Bridgwater were at home on Sunday to play the postponed match from the following week. With Saturday's result not going Bridgwater’s way and seeing Ashmoor draw with a team in the bottom four, Bridgwater saw a potential points scoring opportunity.
Bridgwater didn’t start well, losing possession straight away and putting them on the back foot from the off. The first ten minutes went all Ashmoor's way and it wasn’t long before the first short corners came. Good blocks from Scott Upham and Ewan Campbell in goal held things together for Bridgwater. The game was end to end and chances were made at both ends, but the first half remained goalless. Not 'cardless' though - with Ashmoor seeing a mix of green and yellow cards! Ashmoor seemed edgy, but Bridgwater remained calm and didn’t react, and just played their own game.
Bridgwater needed to make sure they get the much-needed result, and at half time some changes were made. Bridgwater set out in the second half playing with three at the back to help push forward more easily. The first ten minutes were a mixture of loss of possession or bad tackling by both teams and it was Ashmoor who got a penalty flick when one of their players rounded keeper Campbell, striking the ball towards goal only for Scott Upham to use his body on the line. Ashmoor converted the penalty and Bridgwater really needed to switch on now.
Bridgwater pushed forward and with chances going there way, and Ashmoor continued the pattern of not controlling their players (another five green and yellow cards followed). Bridgwater made use of the superior numbers and the last fifteen minutes that saw three more goals. Bridgwater drove the ball into the D for Liam Pigden to reverse flick the ball over the keeper and bring the game back level.
Bridgwater's momentum was growing and with Ashmoor still being a player down, Bridgwater had three successive shorts corner. Scott Mills came up with the goal that put Bridgwater in the lead, having walked past the two advancing defenders to pass the falling keeper into an open goal.
Bridgwater now had the lead they had been working so hard for. Ashmoor had other ideas and with their captain returning from his card, he ran the ball towards goal beating player after player to get to the Bridgwater D, beating the defence and creating an opening for him to hit the ball into the net level the game. Bridgwater continued to push forward, despite tired legs bit it wasn’t to be.
A valuable point from a team that was promoted with Bridgwater last season, improving on the defeat in the away fixture.
Bridgwater head to Bristol UWE next week for a game that Bridgwater will have to win to stay above the bottom four.
Thanks to Match Ball Sponsors, Bridgwater Mowers.
Bridgwater travelled to Coombe Dingle for a game in which they need to win to make sure they kept the gap between mid-table and the bottom four. After having last week’s game called off by Ashmoor and rearranged to Sunday, this weekend was going to be a double header. Bridgwater gave a welcomed return to Martin James who had seen him miss several games through injury.
Bridgwater started looking to press high and stay structured and try to keep possession. Westbury & UB set up well and it wasn’t long before Westbury secured some good position and started to work well with it. The game was end to end for the first fifteen minutes, but Westbury got their first short corner. Bridgwater thought they had done their homework on the routine with the 2s who had played Westbury the previous week, but it wasn't enough and Westbury converted to take the lead.
Bridgwater needed to get back into the game to try and secure the much needed result, but the following five minutes saw Westbury extend their lead from open play. Bridgwater didn’t really deserve to be down, having had some get moments of play, but they just couldn’t finish.
Half time brough words of advice from the coach and Bridgwater went out determined to turn the game around. Bridgwater pressed well and within ten minutes they clawed the two goals back - one from Ben Rogers and the other from Liam Pigden. Bridgwater stepped up and looed to be in a position to really take the game to Westbury but two incidents changed this. Captain Dan Rogers received a green card for a push which resulted in Westbury getting a short corner from which they scored. The second incident saw coach Ben Roberts see yellow for a similar offence and another goal was scored with both captain and player-coach on the side-line.
Bridgwater tried to get back into the game when they were up to a full squad but just couldn’t put the ball in the net to make it count.
With the final score finishing 4-2 Bridgwater need to take advantage of their game in hand. Results elsewhere seem to be giving them the hope they need to stay in the Championship
Man of the match: Ash Woolmington
The Unfortunate award went to Ben Roberts
With their tails up following on from a win against Exeter University on Saturday, Bridgwater needed to re-focus on cup hockey for the quarter final match up of the Somerset Cup against Yeovil & Sherborne.
Bridgwater used their warm-up well, and flew out of the starting blocks, netting three goals in the first ten minutes, with two from Liam Pigden and one from Ash Woolmington. Great goal scoring was supported by high quality defensive work from Scott Mills who nullified any attacking threat from Yeovil.
The initial intensity faded though and poor quality passes and touches from players of both sides lead to long periods with end product and a lack of goal mouth action.
