Source: Leyland Guardian
10-man Brig hold out for point
By Sam Chadderton
It was a stalemate at Irongate as 10-man Brig held firm for a point against FC United in a fractious game.
Matt Mahoney saw red early in the second half for an ugly challenge which sparked a mass brawl.
But Brig's defence, marshalled by the superb Adam Tong, kept a below-par United side at arm's length to claim a valuable point.
In a fairly even first half between the two promotion contenders, the Manchester outfit created the first clear cut chance when Rory Patterson prodded a Jerome Wright cut-back past Brig 'keeper Terry McCormick, only for Ryan Bowen to clear off the line.
Patterson went even closer on 23 minutes when his swerving free kick was pushed on to the crossbar by McCormick.
Brig had openings of their own and leading scorer Ryan Salmon had a header pushed away by FC United's on-loan 'keeper Aaron Grundy on the half hour.
A minute later Stephen Brown whipped in a low cross from the right, Alex Porter swiveled in the corner of the six-yard box and poked a shot towards goal.
It was only half-cleared by the scrambling United defence and Salmon hit a left foot shot which Grundy somehow managed to cling on to on his goal line.
The last chance of the first half fell to United's sharpshooter Patterson. But after latching on to Stuart Rudd's flick on and nutmegging Glenn Steel, his rolled side foot finish went the wrong side of the upright.
At half time Tom Ince came on for Danny Mahoney, with Ryan Bowen moving into midfield, and the jet-heeled Ince slotting in at left back.
However, from the first whistle the football began to fall victim to the increasing number of late challenges and on 57 minutes the game boiled over.
A heavy touch from FC United'
s Wright, as he looked to break out of defence, enticed right back Matt Mahoney into a challenge which was late and over the top of the ball.
Every player bar the two goalkeepers joined in the ruck, with Mahoney seeing red and two FC players yellow once the officials had waded in.
Chances for both sides were at a premium for the remaining half hour with McCormick almost caught out by a quickly taken corner, just about scrambling back into his goal to save.
Then, in injury time, Brig almost stole it, but Porter's dangerous cross was tipped out of the path of the onrushing Dave Eaton by Grundy at full stretch.
A crowd of 1,236 watched the game end goalless, but not without incident, and the two evenly matched sides now have to do it all again at Gigg Lane next Saturday.
McCormick, M Mahoney, Bowen, Steel, Tong, Edmeads, Brown, D Mahoney (Ince 45), Salmon, Eaton, Porter.