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BRIDPORT YOUTH U13s vs WAREHAM RANGERS U13s: 6-3 (League Division 2, 22 November 2015)

posted 22 Nov 2015, 12:04 by Simon McCabe

Down to Earth with a Bump in Bridport

Table-topping Wareham's unbeaten run in the league came to an abrupt halt at Bridport today with a 6-3 defeat.  The visitors were outgunned up-front and out-fought in midfield by a Bridport side who just seemed to get to the loose ball a little quicker, and wanted to win a little more, than Wareham.  While the long grass on the pitch did not exactly suit Wareham's passing game, both teams had to contend with it and Bridport clearly coped better, putting some good passing moves together despite the condition of the surface.

Bridport had the better of the early exchanges and scored first in the seventh minute. Wareham were prevented from going two down by the woodwork in the Wareham goal, and a great save from James.  The visitors showed signs of coming back into the game but for long periods of the first half were unable to make territory or possession count.  Then, in the 25th minute, Joe broke through the Bridport defence and was brought down by the keeper for a penalty, which Dannon converted powerfully to level the scores.  In the men's game, the Bridport goalie might have seen a red card and Wareham could have done with that as he went on to make a series of excellent saves to keep Wareham's attackers at bay.

Wareham seemed to have the momentum as the first half progressed and Harry and Christian both had chances to put the visitors in front but shot wide.  Then, just as the teams looked likely to go in at half-time all square, Joe beat the offside trap to run on to a lofted free kick from Gabe and skilfully lob the Bridport keeper to make it 2-1 to the visitors at the change of ends.

A goal just before half-time often gives the scoring team a psychological edge, but half-time in this fixture seemed to have the opposite effect: Bridport came out with renewed fight while Wareham seemed to lose theirs altogether.  Within three minutes of the restart, Bridport had counter-attacked from a Wareham corner and equalised with a skilful header from a pinpoint cross.

Six minutes later Bridport got their noses in front with another well worked goal from a corner.  Wareham were still in the game at this point, and George, on for Samuel at half-time, forced a save from the Bridport keeper for a corner.  However, Wareham were unable to capitalise, and after losing another midfield battle, failed to stop a Bridport through-ball which was converted to make it 4-2.  Hesitation in the Wareham defence after James was unable to hold on to a Bridport shot was punished by another Bridport goal for 5-2, and from then on, it was a case of damage limitation for the visitors.

Last ditch tackles by Alfie and Gabe, and a series of great saves by James, prevented the scoreline becoming even more one-sided, and Christian gave the visitors a glimmer of hope with a battling goal to make it 5-3 with six minutes to go.  It was, in truth, false hope, and when a deflected goal restored Bridport's three goal advantage, Wareham's travelling fans and players knew it was all over.  Rangers remain at the top of the table on goal difference after the weekend's games – but the boys are going to have to sharpen up to stay there in the weeks ahead as the competition intensifies.

Manager Darren Mears commented “Away days to the further reaches of Dorset normally prove difficult.  On this occasion it was made more awkward due to the agricultural nature of the pitch which was more suited to the Dorset Steam Fair than a Dorset Division 2 fixture.  Nonetheless, the Bridport team played some great football and showed that the conditions should not affect the quality of football played.  We only showed glimpses of our recent form and must adapt better to those long car journeys.  We need to ensure that our usual expansive, pressing and quick passing style isn't kept solely for the home fans”.

Peter Moore