Bridgwater United 5, Bridport 0
Toolstation Western League
WITH this expected win over struggling Bridport at Fairfax Park this afternoon the Robins flew up to second place in the league.
As all the clubs immediately below them have games in hand, they will be hard pressed to keep that position. Nevertheless, this was a warming way to open their 2022 account.
Perhaps the biggest victory on the day was the fact that this game took place at all.
A postponement, for a waterlogged pitch, was a very real possibility right up to half an hour before the scheduled start and it took a great team effort to ready the pitch in time.
Although playable, this was not a surface upon which one could expect to display the finer skills of the game. In that sense, the conditions did act as a bit of a leveller. Losing by five goals is pretty much a par score for beleaguered Bridport and it provided a boost for the Robins’ goal difference.
The first half was a story of United missing chances or being denied by the excellent reflexes of goalkeeper Greg Taylor. Maybe some bad luck too.
Bridport were happy to get the ball off the park when in defence and United had a stream of early corner kicks plus plenty of free kicks.
From the first corner kick George King’s far post header was blocked on the line and Ryan Brereton’s low shot produced the first of many saves. Jordan Greenwood headed a tempting one over the bar and then his shot from another corner kick was blocked, possibly by an arm on the ground.
Cameron Gauci’s shot was fumbled by Taylor, but it spun away from the nearby Sam Crumb and then Jacob Spence thumped a header against the crossbar. It was one way traffic, but frustration was starting to play a part. It just wouldn’t fall kindly for United in the box.
The opening goal, after 27 minutes, brought some relief. Another Jake Llewellyn corner kick dropped to Brereton on the left side of the area. From ten yards he struck the ball low past Taylor. His first goal of the season.
United looked certain to open up a two goal cushion a few minutes later. Taylor made a scarcely believable double save from Morgan Williams, the second with his legs as he lay on the ground.
Moments later Williams had an even better chance, but he shot straight at the grateful Taylor when he might have done better to get some elevation onto his shot.
The first half ended with Dave Thorne digging out a brilliant cross from a tight position and Gauci should have done better than to head wide.
Two quick goals
United had taken charge of the game from the outset but two goals in three minutes gave them some overdue reward. After 53 minutes Crumb cut inside a defender and curled a left footed shot into the far corner. Three minutes later Tom Llewellyn skipped past a couple of desperate tackles before passing to Williams, near the penalty spot. He shot low past Taylor this time.
For Bridport Josh Baker tried two long range shots but they were easily saved.
Crumb volleyed wide from another cross by Tom Llewellyn and Gauci’s side footed effort was pushed onto the post by Taylor.
The only time that Bridport looked like scoring a goal was after 72 minutes when Kriss Radivousa’s shot was cleared from near the goal line.
Tom Llewellyn, in particular, was now really enjoying himself as he pestered the life out of the tiring Bridport defence. After 76 minutes his floated cross was perfectly aimed for Crumb’s head and the tall striker neatly glanced the ball into the left corner of the net.
The same man had a great chance to bag a hat trick. He started and finished the best move of the match, involving five players playing one touch football, and he was left with a clear sight of goal. However, the ball was on his less favoured right foot, and he sent it over.
United wrapped up the scoring when Mark Armstrong headed home from yet another Tom Llewellyn corner kick after 83 minutes.
This report doesn’t detail all of the goal attempts, there were many more. Bridport never lost heart but, sadly, the only Dorset club in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division look doomed.
United: Jake Viney, Dave Thorne (Ross Edwards 83), Jake Llewellyn (Harry Durant 64), George King, Jordan Greenwood, Jacob Spence, Tom Llewellyn, Ryan Brereton, Sam Crumb, Cameron Gauci (Mark Armstrong 76), Morgan Williams. Unused subs: Harry Horton, Adnan Hiroli.
Bridport: Greg Taylor, Riley Greenwood-Neate, Mike Mamanta, Dom McAllaster, Jake Hawker, Jake Owen, Harry Bolton, Josh Baker, Kriss Radivousa, Mike Hill, Adam Steele. Subs: Joe Etherington, Mark Tozer, Harry Burwood, Harley Brook, Sam Day.
Referee: Ben Powell. Assistants: Rob McDonald, Darren Callum.