Harry Salvages a Point for Bridgwater Town
Toolstation Western League Premier Division
26th October 2019
Bridgwater Town FC 3 Vs 3 Buckland Athletic
Jake Brown 21 Richard Groves 42 pen , 57 , 67
Harry Horton 85 , 88
The conclusion to this game had to be seen to be believed. Town’s performance throughout the second half was desultory and they had allowed the increasingly confident Buckland to deservedly build a two goal lead. Town did not look like they had a fight back in their armoury. Then Harry Horton came on for the last 15 minutes and he changed the game. He injected energy into Town’s flagging collective effort and scored two goals with sumptuous finishes. Buckland must wonder how they failed to leave Fairfax Park with three points.
Town’s performance, especially in the second half was way below the standard needed to sustain a title challenge and they will not win many games playing like this. Too many players had off days but they did at least escape with a draw.
The conditions were testing but highly playable. The strong wind made judgment of forward passes difficult and the surface was skiddy.
Town almost scored very early on. The busy Jake Brown latched onto a loose ball and drove a low shot goalwards. Kenny Griffiths got down smartly to smother the effort. That was the only save of any difficulty that he had to deal with.
Brown scored the opener and it was fortunate. Playing on the right, he curled a left footed ball towards the goal. It seemed to catch on the wind and bamboozle Griffiths. He watched it sail over his head and into the net.
Play was generally scrappy with passes often failing to reach their destination and the keepers were mostly observers at this stage.
Buckland thought they had a strong claim to a penalty when Stuart Bowker and Jake Viney collided when chasing a through pass. Bowker was so annoyed that the referee had allowed play to continue that he was still arguing with him ten minutes later.
With half time looming Buckland were awarded a penalty when Dave Thorne fouled Lloyd Gardener. It looked as though the referee got both decisions correct. Richard Groves scored to the right as Viney went left.
With the rain still making life unpleasant, Town struggled to play any constructive football after the break. Playing on the break, Buckland started to get behind Town’s back line on a fairly regular basis.
The influential Groves got clear on the right but Viney blocked his low drive. He went one better soon after. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the box but wide on the left. Groves’ shot dipped and bounced and Viney got a hand to it but could not keep it out.
Town responded with a close range effort from Jack Taylor which was blocked near the goal line following Tom Ellis’s cross.
Buckland looked to have built an unassailable lead when Groves completed his hat trick. He was able to break through Town’s back line too easily and he ran unopposed to drill another accurate shot to Viney’s right. Good finishing. It could have been four when the hard working Bowker shot from close range. The slightest of touches off Viney’s left boot sent the ball out for a corner.
Town’s midfield, in particular, had been having a rough time of it but they were pepped up no end with Horton’s introduction with fifteen to go. He added pace and drive and the game took on a different hue. Nevertheless, it still came as a bit of a surprise when his first time daisy cutter from 20 yards arrowed into the bottom left corner.
Now it was a different game altogether. From a corner Ross McErlain’s thumping header was goalbound but a body got in the way. Groves then had his last shot of the day but Viney saved balletically. The value of that save was fully emphasised in the next minute when Horton got another. It wasn’t quite as spectacular as his goal against Bitton but it was still out of the top drawer. There was a challenge between Town and Buckland players just outside the area. The ball popped up and Horton’s immediate left footed volley directed the ball into the bottom right corner. Sublime. What an impact!
1 Harry Horton
2 Ross McErlain
3 Jake Brown
Jake Viney, Dave Thorne, Finley Wilkinson, Mike Duffy (Harry Horton 75), Ross McErlain, Tom Ellis, Sam Towler, Dave O’Hare, Steve Murray, Jack Taylor, Jake Brown.
Man of the Match