It wasn’t until the last five minutes of the half when Bridgwater earned a short corner after great attacking play. Scott Mills danced past the on-rushing defensive runners only to be denied by a save from the Yeovil keeper, but Ash Woolmington was on hand to bury the loose ball under the keeper and into the goal.
At halftime Bridgwater set out to get structure back in their game but it was Yeovil & Sherborne that strung some good passing movements together and struck twice in ten minutes - the firsta a goal from close quarters goal, and the second (after a succession of short corners) a drag flick which rose high into the net just over Ewan Campbell in the Bridgwater goal.
Bridgwater recovered to capitalise on some poor play by Yeovil. The attacking flair of Tom Lott, Ben Rogers and Liam Pigden led to a third goal for Pigden (his first hattrick for the team). As the game progressed there was a drop in quality from both sides, but Bridgwater finised with a sixth goal to take the game beyond Yeovil - the goal coming after some neat work by Bridgwater’s forward line, resulting in a goal mouth scramble, with Sean Headaux getting the ball over the goal line.
Green cards for Dan Rogers and Andy Taylor.
Man of the match was Scott Mills.
The other award went to Scott Upham.
Bridgwater travelled with a squad of 14 to Exeter for what they hoped would be an easier task, following last week’s loss in a tough game against Swansea University, hoping to complete the double over the universtity side.
Bridgwater looked to press high and stay structured to keep possession, but Exeter set up well with a half court press which threw the Bridgwater defence but gave Bridgwater extra space to work with. Soon Bridgwater had the ball was in the back of the net with Ben Rogers notching first goal. It was then the turn of the returning Tom Lott to score with a lovely reverse stick shot to beat the keeper and make it 2-0 in fifteen minutes.The remaining half was end to end, with Exeter persisting with their half court press. Bridgwater started to take chances with long balls which were picked off by Exeter keen to play counter attacking, and keep the Bridgwater defence on their toes. At halftime, the Bridgwater coach encouraged the squad to “do what we did in the first fifteen minutes”.
Exeter restarted looking to get back in the game, with Bridgwater looking to complete the double win with the bonus of a clean sheet. Exeter had different ideas and responded with a goal from a short corner, closing the gap. Bridgwater saw out the second half with some great saves from keeper Ewan Campbell and great attacking play from Joe Sibley, Andy Taylor, Rob Morrish, Liam Pigden, Tom Lott, and Ben Rogers all putting in the effort to run the attack. Although a green card for dissent saw Ben Rogers awarded a green card and a two minute suspension.
A subsequent ankle injury for Ben Rogers ended his game, and a card for Lott kept meant Bridgwater had to reorganise to make sure they secured the game.
Great defence work from Dan Rogers saw him finally pull off as reverse stick slide tackle, and Matt Upham also managed a slide to win the ball, paying for it with a nasty gash on his hip.
Bridgwater held on to earn a valuable three points and create a four point cushion from the relegation zone, with a Somerset Cup match on Sunday to follow.
Man of the match: Joe Sibley
The Unfortunate award went to Ben Rogers
With a run of three losing results in the past three weeks, newly promoted Bridgwater identified this week's fixture against Newent as a must win game as part of their campaign to remain in the Championship and avoid 'the drop'. Coach Ben Roberts decided to change formation and revert to a playing style that had delivered Bridgwater lots of goals in the opening matches of the season.
The new setup started well, with Bridgwater scoring an early goal with a well worked move that led to Liam Pigden finishing off at the back post. Newent bounced back with an equaliser though, only about five minutes later. Bridgwater reacted to really well, and pressed hard, adding three more goals without conceding further before the half time break, taking a 4-1 lead into the half time team talk.
The Bridgwater team of earlier in the season would have dominated the second half and shut Newent out, but there was a dip in concentration and energy, and Bridgwater lost their composure, letting Newent back into the game, and soon Newent were within a single goal at 4-3. This did shake Bridgwater, and they reverted to their earlier attacking style, once again posing a threat. A really good move resulted in the umpires awarding a penalty stroke. Up stepped Ben Rogers, and cooly slotted it away.
A late yellow card left Bridgwater down to ten players for the last five minutes of the game, but some determined cover and commitment enabled them to see out a well deserved win, moving them moved further away from regelation zone and closer to the mid-table teams.
A well deserved man of the match went to Liam Pigden for his two goals and his tireless movement and runs down the wings.
The unfortunate award went to Scott Mills.
Many thanks to Match Ball Sponsors Bridgwater Mowers.
Bridgwater travelled to Swansea for what they knew would be a tough game, following last week’s win game against Newent. Bridgwater took a squad of twelve with a number of new faces with a league debut for Jason Headaux and Sean Hedaux.
