Bridges moved eight points clear at the top of the table, but they know that there are teams with games in hand trying to keep their Cup aspirations alive whilst amassing League points whenever an opportunity arises.
All Bridges can do of course is keep amassing points and 23 from nine games is a healthy return. Having said that, not a lot happened in a cagey first half, where the visitors had an early caution, lost a player with a recurring ankle injury and had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside.
Ibrahim Jalloh was making a nuisance of himself down the left flank for Bridges, but he was cautioned two minutes before half time for a late challenge. This just spurred him on as a minute later he received a pass from Kevin Rivera and strode purposefully before hitting a cracking shot past James Binfield.
Jalloh and Noel Leighton both came close in the early stages of the second half, but ten minutes into the second period a ball in from the left evaded two defenders and left George Gaskin, who had also been booked moments before scoring, with the perfect opportunity to equalise.
Littlehampton’s joy lasted just two minutes as a Brannon O’Neill free kick from the left was headed home at the far post by Jalloh.
Two of Town’s substitutes, Ollie Starkey and Brad Dolaghan, forced Jasper Sheik to two good saves in as many minutes, but after 83 minutes Leighton had a good effort half saved and Jalloh slid in to force the ball over the line for his hat trick.
Ethon Archer came close twice in the closing moments to adding to the score, but a now deflated Littlehampton had been generally well marshalled by a stubborn home defence in which Billy Irving excelled.
Bridges Man of the Match - Ibrahim Jalloh.
Bridges are away to Lancing this coming Saturday.
Bridges : J.Sheik, D.Ferreira, R.Euba (G.Ashley, 83), B.Irving, B.O’Neill, B.Villavicencio, E.Archer, H.Woollard (C.Donaghey, 61), N.Leighton (C.Lawson, 87), K.Rivera, I.Jalloh. Unused Subs. - E.Hanslow, C.Collcutt. Booked - Jalloh (43), O’Neill (65).
Phoenix 1 Lancing 2
by Dave Wilmott
Lancing travelled to Mayplace Road East looking to return to winning ways after three successive defeats. Their opposition, Phoenix, are not finding things easy this season. Having played nine league games, three more than Lancing, they sat third from bottom with only five points, one behind Lancing but with a -16-goal difference.
Lancing had new signing Louis Rogers making his second appearance in goal, but making his league debut. Also in the starting line-up was exciting prospect Knory Scott, ex Hastings too. The 24-year-old Bermudan national has represented his home nation.
There was an audacious start to the game with Phoenix attempting to catch Rogers unaware with a shot straight from the kick-off, but he was alert and not caught out.
It only took four minutes for Lukas Franzen-Jones to receive the first of many fouls, most of which went unpunished. Lukas cleverly turned his man who was penalised for his attempt to prevent him advancing into the box. Charlie Bennett was in an attacking mood hitting the by-line before being closed down by two defenders.
Phoenix caused a momentary scare for Lancing when a cross in from the right ran close to the far upright. Bennett continued to get forward, this time switching the ball to Franzen-Jones, who delivered a dangerous looking ball into the box which was headed clear. Lancing had an opportunity to test keeper Andy Walker, with a free kick for a foul on George Taggart. Andrew
Briggs’ dead ball spun upwards off the wall into the keeper’s arms.
The first real threat from Phoenix came around the 25-minute mark, with a rapid break, which fell away when the offside flag was raised.
After a quiet baptism, Scott came to life with some skilful work along the right flank, leading to a cross into the box which had the home defence struggling to defend. The ball ended up striking the upright before spinning away out of harm’s way. Knory followed this up a couple of minutes later with a shot on goal forcing keeper Walker to stretch to prevent Lancing taking the lead.
There was a scare at the other end as a back pass was under hit by Tyrone Madhani, causing keeper Rogers to sprint out and attempt to hack the ball away as he was being closed down. The ball struck the attacker but rebounded behind for a goal kick.
Franzen-Jones was performing well, receiving the ball with his back to goal and trying to fend off the marking defender, whose close attention warranted some intervention by the referee.
Despite dominating the first half, Lancing occasionally lived dangerously. Kyle Sim was put in difficulty prompting Rogers to come off his line to attempt to reach the ball. This was unsuccessful but the ball came off a Phoenix forward, running out of play.
Lancing finished the half strongly. A determined run from Alex Laing took him into the box before ending up on the ground. A strong claim for a penalty was waived away by referee Marcin Indyk. Franzen-Jones continued to look the man most likely to get on the scoresheet for Lancing. A fine pass over the top from Sim just eluded Lukas, who was in the clear and, as the half ended, a clever pass from Madhani again provided Lukas with something to run on to but the keeper beat him to the ball.
Within eight minutes of the second half starting, ay corner won by Scott provided Sim with a headed attempt but the ball flew over the cross bar. Sim then received the first of two cautions.
But the deadlock was broken in the 53rd minute by Taggart with a well struck drive which keeper Walker could not reach. Within a minute Andy Walker was to pull off the save of the match, somehow managing to leap to his left to keep out a superb drive from Franzen-Jones which was arrowing towards the top corner.
Immediately afterwards, Lancing went two up, Bennett sliding the ball home. Bennett then became provider, delivering a cross which Taggart was just able to get his head to but not able to direct goalwards.
Laing had been tormenting the home defence with his direct runs towards the penalty area. He was on the receiving end of some poor tackles but Lancing could not take advantage of resultant free kicks.
