Match: Leyland Albion V Bamber Bridge
Date: 13th November 2016, 11am Kick-off
Venue: Worden Park, Leyland
Bamber Bridge were looking to continue their excellent form of last week having beaten Lostock Hall Black 3-1 in what was undoubtedly their best performance of the season. Alex was unfortunately side lined with injury in what was otherwise an unchanged side. The weather was quite mild; the pitch very wet, which was not surprising considering the deluge of rain that had fallen the day before.
As is usual in the games between Leyland and Bamber Bridge the game started at a frantic pace with both teams looking to make an immediate impact. After just two minutes a clever one two between Taylor and Noah led to a through ball which dissected the Leyland defence but the keeper burst from his line to clear before the on rushing Lucas could latch on to it.
Bamber Bridge were on the front foot and when Danny’s quick throw in found Noah on the right hand side of the penalty box his first time strike was gathered in the middle of the goal by the keeper. With Leyland struggling to handle the quick movement of Callum, Lucas and Danny, Taylor was able to find room to pick out Noah on the edge of the box, where he was tripped to give Bamber Bridge their first real opening with a free kick just outside the box. From the resultant free kick Lucas’s curling left foot strike looked destined for the top left hand corner but the keeper managed to pull off an outstanding save by diving to his left and tipping the ball round the left hand post for a corner, which was cleared at the second attempt.
It was all Bamber Bridge and when Taylor broke from a congested midfield she was able to play a long through ball which sent Callum driving down the left, however the Leyland defender was able to get across and clear the ball to safety before the Bamber Bridge striker could get his shot away!
Although Bamber Bridge were dominating the opening exchanges Leyland suddenly broke from the back with menace and Ben was relieved to see the curling cross from the right wing drift wide of the right hand upright.
Bamber Bridge continued to stream forward and the movement of the front 3 backed up by the battling midfield meant that Leyland were forced into several hasty clearances. Lucas who was operating in between the midfield and striker was able to burst forward and his shot from just outside of the box flew just wide of the left hand post.
Lewis, Jay and Marcus were able to thwart any Leyland attempts to penetrate the penalty box and were always looking to play the ball forward to get the team back on the attack as quickly as possible.
It looked like Bamber Bridge had taken the lead after 20 minutes when Lucas floated a ball over the top and Callum who was causing the Leyland defence all sorts of problems with his movement, held off the defender to drill the ball past the keeper into the middle of the goal, only to see the Assistant’s flag raised for offside!
It was all Bamber Bridge and Taylor’s through ball sent Danny away down the right, however in playing the pass she fell victim of a very late and high challenge which would see her take no further part in the game!!
Lucas and Danny were continuing to cause the Leyland defence major problems with their skill and pace down the flanks; Noah saw his shot superbly saved, then Lucas turned the defender before unleashing a thunderous shot which narrowly missed the left hand post, next Callum who found space on the edge of the box struck a fierce shot which the Leyland keeper managed to tip round the post at full stretch.
The half ended with Bamber Bridge completely on top but Leyland Albion were very capable of causing a problem on the counter.
Half Time: Leyland Albion 0 v Bamber Bridge 0
The question was, could Bamber Bridge maintain the fast tempo they had produced in the first half and the answer was yes as they drove at the Leyland defence from the kick off. A great interchange of play between Sarah, Callum and Ryan found Noah running in from the middle at pace and although he managed to beat the defender his strike went wide of the left hand post. When the teams passing is on form, the opposition find it very difficult to cope and another interchange of passing between Jay, Sarah and Noah sent Lucas down the left and his driven cross was met by Callum but his shot on the volley flew just wide of the left hand post.
It really was one-way traffic and when Lucas managed to find a gap between the defenders to set Callum away, it was only the quick thinking of the keeper who raced off his line to clear the ball to safety. Despite the constant pressure, Leyland were very good at getting the ball moved forward at pace and they were beginning to get joy from the right flank. On two occasions Lewis had to clear from crosses being whipped in at pace. It was from another quick counter when Leyland should have taken the lead, when a cross again from the right was met on the volley by the striker but his shot went wide of the left hand post from 6 yards out.
Leyland, suddenly were looking the more dangerous and only a superbly timed tackle from Jay prevented the ball from being crossed into the box with two Leyland players waiting to pounce. From the resulting corner and Noah’s headed clearance, Callum was able to control the ball, skip past the defender and send Lucas down the left wing; his cross on the run however was once again superbly claimed by the Leyland keeper.
It was end to end stuff now and Leyland were able to drive down the right but the wingers cross was cleared to safety by a towering header from Lewis. It was a clearance that proved pivotal, as his header found Callum at the half way line who turned the defender, slipped the ball to Noah, who set Lucas clear on the left side of the penalty box where he shrugged of the challenge of the defender before drilling the ball past the keeper into the net to give Bamber Bridge a deserved lead with 15 minutes left to play on the clock.
Leyland are a side that never gives in and they tried to find a way back into the game, albeit mainly on the counter but the back 3 of Marcus, Jay and Lewis were just too strong. Callum was now popping up all over the pitch and having won a tackle in the midfield, he once again set Lucas free down the left, who having skipped past the defender sent a curling cross into the box, where Callum held off the attention of the defender before placing the ball past the keeper into the bottom left hand corner of the net to double the lead.
It was no more than they deserved and it was nearly three a minute later but Lucas’s shot on the spin went just over the bar. It seemed only a matter of time before it would be number 3 as first Lucas’s free kick was well saved, then Sarah’s shot from distance went just wide of the upright. The link up play between Noah, Callum and Lucas on the left continued to cause havoc to the Leyland defenders and another quick interchange of passes led to a penalty being awarded for a clear foul. Sarah, who had scored on her debut last week, stepped up and drilled the ball home to the bottom right to make it 3-0 and 2 in 2 for the prolific striker.
Sarah and Ryan were linking up very well on the right and following superb hold up play by Sarah, from a clearance from Marcus, she managed to hold off the challenge of the midfielder before playing a great through ball which Callum raced on to but this time the strikers shot was saved by the keeper.
Bamber Bridge were now finding space all over the pitch and following another break down the right, Ryan’s cross was deflected for a corner. Ryan’s corner swung in from the right was met by a glorious leap from Sarah, but her header which look destined for the top corner brought an incredible save from the keeper.
Leyland, although stunned by the second half onslaught by Bamber Bridge did have a chance to gain a consolation goal when a long ball found its way to their striker but his resultant shot on the run whistled past the left hand post.
It proved only to be a catalyst for one further and punishing attack from Bamber Bridge when Lucas found Callum on the edge of the box; he turned the defender, skipped past a second challenge and smashed the ball home off the underside of the cross bar to make it four.
The referee blew for time, in what was a superb performance from Bamber Bridge and one which included a clean sheet.
The team looked strong all over the pitch; solid at the back, a hard-working midfield and a forward line that has goals written all over it every time they come forward.
Final Score: Leyland Albion 0 – Bamber Bridge 4