1st lose to Cray Wanderers 1 - 0
By Mark Beard
91st minute goal results in defeat to league leaders
After finishing the old year with a 91st minute winner, Bridges were on the receiving end of a last gasp goal seven minutes into added time away to runaway League leaders Cray Wanderers, who have only lost one League match all season to date!
The self proclaimed oldest team in London (having been founded in 1860) were the better side overall, but Bridges proved a tough nut to crack and might have snatched a winner themselves with twenty minutes remaining, George Gaskin's powerful drive flashing just wide of the post with keeper Nick Blue well beaten.
Ben Mundele and Joe Taylor had early chances for Cray, who suffered a blow when Aaron Rhule fell foul of the 4G pitch with a knee injury. Connor French tested Blue as Bridges began to show glimpses of the form that earned Martin Dynan the December Manager of the Month award, but Cray hit back with playmaker Tom Phipps striking the bar from a free kick and Bradley Pritchard's follow up being kept out by James Shaw's feet, one of three such saves made by the Bridges keeper.
A mini fracas shortly before the break was not indicative of the general competitiveness of the game, although the visitors felt that Cray were guilty sometimes of going to ground far too easily.
Ibby Akanbi forced Blue to a good stop whilst French headed over from Ikanbi's excellent cross just before the interval, but a combination of good goalkeeping, stubborn defending and dreadful finishing kept the game goalless. Taylor and Phipps both missed good chances but equally were denied by Shaw, and there was even a goal line clearance as Cray took advantage of Bridges being reduced to ten men after 72 minutes when French kicked the ball away just four minutes of being cautioned - rather unluckily - for a challenge on Blue.
Many of the visiting supporters were surprised to see the influential Phipps replaced with time running out, but it proved a masterstroke as Cray made one last attack and Phipps' replacement ARCHIE JOHNSON struck from just outside the box. It was cruel on Bridges, but they know that they are capable of competing with the best on this display.
This Saturday Bridges are back at home with VCD Athletic being the visitors.
Report by Alf Blackler