1st beat Ashford United 2 - 4
By Mark Beard
We win away!
A resilient performance from Three Bridges saw them ride out as 4-2 winners away at Ashford. Two goals in either half saw Bridge pick up a vital three points whilst handing starts to two knew signings, Ibby Akanbi and Olumide Oluwatimilehn.
The first ten minutes of the tie was very evenly matched with neither side making any clear cut chances but on ten minutes that all changed in Bridges' favour when a lovely ball was delivered into the box and Ibby Akanbi met it with a sweet header in off the bar for a debut goal and to give Bridges an early lead in the fixture. Bridges could have had another three minutes later after Jensen Grant intercepted on the edge of the Ashford box but French fired wide.
Ashford began to settle and should have equalised after Lee Hall was disposed on the edge of the area by Stefan Cox but his shot was tame and Giovanni Porciatti got down well to save. Ashford maintained the pressure with a few corners and free kicks cleared and it looked like they were going to get an equaliser but then Bridges hit on the counter from a corner. Akanbi played Mason Doughty down the left and he fizzed the ball into the danger area and Ashford defender TOM CARLSE slid in to intercept but instead turned the ball into his own net to give Bridges a two goal lead.
This was quickly reduced by Ashford as the ball fell to Sam Corne in the box. He was challenged and fell to the ground obstructing the ball with what looked like his hand before getting up and smashing past Porciatti with Bridges furious with the referee that the handball was not given. Akanbi could have added another to his tally just before half time after excellent work to dispossess Josh Wisson and then hold him off before curling an effort that was well saved by Sam Mott to keep the score at 2-1 going into half time.
Ashford started the second half much the better side with Bridges happy to sit back and soak up the pressure and in the 56th minute they had a great chance to equalise with a free kick just on the edge of the box - a real scoring opportunity but Fidan Fejzi blazed his effort over the bar.
Another couple of chances came their way minutes later. First Porciatti pushed Cox’s effort around the post and then Harry Ottaway volleyed from a corner but was excellently blocked by a combination of Bridges defenders. Porciatti then pulled off an outstanding save after Lanre Azeez put an inviting ball into the box, Wisson rose highest and headed towards goal which looked destined to hit the back of the net but Porciatti acrobatically dived to his right to push away for a corner.
Then came a moment of magic for Three bridges when a Lee Hall corner was nearly turned in by an Ashford defender but the ball was eventually cleared up rather than out towards the edge. This is where Mason Doughty was waiting and with outstanding technique he smashed the ball into the bottom corner to send Bridges wild and make the score 3-1 in the 79th minute. It just got better for Bridges in the 88th minute when Ibby Akanbi picked the ball up in the middle and with great skill took it past two defenders before belting it into the bottom corner for his second and Bridges' fourth.
The referee added four minutes on at the end of the game which allowed Sam Corne to score an excellent acrobatic goal but this was nothing more than a consolation as Bridges rode out 4-2 winners in an excellent victory.
Three Bridges# next game sees them face up to Molesey FC In the Buildbase FA Trophy Preliminary Round at Jubilee Field on 13th October 2018 - 15:00 kick off.
Report by Sam Gadsdon