12 Jan 3rd XI Match Report – Saturday 10th January
Result: Bridgend ‘B’ 2; Whitchurch 9
Bridgend’s Development X1 were expecting a hard fought game against an experienced Whitchurch side, which played in a higher league than Bridgend did last season, and that soon proved to be as Whitchurch settled in to their forceful pattern of play and were two up after ten minutes.
Bridgend struggled to keep the attacks at bay, as Steve McIntosh, Robin Wilson, Gareth Collier and Derek Evans were kept very busy in defence, intercepting passes and trying hard to link up with midfield Jon Wilks and Rhodri Owen. This began to be successful, as flankers Ian Blatchford and Gavin Pound ran hard down the wings, bringing Andy Davis and Jack Steer in to the game with some useful attacks.
Bridgend rang the changes, with fourteen year olds Rhys Rubery, Matthew Hibbert, Steffan Irranca-Davies and Owaine Leyshon being given pitch time, and acquitting themselves well against a Whitchurch side that did not field any such young players. Passing and ball retention became difficult as the Whitchurch side quickly closed down on Bridgend’s players, but persistency prevailed when Rhodri Owen passed to Jack Steer with Matthew Hibbert latching on to the final cross to control the ball in to the net.
However, Whitchurch added to their tally of goals after stretching the defence, although skipper and goalkeeper Cliff Harrison did bring off a number of excellent saves during the game.
The goal gave Bridgend belief that they took in to the second half, and created some good passing and attacking play. With Jon Wilks and Rhodri Owen working hard in creating attacking movements from midfield, allowing Andy Davis and Ian Blatchford to run hard at the Whitchurch defence, well supported by youngsters Owaine Leyshon, Steffan Irranca-Davies and Matthew Hibbert, but it was from an excellent well hit straight pass from youngster Rhys Rubery to forward Andy Davis that their second goal resulted, when Andy controlled the ball well at the edge of the circle, to get in a superb reverse stick shot to beat the advancing goalkeeper. A well deserved second goal for Bridgend.
This was no more than Bridgend deserved, to give them some useful spirit for the games ahead.