BRIDPORT suffered their sixth straight league defeat as they fell to a 3-1 home defeat to local rivals Gillingham Town.

The game got off to the perfect start for the Bees as a ball was played through to Louis Rutter who managed to beat the keeper to the ball and chip home to take the lead after five minutes.

Mark Salter had the chance to extend the lead shortly after when he got on the end of an Andy Martin free-kick, only to be denied by the visiting goalkeeper.

Despite the goal, it was a sluggish opening period for Adam Fricker’s side who were second best for much of the first half, allowing a clinical Gillingham side to strike three times before the break to give them a strong lead.

Bridport endeavoured to create chances in the second half but a solid defensive display from the visitors kept them at bay, capping a disappointing evening for the St Mary’s Field outfit, which Fricker put down to the absence of his key players.

He said: “I think considering we hadn’t played for a month and then played on Saturday it took its toll, but they were in the exact same situation as us so I don’t use that as too much of an excuse.

“The bigger issue is that Ed Butcher is missing for three to four weeks with an ankle injury, Braedon Symes was unavailable with a groin injury, and Lee Bailey was missing through work commitments, so we were missing three players that could have allowed us to freshen up a little from Saturday, so it’s a bit of a numbers

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issue for us in being able to have those options.

“The other thing is we just need to make sure we start a bit stronger. We all know where we’re at, we know we’ve had a tough run of games but Shepton Mallet and Gillingham are games which I feel we should be getting something out of.”

Saturday sees the Bees travel to Cadbury Heath (3pm), and manager Fricker is hopeful he will have a few more options for the trip.

He said: “From now until Saturday they need to manage themselves and make sure they’re preparing properly.

I can’t ask for any more from an effort perspective, it’s just about having some options because our squad is so depleted with injuries and unavailability.

“We look at various ways of playing and try to change it round from time to time. I think with Ed missing it is something we need to try and address to get more support up to Salts (Mark Salter) because he’s a proven goal scorer in this league, so we need to play to his strengths.

“But without Ed we don’t have that outlet of pace which you just can’t defend against.”

Fricker confirmed that aswell at Butcher, Lee Bailey is set to miss out while Louis Rutter (knee), Braeden Symes (groin) and Cameron Andrews (illness) could all return for Saturday.