Bridgwater looked to stay structured and keep possession, and Swansea set up well with a high pres. After the first five minutes Bridgwater held their nerve and started creating chances, but it was Swansea who had the first chance to score and after only ten minutes of play Bridgwater were three goals down.
Bridgwater went into the halftime break feeling positive, as they had chances in the first half and had played well apart from the minute lapse when the goals were scored from short corners and free hits. Bridgwater knew structure was key to try and claw their way back into the match.
Swansea restarted and were attacking with long balls on a quick ansd bouncy water based pitch. After wasting a few chances, Swansea’s persistence paid off and a pin point pass that was threaded through the defence left a 1-on-1 with Ewan Campbell in the Bridgwater goal. Campbell didn’t win the ball, and a loud whistle from the umpire awarded a penalty, which was converted and Bridgwater now faced an uphill struggle.
With chance after chance being either intercepted by a sliding Bridgwater defender or a trailing foot by a few, short corners seemed to be the way for Swansea to score. Smart routines, either slipping a pass or dragging in fast towards the centre of the goal for a trailing stick to lob the keeper, resulted in Bridgwater working hard to prevent further goals being conceded.
Bridgwater did get a goal back through from Joe Sibley. It must have been the world record for the slowest drag flick, with a defender deflecting the ball back into the goal. Only further last ditch defending from Bridgwater prevented more goals.
Bridgwater look ahead to the start of the turnaround fixtures with an away match at Exeter University, seeking to repeat the win in the home fixture to ensure Bridgwater don’t dip into the bottom four relegation zone ahead of Christmas break.
Man of the Match: a tie between three players Ben Rogers, Joe Sibley, Liam Pigden
The Unfortunate award went to Rob Morrish for a yellow card.
Bridgwater travelled to Cardiff for what they thought would be a tough game, following last week’s another unfortunate loss. Bridgwater took a squad of twelve with a number of new faces with a debut handed to Sam Broom who ran out Man of the Match.
Bridgwater began looking to stay structured and win and retain possession, but Cardiff set up well with a high press. Bridgwater held their nerve and after five minutes started creating their own chances. With possession picked up in the midfiled, a precision pass to Ben Rogers up front took the ball into the D and hit it beautifully only to stroke the bar. This gave Bridgwater the encouragement to realise that the opposition defence could be broken down.
Bridgwater started to work more attacks with Liam Pigden, Dean Pengelly and Ben Rogers creating several chances. On any any other day this would have delivered goals, but the Cardiff keeper was on fire and seemed nothing would get past him. Ben Rogers rounded the keeper and tried to take the ball under the keeper, but it wasn’t to be and the keeper managed to save. Another chance was a swing and a miss from Dean Pengelly, who despite cricketing skills, failed to convert a bouncing ball in the D.
Cardiff tried to get something in the last ten minutes of the first half, and several short corners were either saved well by Ewan Campbell or Cardiff just off-target, as well as a save on the line from Scott Upham. Ben Roberts picked up possession from a sixteen and looked to start another attack, but turned over posession to the opposition who took advantage with a hit into the D. After hitting several sticks it ended up being passed unintentionally around a stranded keeper, and Cardiff were ahead. A green card for Ben Roberts for a bad tackle the only notable event beofre the halftime whistle.
Bridgwater connfident they had a chance of getting a point or even winning this game and causing a shock to others in the league, as well as winning valuable points in keeping out of the bottom four. It wasn’t long before Cardiff starting pushing high again and within five minutes Cardiff scored their secon. Bridgwater picked their game and Matt Upham made some great runs through the middle, making Cardiff look like they were standing still. A slick reverse pass found Ben Rogers who only had the keeper to beat, put the ball just wide.
Cardiff put in a few some dubious tackles and players voiced concerns about safety despite the match being played in a good spirit. There were some tired Cardiff legs, and it wasn’t long before the umpires took action with a few green cards for swearing and some late tackles. Matt Upham was also a green card victim for voicing his opinion a litte to forcefull to the umpures, but Bridgwater were generally quiet with Cardiff down to nibe players for a spell.
Bridgwater won their first short corner with about ten minutes to go. Ben Rogers stepped up with a drag flick and beat the keeper, but a defender saved on the line. The rebound landed in a group of players and was stopped on the line again by a Cardiff players body, triggering anothr short corner. In the remaining time, Bridgwater had several short corners on target but the Cardiff keeper kept them all out to maintain his clean sheet.
A serious injury to Joe Sibley (a dislocated wrist) prevented Bridgwater having a substitute, and top level debutant Sam Beasley played well in a tough game. Fellow debutant Sam Broom gave a good account of himself in defence to secure the Man of the Match award.
