South Park 1-4 Three Bridges 1st
By Lorraine Bonner
Convincing win for 1sts in their final pre-season
There was still time for Three Bridges to sneak in one last pre-season friendly before kicking off their season on Saturday. This fixture saw Bridges take on resilient South Park side in terrible conditions. As rain poured for almost ninety minutes Three Bridges rode out as 4-1 winners.
Just as they did in the previous friendly against Tooting & Mitcham, Bridges took an early lead after some high pressure. Ami Glloga crossed the ball in from the right flank and a South Park defender headed out to the edge of the box were Lee Hall was standing, he hit a sweet curling shot that crashed in off the post to make it 1-0 on 4 minutes. This set the tone for the majority of the first half with Bridges piling on lots of pressure searching for a second goal.
Both teams looked very dangerous down their respective wings, No. 8 for South Park often found himself in crossing positions but his final ball couldn’t seem to find a South Park player in the box. Bridges had similar joy down the wings with Ami Glloga and Alex Laing often swapping wings confusing the South Park full backs and the pair almost managed to create Bridges' second goal of the evening on 13 minutes when Glloga made a lovely infield dribble from the left switching the ball to Laing who put in a low driven cross heading towards Trevor McCreadie but a South Park defender made a crucial tackle.
Three Bridges lined up in a back three formation completely different to the system used against Tooting & Mitcham. This saw Nathan Simpson, Nathan Koo-Boothe and triallist, Tadley Bromage, line up as the three centre backs with Glloga and Laing as wing backs. This system was very effective in this game as they dealt with every South Park attack that came their way on many occasions with Simpson or Bromage being drawn out to the wing to defend South Park's dangerous wing play but Koo-Boothe and the remaining defender often covered excellently by Lee Hall.
Koo-Boothe had a great game against Tooting & Mitcham last time out and continued this fine form into this game and helped Bridges keep their lead on 17 minutes as he put in a crucial tackle and then a fine block to deny South Park and equaliser. He then nearly got a goal of his own after riding highest from a corner but his effort was well saved by the keeper.
Just like Koo-Boothe, Laing was also continuing fine pre-season form and he had a chance to double Bridges' lead in the 27th minute as he hit a well struck free kick that looked to fly into the top corner but the South Park keeper made an outstanding save to keep it 1-0. However, 6 minutes later Bridges got a deserved second goal after TREVOR McCREADIE was played in down the right and proceeded to power into the box and smash home underneath the keeper to make it 2-0.
South Park tried to pile on some late first half pressure by using the left flank but Bromage was strong and dealt with everything that come at him. Kieron Thorp also made an excellent save in the 35th minute from a South Park free kick to cement Bridges' lead going into half time.
South Park came out the better side and nearly got one back on the 49th minute from a corner but Bromage jwas there to clear off the line. Bridges then resumed their normal form and started to dominate possession again.
The game then died down with few chances for either side as many substitutions were made with the inclusion of Jamie Taylor and Mason Doughty who provided fresh legs to the Bridges attack and linked up well to create the third goal of the evening. Doughty was fed down the left wing and cut the ball back to JAMIE TAYLOR who took one touch and smashed the ball past the keeper, a deserved goal after the South Park keeper denied him with a fine save from a one-on-one just minutes earlier.
This still did not defeat the resilience of South Park and they nearly got one back on 70 minutes but for a point blank save by Thorp to deny a consolation.
TAD BROMAGE, who by the 75th minute was the only man left of the original starting back three, continued to control the back line and have an extremely solid performance and he got just what he deserved after he met a corner with a lovely looping header lobbing the South Park goalkeeper to top off a fine performance and make the score 4-0.
This seemed to be game set and match but there was still time for one last moment of madness as Thorp was judged to handle outside his area in the 90th minute after an over hit South Park through ball. South Park’s No. 18 stepped up with what was the last kick of the game and smashed the ball into the bottom left corner for a perhaps underserved but well fought for consolation.
This caps off Bridges' pre-season as they head into the Emirate FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round game away to Crawley Down Gatwick on Saturday, 11th August.
Match Report by SAM GADSDON