STRIKER Tony Pinder netted a hat-trick and claimed an assist as Bridport overcame Toolstation Western League Premier Division bottom side Odd Down 4-3 in a ding-dong clash at St Mary’s Field.

Jamie Manley’s Bees halted a run of six straight losses and put daylight between themselves and their Somerset opponents – with six points and three places now separating the sides.

Victory was not assured as Odd Down enjoyed the better of the first half, the visitors taking the lead in the third minute.

Odd Down turned defence into attack as Pinder was denied by the visiting goalkeeper before a swift counter culminated in Anthony Conradi slamming past Bees’ keeper Scott Wells-Burr.

Moments after Bridport saw an effort scrambled off the line, Pinder had his first goal as he collected Lewis Clarke’s piercing through ball before rounding the keeper to score.

Bridport looked to capitalise on the momentum as Dec Cornish fired over before a lapse in concentration cost the Bees in the 37th minute.

A long throw by Bees’ defender Andy Holmes was cleared, beginning another swift counter. 

Nathan Warren attempted to close Elliot Dugan down but was beaten, leading to Wells-Burr haring off his line before Dugan easily navigated around him for 2-1 at half-time.

Bridport were camped in the Odd Down half in the second period and another Holmes throw found Pinder who buried his finish for 2-2.

With Bridport dominating, Will Gape came off for the creative influence of Sam Handyside and the change instantly paid off as Handyside’s gorgeous through ball supplied Pinder to slot in for his hat-trick.

Dugan then wasted a good chance before Bridport claimed a fourth goal, Pinder returning the favour by crossing for Clarke who made no mistake for 4-2.

Lewis Ellington bundled home in the 77th minute to set up a tense finale, but the Bees held on for their fifth league win of the season – and first since beating Cadbury Heath 2-0 in late November.

Speaking post-match, Bridport boss Manley said: “We’ve been turning a corner of late with our performances against other sides.

“It was going to be a battle and yes they’re bottom of the league, but they’re not that bad a side, they’ve got some good players and can hurt you. To be fair, they did hurt us.

“In the end we’ve held on for a well-deserved three points. All the lads were buzzing after the game and it was nice for all the supporters who turned up to cheer us on.

“They’ve been sticking with us and for them to see the win was great for them. I’m very pleased.

“It was squeaky bum time (at the end) but fair play to the lads, they held firm, dug in and got their just deserts.”

Bees: Wells-Burr, Haines, Holmes, Butcher, Salter, Cornish, Warren, Gape (Handyside 60), Westlake, Clarke, Pinder (Barfoot 87). Subs not used: McAuley, Greenwood-Neate.