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Match Report - Radcliffe 3-2 Bamber Bridge

Match Report - Radcliffe 3-2 Bamber Bridge

Kieran Wilson26 Nov 2023 - 15:56
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Hancock’s spot kicks prove the difference in narrow home victory.

Two goals from the penalty spot and one from Luca Navarro kept all three points in Radcliffe, extending our lead at the top to nine points. Despite the visitors finding two equalisers in the game, a late spot kick from Josh Hancock was the difference on the day, remaining calm on two occasions to net a brace.

Radcliffe took the lead early in the game after a Bamber Bridge handball, but the away side were level instantly after Daniel Evans tapped home a rebound from six yards out.

Luca Navarro gave Radcliffe a second-half advantage as he cut inside and picked out the bottom corner, but the Brig were swiftly back on level terms again, Danny Forbes heading home an equaliser just minutes later.

With ten minutes to play, Hancock scored the winning goal from the spot, after Jordan Hulme was hauled down in the box. With his ninth of the campaign, the midfielder sealed the points for Radcliffe who remain at the summit of the table.

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Whitby in midweek. Willem Tomlinson and Luca Navarro replaced Luke Joyce and Jude Oyibo in the XI. Matt Sargent also returned to the squad for the first time since picking up an injury against FC United earlier in the season, making a second-half substitute cameo.

After a slow start to the contest, it was Radcliffe who took an early lead. Anthony Dudley beat two men on the edge of the box and the ball caught the trailing arm of Macauley Wilson, giving the referee little hesitation in pointing to the spot. Regular taker Josh Hancock stepped up and found the bottom right corner, putting away his eighth goal of the campaign.

The visitors were not behind for long as they scored from a free kick within two minutes of Hancock’s opener. Brig skipper Macauley Wilson’s struck the inside of the post from the set piece which left Mateusz Hewelt stranded, ricocheting into the path of Daniel Edwards who rolled the ball into an empty net.

Ten minutes later, the visitors almost had a second. Adam Dodd’s cross into the middle flicked off the head of Rick Smith, fortunately for the defence, the ball ran through the legs of Harry Scarborough who stood in a promising area, which prevented a golden opportunity for Bamber Bridge to take a first-half lead.

With half an hour on the clock, the Boro almost went in front. The ball broke to Hancock in the 18-yard area who shot on the half volley, James Pradic stood tall and parried the chance back into play. The rebound fell back to Hancock who attempted to pick out the corner, but Dudley could not turn it home at the far post.

The second half started with both outfits on the attack in search of a go-ahead goal, however lacked the final ball to unlock each defence.

That was until the 59th minute, when Radcliffe dispatched to take the lead. With intricate forward play down the left wing, Jordan Hulme did well to exchange the ball between himself and Luca Navarro, the latter managed to cut inside before curling his effort into the far corner to make it 2-1.

Moments later, the Brig were back on level terms for a second time in the game. An accurate Mark Cullen cross from the right flank picked out Danny Forbes in the centre of the box, he then met the ball to place a header beyond the reach of Hewelt in between the sticks, cancelling out Radcliffe’s goal only minutes earlier.

Second-half substitute Jamie Morgan disrupted a pass back to the visiting goalkeeper, before landing kindly for Hancock whose on target effort was cleared on the line by Dodd, defending resiliently at the vital moment after 77 minutes.

Radcliffe upped the ante and our attacking momentum eventually paid off, cracking the Bamber Bridge defence for a third time of the afternoon with 10 minutes of the 90 to play.

As Navarro flicked the ball into the path of Hulme who broke into the box, he was hauled down by Dodd with a yellow card and a Radcliffe penalty the consequence given by the referee. Hancock rested the responsibility on his shoulders for a second time, cooly putting the home side ahead for a third time in the match with very little doubt of the outcome.

The visitors were took a point back to Preston late on, but Hewelt was on hand to make a diving save to keep the scoreline at 3-2 from Tunde Bayode’s first-time shot towards the top left corner.

Radcliffe controlled the ball and saw the game out to take all three points against Bamber Bridge, getting us back to winning ways to extend our lead at the top of the NPL Premier Division to nine points.

Next up, the Boro travel to West Yorkshire on Saturday, locking horns with Guiseley at Nethermoor Park. Head there to support the lads, as we return to the road in the league for the first time in three weeks.

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