AN IMPROVED Bridport pushed a high-quality Street side closely but were eventually undone by former Bees’ winger Ed Butcher in a 1-0 loss at St Mary’s Field.

On paper, the result will go down as a second Toolstation Western League Premier Division loss this season – but Bridport were vastly better than Saturday’s 6-1 drubbing at Cribbs.

Against one of the classier teams in the division, Bridport showed fight and were unlucky not to take a share of the points.

The Bees, who have struggled with injuries this season, saw midfielder Jake Owen fail a pre-match fitness test on his knee, while star striker Liam Sayers withdrew 30 minutes in with a recurrence of a hamstring issue.

Street looked the likelier to score in the opening stages and Butcher, who left Bridport two seasons ago, returned to haunt the Bees with a composed finish in the 20th minute.

Bridport curled in several threatening crosses without end product as Street survived to the break.

In the second half, stout defending from Ben Haines prevented Street from going 2-0 up with some magnificent challenges.

With their defence solid, Bridport applied pressure at the other end as captain Luke King headed just over, while man-of-the-match Leon Wood teed up Dec Cornish who blasted inches wide.

Bridport carried the greater menace in the dying stages, with Street restricted to counter-attacks, but the Cobblers held on to take all three points.

Post-match, Bees’ assistant boss Kevin Leigh said: “It was 100 per cent better (than Cribbs), everybody was up for it, at it, they worked hard.

“It was a completely different performance. It was similar to Willand last week, they upped their game.

“All in all, a far better performance. You come away from Cribbs feeling very deflated but then we had a chat before the game and gave them a few home truths. They went out there and did really well.”

Leigh also praised Wood for an impressive display: “Leon was outstanding, a young lad who’s come in and done very well.”

Bridport have a weekend off, returning to action on Tuesday at Buckland in the league (7.45pm).

Bees: Wells-Burr, King, Holmes, Hastings, Haines, Warren, Gape, Wood, Cornish, Sayers (Westlake 26), Clarke (A Butcher 80). Subs not used: Lock, Owen.

Attendance: 120