Bridgwater are at home next against Newent - a match they need to target for a win to ensure they stay in the pack of teams in the middle of the league and pull away from the relegation bottom four.
Unfortunate award: Ben Roberts (coach).
Bridgwater targeted this game as a potential win - last week’s game being a unfortunate loss, not only in the result but also with a potentially serious injury to Martin James leaving the team a key player down.
Bridgwater started, looking to keep possession and set the tone for the rest of the game, but ISCA set up well in the middle and when they attacked they flooded the wings with their midfield players to overload Bridgwater’s defence on every attack. It wasn’t long before ISCA got their first short corner, putting Bridgwater on the back foot. The defense stood strong and it remained 0-0. Bridgwater were probing for an attack, headed by Ben Rogers and the link between him and the midfield was Ash Woolington. Scott Mills, Carwyn Jenkins, Andy Taylor, Joe Sibley and Liam Pigden all put in 100% for a chance to create something in the match, with Bridgwater creating several chances, including a shot which slammed the cross bar. But a few ISCA attacks later, and against the run of play, by half time the visitors were 2-0 ahead.
Half time comments were structured - coach Ben Roberts making it clear that Bridgwater needed to react to the overload on the wing backs, but also that there was still every chance of getting a result. Bridgwater headed back out wanting to make a statement in the second half
Bridgwater held strong with a solid performance from Man of the Match winner Matt Upham, and the rest of the defensive line up of Scott Upham, Dan Rogers, Ian Roswell and Tom Willis, supported by some great kicking from keeper Ewan Campbell. Bridgwater started pushing higher and holding the midfield to intercept the ball. Chances paid off with Matt Upham starting the attack from his own half, Ben Rogers picking the ball up and working it into the D for the a waiting Liam Pigden to slip the ball away to give Bridgwater there much deserved goal to start the comeback. This gave Bridgwater the push they needed and the team sensed the extra energy and trting to secure the next goal. With only eight minutes to go, tired legs led to two injuries to Joe Sibley (lower back) and Ian Roswell (hamstring). This affected the substitutions and with several short corners by ISCA, one slipped through through to make the score to 1-3. Heads started to drop and tiredness kicked in more, resulting in a green card for Ben Rogers for a stick tackle - the only minor ill-discipline of the match, an improvement on recent weeks. Bridgwater also heeded the umpires' warnings for appealing for decisions.ISCA weren’t giving up though and turned defence into attack, catching out Bridgwater, securing the final goal of the game for 1-4 to ISCA.
Bridgwater worked very hard and deserved more from a full 100% performance from the team. Next week Bridgwater head to Cardiff to play 2nd in the league Cardiff & Met A at 14:30.
Man of the match went to Matt Upham, with the unfortunate award going to Liam Pigden.
Many thanks to Match Ball Sponsor Bridgwater Mowers.
Bridgwater 1s, were back at home looking to bounce back after the tough game against high flying Cheltenham, with another solid performance, this time against league strugglers Exeter Uni 3rd. Despite their opponents being below them, Bridgwater knew to expect another tough game and with the visiting side boasting 16 players to the home sides 13, coupled with a very warm and muggy day for the end of October they were not wrong. Exeter Uni started brightly and the youthful visitors pushed forward at every opportunity. Bridgwater defended well will Tom Willis, Rob Morrish and Matt and Scott Upham working hard to close down and Bridgwater were indebted to last week's man of the match Ewan Campbell, who again showed his class in between the posts, pulling of a number of high class saves and one highly memorable triple save to keep the scores level
Halfway through the first half, Bridgwater gave away an unfortunate foul which lead to a penalty flick. Campbell guessed right keeping the shot out, and this save buoyed the team. It seemed to wake Bridgwater up and they began to string together some decent attacks, with Liam Pigden, Dean Pengally, Martin James and Ben Rogers involved going forward. Bridgwater were reduced to ten men on two separate occasions in the first half, with Rogers receiving a yellow card for a stick tackle and Ash Woolmington, uncharacteristically green carded for chat.
A counter attack saw Tom Willis pick the ball up on the half way line and after some good link up play with the forward line a short corner was won, a chance that Bridgwater knew they could not put to waste. They did not disappoint, even though it was not a classic goal after some pinball action in the D the ball found its way back to Matt Upham on the back post who slotted home to give the home side a slender 1-0 lead. This truly was game on, as Exeter Uni hit back hard, with a number of open play and short corner chances kept at bay by the home side, with the defence and keeper really having to be on their game. Morrish was next in the sin bin with a green for a stick tackle, but Bridgwater dropped deep and battled hard. Exeter Uni finally got their equaliser, finally breaching the defence from a short corner.
