Phoenix Sports 5-1 Three Bridges 1st
By Mark Beard
Not the most auspicious start to Bridges' League campaign
Not the most auspicious start to Bridges' League campaign, the damage being done in a half hour period where Phoenix didn't seem to be capable of making mistakes!
The first quarter of an hour was even with both sides creating half chances. Lee Hall drove just wide after good work involving Alex Laing and Trevor McCreadie, whilst Kieron Thorp held a decent effort from Alfie Aldridge.
The dangerous Kweku Ansah put a good chance over the bar before a great ball by Jensen Grant found the ever busy Laing, who tried to pass when a shot might well have been the better option.
Nathan Simpson was forced to make a goal-line clearance to keep out a solid header by Jack Barry, and Bridges responded with great work by McCreadie ending with a shot that was just over the bar.
But after seventeen minutes a cross from the far right by ANSAH sailed over Thorp's head into the far corner. A fluke possibly and Ansah looked suitably surprised, but they had earned the right to take the lead with a number of devastating breaks.
There were no flukes between then and the rest of the first half as they added three more goals before the interval, the first of these coming after 26 minutes. Barry was unlucky again as his rasping drive deflected onto the crossbar, but the ball fell for ALDRIDGE to rifle home.
The sheer strength of JEFF DUAH-KESSIE led to him forcing his way through to net after 35 minutes, but two minutes later Bradley Peters saw a header cleared from John Lansdale's corner. The following corner was played back to Liam Collins, whose chip into the box was cleared leaving Bridges totally open to a break. ANSAH duly finished to leave the Bridges players red faced with embarassment and the Bridges Management team red faced with fury!
A noisy half time talk didn't seem to work as within five minutes another swift counter attack ended with DUAH-KESSIE again holding off everyone to drill past a helpless Thorp, and Martin Dynan now decided to make a couple of changes.
Samuel Da Costa Silva looked lively on his debut, but it was Connor French, having served a one match suspension on the opening day of the season at Crawley Down, who suddenly had Phoenix on the back foot.
He seemed to liven up the whole Bridges team and it wasn't long before Grant was just wide from an excellent Simpson cross. And on the hour a foul on Laing led to a penalty which FRENCH coolly drove beyond Steve Phillips.
Two minutes later Phillips made a superb block to deny French and the keeper then had to deal with a good effort from Jamie Taylor on the turn. But after 71 minutes Hall supplied the perfect pass for FRENCH to again show his strength and quality for his and Bridges' second.
Another Bridges substitute, Mason Doughty, tested Phillips after the youngster had cut inside and produced a good effort, but it was too much to expect Bridges to produce a sensational comeback against a strong pacy side like Phoenix.
Aerotron Man of the Match: Connor French