Three Bridges 4-2 Broadbridge Heath
A Bridge Too Far
Heath travelled the short distance to Three Bridges without goalkeeper Michael Chester and defender Jamie Robinson both suffering from a sickness bug going round the camp, so it meant another re-jig of the team bringing in Connor Evento in goal, Shaun Findlay dropping to fullback and Darren Helsdown starting on the left side of midfield; if that wasn’t bad enough Dan Sandell exited the field of play within 10 minutes of the start with a groin strain.
Heath started brightly with Martyn Flack having a header from a Tom Bold corner cleared off the goal-line and Bridges keeper Kieron Thorp was forced to push an Andre Eckana right wing cross/shot over the bar; from the resulting Bold corner Heath top scorer Devon Fender nipped in to place a right foot shot that went in off a defender at the near post.
That spurred the home-side into action and Evento was forced to make a good save low to his left from Brendan Murphy-McVey and midway through the half a low cross from the right was converted by Nathan Crabb from 8 yards to bring the score level.
The action flowed from end to end with Helsdown having a shot blocked on the line and Crabb unlucky with a looping header that came off the Heath crossbar but once again The Bears were caught out pushing too many players forward and when an attack broke down in the 38th minute the ball was played out wide by a Three Bridges player to Michael Campbell on the halfway line, he advanced towards goal and fired in a shot from the edge of the penalty area giving Evento no chance of saving.
Three minutes later a speculative shot by Lee Hall from 35 yards skimmed off the wet surface and flew under Heath keeper Connor Evento’s body to give the home-side a commanding lead at the break.
Heath again started well with Helsdown rifling a left foot shot that flew just inches wide of the post and Helsdown was involved again on the hour mark when his dazzling run down the left flank bamboozled the home defence, he drilled the ball low across the face of goal to Alex Parsons who scored from 8 yards.
Again the home-side came back in the 65th minute with Connor French going down the left flank before picking out Campbell in the penalty area and he restored Bridges two goal lead with his teams fourth of the game.
Heath continued to create chances with Bold’s free-kick into the penalty area being scrambled away for a corner, and Fender blasting a Helsdown cross over the bar but the best save of the evening was when Helsdown played a ball in from the left which sliced off the boot of Jamie Crellen and looked odds on to be an own goal but Thorp somehow kept it out with some free-style acrobatics that could have won a Gold at the Olympics.
So defeat for Heath against a very good side full of experienced senior players most of whom have played Ryman league and above but a lot of positives for The Bears to take away from the match. Next up another tough encounter against 2nd placed Peacehaven & Telscombe on Saturday.
Team: Evento, Eckana Findlay, S.Chester, Flack, Howard-Bold, Helsdown, Parsons, Fender, Sandell (Maxwell 9), Martin.