Finn Sinclair-Smith’s second-half strike was the difference for Bamber Bridge as they crept past Prescot Cables in the FA Cup.
Nathan Pond opened the scoring for the Brig as he turned home from close-range at the back post from Paul Dawson’s pass. Alex Gofton scored his first goal for the Bulls on the stroke of half-time to level proceedings.
Kevin Lynch’s side were looking to follow on from their recent winning run as the former Southport midfielder lined-up in the dugout against his former teammate in Jamie Milligan.
In the opening stages, the hosts showed a little bit too much respect to the Northern Premier League Premier side as Bamber Bridge enjoyed the majority of possession.
Both sides offered exchanges with Sinclair-Smith and Jack Goodwin both having sights on goal for either side. Although, the visitors’ efforts forced Mitch Allen into action.
Milligan’s side were in the ascendancy after the opening 15 minutes with the Cables shot-stopper the busier of the two goalkeepers. Sinclair-Smith could only fire at the Prescot number one before Dawson’s curling free-kick forced him into action again to tip over.
After a quarter of an hour, the visitors were in front and it was a simple tap in for Pond as he ghosted towards the back post, tapping home from five yards.
Cables, momentarily, were on the backfoot after going a goal behind and Sinclair-Smith had a golden opportunity to double Brig’s lead. However, after some neat interplay, the attacker could only blaze over from inside the box.
A speculative effort from Adam Hammill seemed to spark Cables into life. His striker from 25 yards bounced awkwardly hitting Felix Goddard in the face.
As a result, a flurry of Amber and Black shirts repeatedly piled forward. The former Barnsley playmaker turned provider as he delivered a searching cross which was met by Sambor but Goddard was on hand to turn behind.
From the resulting set-piece, Hammill was at the centre of the action again. He took a short corner and cut inside on his right-foot firing towards the top right corner but he could only rattle the crossbar.
Play continued as Cables launched another deep cross into the box. Gofton towered above his marker to head goalwards, despite the visitors clearing it off the line, the assistant referee was on hand to award the goal.
After levelling on the stroke of half-time, Cables were inches away from going in front. Gofton was the target from a corner as he headed back across goal to Sambor. The Cables forward steered it goalwards only to be denied by some desperate defending from the visitors.
Following the restart, Cables looked to grow in confidence and John Murphy almost put the hosts in front. Goodwin danced beyond his marker down the left, he cut back to the unmarked Murphy who – with the goal at his mercy – was denied by a goal-saving block.
Goddard then launched a punt upfield which evaded Gofton allowing the tricky Sinclair-Smith to bear down on goal. This time he made no mistake and coolly fired through the legs of Allen to make it 1-2.
Cables looked to threaten but they almost fell three behind. A calamitous moment at the back almost saw a cross ricochet off captain Liam Hollett into his own net but the defender hooked away the danger.
Goodwin and Murphy combined again and in almost a carbon copy of their earlier chance but the striker could only hook the winger’s cut-back straight at Goddard.
Arguably Cables’ best chance for an equaliser came from Goodwin. He showed his marker a clean set of heels racing onto Matthew Devine’s through ball, he lobbed the on-rushing Brig goalkeeper and it looked certain to level the game for a second time. However, the looping shot bounced agonisingly over the bar.
The hosts continued to push for the leveller. Substitute Luke Pritchard sliced a volley from a tight angle before the visitors were put under immense pressure – only for some valiant defending to thwart the danger.
Prescot Cables’ pressure wasn’t enough as Bamber Bridge held on to progress into the FA Cup Third Round Qualifying.
Prescot Cables 1-2 Bamber Bridge
Goals: 45′ Alex Gofton; 25′ Nathan Pond, 54′ Fin Sinclair-Smith
HT/FT Score: 1-1/1-2.