Three Bridges youngsters exit Sussex Senior Cup at Hastings United
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These included Conner Collcutt in an unfamiliar left back role and Harvey Woollard, who often bossed the midfield and only marred his performance with a silly comment to one of the Assistant Referees in the last moments of added time to earn an unnecessary second yellow card.
Not that it started well for Bridges as they found themselves two down inside eleven minutes. A simple attack down the right led to Davide Rodari slotting home easily after five minutes, and after Hastings hit the woodwork for the first time (they also hit it twice more during the game), Rodari was on hand to add his second.
But Bridges quickly hit back, a 15th minute Woollard corner being met by a solid header in the centre by Billy Irving, who could probably call himself a veteran of the side (aged 23) in this line up! And just six minutes later, Bridges were on level terms when good work by Ethon Archer created havoc in the Hastings defence with Noel Leighton, captaining the side in the absence of Brannon O’Neill, applying the decisive touch.
Just three minutes into the second half, another good quick move down the right saw Elliott Hanslow finish in style, and there were chances at both ends before former Bridges player John Ufuah came on and boosted his side’s attacking flair. When he was felled in the box after 79 minutes, Rodari gratefully accepted the chance to seal his hat trick from the spot, but Hastings – desperate for the game not to go to a penalty shoot out – were given another opportunity three minutes from the end of normal time when Ufuah was fouled again on the edge of the box. The free kick came in hard and low and then reared up for Karl Obafemi Akinwande to bundle over the line at the near post.
Cruel on Bridges, who deserved at least a chance of glory in a penalty shoot out, but credit to all the team for showing their skills against a side who sat in fifth place in the Isthmian League Premier Division at the start of this game.
Bridges Man of the Match – Conner Collcutt.
Bridges : J.Sheik, C.Collcutt, J.Bendall, B.Irving, T.Curran, H.Griffiths, E.Archer (F.Southwell, 85), H.Woollard, N.Leighton, E.Hanslow (Y.Ainine, 70), I.Jalloh.
Unused Subs. – J.Oliver, H.Stewart.
Booked – Jalloh (75).
Sent Off – Woollard (two bookings in 15 and 90+6).