Bridgend 1st XI 3-2 Whitchurch
Through wet and woeful weather a true battle of the ages was waged. Arriving at High Noon, Bridgend faced a strengthened squad compared to their victory earlier in the year, and the Ravens knew they faced a tough task. Spurred on by their victory the previous week – the Ravens were itching to get back in the saddle. As the showdown began, Bridgend found themselves faced with a great deal of pressure, but fortunately the team were able to circle the wagons to prevent any attacks finding a way through. An early foray forward for Timmy the Kid saw him slip a superb pass to Tom Pearce, who was unlucky not to score. Bridgend were not as fortunate as their counterparts, and outnumbered the Bridgend defense to find a way through the wagontrain and score. Absorbing more pressure from Whitchurch, Bridgend were able to turn the tables, and won a short corner through David Knight. The magnificent seven of Bridgend surrounded the ‘D’ and and a precision short corner was dispatched into the bottom left corner of the goal by straight-shooter Rhys Owen. Bridgend continued their usual tactics of using the flanks to advance, with both Paul Jones and Jon Rubery making in-roads on their respective drives. However Whitchurch’s tribe fought back in a counter-attack, which saw them storm the Bridend ‘D’ and luck was on their side as the ball crossed into goal territory despite the defense’s best efforts. David Knight got on the wrong side of the lawman and was exiled, which saw Bridgend regroup and await his return. When the outlaw re-entered the fray he did not disappoint, turning attack into into a land of opportunity one more with another short corner. This was duly injected by Tim Hodges and set-up by David Knight for Rhys Owen to shotgun it into the top right corner of the goal. A goal a piece set up the showdown for the second half.
Whitchurch started the second half hoping to take the scalp of the league leaders. However Matthew Wooster having suffered a stray shot to the abdomen which everyone thought was Wooster’s last stand, returned to take charge of his defense and battled valiantly in an Alamo style performance, including his now customary save on the line. John-Wayne Woodward stood along side him rustling possession from the opposition as if empowered by a whitchdoctor. Whilst full backs Rhys Owen and Neall Hollis tackled hard and worked to prevent any danger to their herd. The latter suffering a challenge more suited to brokeback mountain. This resulted in Whitchurch’s ill-discipline, which saw them as a hateful eight and goal keeper. Sherrif Gareth Coleman and Deputy Rhydian Cole took ownership of the midfield blocking any Scouts attempting to sneak through. The game became tense as both teams pushed to be the dominant force, it was Bridgend who demonstrated true grit and David Knight who performance can often be good, bad or ugly saw Gareth Coleman become unchained from the defense, Knight fired an arrow over the Whitchurch defense which Coleman struck on the volley – the shot cut through the air like a Bowie knife, in a true stagecoach production of hockey mere seconds before the end of the game. And that is how the battle between the teams in the West was won!!!
Bridgend Mens A 2 – 3 Gwent A
Bridgend dented their chances of promotion with a 3-2 loss at home. Despite leading with 5 minutes of the game left to play, the superior desire of Gwent paid dividends as 2 goals in the last few minutes secured victory for the visitors.
Bridgend never looked like replicating their previous victory against Gwent earlier in the season. Despite an early goal from the home side, Gwent soon equalised, giving them renewed confidence. Bridgend struggled in the wet conditions, seemingly unable to find that extra gear required to put Gwent under pressure, leaving Bridgend frustrated at half time with the score line all square at 1-1.
In the second half, Gwent continued to play a simple long ball game, hoping to catch Bridgend on the break. This proved largely unsuccessful until 5 minutes to go. With Bridgend seemingly putting the game to bed with a well worked goal, the score seemed destined to finish 2-1. However, Gwent found themselves equalising through a short corner. This seemed to stun some of the Bridgend players leaving them unprepared for the restart. Gwent on the other hand were competing hard for the ball and were duly rewarded for their efforts, slotting home to score what would be the winning goal with only minutes left in the game.
With 7 games left to go, Bridgend A will now need to pick themselves up and look for a win against top of the table Whitchurch C in order to keep their promotion prospects alive.
Bridgend B 8-1 Llan & Caerphilly A
On a cold wet afternoon, Bridgend went into the game off the back of a bad defeat against top of the league. Their opponent, bottom of the table Llan. The game started with countless opportunities by Bridgend but nobody could find the back of the net. The game became more and more frustrating until a shot at the top of the d by Paul Davies finally put Bridgend in front. The first half continued in the same fashion but Llan carved their way up the field with a long hit and hope. This lead to a short corner which they converted to make the scores level at half time. The second half proved more fruitful for Bridgend as 3 goals by captain Jon Murphy, 1 goal for Ian Blatchford, 2 goals for Denver Beer and a goal for youngster Steven Mansell gave Bridgend the win they deserved from such a dominant performance.
MOTM Ian Blatchford
Penarth ‘C’ 2 – 2 Bridgend ‘C’
Never Say Die
In 1978 Black Sabbath released their final album featuring their original lineup including Ozzie Osborne. It was called ‘Never Say Die’ and the title track lyrics included:-
“There’s no need to have a reason
There’s no need to wonder why
It’s a part of me that tells you
Oh, don’t you ever, don’t ever say die”
This rather neatly summed up Bridgend’s afternoon in dismal conditions, with a bare 11 players against Penarth’s hordes and enduring some questionable umpiring decisions in twice falling behind, only to refuse to buckle.
Penarth squeaked an early goal that might best be described as ‘spawny’ as a mix up in Bridgend’s defence allowed them to take the lead. Bridgend were enjoying high levels of possession with the waspish Tom Rosser a regular irritant down the right and Osian Jones making the Penarth elder statesman in midfield feel every one of his advancing years.
A great move involving captain Schofield, ‘Evergreen’ Steer and Nick Allen resulted in Bridgend winning a short corner which Jon Wilks despatched into the bottom corner for a Bridgend equaliser.
Half time came and went with Bridgend continuing to attack powerfully but a Penarth move that appeared to end as a good tackle forced the Penarth forward to conduct an ‘air shot’ that landed on a Bridgend shoulder was waved on and Penarth were suddenly re-motivated with the resulting goal.
Bridgend were seriously angered and replied almost immediately as a patient move resulted in Nick Allen deflecting home an equaliser that rendered Penarth’s previously rigid defence somewhat flaccid.
The critics of Black Sabbath’s ‘Never Say Die’ album described it as ‘unbalanced, scattering it’s energy in too many directions’ which was a perfect analysis of the last 10 minutes, but Bridgend should be pleased to maintain their 2018 unbeaten record and take another point