Crawley Down Gatwick 0-1 Three Bridges 1st
Bridges through to Preliminary Round of The Emirates FA Cup
Bridges scrapped their way through to the Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup, but Crawley Down deserve credit for making life difficult for the visitors at times, notably with a stubborn defensive display as Bridges dominated possession for large moments of the game.
Bridges were missing some key players with skipper Jamie Crellin and new signing Antone Douglas on holiday and Connor French and Nathan Koo-Boothe both suspended for this game. However, it was a good chance to bring in some of the U23s who have been outstanding pre-season.
The first half was mainly spent in the Anvils' half and Andrew Greaves was called into early action as he held onto Jamie Taylor's shot following good work by Alex Laing. A superb cross by the excellent Nathan Simpson was then headed on by Trevor McCreadie but Laing's finish was both high and wide.
A shot from distance by Liam Collins was safely held by the busy Greaves, but the home side's hopes suffered a blow after just fifteen minutes when Sonny Barton was cautioned for a foul on Laing. Barton thought he was the innocent party and sarcastically applauded referee Jonathon Wilks, who promptly showed him a second yellow for dissent.
Greaves was called into action again five minutes later, making an excellent block to deny McCreadie, and Crawley Down's keeper showed his worth another five minutes on as he blocked Laing's final shot after a brilliant turn and run by the Bridges newcomer. Lee Hall came close with a back heel from Laing's corner, but Bridges had nothing to show for their first half domination.
Just two minutes into the restart, the visitors at last broke the deadlock when Jamie Taylor won the ball and forced his way through before netting into the far left corner of the goal, but the expected opening of the floodgates did not materialise and the Anvils started to create a few openings of their own.
This was the Anvils' third game of the season without a goal to their name, and Bridges keeper Kieron Thorp didn't have a serious shot to save all afternoon. Much of this was due to solid defensive work by the likes of Bradley Peters and young new signing Tadley Bromage, who had an outstanding debut for the side. He looked cool and untroubled throughout as the homesters tried to shake off the fact that they were down to ten men for so much of the game.
Two minutes into added time came the save of the match as Greaves dived across goal to palm away a fiercely driven free kick form 25 yards by substitute John Lansdale, but it was a rare highlight of a disappointing second half by Bridges.
Man of the Match: Tadley Bromage
Report by Alf Blackler