Pre-season friendly match
Bridgwater Town 4, Bodmin Town 1

AFTER the long wait, the prevaricating, the fan campaigns and hours spent preparing the stadium and its surroundings, Bridgwater Town FC was finally given the green light to welcome back supporters ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

South West Peninsula League side Bodmin Town were the visitors on Saturday, for the first match which Robins fans have been able to watch since March.

Last Wednesday saw the Football Association (FA) confirm that clubs at Steps 3 to 6 of the National League system (including the Western League) could begin a phased and limited return of spectators - provided that risk assessments were completed and social distancing measures in place.

Between August 22-30, fans may attend games “providing that their number does not exceed 15 per cent of the minimum ground grading capacity at these levels”, and from August 31, that 15 per cent is to increase to 30 per cent.

Bridgwater club secretary Kerry Miller said: “The whole club was given a massive boost by this news, which has not come a moment too soon in truth.

“Everything is in place now for the safe return of our supporters, although there will be significant changes at the ground for the foreseeable future.”

The fans who turned out on Saturday were treated to a comfortable home win over Bodmin, with returning midfielder Mike Duffy on top form in a first half which the Robins dominated.

The deadlock was finally broken 10 minutes before the break, as Duffy got down the bye-line and set up prolific striker Jack Taylor for a tap-in.

Young Callum Watts picked out the bottom left-hand corner for the hosts’ second, and Tom Ellis headed in a third from a Jake Llewellyn free-kick.

Bodmin pulled one back, but Bridgwater had the last word through Connor Bryant.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Ollie Morris (Connor Bryant 73), Jordan Greenwood (Tyne Govier 67), George Painter, Tom Ellis, Sam Towler, Mike Duffy, Callum Watts, Jack Taylor, Ryan Brereton, Jake Llewellyn.

The Toolstation Western League fixtures have been confirmed as starting on Saturday, September 5, when Bridgwater begin their Premier Division campaign at Buckland Athletic.

The following Tuesday (September 8) sees the Robins host near-neighbours Clevedon Town.