1st beat Worthing United 5 - 1
A final flourish to the season with Paul Faili’s last game as Manager seeing him able to retire having guided Bridges to promotion, but there was a sad end too with Nathan Crabb suffering a broken leg just before half time for a strong, but certainly not malicious, challenge by Jordan Layton.
It took 14 minutes to settle the nerves with a fine opening goal with Liam Collins delivering a perfect cross for Jensen Grant to rise and place his header beyond keeper Mitchell Bromage into the far corner of the net. Jamie Crellin then had to clear off the line as Worthing hit back with a shot from Kieran Deacon, but after 20 minutes a fierce angled free kick by John Lansdale doubled Bridges’ tally.
Further openings were created with Matt Whitehead putting Connor French into a shooting position wide on the right, but his angled shot hit the bar, whilst Lansdale saw a shot on the turn blocked. A foul in the area on the galloping Crabb led to a penalty after 36 minutes, but French’s spot kick was saved by Bromage, French’s first penalty failure of the season.
Two minutes before the interval an inswinging corner by Whitehead was met by George Gaskin with a defender only helping the ball across the line, but then came the sickening blow for Crabb, having to be stretchered off after a lengthy wait, but there was still time for Grant to be denied by Bromage.
Worthing, still not safe from relegation themselves, hit back after 59 minutes with a swift break on the left, which ended with the ball creeping to the far post where Joe Patching’s shot was helped past Kieron Thorp with a wicked deflection.
However, United shot themselves in the foot as Deacon earned himself two bookings inside a minute, the first for swearing at the referee and the second for a clumsy tackle on Bradley Peters.
A few substitutions were made and after 70 minutes a lovely ball from one of those replacements, Brannon O’Neill, was then turned on by French for Gaskin to finish in style. Six minutes later O’Neill was again instrumental in the fifth goal with a neat pass that allowed Gaskin to complete his hat trick. There was almost a sixth goal from Darryl Siaw, but Bromage made a good low save.
The news from Chichester that Haywards Heath had won there meant that Bridges had to settle for runners up spot, and they know that they had drawn too many games, often against average sides, despite being meanest team in the League with only four defeats.
However, going in to the season the aim was to get promoted however which way and they have succeeded!
Extended Match Highlights can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bctdLFDP8Ew&feature=youtu.be
Aerotron Man of the Match: GEORGE GASKIN
Referee: Luke Chapman