REPORT | Brewers Fall Short In Play-Off Semi-Final
Despite nudging ahead on the hour mark, Tadcaster’s impressive season came to an end at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium with Bamber Bridge scoring twice in the latter stages to reach the Play-Off Final.
Will Annan’s close-ranger header rounded off a sublime counter-attacking move which saw Taddy take the lead in Preston. However it was the home side that were celebrating at the final whistle as goals from Danny Forbes and Lewis Nightingale fired Brig into the Evo-Stik North Play-Off Final where they will welcome Prescot Cables this coming Saturday.
The large contingent of travelling Albion fans were left disgruntled with the officials post-match after no penalty was awarded when Mitch Langton appeared to have his heels clipped inside the area. Bitterly disappointed will undoubtedly be the overriding feeling for the Brewers but they can take great heart from the fact of reaching their highest ever finish and making the play-offs for the first time, the progression is clear for all to see.
Taddy bosses Michael Morton and Simon Collins kept faith with the same team that got the job done against Mossley last Saturday with Chris Howarth back involved and on the bench. As expected the home side started on the front foot at Irongate with forward Brad Carsley fluffing his effort when set in behind Albion’s back-line. It was a tight and tentative start from all and with so much at stake that was understandable.
Bamber continued to keep the ball in Taddy’s half without really creating any noteworthy chances on Michael Ingham’s goal who was called into action on 20 minutes to Danny Forbes’ powerful header around the post. Taddy came out of the early Brig pressure unscathed as they started to venture forward more and more with greater purpose. Billy Whitehouse’s first real involvement in the contest came on 27 minutes as his trickery and dangerous cross was controlled by Mitch Langton who’s effort was well blocked by skipper Matt Lawlor.
Taddy were starting to exploit the space in behind Bamber’s high-line as Whitehouse’s through ball forced Will Annan a fraction too wide allowing Stuart Vasey to recover and extinguish the attack. Seconds later and that man Annan was in on goal once again, this time of his own doing though beating Vasey to a bouncing ball before lobbing goalkeeper Lloyd Rigby only to see the ball drop wide of the post. The Brewers were growing into the contest as the minutes ticked by and right on the stroke of half-time they had the ball in the net, only to be ruled out for offside. Corey Roper, who was having an excellent game as ever in midfield, brilliantly read the game and pinching possession back before releasing Casey Stewart in behind who coolly slotted into the bottom corner only for the flag to go up, a very tight call that is for sure.
However Michael Morton’s side did strike first blood on the hour mark and what a brilliant goal it was. It all started from a Bamber free-kick which was dealt with by Taddy and Casey Stewart kick-started the counter-attack. Stewart set the soon to be Sheffield United man Harry Sheppeard away down the right who flew down the flank before shifting to Billy Whitehouse and his cross was perfect for Will Annan to power a header into the back of the net. The Hull City loanee sent the Taddy fans wild with his third goal for the club.
The lead was only short-lived though as Neil Reynolds’ side drew level seven minutes later when a long throw dropped to Danny Forbes who found the net from twelve yards. The match was on a knife-edge as the semi-final entered the latter stages but it was the side that finished fourth that completed the turnaround eleven minutes from time as Lewis Nightingale turned in the penalty area before driving low past Ingham into the near post.
Tadcaster had nothing to lose at this point and ended up throwing forwards Josh Greening, Aiden Savory and Joe Pugh all on to try and take the tie into extra-time. The controversial penalty incident as previously mentioned was the main talking point post-match as Mitch Langton appeared to have his heels clipped by Keiran Charnock but referee Mr Lewis blew for an injury to Adam Dodd instead.
The Brewers will undoubtedly feel disappointed to lose out at the semi-final stage but there are a healthy amount of positives to take from their second season in the Evo-Stik North. They weren’t expected to reach the play-offs in the first place so that alone should be celebrated once the dust settles on another season.
With the league restructuring taking place next season, Tadcaster Albion will play in the Evo-Stik East Division in 2018/19.
Bamber Bridge: Rigby, Vasey, Dodd, Lawlor©, Charnock, Potts, Waddecar, Forbes, Carsley (Marlow 90), Dudley (Linney 59), Nightingale (Milligan 88)
Unused: Tanner, Davey
Tadcaster: Ingham, Sheppeard, Hardy (Pugh 87), Roper (Greening 84), Milne©, Barrett, Langton, Davidson, Annan (Savory 74), Stewart, Whitehouse
Unused: Howarth, Barkworth