BRIDPORT sustained a poor 6-1 defeat at Cribbs on the opening day of the Toolstation Western League Premier Division season.

The Bees were 4-0 down at half-time, worsening to 6-0 as Matthew Spiller netted a hat-trick before a late Max Westlake free-kick earned the Bees a consolation.

With several Bridport players missing through injury, the result is perhaps unsurprising, although the scoreline will give the Bees’ management cause for concern.

Preparation for the clash was far from ideal as an accident on the M5 led to the majority of Bridport’s players turning up just 40 minutes before kick-off.

The Bees’ kit arrived even later, just 20 minutes before the whistle, with the visitors’ warm-up lasting no more than seven minutes.

Despite the rush to prepare, Bridport held firm for the opening quarter of the game until Cribbs winger Aki Akiwiumi drifted past two tackles and cut back for Spiller to control and fire into the far corner.

Bridport were unhinged in the 28th minute when Dan Webb latched onto a superb cross-field pass from Lewis Waldy, rolling the ball past the advancing Scott Wells-Burr for 2-0.

Akiwiumi claimed his second assist when the Bees switched off at a throw-in, the winger slipping the ball across for Webb to slide home for his brace.

Cribbs notched their fourth from a corner as Webb stole in at the back post, heading across for Ross McErlain to nod in.

After the resumption, Bridport struggled to create chances with only a couple of stray balls across the box troubling Cribbs.

Another long ball undid Bridport and, when Jacob Hodgson won the flick on, Spiller drilled past Wells-Burr from 20 yards.

Spiller enjoyed fortune for his hat-trick goal as his strike took a large deflection off Aston Butcher, with Wells-Burr unable to adjust his position in time.

Westlake then curled in a beautiful direct free-kick from 25 yards but it was of little consolation to the visitors.

Post-match, Bees’ assistant boss Kevin Leigh admitted the late arrival and Wednesday’s energy-sapping FA Cup loss to Willand had been factors in the defeat.

He said: “There was no preparation at all, no warm-up. They (usually) go out at 10 past two for a three o’clock kick-off, so that spoilt it.

“We were on our heels a little bit and I’m blaming that for the Willand game because we put a hell of a lot of effort into that.

“It’s disappointing to concede that many goals in the first game.”

Bridport host Street tomorrow (7.45pm).

Bees: Wells-Burr, King, Haines, Lock, Butcher, Owen (Wood 60), Cornish, Warren, Blango (Westlake 64), Gape, Leader. Sub not used: Holmes.

Attendance: 75


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