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BEES: Focus on cup can give Bridport a boost
MELKSHAM TOWN v BRIDPORT
CUP football provides Bridport with a distraction from the league this weekend on the back of two disappointing results at St Mary’s Field.
The Bees travel to fellow Toolstation Western League Premier Division side Melksham Town in the Les Phillips Cup on Saturday (3pm) after picking up one point from six against Slimbridge and Willand Rovers.
Melksham won in the league for the third time this season when beating Sherborne 1-0 last Saturday and sit just a point behind the Bees in the table.
The Wiltshire outfit have actually won four of the last six in all competitions, while Bridport have gone five without a win.
The good news for manager Trevor Senior is that goalkeeper Sam Filkins is free to play having missed Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Willand with university commitments.
Stand-in Ashley Weeks didn’t let Bridport down but in the end Willand took their chances following Ryan Dovell’s early strike.
The hosts led at half-time but two quick goals from Bobby Hopkinson turned the game on its head before the dangerous Luke Alden added a third late on.
An own goal by James Clampin in injury time gave the Bees some hope of snatching a point but the visitors held on for the victory.
Had it not been for a remarkable sequence of events two minutes into the second half, the Bees would have doubled their advantage and could well have gone on to triumph.
Dovell met a Dan Wise corner, a defender on the line deflected his effort on to the bar, it hit Gibbins on the head and fell to Shane Evans but the Bridport defender’s header was hacked away.
That setback for the Bees followed a 1-1 draw against Slim-bridge three days earlier when Matt Condliffe made the most of a defensive blunder to earn Senior’s men a point.
It was about as much as the Bees deserved and Senior admitted afterwards his side hadn’t played well enough to win.
Jamie Martin gave the visitors the lead in spectacular fashion with half an hour on the clock, curling the ball over Filkins from around 25 yards out.
Bridport had chances to level in the second half and, after Tom Richardson had struck an upright, Condliffe capitalised on a mix-up between Slimbridge keeper Dave Evans and defender Leon Sterling to equalise in the 77th minute.
“We didn’t play well and there were too many players off their game,” said Senior. “We huffed and puffed in the first half and had a go in the second half, but we didn’t create too much and our goal came through Matt Condliffe chasing a lost cause.
“There wasn’t that tempo about us, and we didn’t have that fight and desire really.
“It’s about confidence. We’ve only won two or three games and we’re lacking confidence.”
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