now on level terms Brig started to look the more dangerous side nearly doubling their lead two minutes later. Michael Fowler controlled the ball at the far post turned and struck a low shot from close range that Lee Dovey pushed around the post for a corner. From the resulting corner Phil Doughty powered in a fine header that again was well saved and palmed over the bar by the Town stopper.
Town retook the lead on the 72nd minute. A long through ball aimed towards Ryan White was well sniffed out by Dovey. Turner chased what looked like a lost cause, beating his marker and squaring to Dan Birch who side footed the ball into the far corner to give Town a deserved lead.
The game swung again when a defensive mix up in the Town backline allowed Michael Fowler to fire across the goal from close range giving Dovey no chance.
At 2-2 the match could have gone either way with Tom Ince’s deflected strike going for a corner. The resulting set piece was dealt with but the fall eventually found its way to Thomason. A perfect cross by the young midfielder was met by Turner who did everything right but his effort cannoned off the post and into Roccia’s arms at the second attempt.
With the game looking like it was heading to the dreaded penalty shootout Brig won a freekick 20 yards from the goal. Dudley stepped up curling the ball into the far post.
Plenty of positives for Town who face Northwich Victoria at the MRG Saturday 30th September 3PM KO.
Town Team: Dovey, Birch 72, Wilkinson, McKenna (Gourley), Schofield, Thomason, Wicks (Murphy), Fletcher, Turner 7, Ince, Sinclair-Smith
Unused Subs: Lawrence, Morris, Pond
Bamber Bridge: Roccia, Cunningham, Sumner, Spooner, Doughty (Charnock), Dudley 90, White, Walker 47, Fowler 82, Pett (Forbes), Marlow
Unused subs: Waddecar, Rigby