Bridgwater played their first league game of the new season, fielding a mixture of youth, experience, fit, slightly overweight and slightly injured. Due to player shortage there were only eleven players available so everyone was expected to play the whole game whatever their physical state.
East Devon dominated the early play with their neat passing game. They did not have a killer touch inside the D and the defence of Stradling, Buller, Phil Morrish and Mike Date dealt with most of their interjections adequately. Proseky made some exceptional saves when called in with unique style of save/interception. In the only really close moment Tom Stacey cleared off his own line when surrounded by attackers.
With only eleven players, fitness was going to play a major part. Early on Paul Blackmore tweaked his hamstring which hampered his movement for a while. Cover arrived through Tim Sullivan removing himself from the "stationary” forward role. Sam Sweatman and Tom Stacey were making their 3rd team debuts and did not disgrace themselves at all. Mike Date and Simon Burland worked their socks off but East Devon continued to dominate.
The game plan was quite simple - attack via the counter-attack. Midway through the first half Buller emphatically dragged a penalty corner past the opposition’s keeper - a sign for East Devon’s heads to go down.
Without necessarily dominating possession, the second half saw Bridgwater have a more even game. Mike Date was given a free rein in the second half and had a very good game. Tom Stacey ran up and down the left side throughout. Simon Burland gave his all in an unaccustomed role. Paul Blackmore began to roll back the years and gave a great display of normal and anti-skill. Steve Turvey scored a poacher's goal from one yard out as others tried their best to miss the target.
Moment of the second half was when an exceptional pass found Simon Burland, he rounded the keeper, but lost his bearings and then from the back line blast a shot which missed the goal by a foot to go out on the side line 30 yards away. Steve Turvey wondering why a gentle pass was not given to him to tap in!
Man of the match in the 2-0 victory was Tom Stacey who had an exceptional game throughout.
Bridgwater solidified their third place position in the league after a scrappy 4 – 2 win against a rejuvenated Firebrands C, with a hat-trick from leading goalscorer Tom Lott and a goal from defender Marcus Blyth.
With a much changed side, Bridgwater began the game in typically slow fashion, creating few chances against a Firebrands team that has found form in recent month, but took the lead as the opposing keeper mistimed a clearance, allowing Lott to tap in and provide an early advantage. This lead was short lived, after a Durkin save from a short corner fell at the feet of a Firebrands forward, who finished in measured fashion to bring them level on the scoreline. The situation improved again for the away team as an errant long ball played from the Firebrands midfield evaded the Bridgwater defence, allowing the striker to coolly slot past the home keeper. Despite a quick two goal period, Bridgwater fought back in typical fashion, and after multiple chances, found themselves level after a well worked set piece found Dan Pigden, who fired into Lott at the far post to tap in for his second.
With the game finely poised at 2 -2 going into the second half, both teams pushed intently for the all important 5th goal. The game became a sloppy, end to end affair, with chances falling for both teams, but none finished. Midway into the second half, Bridgwater found the lead, after a goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball rolling to the feet of defender Blyth, tidily sweeping past the opposition keeper. With Firebrands forced into pushing for an equaliser, Bridgwater were capable of playing on the counter, which paid dividends as fine play down the left wing from Rogers moved the ball to Simon Burland, whose fierce albeit wayward strike at goal found the ever present Lott, who sweetly finished with a back foot cover drive to complete his hat-trick. With the game petering out, Bridgwater were able to retain possession and stamp out any pressure placed by the Firebrands XI.
A win the week before had put Bridgwater into third place with a game in hand, so Saturday was about putting pressure on the team in second. The Bristol UWE team had won the reverse fixture, so Bridgwater knew they needed to be on top form to secure a result.
The weather started badly, but Bridgwater started brightly, combining some excellent passes in midfield and creating good early chances for Tim Sullivan and Tom Lott up front. This pressure brought Bridgwater a short corner, and TomLott scooped a drag flick into the top corner. Bridgwater had taken an early lead and looked to build on this quickly. Passes from Carwyn Jenkins, Mike Date and Dan Pigden exposed the Bristol defence and lead to another short corner. Once again the ball fell to Lott who danced passed the oncoming defender and slotted into the back of the net. Bridgwater went three up with Tim Sullivan finishing another fine move putting Bridgwater firmly in the ascendancy.
Another goal from a short corner was swept across goal by Joe Syvret and finished by Tom Lott at the back post, for a 4-0 halftime score, and some superb defending from Phil Morrish, Dan Buller, Matt Hubbard and Marcus Blyth had ensured that the opposition had barely been allowed out of their own half.