Phoenix were forced to abandon their defensive approach and showed that they could pose some problems for Lancing. Scott showed a willingness to defend, chasing back, but forced into conceding a corner from which Phoenix were able to reduce Lancing’s lead.
Michael Junior Sarpang rose well at the far post to score with a powerful header on 66 minutes. Immediately afterwards, Lancing brought on Dan Hull for Sam Bull.
Taggart was battling to try to restore Lancing’s two-goal advantage winning the ball but being fouled in the process. Briggs’ dead ball kick was off target. Briggs then won possession, sending the ball to Scott who beat his man and drove the ball across the face of the goal with Franzen-Jones desperately diving to try to get his head to it.
On 79 minutes Lancing were baffled by the referee’s interpretation of what appeared to be a hard but legitimate tackle from Sim, in which he clearly won the ball. Naturally, the follow through of such a firm tackle is likely to bring the opponent to the ground.
A second yellow was issued, leaving Lancing to battle through the remaining 11 minutes (plus seven minutes of added time) with only 10 men. It was the sort of tackle administered by Norman Hunter which he was able to get away with all those years ago.
Jack Meeres, who had been in fine form, was struggling with a groin strain, and was replaced by Charlie Gibson on 76 minutes and the final substitution brought on Alex Plummer for Scott.
Laing continued to show plenty of energy with another strong run into the box, putting himself clear but dragging his shot wide.
Phoenix threw caution to the wind and were driving balls into the Lancing box, but sound defending and some fine goal keeping from Louis Rogers kept Lancing’s nose in front. Two late cautions issued to Gibson and Franzen-Jones did not unsettle the Lancers.
It was a nervy end to a game which Lancing had under control for the most part. An important three points keeps them level on points with Broadbridge Heath and Burgess Hill, lying just above them.
Some strong attacking runs, a good number of aerial battles and tackles won and a match winning second goal were enough to make Bennett MoM.
Lancing: Louis Rogers, Tyrone Madhani, Jack Meeres, Kyle Sim,Sam Bull, Andrew Briggs, Alex Laing(Capt.),George Taggart, Charlie Bennett, Knory Scott, Lukas Franzen-Jones. Substitutes: Jacob Thompson, James Hull, Alex Plummer, Dan Hull, Charlie Gibson.
Broadbridge Heath 0-2 Ramsgate
Following heavy overnight rain the pitch at the BodyMould Community Stadium past two pitch inspections before the game was given the go-ahead and the Gods were kind to the groundsman too, as the predicted heavy rain never materialised and by kick-off the sun was beating down on the well manicured but wet surface.
Heath created the first chance of the match on 7mins when Sam Lemon struck a low right foot shot from the edge of the penalty area that the Rams keeper Tom Hadler did well to save low to his left.
Halder then launched the ball forward bouncing once before entering the Heath penalty area where Tad Bromage headed it back towards his keeper Roshan Greensall; Alfie Paxman anticipated the pass and played the ball between Brackpool and Greensall who briefly grabbed the striker’s shirt, a move that saw the player tumble to the floor.
The teferee immediately pointed to the penalty spot but then produced a red card for Greensall which looked a harsh decision given the ball was travelling away from the goal. Jack Frankland took over between the sticks and his first job was to retrieve the ball from the back of the net following Joe Taylor’s conversion in off the post.
At that point, with no recognised goalkeeper and down to 10 men, most Heath supporters were probably thinking this could be a rout but to be fair the Heath players really dug-in to protect their goal and even created chances of their own with Mario Quiassaca twice going close with long range shots that saw Hadler struggling to get back and the ball dipping just over the crossbar.
Frankland did make a good save from Lee Martin’s free kick, clawing the ball from going in the top right corner but a minute from the break it was 2-0 and another penalty kick.
Although there was no question over the first penalty kick, this one looked harsh on the Bears when Ramsgate’s Medy Elito received the ball inside the penalty area but then collided with his own player Alfie Paxman before falling to the ground, the referee immediately pointed to the spot claiming that Jamie Chesworth had committed the foul and despite the Heath players’ protests the kick was awarded and Taylor stepped up to make it 2-0 at the break.
The visitors started the second half well with Taylor testing Frankland with a long range shot which the Heath keeper saved comfortably while at the other end Ryan Brackpool’s headed a Louis Evan corner against the Rams crossbar.
On 65mins Taylor came close to completing his hat-trick with a shot that came off the top of the crossbar and Hadler was forced to make another fine save to deny Bromage a consolation but it remained 2-0 just as the rain started to fall again.
A really good battling performance from the Broadbridge Heath players, with no recognised goalkeeper and only 10 men for 80mins against one of the best teams in the division it would have been very easy to have folded under the circumstances but to-a-man they worked really hard and were a credit to the club.
Heath boss Chris Simmons said: The game as a contest was ended after only 8 minutes when we lost Roshan but I couldn’t be prouder of the way the team responded and kept battling and creating chances and never gave up, even after a poor decision for the 2nd penalty, we kept trying to counter attack and get something.
Next up is a trip to Littlehampton Town on Saturday 28th October, this game kicks off at 1.00pm.
BBH: Greensall, Frankland, Chesworth, Weller, Bromage, Brackpool, Waddingham (Lindsay 69), Penfold, Quiassaca, Doughty (Scally 10), Lemon (Khallouqi 90).