Shiners Left With Three Black Eyes
West Bridgford 3-0 South Normanton Athletic
Much vaunted South Normanton Athletic came to Regatta Way hoping that a win might close the gap on league leaders West Bridgford.
I came to the game having left my bed at the city hospital after recent hip surgery. At night I heard the ranting and raving, the screaming and shouting, the weeping and kn-ashing of teeth as joint managers Stuart Robinson and Chris Marks wrestled with their team selection.
After much deliberation, Jonathan Ventrella returned to the side after recent knee trouble however Dave Erentz and Ross McCaughey were both absent through injury.
West Bridgford started the game very well taking the game to the visitors on a beautiful February afternoon. Tim Hopkinson combined early with Jurgen Charlesworth only to see Abou Sylla fire over from 6 yards.
At the other end the prolific LUKE CROSBY created a great opportunity for strike partner KEVIN HEMAGOU who blasted over. In the 15th minute Bridgford keeper Martin Kearney produced an excellent save from the lively Hemagou.
Three minutes later the home side took the lead - a precise reverse pass from Bridgford playmaker Tom Coole saw Tim Hopkinson race through and drill the ball home past Normanton keeper CHARLIE MANSFIELD. 1-0 (Bridgford)
In the 32nd minute Bridgford double their lead when a superb cross from captain Jonathan Ventrella saw Hopkinson (all hair and headband) bullet a header home - a fabulous finish from the former Nottingham Forest striker. 2-0 (Bridgford)
The Bridgford barrage continued as Charlesworth rattled the bar with a glancing header with keeper Mansfield beaten.
South Normanton then came back with former Gedling Miners Welfare winger Courtney Bartley firing just wide of Kearney's left hand post.
HT 2-0 Bridgford
The second half saw the visitors rally but faced the threat of the Bridgford pace on the counter attack.
It was no surprise in the 53rd minute when Bridgford effectively sealed the contest - Jurgen Charlesworth converting a Jamie Spiers cross-shot, it was the wingers 12th goal of the season. 3-0 (Bridgford)
Bridgford continued to turn the screw and in the 70th minute they almost made it four - a clever run down the left from Ventrella saw him create a chance for midfielder Jamie Spiers who's effort went agonisingly wide.
By this time Abou Sylla was causing the South Normanton defence all sorts of problems on the break with his speed and trickery as the visitors began to look dispirited - eventually it culminated in the 83rd minute with a reckless two footed tackle on the superb Bridgford right back Kevin Spriggs, KANE JELLYMAN the villain as he was subsequently shown a straight red card.
Bridgford played out the final few minutes securing a crucial three points over potential title challengers and also remained two points clear at the top of the table with one game in hand.
The crowd had full value for their money and went away looking forward to the next game away at Aylestone Park next Saturday.
FT 3-0 (Bridgford)
Man Of The Match: David Belshaw
Join Manager Chris Marks was delighted at the final whistle 'it was an accomplished performance today. The players trained well in the week when we worked on a game plan, they executed it perfectly against a very good side - in the end I thought it could have been more if we'd been more ruthless in the final third.