The second half started in the same vein as the first with Bridgwater controlling possession and allowing the opposition no room to manoeuvre. There were many opportunities for Bridgwater to extend the lead, however the Bristol UWE goalkeeper was making some great last ditch saves. Another short corner came Bridgwater's way, and found its way to Syvret at the by-line who teed up Dan Batten, whose slap shot into the far corner found a way past the keeper. A lob from midfield from Phil Morrish was first time reversed by Tom Lott into the path of Tim Sullivan. Tim took control of the ball well and finished with a lovely reverse into the back of the net.
Final score was 6-0 to Bridgwater, putting pressure on second place and cementing third position.
Man of the Match was Carwyn Jenkins who commanded the midfield and made some excellent driving runs.
The last meeting between the teams was a 5-2 victory for Bridgwater, but Bridgwater knew they would need to be on top fom to secure a victory away from home.
Early on the Bridgwater side struggled for possession and Westbury were knocking the ball around well. This possession told and the visitors took an early lead. This woke up Bridgwater and they sought to show why they are pushing for promotion. Some good breakaway chances came for the visitors but couldn’t be converted, leaving Bridgwater trailing at half time.
Early on in the second half, Paul Tilley turned over possession for Bridgwater, and he played in Tom Lott. Lott took the ball past two players and looked to cross the ball to the back post. The ball had beaten the keeper and was turned into the back of the net by an opposition foot. The 'dubious goals' panel convened and determined that Lott’s cross was going in, awarding the forward his first of the day.
Unfortunately the parity did not last for long. Westbury took a quick hit and dribbled straight into the D much to the disappointment of the Bridgwater defence. The ball was fired into the net leaving Bridgwater 2-1 down and also a player down due to the reaction from one of the the visiting players.
Despite being a man down, Bridgwater rallied and kept the Westbury team at bay - great defensive and midfield work prevented any chances being converted by Westbury despite the numerical advantage. After consolidating for a period, Bridgwater managed a great counter attack spurred on by the effervescent Dan Pigden. This breakway resulted in a short corner, which was played into Tom Lott who struck an absolute missile into the backboard and the teams were level.
Westbury managed to break into the Bridgwater D and a flying save by Brandon Durkin prevented Bridgwater conceding another sucker punch goal soon after scoring. This seemed to spur on another Bridgwater breakaway with minutes left on the clock, another short corner being awarded.
Tom Lott had the pressure of sealing the win. With his natural confidence he took the ball around the first rushing defender and fired a drag flick into the top corner to round off a second half hat-trick and a remarkable comeback win.
The whole team performed exceptionally, especially in the second half.
Man of the Match: Tom “Hot Shot” Lott
The away meeting between the pair resulted in a 6-1 loss for Bridgwater and the team were determined to improve their fortunes this time around.
Bridgwater in a new 4-2-3-1 formation started assertively and were spreading the ball around well. Eventually this possession told and Bridgwater were awarded their first short corner. Lott dribbled past two and found his flick chested off the line, resulting in a penalty flick. The in-form striker stepped up and calmly slotted the flick away. The finish reminiscent of an ex-Liverpool skipper.
Robinsons managed to claw a goal back, but Bridgwater took the lead again through Paul (the Aussie) Tilley whose his shot in the D managed to find its way through the defender's as well as the keeper’s legs. Tilley muttered some words of “Shrimps and Barbecues” - strange considering the weather was foul.
Robinsons managed another before half time making the scores level and the Bridgy skipper decided to abandon the new formation in favour of the preferred 3-2-3-2.
The second half started at a canter and Bridgwater had an early breakaway. The ball found its way to Tom Lott who squared it into Simon Burland, who binned a beauty banging the backboard.
Bridgwater found themselves netting another when Paul Tilley managed to play the perfect ball into Lott’s path who dribbled into the D and flicked the ball past the goal keeper into the side netting.
Bridgwater’s duo of Paul Tilley and Lott went on to secure another goal. Paul Tilley managed to find his way into the D, slipping the ball to his left to find Lott in a very awkward and tight angle. However that didn't stop him from squeezing the ball into the tightest gap and bagging his hat trick. Lott once again thought he could hear the crowd cheering his name “Hot Shot Lott...” he was swiftly corrected and informed it was just thunder.
Bridgwater were awarded another short corner, created by some fancy stick work by Lott. Dan Buller stepped up for a drag flick which was cushioned down by the keeper. The ball was swiftly finished by Marcus Blyth at the far post to seal an excellent result for Bridgwater.