Both teams played some good hockey, and the game was entertaining for the Bridgwater supporters. Bridgwater had several chances to take the lead with Scott Mills and Dean Pengelly going close. The Bridgwater defence of Rob Morrish, Scott Upham, Matt Upham helped by replacements Ian Roswell and Ben Roberts soaked up the pressure well and kept the Exeter forwards at play, with Scott Mills and Ben Roberts doing a sterling job at shielding the defence.
Bridgwater pushed forward playing some good attacking hockey. With five minutes to go, it seemed Exeter Uni would settle for the draw but Bridgwater style pushed forward with chances falling to Rodgers, James and Pengally, and Scott Mills went close with a shot just deflected wide.
In the final Bridgwater attack, Pengally set off on run down the line and after some deflections in the D, the ball fell to Pigden who slotted home the winning goal with a shot beating the keeper at the back post, to give Bridgwater the lead and with barely a minute left, Bridgwater saw the game out claiming a vital 2-1 win.
Another excellent team performance, with man of the match going to keeper Ewan Campbell. Bridgwater showed their fighting spirit, with everyone digging deep on a hot and muggy day against a fit Uni side. The support shown by the rest of the club members was of a real boost to the side who once again would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
The club chose this week to pay tribute to Luke Buckingham who died recently, a great supporter of hockey and all sport in the Bridgwater area, a friend to the club and many of its members but also the wider sporting community. The club wanted to help to keep Luke's fight going by making a donation to the Bloodwise charity and by continuing to raise money via Luke's JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/LukesLeukaemiaSideline/. Please help if you can.
Having won last week and seen Ashmoor beat Cheltenham, Brtidgwater were confident of getting a result against a team that came down from the Premiership last season.
Trying a new formation aiming to win and keep the ball up in the opposition half more, the weather and pitch conspired against Bridgwater with a well-drilled and structured Cheltenham playing a very high game and Bridgwater struggled to get the ball away.
It wasn't long before Cheltenham looked like making a return and a number penalty corners either went wide or were saved by defenders or by Bridgwater's wild Scotsman Ewan Campbell in goal. Ultimately, despite suggestions of a foot being involved in creating the goal, Cheltenham succeeded in converting for the first goal.
Heads didn't drop and Bridgwater were determined to get something from the game and kept continued to probe and find a way back into the game.
Half time came with directions from the coach, and Bridgwater opened the second half pushing forward and making progress with the opposition keeper quickly running out to the top of the D to put the attack under pressure. Chances for both teams did not produce goals, and a Campbell was bringing form from the training pitch to the game and his strength at times a joy to watch.
Then it was the captains turn to get involved in some action (of the wrong kind!). A very strong tackle that won the ball and was cleared, but at the same time making a loud clash of sticks caused complaints and the umpire reacted by issuing a green card to the Bridgwater skipper. At the same time getting his opposite number was also sent off as well for telling the umpire it should be a yellow!
With ten mins to go, a misdirected sixteen metre clearance was all it needed for Cheltenham to counter-attack and score. Bridgwater continued to battle, but to no avail.
Next week Bridgwater are home against an Exeter university side that are second from bottom and are again confident of getting a result on home turf.
Man of the match : Ewan Campbell
Unfortunate award : Tom Lott
Bridgwater went into this game feeling that they had missed out on a result last week, and wanted to make amends. Bristol UWE had had some bad results, and Bridgwater wanted to capitalize on that and build confidence going into next week’s game against Cheltenham. Bridgwater saw the return of Pete Saunders back between the posts.
Bristol UWE started, but and in a matter of minutes Ben Rogers found the back of the net with a Bridgwater training ground pass and move exercise from the half way line. With four slick passes the deadlock was broken. Bristol UWE reacted to this early goal and with a short corner it was back to level pegging.
Bristol UWE’s confidence was growing and Bridgwater seemed to be stretching play but getting caught when play broke down with tiredness in the midfield was playing a part. With Ben Roberts on the side-line coaching, he was making good use of the subs to maintain a fast pace for the majority of the first half, but despite the effort level, Bridgwater were 3-1 down at half time and couldn’t really believe it.
The coach had four words to say, only two of them printable! “Calm down”. Bridgwater approached the second half with some real passion, and it wasn't long before goals followed. I have to admit with so many goals to remember the order may be wrong so after having an excellent second half Ben Rogers got another goal to take him to two, a further two goals came from Tom Lott getting back to his form of last season, and with Dean Pengelly getting another hat-trick to make it seven. Bristol UWE got a further two goals to bring the final score to 7-5.
One passage of play that most players will remember was what most people thought was a lazy wasted reverse pass from Ben Rogers to the top of the D, with most of the defence ready to shout at him for wasting possession, Dean and Tom managed to pick the ball up and create a goal. leaving them thinking twice about complaining.
