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BEES: Last-gasp Clarke earns cup relief
BLANDFORD UNITED 1
BRIDPORT RESERVES 2
BRIDPORT Reserves put the bad memories of their previous experience in a knockout competition behind them to seal a place in the next round of the DPL League Cup at Blandford.
Manager Robin Townsend had described his side’s exit to Poole Borough Reserves in the Dorset Senior Trophy as the worst game he had been involved in during his time at the club.
And, despite having a number of players unavailable for Sat-urday’s tie, the Bees won through thanks to Ben Clarke’s late winner.
Gary Bulman had given the visitors a half-time lead but Blandford equalised after the restart with a stunning strike from Simon Hyde that Billy Fleet in the Bridport goal could do nothing about.
“The lads who came in did really well and I’m over the moon with the result,” said Townsend. “I thought we thoroughly deserved the win.
“We had to put a few people in different positions, Sean Stewart moved from midfield to centre-back, but he and Ashley Clarke were rock solid.
“Adam Steele, Rhys Hayter and Zak Hawker came in and did well too.
“Rhys had a county game on Sunday so I didn’t start him.
“It looked like we were heading for extra-time so I brought him on and we scored our second soon after.
“Zak was pretty nervous but did okay and I thought Ashley was the man of the match.
“He won every single header and showed a lot of character after missing a penalty against Wareham.”
Townsend felt his side should have been out of sight in the first period as they bossed the game against the side just above them in the Dorset Premier League table.
“I thought we played really well, especially in the first half when we dominated and probably deserved to be two or three goals up at half-time,” he added.
“Jack Scovell had a great one-on-one chance and we got the ball down and played it around nicely.
“The first goal came from a great move involving Gary Bulman, Harry Fleet and Ben Clarke. Ben fed Gary and he made it 1-0 with a clinical finish.
“We started the second half pretty slowly and Blandford scored a great goal to make it 1-1.
“I thought we might capitulate but we showed a bit of character, dug in, and got the winner with six minutes to go.
“Tristan Gale fed Ben and he found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.”
League action resumes on Saturday with Bridport host-ing Hamworthy United Reserves.
Bees: B Fleet, A Clarke, Stewart, Hawker, Steele, H Fleet, G Bulman, Hailu (Rh Hayter 84), Scovell, Gale, B Clarke
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