An excellent team performance with a dominant display from all.
Joint Men of the Match: Dan Batten, Tom Lott and Kody Fludgate
By winning this game Bridgwater had the chance of dislodging the opposition, and climbing to third place in the league,
Bridgwater made a flying start to the game, putting the opposition on the back foot and exposing the backline. Tom Lott tested the keeper early on, only a good save denying the inform goal scorer. Despite not being able to open the scoring, he turned provider, with a great cross leaving the chance on a plate for Jordan Rawles who finished emphatically with a thunderous strike into roof of the net. Something Zeus would have been proud of.
The second came from a short corner, which was fired into the keeper triggering aa goal mouth scramble. Rawles popped up again with a sharp reverse stick finish into the bottom of the net, giving Bridgwater an early two goal cushion.
Paul Tilley took to the field, taking over from ever-industrious Kody Fludgate. He made a blistering run into the D, and when Lott received the ball on the left flank and delivered an excellent reverse cross, Tilley was there to latch onto it with a superman-like pose. The opposition keeper hardly realising that the ball had passed him.
Tilley turned from goal scorer to provider, tearing run down the wing and picking out Lott in the D, who fizzed the ball into the back board leaving the keeper with no chance, and Bridgwater’s travelling fan went wild.
Half time and Bridgwater had taken a 4 – 1 lead, looking favourites to take three points. The back line of Dan Buller, Max Syvret and Phil Morrish snuffing out most of the opposition threats.
Tilley’s second came soon after half time. Slick passing around the D allowed Tilley (The red bellied black snake) an opening. He chipped ball over the keeper, off the post and in. An excellent team goal. Another for the serpent in the opposition’s D.
The final goal for Bridgwater was again from the partnership of Lott and Tilley. Tilley exposied the defence and ran for the by-line, picking out Lott through the eye of a needle, expertly negotiating the ball between two opposition defenders. Lott did a little shimmy and placed the ball into the far corner. Lott swears he heard the crowd shouting “Hot Shot, Hot Shot…” others are claiming this was the wind.
This result saw Bridgwater leapfrogging Bristol University to take third place, building the foundations for a promotion challenge in the second half of the season.
Joint Men of the Match were Dan Buller (excellent defensive performance), Paul Tilley (outstanding runs and finishing from the midfielder), Mike Date (great work reclaiming possession) and Carwyn Jenkins (Controlling the midfield throughout the game)
A thumping win last weekend had put the 3s in good spirits for this week, against the side who started the day 3rd in the division.
Bridgwater started the game on the back foot, with possession a luxury, giving the ball away far too easily. The pressure told and resulted in Bridgwater going a goal down from a well-worked attack.. The flow of the game was broken down after the next ten with one of the opposition players suffering concussion and a nasty ankle injury. It fell to Carwyn Jenkins to pull the Bridgwater team out from their slump. He expertly dribbled along the back line and crossed to Tom Lott. Tom was composed and flicked the ball into an empty net to put the scores level going into the second half.
A half time team talk from the skipper encouraged Bridgwater to move the ball around quicker. This didn’t appear to have an effect early on, and even the captain himself seeemd oblivious to the team talk. A second goal was conceded, to put Bridgwater a goal behind once more. It was Ben Roberts who, taking the initiative from a free hit, dribbled the ball the requisite five metres and with no opposition pressure, rifled a ball at the opponent’s goal for an excellent deflection by Simon Burland into the goal to level the scores.This seemed to give the team a lift, and shortly after, some good build up play through the midfield put Lott through. He beat a couple of players before rounding the goalkeeper and finished with a diving shot (despite actually looking like he was falling over!).
A driven drag flick from Dan Buller was only stopped by an opponent’s body, and the resulting deflection was poked across the line by Marcus Blyth. Feeling comfortable with a two goal lead Bridgwater started to play some more fluid hockey, and another goal for Lott followed to complete his hattrick - a great cross was deflected by Paul Tilley, finding Lott at the back post for a tap in.
Bristol and West did claw another goal back before the end of the game, but Bridgwater completed an excellent victory nonetheless with a good battling performance all round.
Man of the Match was Tom Lott whose mazy runs and expert finishing provied too much for the opponents to handle.
The last few weeks have resulted in the team languishing near the bottom of the league. A few poor results and a team dropping out of the league had changed Bridgwater’s fortunes from the early season..
