On a blustery Saturday afternoon United played hosts to the youthful Bridgwater Town Reserves. As you would expect as we are still in the monsoon season the pitch was soft underfoot but perfectly playable thanks to the work of Nigel Brown.
United kicked off with the wind in their backs and were immediately rewarded with the opening goal after just two minutes. Sol Wanjou Smith on the right flank whipped in a cross only for an opposing defender to divert the ball in from close range. Next to show was Matt Long whose shot from distance swerved away from goal.
On the eight minute mark Nailsea were lucky to escape unscathed following an attack by the visitors which saw the ball roll along the goal line to safety.
Nailsea continued to play good football despite the conditions with Stu Lee having a half chance which the keeper saved easily. United were not to be denied with the second goal coming on 13 minutes when Stu Lee again stooped to head home an accurate corner from the right taken by Adam Bell. It was Bell again who came close to adding to the score line on 18 minutes with a free kick that was inches wide. With 15 minutes to go to half time a good passage of passing created a chance for James Springett who fired wide of the post, minutes later the same player was again just off target having been set up by Matt Long.
Ben Barrett then had a good run from the left but was unable to trouble the keeper. With ten minutes of the first half remaining persistent play by Matt Long saw him wrestle the ball away from a defender before slotting in goal number three inside the far post.
Then with the half coming to an end a great cross field ball found Sol Wanjou Smith in acres of space with just his marker before him. This time he decided to go on the outside of the defender which he did with ease before cutting in to shoot past the keeper at the near post.
Half Time. Nailsea United 4 Bridgwater Town Reserves 0
This was a half in which United used the conditions well turning their possession of the ball into goals to give them what appeared to be a comfortable lead. This was always going to be a game of two halves with the visitors having the wind advantage in the second half.
Due to a hand injury Ben Barrett was substituted with Harry Hope making a welcome return being brought on for the second half on the left wing. I am sure that the Nailsea management told their charges to keep it tight for the opening minutes of the second half but Bridgwater opened their account with just 5 minutes gone. Playing their normal passing game the visitors ended a good move with a comprehensive shot into the United net.
On 55 minutes United lost a second player to injury when Matt Long was forced to leave the field being replaced by Ben Cook. Within 5 minutes a third United player left the game through injury when Rob Brown was replaced by Jimmy Wring. These changes obviously meant some rearranging of the United side which was evident as the defence failed to clear allowing the Bridgwater player to score from close range to bring the deficit to two goals.
Those who have watched United this season are very aware how they have on occasion let a good lead slip and were thinking this could happen again. However, with 15 minutes remaining clear daylight was restored when a Russ Driver free kick eventually fell to Harry Hope who celebrated his first start of the season by firing home goal number five.
If Nailsea thought that they were home and dry at this stage they had to think again as immediately Bridgwater scored their third goal from a free kick that possibly took a deflection before nestling in the back of the home net. United then had to endure a nervous ten minutes in which Josh Dann saved them on two occasions, firstly diving to his right to make a good save at the base of the post and then saving at the feet of a Bridgwater forward as they put on the pressure.
Final Score. Nailsea United 5 Bridgwater Town Reserves 3.
This result gave Nailsea a very handy three points as they begin to climb the league away from a potential relegation fight. As always the young Bridgwater side were worthy opponents playing a good style of football.
At the moment United are without a game next Saturday with the next game away to Chilcompton Sports on March 5th. Next Saturday at The Grove the A side are at home to Weston Super Seagulls. Kick Off 2.30pm.