A great team win and one that bodes well for staying in this league. Bridgwater head to Cheltenham next week looking to get something from a team that before this week were top of the table and looking strong at home.
Man of the match went to Matt Upham.
The unfortunate award went to Liam Pigden.
Many thanks to our Match Ball Sponsors - Homestart Sedgemoor - http://www.homestart-bridgwater.org.uk
After travelling to Ashmoor and having lost last week, a slightly ill-disciplined Bridgwater were hoping for change as the game got underway. It was a fast paced, with Joe Sibley making a start for his first game of the season and Bridgwater started well and nearly got an early goal.
Westbury started playing the way we knew they could - possession, simple hockey and started probing with attack after attack. Bridgwater held firm until a few short corners later Westbury were ahead. After push back Bridgwater tried to keep their heads high and kept the ball well. Before long Liam Pigden came up with the goal we needed to make a statement in the game.
With the last ten minutes left of the half Bridgwater were again holding firm and keeping there structure defensively but unfortunately some misplaced passes allowed Westbury to counter and with the ball flying past the keepers top left to make it two one.
At half time frustrations were high for Bridgwater we just needed to do the basics and work as a team and support.
In the second half things were slightly different we kept the ball better and were attacking as a team - Bridgwater having the ball in the Westbury half for at least five to ten minutes; just switching the ball from left to right looking for their chance to get the goal. It wasn’t to be for Bridgwater and the game finished 2-1 to Westbury. Too much ill-discipline crept in again with two yellow cards and two green cards - something Bridgwater are going to have to look at as the season goes on.
Bridgwater play Bristol UWE at home looking to take the points to get back on track.
Man of the match Ash Woolmington.
DOTD Rob Morrish
Many thanks to our Match Ball sponsors - Medikas - www.medikas.co.uk
With confidence sky high following last week’s 6-2 win against Exeter Universtity, Bridgwater took on an Ashmoor team that also got promoted last season. With the same side from last week with the addition of Martin James to strengthen our options, this was to be the first game for Ben Roberts would be coaching more than playing….hopefully.
Bridgwater picked off the ball from Ashmoor with a Dan Rogers reverse stick to lay on Ben Rogers to start the first attack with great interplay upfront with Tom Lott heading the line. The first incident to go against Bridgwater was a green card for Carwyn Jenkins for stick tackling, and Bridgwater now down to ten men had to hold firm. Back to full strength Bridgwater started attacking as a team again with many chances keeping the Ashmoor keeper busy.
Another incident saw things go against the run of play, with Matt Upham receiving a yellow card for pushing in the D and conceding a penalty flick. Ewan had saved the penalty last week, but the Ashmoor captainconverted to take a 1-0 lead against a Bridgwater team that deserved more.
As Bridgwater pushed for the goal they deserved, it was Tom Lott that dispatched his shot passed a flaying keeper to level the scores. With the hot weather again taking its toll on both sides, both sides were using the subs. At half time Bridgwater had had much of the possession and and attacking options, so confidence remained high.
Within the first five minutes Bridgwater found the ball in the back of their own net - not the start they intended! Things started to get a bit heated on the Ashmoor side but it was a Scott Upham stick tackle that reduced Bridgwater to ten men again.
Ashmoor pushed forward with the extra man and before long they were 3-1 up. The goal was tough on the defence, as the ball bobbled and with the keeper thinking it was going wide it went in off the post. Bridgwater have been in this position before a few weeks ago against Firebrands and in true Bridgwater fashion Liam Pigden and Ash Woolington got two goals to bring the game level 3-3.
With seven minutes left Bridgwater needed discipline and structure to at least make sure of a well-deserved point, but Scott Mills received a yellow card within minute of the restart, reducing Bridgwater to ten again. Ashmoor were awarded a short corner in the last minutes of the match and with a soft drag flick to the right of the advancing defender and goalkeeper just off the line, it hit the net just above the backboard to make it 4-3 at the final whistle.
A hard-fought, but ill-disciplined game from which which Bridgwater deserved more.
Next week Bridgwater take on Westbury UB at Chilton Trinity (2:15pm start) and another home game against Bristol UWE the following week. Bridgwater need to make a strong statement to ensure they retain a place in the Championship next season.
Joint Man of the match: Ewan Campbell, Martin James, Ben Rogers
Joint award for Dan Rogers being Captain and Scott Mills for the yellow card got voted the DOTD
Coming into this game off the back of playing Firebrands in the Somerset Cup and winning, the team had confidence going into our first league match in the Championship with the same defensive line
up, there was a debut for Ewan Campbell our new goalkeeper, with a welcome back to Carwyn Jenkins and Tom Lott as well.