Bridgwater started quickly and a first time reverse from Will Pope was taken down well by Tom Lott who finished expertly under the goalkeepers legs. The second quickly followed as a wide ball in was finished with a deft touch from Lott, his second in quick succession. A third goal came from an acute angle. Dan Batten admitting that a cross may have been the original intention.
Despite the three goals shortly into the first half, Firebrands were knocking the ball around well. This possession game did result in a few chances, and a couple of excellent sliding tackles from Brandon Durkin in the Bridgwater goal prevented any opportunities being converted ito goals. A short corner was awarded to Firebrands, which crawled across the line despite the best efforts of the Bridgwater defence. A reply was soon to follow - Paul Bond was positioned well at the back post to finish, putting the cross overt the goal line. Another goal before half time left Bridgwater in a commanding position, a surging run through midfield was finished once again by Lott. At half time the score was 5-1 to Bridgwater, more of the same was required in the second half, to build on the lead.
The second half started with Bridgwater throwing the kitchen sink at the Firebrands goal. Good saves were produced by the opposition keeper and the post also prevented a goal. Finally Jordan Rawles found a way past the opposition keeper with a well-placed finish. A goal for Will Pope was on the cards all day, and finally he got his just rewards with a diving finish at the back post from Lott's cross. An aerial was intercepted by Dan Batten, with Pope pouncing on the loose ball and setting up Lott for his fourth goal of the game
Man of the Match was Will Pope - his work-rate was tireless all game, with multiple assists and a goal to round off his performance,
The fixture list hasn’t been kind to Bridgwater with the team dominating the league coming to Bridgwater this week. We knew we were in for a game from the first whistle. The opposition were strong and possession was a luxury.
The first half saw Bridgwater creating few chances and largely on the back foot. Good defensive work from Mike Morrish, Marcus Blyth and Harry Rose prevented the opposition scoring from open play. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop three short corners from being converted.
The start of the second half looked promising with good early break up play stopping the opposition from playing their normal game. This was short lived though and Gloucester soon found a way to counteract this, resulting in a couple of quick sucker punch goals. The game was done. Not a good display all round for Bridgwater, resulting in an 11-0 loss. A win is much needed next week.
Man of the Match was Harry Rose, for the second week running, and fitting in well to the Bridgwater 3s.
Bridgwater knew they would be in for a tough fixture and needed to bounce back from last week’s loss. The game started very evenly with both sides looking to expose the flanks. Good defensive work from Marcus Blyth, Mike Morrish and Harry Rose prevented Westbury from taking an early lead.
Building from the back, a well worked team goal resulted in a well-executed one touch finish from Paul Bond, putting Bridgwater into the lead. Unfortunately the lead was shortlived as a breakaway attack resulted in a penalty flick for the opposition. A well taken flick left keeper Brandon Durkin with no chance.
The tides turned and Bridgwater found themselves defending their own half. Some good saves from Brandon Durkin and great work by the defence kept the scores down, but with five minutes to half time Bridgwater were 3-1 down. A scrappy opportunity was presented to Paul Bond, who rifled in a first time shot which was well saved but he followed it up with another bullet beyond the keeper. It was all to play for at half time with Bridgwater only trailing by one goal.
The less said about the second half the better. The game was a heated and fiery encounter and Bridgwater paid the penalty for this, with four goals conceded and no goals scored.
Man of the Match was Harry Rose, his first game for the 3rd XI. He looked composed on the ball the whole game, and repeatedly frustrated the opposition with his tackling and interceptions.
Bridgwater started brightly and looked strong on the counter-attack with a new look strike team of Will Pope and Paul Bond linking well. However Shepton exposed the channels well and were unlucky not to open the scoring. A heroic goal line save from Mike Morrish prevented this, with a feat that left him entangled with the goal. A polite word to the umpire following this, “I may have moved the goal a bit.”
Good counter-attacking play and some inspired substitutions by the captain (taking himself off) resulted in three quick goals from Bridgwater - an off the cuff short corner routine was well finished by Marcus Blyth, along with goals from Paul Tilley and Will Pope.
At half time Bridgwater led 3-2. It was a tight game and Bridgwater would need to defend well to keep the lead.
In the second half Bridgwater lost three players to green cards and had to re-organise to prevent Shepton from scoring. A breakaway goal from Will Pope was against the run of play, but was everything Bridgwater required.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as they say. Another goal line save in the second half, this time from an out of position Dan Batten denied Shepton from a late come back. Brilliant work from the defence of Mike Morrish, Marcus Blyth and Ian Stradling resulted in a 4-3 win for Bridgwater, cementing the second place spot in the division.
Man of the Match was Will Pope with some excellent work on the break and some well taken goals.
