Bridport Hawks 2 – North Devon 1
Bridport entertained the promotion seeking feisty North Devon side at the Sir John Colfox School on Saturday.
After a 6 nil trashing away to Exeter University the previous week Bridport were desperately hoping to regain some form and secure points to keep from being dragged into a relegation battle.
With three regulars out Bridport had to bring in stalwarts Phil Bosworth and Lewis Stripp to bolster the ranks. Also making his debut appearance was seventeen year old Harry West-Taylor filling in at Left Midfield.
North Devon a very fit and physical team and looking for this win to take them in to second place applied pressure from the start and were lucky not to go ahead early on had not been for the great saves of stopper Mark Smith.
Perhaps over commitment was North Devon’s downfall as a neatly threaded ball from Midfield Talisman James King to skipper May left the defence exposed and he found himself in the D with a one-on-one chance with the oppositions Goal keeper. May was brought down in a collision and in the ensuing melee the ball popped out for Alex Davies to mop up and open the scoring. From the re-start North Devon countered with relentless pressure and had lots of possession with only the dynamic athleticism of Charlie Davies and Tommy Craddock keeping the sheet clean.
Near the end of the first half Super Striker Andrew Frampton in the current form of his life pounced on the North Devon right-back when he miss-controlled a ball played to him from his sweeper to rifle a fantastic shot into the backboard and make it 2 nil at half time.
In the second half a disgruntled North Devon came out with guns blazing and won a penalty corner early on which they duly converted. Feeling back in the game they continued to dominate most of the second half but could not break down the defence with Connolly making crucial tackles and Man of the match Mark Smith making a number of fine last minute saves to earn Bridport a much needed three points.
“Skipper May was ecstatic after the game and commented: “It wasn’t a pretty game but the team worked really hard and we ground out the win - that basically keeps the team from slipping into relegation zone”
Hawks: May, Harry West-Taylor, Craddock, A Davies, C Davies, L. Stripp, King, Smith, P Bosworth, Connolly. Umpires: Gavin Brooking, Mike May.
Bridport Hawks 3 - Taunton Civil Service 3
Hawks show courage in fight back
In a feisty contest Bridport Hawks fought back from an early two goal deficit to grab a share of the spoils and keep ahead of one of the sides battling for survival at the bottom of the South East Div 1 of the West of England & South Wales league.
Bridport were desperate to avoid defeat to ensure maintaining at least the five point gap between their Somerset rivals, but things look ominous as the visitors took their chances in the opening minutes.
Although the home side were more decisive in the attack, Taunton took the lead on three minutes when Richard Acklon drove the ball home at the third attempt in a goalmouth melee after keeper Mark Smith had made two terrific saves to keep his goal intact.
They increased their lead on eleven minutes when Ben Gavagan scored from a short corner routine.
However the Hawks hopes were revived two minutes later when a clever lofted ball from skipper Julian May put Andrew Frampton in the clear. Whether his first attempt, an air shot at goal, was a dummy or forced as a result of the pace he was travelling is not sure, but it did the trick completely taking the keeper out of the equation, and he scored with a clever shot from an acute angle at the second attempt.
The Hawks picked up the pace as a result of this goal, and they should have equalised on 20 minutes when good work from Alex Davies and the Frampton with a ball across the face of goal left Giles Harvey (7) with an easy chance at the far post but he somehow pushed the ball wide of the goal.
Hawks did get level though four minutes later when man of the match Alex Davies played May in and he smashed his shot wide of the keeper into the corner of the backboards.
The game continued to be nip and tuck with Bridport in the main having the upper hand without any additional scoring until ten minutes from time when Hawks nosed ahead. Frampton’s shot from a short corner was deflected to injector Alex Davies who tucked it home at the near post.
The visitors became quite aggressive as they searched for an equaliser, and despite some yellow cards and a couple of superb saves by Smith, they drew level when they took advantage of poor play from a Bridport sideline hit and Acklon was on hand to convert a neat move.
The game ended with a visiting player being shown a red card for a horrendous foul on Lee Connolly and a share of the spoils.
Bridport 1 Yeovil A 1
After a good away win against Sid mouth last week Bridport entertained promotion hopefuls Yeovil A at home - holding out for a well deserved point against second in the league Yeovil A on Saturday.
After a few losses before Christmas Bridport were in desperate need of racking up a few points to open up the gap from the bottom place teams in the South East Division 1 table. Always a difficult team to play against Yeovil were known for their physicality on and off the ball and it would be a true measure of Hawks to get anything form this. But fielding the same youthful team as last week Bridport felt they we’re always in the frame for taking something from this tough encounter.
From the start of the game Bridport pressured Yeovil well not allowing them time on the ball. After ten minutes into the game Yeovil’s centre forward won a penalty corner which was only put away with a defected hit that took the ball millimetres from stopper Smiths finger tips. Bridport counter attacked immediately and looked like scoring until sweeper Brooking was horrifically fouled. Losing control of his temper he decided his aggressor needed a quick bop around the head with his stick for such a terrible foul. Unfortunately for Brooking the umpire saw this and was promptly sin binned on the sideline for 15 minutes. Down to 10 men Bridport struggled against a relentless onslaught of Yeovil attacks only the dazzling athleticism and courage of Charles Davies and Left back Tom Craddock kept Hawks from being punished for the remainder of the half.
Back to a full side in the second half Bridport reasserted themselves, a quick open game ensued with both sides missing scoring chances. In the last quarter Alex Davies used his skill to make a fine midfield run to find himself in the D able squeeze his shot past the Yeovil keeper on the near post. Yeovil realising this game was crucial to their promotion hopes piled on the pressure, but it was a case of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object of Davies, Cox and man of the match Craddock in defence - with Brooking playing well making up for his earlier blip. This gritty defensive performance allowed Hawks to take a well deserved point.
Team: May, Brooking, Craddock, A Davies, C Davies, Cox, Rowe, King, Cleverly, Smith, Bugg. Umpires: Lee Connolly, Mike May.