Bridgend 1st XI 1-2 Cheltenham
Bridgend made a long away trip to Cheltenham, and their safe league position afforded them opportunity give the future of the club a chance to shine. As such a much changed eleven started the game, coming under a large amount of pressure at the start. Veteran first team defender Jonathan Woodward laid down a solid marker letting the opponent know he was more wall than human. Neall Hollis played another solid performance, sniping any attack in its infancy. Adam Hawas was his usual solid self in goal able to clear up the chances that slipped through. Midfielders Gareth Coleman and David Knight worked tirelessly in the middle to build chances and create a solid platform. The way they played was so technically sound, it exceeded what some of the officials could contemplate. Jeremy Ingram engaged himself in a war of epic proportions for dominance of the right hand side, after losing an initial battle he altered tact and robbed possession from the hapless winger he faced throughout the game. Rhys Owen linked up with Gavin Pound going forward, and although chances weren’t dime a dozen for the debutant the electric currency with which he moved brought him close in the first period. Cheltenham drew first blood in the game, after a series of short corners which were disposed of by Adam Hawas a loose ball was picked up by a Cheltenham forward following a scramble for the ball, this was fortuitously passed into the net. As the first half continued second debutant Matt Hibbert found himself roped into defensive duties, his work rate responded well to the step up in class, as he jabbed the ball away from his opponent. The thorns in the side of the opposition were Paul Jones’ darting runs down the right flank, and also Tim Hodges, who the opposition found unmanageable as he danced through the defence. Timothy’s best chance came as he picked up the ball and released a Timahawk shot which narrowly missed the far post. The young Hodges also created for Gavin Pound who felt short changed to have not scored in the first half.
The second half played out in similar fashion to the first. Bridgend looked the dominant force Ingram proved that age was no factor as he plucked passes from the sprinting wingers, who could only look back gingerly as he headed away with the ball. Hodges, Knight and Coleman steered the ship drawing fouls from the opposition whilst gaining further territory, advancing into attacking positions. Defensively, keeper Hawas met a number of attack by sweeping the ball from the attackers feet, as all four of the backs ensured chances against him were rare. Paul Jones stepped up a gear too causing havoc on the wing, but unfortunately without the final product. On the other wing Matt Hibbert was delicately manoeuvring the ball around his opponents to create chances going forwards. Against the run of play, Cheltenham broke through the defence Adam Hawas bested his man, who was forced to kick the ball past him, however the goal stood. Bridgend held possession from the restart, David Knight brought the ball in and out of the back before laying it onto Rhys Owen as he advanced up the pitch, after turning past a defender he made space for himself and found Gavin Pound on the near post, who turned on a sixpence with such ferocity his marker lost his stick, one on one with the keeper you could always bank on Pound who sold the poor padded opponent the wrong way before cashing in on his debut goal. As the game reached its conclusion Matt Hibbert was challenged unfairly by an opponent who regretted his decision as the youngster sent him crashing to the floor. A tense finale saw Bridgend come within inches of equalising, but despite the sterling work of Tim Hodges and Gavin Pound they could not overturn the deficit. A hard fought match in a season where Bridgend have learned a great deal about their strength in depth. Bridgend aim to finish on a high with their last league game next weekend.
Bridgend A 8-1 Swansea City B
Bridgends promotion challenge stays alive with a demolition job of local rivals Swansea. Bridgend started the game on the front font dominating from the start but it took then 15 minutes to open the scoring forcing the Swansea keeper to pull off several saves. Bridgends early dominance soon paid off with Jason Arnold and Andy Schofield getting their names on the score sheet early with same fine strikes. Bridgends free flowing attacking style of hockey allowed Paul Davies to link up with the Bridgend wide men to add more pressure on the Swansea defenders. Andrew Jones, Nick Anthony and Rhodri Owen added further goals to give Bridgend a 5 goal half time lead. Bridgend wanted to ensure that they pressed on during the second half they began well moving the ball sharply through the back 3 of Matt Wooster, Phil Rees and Rob Evans after being well backed up by goalkeeper Adrian Hibbert who was determined to keep his goal in tact. Jon Rubery and Jacob Hodges added flare to the game as the match continued with the later having a key role amongst the second half goals. Steve Murphy cleverly hit home which was followed by Andrew Jones and Jason Arnold doubling their tallies. Swansea didn’t give up throughout the game and score a well taken goal after Adrian Hibbert had made 2 fantastic saves. Bridgend now face Penarth next Saturday in a winner takes all clash.
Bridgend B 2 – 5 Whitchurch F
Bridgend started strong by winning the pushback and pushing whitchurch into their half. The pressure quickly led to a short corner which bridgend capitalised from and scored. Matthew Daly squeezing the ball past the keeper after the ball pinballing around the d. Whitchurch woke up and responded quickly putting bridgend under pressure and putting three past keeper cliff harrison who had no chance of saving them. The half time whistle gave bridgend time to breathe but not alot due to the weather quickly changing. The second half became a free for all as both teams fought for possession. A breakaway by bridgend fell to Tom Rosser who hit the ball to captain Jon Murphy who gave a quick one-two to jack steer and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right. Bridgend continued attacking but the whitchurch defence stood strong. Bridgend then had a massive problem when an attack broke down leading to a red card being shown. Bridgend (now with 10 men) continued to try and get back into the game but unfortunately got caught by two quick counters leading to goals. Bridgend continued to fight but the game was over. As the last league game of the season didnt go as planned, bridgend finish the season knowing that other results will determine whether they finish 4th or 5th in the league.
Bridgend Development 5 vs 2 Radyr
The game began in high tempo on a cold and wet night in Pencoed. Bridgend were dominant for quite some time before finally getting a breakthrough from a reverse stick finnish by Matthew Daly to put nerves to rest, assisted excellently by the mighty skills of Matthew Tudball. A second goal for Bridgend soon followed through a stunning short corner finish by Jack Hayes, thanks to good service by Mike Wilks. The half ended with solid defensive and midfield work from both teams, but Bridgend being dominant. The second half began with a shock two goals for Radyr in the space of 15 minutes which really shook up the Bridgend vibe. This feeling was soon to be ended by a beautiful cross by Tom Rosser to pick out Ben Hughes who finnished calmly. This goal was followed by fantastic skill and a great finnish by Matt Tudball who terrorised the Radyr defence all evening. In the last moment of the game, a poor clearance by Radyr was capitalised on when Matthew Daly picked up the ball in midfeild and finnished from the edge of the D, sticking it through the goalkeepers legs and ending his career. The final score, Bridgend Development side 5, Radyr Development 2.