It was an end to end encounter for much of the game but Bridges eventually ran out worthy winners with a clutch of quality goals in the process.
A fourth-minute corner led to a mix-up in the Sevenoaks defence with Dan Perry delightfully accepting the chance to lob the opener, and the home side’s cause wasn’t helped by early bookings for two former Bridges players in Luke Leppard and Steve Smith.
But Sevenoaks were level after 13 minutes when a cross from the right was met by a crisp volley by Bobby Dunn that left Mitch Bromage, starting a league game for the first time since his move from Lancing and his injury problems, clutching at thin air as the ball looped over him. And it got worse for Bridges seven minutes later when a deep ball found Louis Collins for what can only be described as a poacher’s finish at the near post.
Bridges refused to panic however and a good run from deep by Tad Bromage ended with keeper Matthew Blendell blocking Camron Lawson’s shot. Lawson was then denied again after a surging run by Alex Barbary, but at last the visitors equalised after 34 minutes when Bryan Villavicencio stabbed the ball through to Perry, who turned and provided a quality finish.
Bridges almost regained the lead early in the second half when Brannon O’Neill’s free kick back to Curtis Gayler finished with a cracking shot being blocked, and a cross by Gayler, who looked so much more comfortable in the middle of the field, was just nodded over by Noel Leighton. In between though, the luckless Barbary was carried off with a reoccurrence of his ankle injury.
A free kick from 40 yards out on the right, just in front of the Bridges dugout, looked to be a case of putting the ball into the danger area, but Gayler had other ideas and instead hit a scorcher of a shot that caught everyone napping for Bridges’ third in the 62nd minute.
Either side of this goal, both Smith and Leppard, who had received further warnings from the referee, were sensibly withdrawn before a second yellow card came their way, and Sevenoaks seemed out of ideas, although Joe Stone was perhaps fortunate to escape with only a yellow card as he fouled two players in the space of a couple of seconds. Even Bridges Chairman Paul Faili, a big fan of Stone, felt that a red card should have been shown!
Noel Leighton fired just wide as Bridges continued to attack and in the third of six added minutes, Callum Chesworth was brought down a yard inside the penalty area. Incredibly, the referee decided to award a free kick on the edge of the box instead, but it made no difference as Gayler hit a gorgeous shot into the far right corner of Blendell’s goal to complete a worthy victory.
Bridges MoM – Gayler
Bridges : M.Bromage, J.Stone, G.Ashley, B.O’Neill, T.Bromage, G.Gayler, C.Lawson (M.Wilson, 68), N.Leighton, D.Perry (B.Aubrey, 83), B.Villavicencio, A.Barbary (C.Chesworth, 51). Unused Subs. – H.Woolard, J.Young.
* This Saturday, Bridges begin the New Year with a home game against local rivals East Grinstead Town, and on Monday they travel to Whitehawk.