LIAM Short scored a hat-trick as bottom side Bridport were beaten 4-0 by Ilfracombe Town at St Mary’s Field.

Defeat sent to their 17th Toolstation Western League Premier Division loss of the season, with the Bees now 546 minutes without a goal.

Bridport’s season has followed an uncomfortable template of hard-fought first-halves followed by a drop-off in the second – this game was no exception.

The Bees did have the first meaningful shot at goal when Josh Baker let fly with a 30-yard rising drive, just clearing Town keeper Steve Oliver’s bar.

But Ilfracombe, who moved up to fourth with this win, took the lead in the 28th minute when Short pounced on a loose ball to score.

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Baker tried his luck again before the interval but Short ensured Ilfracombe were the next to score with a superb solo goal.

Darting in from the right wing, he was allowed to travel along the edge of the box, skirting past the Bees’ defence before squeezing a shot home inside the near post on 61 minutes.

Bridport saw a golden chance go to waste when a stunning 50-yard run from Riley Greenwood-Neate sent the midfielder through on goal.

With just Oliver to beat, Greenwood-Neate chose to use the outside of his foot to score, sending his effort straight at a grateful keeper.

Short’s hat-trick goal from 18 yards put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute – despite vociferous appeals for handball in the build-up.

And Ilfracombe inflated the margin of victory in the 88th minute when Harry Stevens scored deep inside the box.

Speaking post-match, Bees’ boss Rob Marquis said: “If I’m truthful, we create our own problems.

“Although we conceded four goals, it was our distribution that let us down.

“At half-time I said: ‘We are a bit unfortunate to be 1-0 behind’.

“In fairness to the lads they went out and carried on well. Then we gave the ball away, no excuses.

“The lad’s cut in and I’d probably like to see a foul. It is the darker art of the game and I think we’re a little too nice at times.

“I’m in no way encouraging our players to hurt others but I felt we had to take one for the team there.

“Their third goal, the ball went through and he’s handballed it. He’s pushed it forward with his arm.

“You’re looking at the referee – everybody, even their forward said: ‘That was on my arm for four yards’.

“He was that embarrassed, it was that obvious, and the referee doesn’t give it.

“That was 3-0 and we were done then. At 2-0 we were struggling. They got a fourth quite late on.

“The last 20 minutes was old us, once we went 2-0 down we were beaten. It is a shame because it would’ve been an improvement.

“It just looks like a drubbing again and they weren’t 4-0 better than us, they really weren’t.”

Bridport next host Keynsham on Saturday (3pm).

Bees: Taylor, Jarvis, Herbst, McAllister, King, Gall, Handyside, Baker (Boulton 73), Arnold, Burwood, Greenwood-Neate (Osei-Kumi 87).

Attendance: 126