Bridgwater came into this home game on the back of a 5-2 win at home and a 4th place spot in the league, looking to propel themselves further up the table.
Unfortunately much like the week before things didn’t start especially well, with a goal from a short corner putting Bridgwater a goal down. Heads didn’t drop though, and instead Bridgwater responded with a first half demolition job from pacey counter attacks.
Will Pope and Simon Burland combined well up top, along with some spirited wide play from Paul Bond. They soon turned the game on its head with three quick goals, followed up by a Kody Fludgate goal and Dan Batten converting a well worked set piece.
Half time came with Bridgwater going in 5-1 up.
The second half started with a spirited come back from the Bristol & West side, putting Bridgwater under pressure for large portions of the second half. Bridgwater dug in and despite going down to 9 men for a short period, they continued to counter attack strongly.
A surging run from Will Pope resulted in a Paul Bond goal, saving the captain's blushes after a fluffed finish at the back post. Bridgwater showed their skill from short corners with the only short corner being exquisitely finished by Paul Tilley with a drag flick.
Final score was 7-2 to Bridgwater, putting them into the dizzy heights of 2nd in the league.
Man of the Match was Will Pope who found himself involved in almost every goal that Bridgwater scored and worked hard throughout.
After last week's less than desirable result, changes to the formation were due. A few tweaks were made across the midfield to allow greater control of this area of the pitch.
Bridgwater started in the ascendancy, imposing themselves upon the opposition. A few early chances came but good work from the opposition keeper kept it goalless. Against the run of play Westbury scored from a well worked set piece and soon doubled their advantage from a short corner.
It didn’t look good for Bridgwater at this point, but an “expertly” finished short corner from Marcus Blyth allowed Bridgwater back into the game. Spurred on by this goal a second shortly followed, finished by Will Pope at the back post after a goal mouth scramble.
Bridgwater came into the second half with the scores level and all to play for. Continuing from where they left off Bridgwater managed to get three goals in quick succession. Something as rare as a blood moon was witnessed, with Steve Turvey scoring from a distance of greater than 1 yard (official distances still to be confirmed). Along with a quick-fire double from Jordan Rawles - the pick of which being a deft edged finish from a whipped cross, firing into the side of the goal. Bridgwater defended out the rest of the game well, despite twice going down to ten men.
An excellent team performance from all, which was reflected in a tight Man of the Match vote.
Man of the Match was Kody Fludgate who harassed the opposition all day, not giving them a moment’s peace.
Once again Bridgwater came into a match knowing little of the opposition but were full of confidence after the booming win the week before. Unfortunately I can’t spend the rest of the article writing about last week’s result (I could try really hard though), as this week was a reality check for the quality of opposition we would be facing this year.
Bridgwater started off relatively brightly with a few early chances to test the opposition keeper. This soon changed though, as Robinsons grew into the game and proceeded to dominate the midfield battle. Bridgwater worked tirelessly to make-up for this, but were two goals down going into the second half.
Some adjustments were made at half time, to stage a recovery like Charlie Sheens acting career. However much like Charlie Sheen, we failed to perform a miracle.
There were still positives to be taken from the match as Bridgwater’s stamina and determination proved that despite being six goals down, they could still get a consolation goal. A well saved short corner fell to the Will Pope who expertly finished with a one handed reverse.
Back to the drawing board for next week’s game at home to Westbury & UB 4th.
Joint Men of the Match: Mike Date and Will Pope
Bridgwater 3s came into the match knowing very little about the opposition having been promoted the previous season, but this did not discourage the 13 strong Bridgwater team that faced Bristol UWE.
Bridgwater started the first half in the ascendancy and quickly the lead was taken. Good team play was finished with a sublime goal from Simon Burland, the first of many for the new look 3rd XI striker. Bridgwater continued to dominate throughout the first half with a journeyman midfield partnership of Ian Stradling and Phil Morrish controlling the game well. Goals came through Paul Tilley, Simon Burland, Jordan Rawles and Dan Batten, with Bridgwater taking a 5 goal lead into half time.
The second half began in the same vein as the first, with Bridgwater taking advantage early on. A few more goals were notched by the in-form Simon Burland who could do nothing wrong in front of goal with clinical finishing throughout, with good work from Alex Ward upfront contributing with tireless work rate the whole game. The game was slightly tainted by Bridgwater allowing Bristol UWE a couple of late consolation goals in an otherwise flawless performance.
Joint men of the match Simon “6 Goals” Burland and Paul “Drag Flick” Tilley.
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