Exeter Uni as expected played some good sessions of possession hockey but it wasn’t long before we found our rhythm and were attacking Tom Lott got the first having ran across the baseline and managed to squeeze it through the keeper and onto the inside of the post. This was a great start and whilst Exeter continued to get some momentum they managed to get into the D and Ewan came out and whilst he thought he took the ball the player had departed the ground as well. Penalty flick given this was our time to regroup and focus on our structure. The flick went wide of the post. 1-0 still.
We set up for the 16 and after a period of play and for persistently tackling with the error being with his back stick Ben Roberts was shown his first green for the club. We held our nerve and at last Ben Rogers decided to show up twenty minutes into the first half having over slept…great start to the season. He immediately came on and with the first short corner he was involved in slipped it to Matt Upham who as expected was on the post to put it away 2-0.
Whilst keeping our structure well, cracks…more like tiredness as the heat played a big part in our game Scott Upham got a green for wanting to play football instead of hockey.
With half time not coming soon enough in a surprisingly hot day, we pushed to get another short corner and with that the whistle, Bridgwater went up everyone all set up the ball was put in and came off the keepers pads and Ash Woolington was there to pounce on it and lift it over the logged keeper to make us go in 3-0 up at half time against a Exeter team that finished mid-table last season, we were showing we meant business and we just needed to keep the hockey and confidence flowing.
Second half started all things positive and looking rosy for Bridgwater, Exeter changed their positions and realised they could attack down Bridgwater’s left hand side having seen all the space
there in the first half. It wasn’t long before Bridgwater had the ball and up stepped Dean Pengelly to make it 4-0.
We held firm but tiredness was kicking it and it wasn’t long before Exeter had a short corner, first of the game for them which is credit to the defence holding so well, we setup and with that they slipped the ball to the right hand post for the ball to slip under our defenders stick and into the corner 4-1.
We started from the push back again still positive and willing to get more showing what we are capable of and with us keeping possession well and some slick pass and move from the attacking front 4 it was Liam Pigden that came up with a goal to add to his tally. 5-1.
After this we really had to dig deep still with the heat playing a part on this game, Ash Woolington got given a yellow for kicking out, the defence were doing all they can to keep Exeter out and with that Exeter got a short corner and with us expecting them to do the same again we set up to match this, as expected they changed what they did and this lead to five or six short corners after each other. With their last short corner of the batch they stuck to what worked last time and again the ball slipped under the defender and into the corner to make it 5-2.
The team were undeterred by this and kept their head up and went for more goals and with a quiet spell of time this allowed Bridgwater’s defence to recover and push up, with Dan Rogers getting a nose bleed and standing on the Exeter base line next to Tom Lott, with that Scott Mills beautifully carried the ball into the D and with a very strong call to slip it to the post, were Dan and Tom were stood, Tom picked the bobbling ball and placed to in to the goal.
With the final score 6-2 it was a very good game had by all and even with the cards the game was enjoyable and is a great start for the ones who travel to Ashmoor next week, who also got promoted
Man of the match: Liam Pidgen
Due to the lateness and a swing and a miss in them game from Ben Rogers he got voted the DOTD.
Match Ball sponsored by Applicable Limited - www.applicable.com
Having had our friendlies cancelled Saturday due to every club playing in the Somerset Cup, this was the team’s first competitive game for our new captain Dan Rogers and our new coach Ben Roberts.
Taking a squad of 14, of which featured 7 new players in the 1st team, with 5 of them new to the club (John Godfrey, Ian Roswell, Scott Mills, Ben Rogers and Ben Roberts), to say we were nervous was
We set up with a strong 4-2-3-1, things didn’t get off to a great start…the captain lost the toss and Firebrands had push back. As the game began, Firebrands as expected played possession hockey keeping the ball for the first five minutes attacking down each wing, we held our ground. Only time would tell and with that Firebrands found a way through and the pace of the attack overwhelmed the defence and the ball was in the goal before we knew it.
Having restarted the match it was our turn to keep ball this time with us attacking down the wings and through the middle with Liam coming up with some great shots one on the reverse which kept the Brands keeper on his toes. Several attempts of the ball coming in from the wings with no one running on the posts was starting to concern the captain and coach, with half time nearing an injury to the captain side-lined him till the second half, some would say a footballer would be proud of the rolling around after a clatter to the knee and with that half time came this was a chance for us to regroup as we were still in this game and with some key players all suggesting the same thing we went back out there to show the Bridgwater fight and passion that played so much in last season’s promotion.
