1st beat Saltdean United 4-1
Home win on a snowy afternoon
A handsome win in the end but Saltdean were no mugs, and when they pulled Bridges back to 1-1, they seemed to be in the ascendency. Goals early in both halves helped Bridges to victory and both goalkeepers performed brilliantly at times.
Saltdean keeper, Rikki Banks, showed his early class with a superb tip over to deny Brannon O’Neill after just 2 minutes, but the resulting corner saw BRANNON O’NEILL claim his first of the afternoon with the help of a defender on the near post. Bridges had a number of opportunities to add to the score line with George Gaskin firing just wide and Nathan Crabb seeing a drive well held by Banks following a peach of a ball from the outstanding Lee Hall.
Kieron Thorp also had to show his class as he held a low drive by Harry Shooman and tipped over a header by Rob O’Toole that looked goalbound all the way but it was disappointing to see Saltdean equalise with a basic unmarked header by Wes Millis as a corner came over in the 25th minute.
Bridges responded well and Banks had to prove his worth again with saves from an O’Neill free kick and a header by Ben Bacon but after 33 minutes he could do nothing about another BRANNON O’NEILL free kick that beat the wall, and he was soon in action again to deny Nathan Crabb following a scintillating move by the home side.
The game was close at half time, but Bridges again had the perfect start when Crabb burst into the box and was clattered to earn a penalty with less than a minute played. Ben Bacon stepped up confidently to drive home the spot kick, but Saltdean refused to give in without a fight and the pick of Thorp’s saves came when he clawed away a close range drive by substitute Max Jeffery.
With five minutes remaining Gaskin broke clear on the right and his low cross was bundled over the line at the far post by another substitute, this time Bridges’ Tyrone Berry, his first goal for Paul Faili’s team.
A great free kick by Rob O’Toole in the dying seconds went just wide to sum up Saltdean’s woes, but much of their disappointment could be laid at Bridges’ quite stubborn defending at times.
Aerotron Man of the Match: Lee Hall
Referee: Robert King
Report by Alf Blackler