Bridgwater United 6, Mousehole 2
Toolstation Western League, Premier Division
THIS first-ever clash between the two clubs, which attracted a crowd of 401 to Fairfax Park yesterday, will live long in the memory, writes Mark Hollidge.
Last week’s pummelling of Brislington was against a struggling side but Mousehole are altogether a much more effective and ambitious outfit, and this convincing win was the more worthy of two excellent results.
Mousehole had won at Saltash midweek, no easy thing to do, and they must have expected to give United a hard game.
However, after an opening spell when the visitors looked sharp and inventive, they were forced back by waves of potent attacking by the bouncing Robins.
The result leaves Bridgwater just nine points from the top of the table with two games in hand.
United opted for Jack Taylor up front on his and packed the midfield. On face value that might look like a cautious approach but that wasn’t how it played out at all. Taylor’s willingness to run all channels kept the Mousehole defence under severe pressure and they cracked.
Early on Hayden Turner looked a bit of a problem with his pace and skill but all Mousehole had to show for their bright start was a long shot from Mark Goldsworthy which was never going to bother Jake Viney.
Adnan Hiroli’s tenacity won the ball on the left wing, and he passed to Taylor. Under challenge he couldn’t get much power into his shot and keeper Ollie Chenoweth saved with his legs.
Midway through the first half United scored their first goal. Hiroli kept the ball alive on the left and his cross to the far post was nodded inside by George King. Tom Llewellyn’s low header from 12 yards sneaked just inside the left post with the goalkeeper presumably unsighted.
Taylor made two dynamic interventions which both brought goals before the break. Jamie Devine lost possession and then hadn’t got the pace to catch the careering Taylor as he closed in on goal. From near the angle of the area, and on the left, he crunched the ball high into the top right corner of the net.
Then he picked up the ball from just inside his own half and ran, unchallenged, to the edge of the area. He bent a left footed shot around Chenoweth. These were two finishes out of the top drawer by the confident Taylor. United’s top marksman is now scoring at better than a goal a game.
Three goal cushion
The three-goal cushion at half time looked enough but having turned around an identical scoreline themselves a few weeks ago, the Robins couldn’t be sure.
Mousehole seemed to opt for a longer ball approach in the second half, possibly because they were getting no change from United’s midfield. That policy didn’t work particularly well and United sealed the win with their fourth.
The always creative Llewellyn fired a free kick towards the heart of the area. Chenoweth came for it but didn’t punch it out very far. Mike Duffy drove a volley goalwards which the keeper touched but couldn’t stop altogether. The ball lobbed into the net. Taylor was nearby and could have rolled it in for his hat trick if he had wanted to.
Duffy was again on target with a ferocious rising drive which Chenoweth beat away, Llewellyn, once more, being the provider.
In the last 18 minutes the fans were treated to four more goals, two for each side. Really Mousehole had lost their squeak and they were offering little threat up front.
That changed when Callum McConie scored. From a wide position on the right, he curled a well-directed free kick towards the goal. Nobody got a touch as the ball slid into the net off the far post.
It was 5-1 soon enough. Nick Woodrow was a very effective substitute for Taylor, offering no respite for the Mousehole back line. Llewellyn (again) created it by slipping the ball to the Welshman at just the right time.
He had plenty to do but he ran on, turned a defender inside and out, then crashed an unstoppable shot from 20 yards into the top left of the net. A beauty.
Credit to Mousehole, they were still giving it a good go and they pegged another one back. A free kick from the left led to a defensive scramble, a shot cleared off the line and the follow up converted by Steve Burt.
United had the last word. Woodrow won the ball near the by line and passed to Hiroli. After his first try was blocked, he found space in a crowded box to squeeze his second one over the line.
In the last few minutes United could have added more bounty. A delicious chip from Duffy found Hiroli’s head and that was blocked on the line. Then Hiroli won the ball off a tired defender and his diagonal cross was lifted just too high by Woodrow.
What great entertainment these two sides provided. Strong performances abounded from a vibrant United side. Harry Durant again did superbly well in his unaccustomed left back spot, Llewellyn was at the heart of it all, Mark Armstrong brought control and command, great goals scored. What more could you possibly want?
Bridgwater United: Jake Viney, Harry Horton, Harry Durant, Ross Edwards, Jordan Greenwood, Tom Llewellyn, Mike Duffy, Adnan Hiroli, Jack Taylor, George King, Mark Armstrong. Unused Jacob Spence, Archie Sturdy.
Subs Used: Dave Thorne, Nick Woodrow, Morgan Williams. Subs Unused: Archie Sturdy, Jacob Spence.
Mousehole: Ollie Chenoweth, Billy Curtis, Jamie Divine, Josh Malins, Steve Burt, Max Hill, Paola Sousa, Hayden Turner, Ryan Bath, Andy Elcock, Connor Leak-Blunt
Subs Used: Jonny Ludlam, Callum McConie, Kyle Fraser.
Goals – United: T. Llewellyn 23, Taylor 31, Taylor 41, Duffy 59, Woodrow 79, Hiroli 83. Mousehole: McConie 72, Burt 81.
Referee: Darren Gay
Assistant Referee: Dave Trevaskus
Assistant Referee: Tom Smallcross
- NEXT Saturday (October 16) United make the short trip down the M5 to face Wellington (3pm).