Second half started and not as we had planned and within five minutes Firebrands were two nil up, and in true Bridgwater fashion we kept our heads cool….strange I know. We continued to fight hard and we got a short corner up stepped Ben Rogers having not been involved in the short corner in the first half due to being on the bench for a breather, Matt Upham injected Ben Rogers starts his run and drag flicks it in to the top left hand corner. The comeback is on.
With Bridgwater now having that feeling that everything is coming together we pushed more and more on a tiring Firebrands seeing chance after chance go a miss or be saved, we had another short corner that was saved but it resulted in a flurry of activity in the ‘D’ Ben Roberts slips the ball to Matt Upham to put the ball away to draw the game level.
This sparked a final fifteen minute of fast paced hockey of which Firebrands scored to take the score 3-2. We dug in and really showed everyone that we can play hockey and pushed on attack after attack. Another short corner that was saved and was pounced on by Martin James who rifled it into the top right corner. Nobody saw it but we all heard it hit the back support post of the goal. We all had the belief we could come out with a win but it was Firebrands who kept ball and with our structure holding firm right up till the full time whistle it was decision time straight to flicks.
Again the captain and coach had a decision to make which five players would step up for the flicks the order as follows: Liam Pigden, Ben Rogers, Matt Upham, Martin James, and Scott Mills. With the captain again losing the toss Firebrands stepped up first with Pete in goal looking confident whistle goes and the brands player fluffs the flick and it trickles down the middle for Pete who had already dived to his right to kick away with is foot that was planted on the ground.
Liam Pigden steps up against a former player of Bridgwater hockey club Corbett in goal. Liam dispatches his flick in to the goal one nil up. Brands score, followed by Ben Rogers. At this point we hold the advantage. Firebrands turn again, the whistle goes and the player misses the goal going wide of the right hand of the post. We are in with a big shout now as long as we keep scoring our flicks we go through. Up steps Matt Upham our most trusted flick taker, however the ex-Bridgwater goalkeeper knew this also. It was a nervy time to see if Matt stuck with his normal spot and goes with power to beat the keeper, or does he change it and risk missing…..whistle goes and no matt scores in his normal place the keeper knew and adjusted his position but the power was too much and in it went. 3-1 to Bridgwater. We knew if we scored our next, we would win . . .
The next Firebrands player stepped up knowing he had to score to keep them in it he dispatched his flick into the goal. With the final two Bridgwater players, Martin and Scott having done rock, paper, scissors it was Martin that won to go next. Up he stepped whistle goes and with one step martin flicks the ball in to the net Bridgwater win 4-2 on flicks and after an absolutely great game, against a strong Firebrands team.
Man of the Match was Matt Upham and the captain Dan Rogers winning the unfortunate other award.
This has certainly gave us the confidence going forward for next week’s home game against Exeter Uni C at 14:15 @ Chilton Trinity.
Clearly what we are doing in training is working and the proof was in this game.
Bridgwater made their first friendly over the bridge playing new opposition. With one car being a start of joke with having an Englishmen, Scotsmen, and a South African in all going to Wales. Having made the 80 mile round trip and handing first team debuts to Sam Beasley, Dean Pengelly, Ewan Campbell, Ben Roberts (our new coach for the season) and a surprise appearance from Liam Hedaux to help us out. We setup with our normal formation that we used last season that got us promoted. With the new rules in play for this season things were looking good for both teams taking turns in attacking.
Bridgend were the team to score first against the run of play. With us working as a team and stringing some attacks together eventually it was debutant Pengelly to score the first goal for Bridgwater having attacked the D to then round the out coming keeper and slot the ball home into an open net.
Bridgend again struck again following some decisions going their way, the Bridgwater team defended well and kept their heads up as we deserved more and pushed on. We changed formation to keep hold of the midfield and it paid off instantly having attacked down the left Liam Hedaux passed the ball across the face of goal for Dean to get his second goal of the game and to draw level for the second time.
With the weather playing part on both teams with the heat, tiredness was creeping in and nearing the last 15 minutes of the game we got ourselves another short corner and with Dean already showing us what he could do on the pitch he decided to show us what he can do with a short corner and drag flicking the ball past the left side of the goal keeper which in turn completed his hat-trick on his debut game. Bridgwater finally took the lead and we held strong until a route one ball played behind our defence found its self on the end of a Bridgend players stick to bring the game back to 3-3.
A great game had by all and an impressive display of hockey from the Bridgwater team that had a lot of new faces. Man of the Match Dean Pengelly
Tuesdays - 8:15pm to 9:30pm
Tuesdays 7:00pm to 8:15pm
Please arrive 10 minutes ahead ready for an off-pitch warm-up!
Tuesdays 6:00 pm to 7:00pm in term time, starting September.