Fast and furious start as Three Bridges are edge out in thriller

Tom Tolfrey. Picture by Scott Laver
Tom Tolfrey. Picture by Scott Laver

A fast and furious game that opened with a goal in less than a minute, saw a player from each side limp off inside the first 12 minutes and finish with Bridges’ star player being sent off for a wild challenge in added time.

It was the visitors who gained first blood when Reece Price-Placid collected a pass on the right from the influential Andre McCollin, who then received the low cross that followed to hit past Tony Coxall. But the lead didn’t last long as VCD levelled after five minutes with a corner from the dangerous Kelvin Ogboe being met by a powerful header from Raphe Brown.

Tom Tolfrey came close to restoring Bridges’ lead, but they were also fortunate to see Kieron Thorp save well with his feet and Dean Gunner clear off the line. After a spell of non stop defending, Bridges got back into the game with Tyrone Berry almost capitalising on slackness in the home defence, whilst at the other end a solid drive by Alastair Gordon was blocked and Gunner was again to the fore when he cleared a cracking effort from Ogboe.

It was Bridges who again broke the deadlock two minutes before half time as a long ball from Thorpe was nudged on by Berry into the path of McCollin, who ran at a defence that seemed to part before netting again in style.

But this time the restored lead lasted just two minutes as Michael Aziaya was adjudged to have fouled Henry Ikeije in the box, giving Ogboe the chance to net from the penalty spot.

VCD came out all guns blazing for the second half and Thorp was forced to a great save from Dominic Odusanya, whilst Gunner made yet another excellent block. Although Bridges had a few good moments of their own, it was not surprising that VCD stole ahead after 63 minutes with a swift counter attack ending with a clinical finish by Timi Toluwanile. And after 78 minutes VCD added a fourth, although it was an own goal by Aaron Goode as he tried to stop the impressive Jack Steventon’s effort but could only deflect it past a helpless Thorp!

Three minutes from the end of normal time, Bridges were awarded a penalty of their own when Brannon O’Neill was pushed as he attempted to meet a cross, and after a mass confrontation in which everyone managed to escape a caution, Tom Tolfrey gave Coxall no chance with a brilliantly struck spot kick.

VCD naturally tried to run the clock down as Bridges mustered a few attacks, and frustration grew for Gunner with an added time challenge that earned him a straight red card, a sad end to a fine performance by the Bridges skipper.

VCD: T.Coxall; J.Steventon; R.Brown; S.Roberts (H.Ikeije, 12); T.Eweka; R.Mahal; B.Simms; A.Gordon; T.Toluwanile; D.Odusanya; K.Ogboe,

Unused Subs. – C.MacDonald; D.Vincent-Edwards; B.Michael Olatunji; L.Rosenfield,

Booked – Ikeije (76).

Bridges: K.Thorp; A.Goode; D.Gunner; A.Douglas (T.Williams, 9); N.Simpson; L.Hall; R.Price-Placid; M.Aziaya (S.Taiwo, 69); A.McCollin (B.O’Neill, 82); T.Tolfrey; T.Berry.

Unused Subs. – M.Whitehead; T.Bromage.

Booked – Hall (82); O’Neill (89).

Sent Off – Gunner (90+1).

Bridges Man of the Match – Dean Gunner.