by Kerry Miller
An eighth minute strike from former Town wing man Jake Brown was enough to give Bradford Town the Les Phillips Cup at a sunny Tannery Ground, Street, on Saturday afternoon.
It was a bitterly disappointing day for the hordes of Robins’ supporters who had made the short trip confident of picking up the cup in the club’s final match before rebranding sees them christened Bridgwater United FC during the summer. In truth, there was little of the intensity which saw the side dispose of Tavistock in the semi-final eight days earlier and as the game went away from them, both Jordan Greenwood and Jake Llewellyn saw red cards with Bridgy finishing in disarray with just nine men.
Sadly, the side were unable to use their superior fitness to get the better of the Bobcats, who were playing their last Western League game before moving across to the Hellenic League for next season. Man of the match Mike Duffy drew the first of many fouls inside two minutes but the free-kick was wasted before Brown was given too much room to cut inside and drive a shot under the body of keeper Liam Kingston. With former Shepton Mallet striker Tyson Pollard and Brown causing grief on the left Bradford settled well but the foul count against them should have been punished more by referee Lynch.. Up front for Town, Sam Crumb and Jack Taylor battled away but the impressive performance from the Tavy game was missing, although Crumb almost took advantage of a defensive error only to be denied by the legs of Bradford keeper Marko Radovanovic. Lewis Ellington set up a chance for the experienced James Billing soon after but his effort went wide; a Tom Ellis header ended on the roof of the net as Bridgy went searching for the equaliser.
Luke Burman and Ellington went into the referee’s book and just on the break skipper Ross Lye was sin-binned for ten minutes but Town were unable to take advantage.
Just when they were looking to get the upper hand a corner was headed home by Ellis but referee Lynch had seen a foul on the keeper and he stayed down for an eternity as his team mates took the chance to suck in some oxygen. Taylor then ran clear and looked certain to equalise only to take an extra touch and lose possession before Ellis had another header tipped over by Radovanovic. Pollard was just over at the other end before Llewellyn was fractions away with a corner and a free-kick, by which time most Town supporters had begun to sense it wasn’t their day. That was all but confirmed when Greenwood was dismissed with 20 minutes left for a second yellow card and despite a tremendous point blank save from Kingston to deny substitute Shea Bennington-Manning, there was no way back. Pollard was still a main threat and, deep into injury time, he was clear only to be brought down by Llewellyn who joined Greenwood in the dressing rooms.
It was a sad end to the strangest season in the history of Bridgwater Town FC but in a matter of weeks the newly named club will be in action again as work continues behind the scenes to prepare for what will undoubtedly be exciting times on and off the field at Fairfax Park.