City of Bath 3-3 Bridgend
Bridgend made an early morning start to the second half of this traumatic campaign, travelling to high flying City of Bath. With several personnel changes forced upon them the Ravens looked to stick to their newly evolving zonal game plan. The game itself began brightly, with the home side enjoying plenty of possession but struggling to move the ball into the Ravens half. After numerous probing attempts the Bath side began to lose patience and allowed the Ravens to counter effectively, with first James Griffiths and then Osian Jones going close. The third turnover proved decisive as the more athletic of the Owen brothers forced his way into the opposition D to win a short corner. The mercurial Mike Hodges fired a pinpoint pass out to the veteran right mid Jon Rubery, this was picked up and fired into the back of the net by the senior Owen, Rhys. Although the Bridgend back four had held firm and supplied a significant range of counter attacking ball for the mid-field a sharp Bridgend attack saw a short corner conceded. A rapid drag flick into the top corner of the net meant that the home team went into half time on equal footing. Throughout the season so far Bridgend have shown their quality but only intermittently, however this team sported a much more steely resolve. Ross, Rhys, Woody and the Kiwi were miserly, continually frustrating the energy of Bath; Hibbert in goal showing his international quality with several last ditch saves. The real stars of the show were the holding midfield or Rob ‘Orc’ Evans and Mike Hodges, whose control allowed the old timers of Paul Jones and Andy Schofield freedom on the wings. A quick break and counter, sharp interplay between Griffiths and Jones set Rubery clear, his snap shot was poked home by the youngster to give Bridgend a deserved lead. A momentary loss of concentration and Bath equalised, an unfortunate turnover and reckless tackle by the northern sweeper Shaw saw Bridgend down to 10 players and worse conceding a third goal. The final acts of the game began with Bridgend piling on the pressure, Bath began to crumble, they allowed Bridgend to equalise and only desperate defence prevented Jones, Griffiths and Owen (jnr.) from giving the Ravens the win they deserved. A positive start to the second half of the season, an excellent team performance marshalled by skipper Hibbert, with no one giving less than all.