04 Dec Match reports 3/12/16
Bridgend 1st XI 4-2 Cheltenham
After heartbreak at the end of the game last week, the Ravens needed to get a win to reclaim a more fitting league position. Cheltenham attacked from deep with some skilful players creating opportunities for the visitors. Bridgend were unfortunate to concede a short corner early in the game, which was finished off with a well worked deflection. It wasn’t long before Bridgend mounted a strong attack of their own. Tom Pearce deftly drew in the defence and goalkeeper before presenting the ball to David Knight in front of goal who simply tapped it in to equal the scores. The midfield duo of Jacob Hodges and Rhydian Cole continued to generate opportunities, but the home team was unable to make he most from them. The entrance of Tim Hodges to the game in the first half left the Cheltenham defence tied in knots as the future star weaved amongst them, the score at half time however remained at a deadlock.
The second half was going to be dictated by whoever drew first blood on the scoreboard. Tom Pearce’s hard work allowed Bridgend opportunity in and around the D, with Paul Jones’ penetrating runs down the right causing havoc for the Cheltenham defenders, but it was David Knight who steered the team’s success winning a barrage of short corners throughout the half. The first corner with the game hanging in the balance saw Rhys Owen step up and throw a rocket into the top left corner of the goal. Bridgend were now in the driving seat, always a dangerous position as it was vital this game was put to bed. Cheltenham knew this, and if not for the superb tackling of captain Rob Evans, Jamie Brooks and Jonathan Woodward they may have pulled something back. David Knight proving a real thorn in the oppositions side linked beautifully with Rhydian Cole to generate a further short corner for the blues, this was slipped to Jacob Hodges who finished from close range. Bridgend, jubilant with the scoreline had to then dig in as they faced a barrage of pressure from the opposition. Cheltenham did pull a goal back, reacting quickest to the second wave of a short corner. From that moment, Goalkeeper Adam Hawas kept up his exceptional record in goal swatting away Cheltenham’s shots like gnats. This, accompanied with a diving goal line clearance from Rhys Owen kept the home team in the lead. Knowing a one goal margin can never be comfortable Tim Hodges put the game to bed, dancing around the defence before unleashing his famous reverse strike into the bottom corner of the goal. Bridgend were buoyed on with opportunities falling for Andy Schofield, Tom Pearce and the elder Hodges, which could have taken the game further away from Cheltenham. But the home team were happy with the 4-2 finishing scoreline, hoping to ride the momentum into the Christmas break.
Bridgend A 4-4 Swansea City A
Bridgend made the trip west to old rivals Swansea early on Saturday morning. Bridgend had to reshuffle their line up from the start and allowed Swansea into the game as a lot of the Bridgend players played as if they were still asleep. Bridgend soon got themselves into the game equalising after Andrew Jones and Rhodri Owen combined to tee up Adam Knapp. Bridgend however found themselves 2-1 down at half time from another well worked Swansea goal despite plenty of last ditch tackles by the bridgend defence and saves from Adrian Hibbert. Bridgend started the second half in a much more positive fashion with Jon Rubery working the right hand side to great effect. He set up kris Williams who was denied by the post. Bridgend soon found an equaliser as Swansea couldn’t cope what was thrown at them from steve Murphy and Nick Anthony in the middle. A well worked short corner routine allowed Andrew Jones to hit home. Swansea soon regained their lead with Bridgend dropping to 10 men after losing Jon Rubery and Matt Wooster to injury. However Bridgend kept fighting and scored another 2 quick goals through Jones and Knapp. Bridgend went into the final 2 minutes with a goal advantage. However a Swansea won a short corner which was buried into the Bridgend goal to earn them a point.
Whitchurch F 2 – 3 Bridgend Mens 3rds
In a crucial mid table grudge match Bridgend started very poorly conceding two early goals in the first 8 minutes of the game. The team managed to rally from these early mistakes and some crucial tackles from Mike Hodges and Jeremy Ingram at the back finally gave the blues some solid possession 10 minutes into the game. Bridgends midfield took control of the game from this point and apart from a few small glitches never really lost it, Jon Wilks & Ed Jackson were clinical in the centre and created the space and opportunities for the wingers to come into the game and attack the defense with strikers Jon Catton and Matt Tudball hunting for the goal to bring bridgend back into the match. It was during one of these attacking opportunities that Bridgend earned a short corner, Jon Wilks was unlucky not to score with a fantastic strike at goal but Rhydian Lewis was able to pick up the deflected ball and pass it through a defenders legs to Mike John, who finished with a top corner strike. Despite continued runs by Matthew Tudball and several chances created by John Thomas, Bridgend went into half time 2 – 1 down, but with the sense of confidence the game was theirs for the taking.
The Blues came out strong in the second half playing with speed and mounting pressure on a stretched Whitchurch defense that started making mistakes under pressure.
Winger Ian Blatchford teamed up well several times with Jon Catton to create opportunities and earn a short corner, Jon was quick to put it away giving the keeper no chance of preventing a goal.
2 – 2
The few opportunities Whitchurch had were counter attacks but defenders Jeremy, Derek Jones and Jack Hayes showed no signs of letting Whitchurch score, with keeper Cliff Harrison picking up any loose balls or stray shots on goal.
Bridgend continued pushing for that winning goal which finally came with 5 minutes to go, from yet another short corner Mike John scored the winning goal after the ball bounced off the inside of the post, onto the outside of the keepers pads and into the bottom corner of the goal.
Ed Jackson and the midfield continued to create opportunities in the final moments of the match, with Jon Catton unfortunate not to score another.
Bridgend came away the victors in an important away match thanks to a much deserved team effort!