Scott Bakkor and Matty Wolfenden opened their accounts against a canny Bamber Bridge side that were unbeaten so far this season and battled to the final whistle, but had too much of a mountain to climb.
Celtic were much quicker out of the blocks than the visitors, Chris Sharp’s through ball leaving the Brig back line back pedalling to try and catch Matty Wolfenden; Wolfenden making no mistake leaving Lloyd Rigby in the visiting nets to berate his defence. The lead didn’t last long, however, with Bamber Bridge also scoring in their first attack, Kieran Charnock planting a firm header on a corner. James Aspinall got a hand to the powerful header but couldn’t keep it out.
Bamber Bridge looked dangerous from set pieces, Matt Lawlor’s free kicks into the box that Celtic sometimes struggled to clear. Brad Carsley and Alistair Waddecar both tested Aspinall, but lacked the power or precision to beat the Bolton loanee. At the other end, Celtic were causing havoc in Bamber Bridge backline. Scott Bakkor and Neil Kengni consistently out-pacing the visiting defenders to create several chances, with Bakkor, Wolfenden and Sharp all going close, Sharp’s curling shot on the turn the pick of the misses. Kengni’s effort blasting Sharp’s killer through ball was on target, but Kengni was offside. Liam Tongue tried a thirty-five yard blast that sailed past the post.
It looked like another frustrating afternoon, but Sharp again produced a killer pass for Bakkor. Bakkor rode the challenges, holding off robust tackles to get into the box and restore Celtic’s lead right before the interval.
After the restart, Celtic had to weather pressure from the visitors for the opening fifteen minutes, with Michael Clarke and Danny Brady restricting the visitors to less than half chances. Scott Wilson’s ball down the wing let Kengni run at the visiting defence, hitting the ball on the run that saw Rigby at full stretch to push over the bar.
Glenn Rule was the next to release Kengni with an inch perfect ball. Rigby was able to block Kengni’s initial powerful strike, but look stunned as the ball came back out. Kengni saw the keeper’s hesitation and collected the ball, slotting it past Rigby at the second attempt.
Bamber Bridge were kept in the game when James Boyd found Ryan White with the space to strike just inside the Celtic box. His drive took a wicked deflection off Clarke to bring the scores back to one. That gave Brig extra impetus to look for an equaliser, Matt Dudley getting onto a free kick bringing out an excellent save from Aspinall at close range.
After holding the last ditch attempts at an equaliser at bay, Celtic even got chances to extend their lead when Wolfenden burst in from the wings, his shot clearing Rigby, but striking the bar and Bakkor sweeping in from the other side, but firing just the wrong side of the post and leaving the scoreline at 3-2.
|3||Marlow, Chris||> 51|
|6||Churchman, Chris||> 67|
|9||Carsley, Brad||> 65|
|12||Darr, Jordan||< 51|
|14||Milligan, Jamie||< 67|
|16||Boyd, James||< 65|