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Baguley bags a point against Bamber Bridge

Chris Baguley smashed home a sensational 25-yard injury time pile-driver to grab a 2-2 draw against FC United’s title rivals Bamber Bridge in front of 3,348 raucous supporters at Gigg Lane on Saturday afternoon.

In a tough tackling game with few clear-cut chances, Brig took the lead five minutes into the second half through Alex Porter. Simon Carden equalised almost instantly but the visitors looked like they had stolen the three points in the last minute when Porter struck again.

However, the Reds were not going to surrender without a fight and it was Baguley who stepped up to crash home a deserved equaliser in the dying seconds to rescue what could turn out to be a vital point in an incredibly tight title race. It was a fitting end to a fantastic Youth United Day which had seen youngsters from all over the north west attending the match for free, helping to create a first class atmosphere.

The game had started tentatively with two of the best defences in the league making sure that opportunities to break the deadlock were kept to a minimum. The first real talking point of the match came after 20 minutes when the visitors felt that they should have been awarded a penalty. Ryan Bowen latched onto a through-ball by Danny Mahoney, pushed the ball past the onrushing Aaron Grundy and the two players collided. The referee ruled that collision had been accidental, much to the annoyance of the South Ribble team.

Moments later, United were dealt a massive blow. Top scorer Rory Patterson went down under the weight of a robust challenge in the middle of the park with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and after some deliberation it was decided that he could not continue. Nick Robinson was thrown into the action as his replacement.

As the half wore on United were having more joy at putting Brig keeper Terry McCormick under some pressure. Jerome Wright had moved out of the unfamiliar left back position and was being allowed to try his luck with a number of forays down the left wing but it was Carden who won a free-kick on the edge of the box after being cynically hacked down as he tussled through a crowd of players.

Baguley stepped up and tried to curl the ball past McCormick and into the net but his effort was deflected off for a corner. With David Chadwick, Stuart Rudd and Rob Nugent all loitering with intent in the box the United faithful could sense that the Reds were in the ascendancy. Josh Howard whipped the ball in from the right and an almighty scramble ensued as United threw everything but the kitchen sick at the ball to get it over the line. In the end Nugent, who had accidentally blocked one of his team mate’s efforts, prodded the ball wide of the goal.

Moments later United had another corner and after Brig failed to clear the ball properly it was Nugent who was again on hand to try his luck. This time the big centre-half got his volley on target, however, he didn’t connect with it as well as he would have liked and a relieved McCormick was able to gratefully fall on the ball.

As the half-time whistle went the Reds hoped they wouldn’t be left to rue those missed chances and it looked like a possibility when Brig broke the deadlock five minutes after the interval. Mahoney found David Eaton in space down the left and captain Porter converted Eaton’s cross from close in. Less than two minutes later though Wright surged down the left wing and put it on a plate for Carden to slot in the equaliser.

The game was end to end for much of the second half with both teams looking like they might snatch it without ever really working the goalkeepers too much. Eaton fired one over the crossbar from distance for the visitors from a good position and Howard returned the favour at the Cemetery End. The winger hit wildly high and wide after a good jinking run which gave supporters a brief flash of what he is capable of when fully fit.

Every credit to Brig, they kept on tirelessly plugging away and seemed to enjoy their best spell of the game late on, possibly because United were committing men forward in search of a winner. Substitute Tom Ince got the better of Nugent before setting Porter through one-on-one with Grundy. Some poor positioning from the young shot stopper allowed the Brig captain to pick his spot and finish with aplomb.

The visitors celebrated what they thought was a last gasp winner in a close fought match. However, they had not banked on former Oldham Athletic trainee Baguley firing home an unstoppable swirling, dipping drive which rescued a point to give a fair reflection of the day’s play between two solid teams. FC United now turn their attentions to Wednesday night against Curzon Ashton.

Matthew Haley

Teams:

FC United
A Grundy
L Foster
J Wright (cautioned 79)
J Baguley
D Chadwick (capt)
R Nugent
J Howard
S Carden
S Rudd
C Baguley
R Patterson
Subs
M Hampson

N Robinson (for 11 27)
A Carden (for 7 73)

Scorers: S Carden 52, C Baguley 90(+4)

Bamber Bridge
T McCormick
A Fleming
A Glover
G Steel
A Tong
R Bowen (cautioned 21)
S Brown (cautioned 90(+5))
D Mahoney
N Spencer
D Eaton
A Porter (capt)
Subs
M Edmeads (for 9 69)

M Mahoney (for 3 79)
T Ince (for 9 73)

Scorer: Porter 50,89


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First Posted ~ 11:25 Mon 3 Mar 2008
News ID ~ 1523
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013