Three Bridges 1sts 1-0 Tooting & Mitcham Utd
By Lorraine Bonner
Hard fought win in Bridges' penultimate pre-season friendly
This fixture saw Bridges take on a strong Tooting & Mitcham side in their penultimate pre-season fixture. Bridges came out on top with a hard earned 1-0 victory in a game with few clear cut chances for either side.
Bridges had a perfect start and scored what turned out to be the winning goal inside two minutes. After some sloppy Tooting & Mitcham defending, Connor French made an excellent sliding tackle to intercept which saw the ball land at the feet of Omar Folkes who then proceeded to calmly slide the ball into Alex Laing’s feet and he slotted the ball home under an onrushing goalkeeper.
The sloppy play from Tooting & Mitcham continued as Liam Collins got on the end of a loose pass but could only fire wide into the side netting on the 4 minute mark.
However it was then Bridges’ turn to give the ball away from a free kick inside their own half with No. 9 for Tooting & Mitcham holding the ball on the edge of the box before unleashing a shot that was excellently blocked by Bradley Peters. This seemed to wake up the Tooting & Mitcham side and they began to settle in the game playing some nice football, utilising their pacy midfielders. This nearly paid off in the 13th minute when their No. 9 slid through to their No. 11 who was one-on-one with Kieron Thorp and looked certain to score but was deemed to be offside by the Assistant referee.
These two were at the heart of Tooting & Mitcham’s attack and in the 15th minute their No. 11 played a lovely through ball over the top of the Bridges defence to No. 9 but Bradley Peters was there once again to clear the danger for Bridges.
Bridges had the chance to break this high Tooting & Mitcham pressure, with a free kick just on the edge of the box and with John Lansdale standing over it he beat the wall but the effort was straight at the goalkeeper. It was one goalkeeper to another as Thorp was then forced to make two smart saves in two minutes to deny an equaliser, first from No. 11 and then No. 3 as Tooting and Mitcham continued their pressure.
This set the tone for the rest of the half as Tooting & Mitcham looked for an equaliser and they had a great chance to get this on the 37th minute when No. 10 was again one on one with Thorp. He only had to score but could only scuff his shot wide of the left hand post.
There was still one last chance for Tooting & Mitcham to grab an equaliser before half time with the No. 3 playing the ball into No. 9 who poked the ball past Thorp but it trickled wide of goal and brought an end to the first half.
Tooting & Mitcham started the second half as they ended the first with lots of high pressure. This forced Thorp into making a series of saves, firstly catching a powerful strike from the edge of the box from the No. 11. He then plucked a dangerous cross from the air which looked certain to find a Tooting & Mitcham player in the box before rushing out to close down an onrushing forward who was forced to poke wide.
Thorp was again called into action with the Tooting & Mitcham No. 12 shooting on the edge of the box with the ball looking destined for the bottom corner but Thorp was excellent to deny him with his feet on the 61st minute.
Bridges had a rare chance in the 62nd minute with Liam Collins picking up the ball on the edge of the Tooting & Mitcham box. He fired a powerful volley straight at the keeper who fumbled it but gathered on the second attempt.
Three Bridges’ Nathan Koo-Boothe was brought on in the 68th minute and played a huge part in helping Bridges keep their lead with a few crucial blocks in short succession from shots that looked certain to trouble Thorp.
In the 78th minute there was a penalty shout for Tooting & Mitcham when No. 17 fell to the floor but the referee was having none of it and waved away the protests. Tooting & Mitcham tried to create a few final chances to get and equaliser but the Bridges defence proved too hard to conquer as they held out for their second pre-season win.
Bridges’ final pre-season fixture sees them take on a Crystal Palace XI at Jubilee Field on Saturday (4th August), providing one final test before kicking off their season away to Crawley Down Gatwick in the Emirates FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday, 11th August.
Man Of The Match: Kieron Thorp
Extended highlights and Manager's post-match interview can be viewed here:
Match Report by SAM GADSDON