Three Bridges 1 Hastings United 3: Ten-man Bridges let slip lead before suffering defeat to promotion-chasers

Three Bridges v Greenwich. Picture by Scott Laver SUS-191203-152722002
Three Bridges v Greenwich. Picture by Scott Laver SUS-191203-152722002

In a game of what might have been, Bridges eventually succumbed to a fairly well organised Hastings side who moved into the runners-up position after this victory.

But there were a lot of promising moments for the home side, who took the lead and then saw a late penalty saved, by which time they had played almost 50 minutes with only ten men!

A tenth minute free-kick by Jack Dixon was the first sign of a Hastings threat, James Shaw producing a good punch clear, but it was Bridges who stole ahead after 17 minutes when Lee Hall’s pass down the right encouraged Ibby Akanbi to shrug off challenges superbly before driving inside Louis Rogers’ near post.

Dixon came close to an immediate equaliser from another harshly awarded free-kick, but in the 27th minute yet another free-kick from the left was headed home brilliantly at the far post by the vastly experienced Gary Elphick.

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But it had been a pretty even game at this point, but it all changed with the dismissal after 32 minutes for a reckless challenge by Brannon O’Neill in front of his own dugout.

Hastings’ players had been guilty of going down easily at times, but this was not one of those occasions according to even the Bridges faithful.

Within two minutes of O’Neill’s dismissal, Dixon rifled Hastings in front, and after 38 minutes a cross from the left was tucked in at the near post by Davide Rodari.

The signs weren’t good for Bridges at this point, but they finished the half with Reece Hallard forcing Rogers to a good low save before George Gaskin’s follow up was ruled out for offside.

Good play by the ever dangerous Lanre Azeez almost produced a goal for Hastings’ skipper Sam Adams, but the second half performance by Bridges was commendable as they reduced their visitors to half chances with Shaw rarely troubled apart from a decent free-kick by Crutwell.

But Shaw could perhaps count himself fortunate to receive only a warning after reacting angrily to another blatant dive in the box.

Bridges, who looked dangerous whenever they attacked after the break, had a chance to reduce the arrears ten minutes from time when Andrew Sesay was brought down by Jahmal Howlett-Mundle in the box, but the otherwise excellent Ikanbi’s spot-kick was gathered easily by Rogers.

Equally it could have been worse for Bridges as immediately Azeez made another break down the right and then saw his cross turned horribly over by Daniel Ajakaiye.

Six games to go as Bridges try to keep away from the relegation spots, starting this Saturday when Phoenix Sports visit the Jubilee Field.

Bridges: Shaw, Hall, Douglas, Gunner, Tennant, O’Neill, Hallard (Clarke 65), Oluwatimelehin, Seesay (Glloga 89), Gaskin (Berry 79), Akanbi

Unused subs: Simpson, Lansdale

Attendance: 131

Aerotron Man of the Match: Ibby Akanbi