Llewellyn 34, Towler 55, 90


Gape 37, Cornish 42

BRIDPORT were denied a point by Sam Towler’s 90th-minute winner at Bridgwater Town as the Bees once more put up a fighting display against a Toolstation Western League Premier Division heavy hitter.

Bridport’s improvement in the latter half of 2019 has been evident, with top sides Exmouth and Plymouth Parkway both troubled by the Bees in 3-1 wins.

Another barometer as to Bridport’s recent strides lay in the difference between this game and Bridgwater’s 6-0 victory at St Mary’s Field earlier in the season.

This fixture was far closer, but Bridport had to be alert in the opening exchanges as Town’s Mark Armstrong and Jack Taylor both saw efforts saved by Scott Wells-Burr.

Bridport edged their way back into the contest and a delicious ball over the top from Will Gape released Riley Greenwood-Neate only for the winger to blaze over when one-on-one.

Only seconds later, Bridgwater won a penalty as Taylor was felled, allowing Jake Llewellyn to slot past Wells-Burr from the spot in the 34th minute.

Spirited Bridport were behind for three minutes as Gape rose highest to score a header from Dec Cornish’s left-wing cross.

Taylor missed a big one-on-one chance in reply before Cornish collected possession, cut inside and curled a sumptuous finish into the top corner for a 2-1 half-time lead.

Bridport had stunned their hosts but Town were level in the 55th minute when Sam Towler buried a Luke Manley cutback at the second attempt.

Thomas Ellis then rattled the crossbar with a header from a Towler corner, the latter also firing a volley wide before Dave O’Hare tested Wells-Burr from range.

Bridgwater’s pressure eventually took its toll on Bridport, who were undone by Jake Brown’s drag back and Towler was there to smash home the winner.

Bridport assistant-manager Kevin Leigh said: “I felt so sorry for (the players). The lads came out and put on a good show – everybody played well.

“We’ve learned from the 9-0 defeat and it’s taken time to change the back four, but we’ve done that now and hopefully we’ll reap the benefits from it.

“But it’s disappointing when you lose a goal with minutes to go and you think ‘oh, for God’s sake’.

“That’s just the way things are. When you’re near the top, everything goes for you and when you’re near the bottom you’ve got to fight harder for it.”

Bridport entertain Wellington in league action on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Bees: Wells-Burr, Salter, Haines, Gall (Friend 70), Butcher, Greenwood-Neate (Westlake 60), Handyside, Warren, Gape, Cornish, Clarke. Subs not used: Beals, McAuley.


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