Cadbury Heath 2, Bridgwater United 3
Toolstation Western League
WHAT a strange game this was! A thrill-a-minute first half containing five goals and a sending off was followed by a rather moribund second period when not very much happened for a long time, writes Mark Hollidge.
When Dan Winstone jumped into a two footed tackle on Ryan Brereton just before half time it looked like United, already leading 3-2, would have a comfortable second half and would probably add some more goals.
In fact, Winstone’s straight red card seemed to galvanise the home club and they managed their player deficiency very well. Conversely United seemed to withdraw into their shell and, in the end, they nearly paid the price.
The first half was rich in entertainment. United started with great pace and purpose and had Cadbury Heath back-pedalling right from the off. From the first corner kick Jack Taylor’s near post header was headed off the goal line by Tom Withers.
In the seventh minute United went ahead. Tom Llewellyn passed to Brereton on the left wing. His low cross was spilled by keeper Jordan Schofield right at the feet of the predatory Taylor. He did the rest.
After another four minutes, United were sitting on a two goal cushion. United were closing down the opposition with good energy and forcing them into error. So it was that an attempted clearance was charged down by two United players. Morgan Williams picked up the loose ball and then calmly placed a low shot into the right corner of the net.
United looked like scoring every time they got near to the Cadbury Heath goal but then the home side got a goal out of nothing on 14 minutes. Evergreen Matt Huxley tried his luck from 25 yards and debutant keeper Callum Plaistow pushed his shot to one side.
Unfortunately, it landed at the feet of John Invernizzi, and he sent the ball, first time, across the keeper and into the left side of the goal.
It only took two minutes before United re-established a two goal advantage. Sam Hedges rose highest at the far post to head a Jake Llewellyn cross into the roof of the net. His first for the club.
Five goals in 33 minutes
In what was only their second goal threat of the first half Cadbury Heath scored their second goal. This was a smart effort. The ball was neatly lifted over the United back line into no man’s land. The crafty Huxley stole into the space and side footed past Plaistow. A sublime finish.
Five goals in 33 minutes, how many more would there be?
Five minutes before half time Winstone’s hot-headed foul on Brereton felt like the final nail in the Cadbury Heath coffin. Thankfully, Brereton, who made an excellent return to first team action, was able to continue.
It was Brereton who then had a goalbound shot deflected for a corner as United ended the half in a buoyant mood but perhaps wondering why they weren’t leading by more goals.
The second half was forgettable from a United perspective. At no time did it seem that United had the extra man. Cadbury Heath rose to the challenge and had the lion’s share of possession, but they found it difficult to fashion goal chances, in spite of some excellent approach play by former Robin Josh Williams.
After linking well with Morgan Williams, Tom Llewellyn flashed a shot wide but that was United’s best chance after the break. A couple of far post headers were easily saved. Even United’s free and corner kicks, normally such strong weapons, had lost their punch.
Cadbury Heath pressed forward in the last few minutes as they sensed that an unlikely point might be salvaged. A far post header from Harry Roe struck the side netting and then invernizzi’s shot on the turn just missed the goal on the right.
Three points – great. Five wins on the spin – great. Some lovely football in the first half. Bank the points and look forward to Bashley in the Vase.
Scorers: United: Jack Taylor 7, Morgan Williams 11, Sam Hedges 16. Cadbury Heath: John Invernizzi 14, Matt Huxley 33.
United: Callum Plaistow, Dave Thorne, Jake Llewellyn, Ross Edwards, Sam Hedges, Mark Armstrong, Morgan Williams, Tom Llewellyn, Jack Taylor, Harry Horton, Ryan Brereton. Subs used Jacob Spence, Marcel Lewis, Cameron Gauci. Unused: Adnan Hiroli, George King.
Referee: Jon Batteson. Assistant referees: Adam Boubrahmi, Mark Oswin.