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Bridgwater Town 3 Bishops Cleeve 0
4:00pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Somerset Sport
THIS was the first clean sheet and first league home win of the season for a business- like Robins side. With two goals in the bag by the 23rd minute, the result was never in doubt. Bishops Cleeve were made to look innocuous and lacked the heart for the battle.
On a fine night for football, Town made the early running and it was the running of Jon Vance that made deep inroads into the visitors’ rearguard. He rather looped his shot and James Nortei in goal wasn’t tested. Nortei’s erratic clearances kept Town interested and Bishops Cleeve nervous.
The visitors did threaten to ruffle the Robins’ feathers after 17 minutes when Will Gayton’s left wing cross found Stuart Midwinter lurking yards from goal. Frankly he should have buried the chance but instead a timid contact with the ball allowed Jake Viney to make an easy save. That was as close as Bishops Cleeve were to come to scoring a goal.
Joe McClennan was showing willingness to run at the defence and he was recklessly hauled down by Jake Lee as he closed in on goal. Nobody could argue about the penalty award and nobody did. Craig Veal has shown this season that he is lethal from 12 yards and his spot kick was sent whistling past Nortei on 21 minutes.
Zayne Simpson was brought in at full back for long term absentee Kye Thomas and his first goal for the club brought number 2. Vance rolled a corner kick to him and from a few yards outside the penalty area he curled a precise left footed shot into the top right corner of the net. A sumptuous finish.
With Graham Mercieca running at the defence on the left and McClennan doing the same on the right, the visitors were often made to look overstretched. A run and shot from Mercieca brought a low save from Nortei and then Town nearly benefited from some pinball action in the penalty area when the ball could as easily ended up in the back of the net as anywhere else.
Half time came with Town sitting very comfortably upon their two goal cushion.
Bishops Cleeve did make a game of it in the first 20 minutes of the second half. The impression was that Town were sitting back just a wee bit. Midwinter had another chance to score on the hour but he miskicked completely. The central pairing of Bradley Middleton and Chris McGrath looked very secure and, although three early substitutions brought some urgency and energy to the visitors’ game, conceding a goal never looked likely.
The regular intervention of the linesmen’s offside flag frustrated both sides equally but on two occasions Town got away from the linesman and the defence in one – on- one situations. Nortei was very quick off his line and he thwarted both Craig Veal and Ross McNab as they looked favourites to add to Town’s goal tally.
Simpson rounded the game off in a highly satisfactory way with his second goal on 88 minutes. Taking over the free kick duties from Vance, he directed a free kick low to Nortei’s left from 25 yards. The keeper seemed to dive over the ball but you wondered how the defensive wall allowed the ball through.
It was a pleasure to see Town command a game for almost the entire 90 minutes and the recent loss of Dave Pearse (through transfer) and Kye Thomas (through injury) wasn’t noticeable.
Speaking after the match, boss Kevin Milsom said: "It was a good result last night, not the most entertaining of games but three points in the bag and a clean sheet."
Town 1-2–3: 1 – Joe McClennan 2 – Zayne Simpson 3 – Chris McGrath
Team: Viney, P Veal (Fitzpatrick 46), Simpson, Middleton, McGrath, Mercieca , McClennan , Mountford, MacNab (Govier 88), Vance, C Veal (Ben Salem 81).