BRIDPORT Reserves went down 4-1 to free-scoring Merley Cobham Sports who notched their 100th goal of the Dorset Premier League season at St Mary’s Field.

Asa Phillips grabbed a brace while Matt Groves and Jamie Moore also got in on the act before Riley Weedon pulled a goal back for the hosts, who remain 11th of 17 teams.

Merley’s formidable goalscoring form has now seen them score 26 goals in five matches amid a run to third in the standings, just five points off leaders and reigning champions Hamworthy Rec.

However, it was Shaun Annetts’ Bridport who started the brighter as Weedon’s long-range strike fizzed just wide.

Merley opened their account on 12 minutes, despite keeper Jordon Scadding getting a hand to the header, before a flowing move resulted in a six-yard tap-in eight minutes later.

Bridport felt aggrieved when Weedon was clipped in close proximity to the area, the Bees believing the challenge to have been in the box only to be awarded a free-kick which came to nothing.

Merley were then fortunate not to be penalised for what appeared to be a backpass to their goalkeeper, who duly swooped to pick the ball up under pressure resulting from a defensive miscommunication.

Bridport again began strongly in the first 15 minutes of the second half but could not find a breakthrough – inviting a third Merley goal to kill the game.

Sam Handyside was robbed of possession and Merley stormed upfield to effectively seal the victory prior to adding a fourth soon afterwards.

But Bridport persevered and claimed a consolation when Weedon’s firm right-footed strike found the back of the net.

Speaking to the Bridport News, Annetts felt Bridport gave Merley “a decent game”.

He said: “We knew that we were in for a tough afternoon. I was without six players that I’d call regular starters and was using young Jordon Scadding from the A team in goal.

“We were a little bit under-strength but we went into the game having had a few good performances of late. I’d like to think that we gave Merley a decent game and were competitive.

“A draw would’ve been fantastic and I think 4-1 possibly flatters Merley. On another day we might’ve had at least one or two more goals to make the scoreline a little bit more presentable.

“I couldn’t have asked more from the players – Merley are a good side, have some fine players and are very, very clinical.”

Reserves: J Scadding, Baggs, Cooper, Gall, Handyside, Hull, Jones, Mamanta, Peart, Ward, Weedon. Subs: L Annetts, Wright.