West Bridgford 3 v Stapenhill 0
Dominant Bridgford Mute The Swans
A bright but chilly evening after a dry day defied the 'Armageddon' weather forecast. Bridgford's dominant performance was also unexpected after a season battling for points and trying to avoid relegation. There were early signs of what to come with Will Daly making a 40 yard diagonal dribble into the box before shooting wide. Shortly after Gibraltarian international Andrew Hernandez fired in a left footer from a Daly run and cross to make it 1-0. 5 minutes later, Akim Akinbinu was 'tripped' in the box. He opted to take the penalty himself. A Stapenhill fan in the stands shouted "our goalie saves pens" and it came true when Ryan Larkins saved the penalty shot.
Bridgford were not deterred and went on to create a number of chances with Daly being involved in most of them. Stapenhill were launching the odd counter and Charlie Rumin had a header saved from a corner cross. Montserratian international Jaylee Hodgson looked like he had been badly injured in a fierce 30th minute clash with a Swans' defender. Luckily he was able to continue after lengthy treatment from medicine man Ian Large.
The referee noticed that it was going dark so 'yours truly' had to leave his reporting box and run into the changing room to switch on the lights. Meanwhile, I am told that Aaron Large chased a through ball and pulled it back to Will Daly who swept it into the net. On the stroke of half time George Teeney had a great chance when a pass found him free on the left of goal but his shot went wide.
The second half therefore started with the home team winning 2-0. Early doors Large had a header at goal tipped over by Larkins. To the bemusement of all, the referee awarded a goal kick. Bridgford were throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Stapenhill but a mixture of good defending, bad luck and poor finishes kept the away side in the game.
SubTomi Jayola had a shot stopped on the line and and Jack Gray fired over after a mazy dribble. In the 80th minute Stapenhill were reduced to 10 men when a frustrated George Teeney deliberately kicked Sam Perrin off the ball and was shown the red card. The game was now as good as all over and Jayola sealed the victory when he outpaced a defender after a long throw in by Tom Hall to hit the target.
2 games to go and Bridgford can be optimistic about finishing a mixed season on a high.