Bulldogs going up
Bradenham Wanderers 5, East Harling 1THE Bulldogs went into this Dolphin Auto's Anglian Combination Division Four fixture knowing that a point would probably secure promotion, but they made certain with a tremendous performance, scoring five goals in the process.
Bradenham Wanderers 5, East Harling 1
THE Bulldogs went into this Dolphin Auto's Anglian Combination Division Four fixture knowing that a point would probably secure promotion, but they made certain with a tremendous performance, scoring five goals in the process.
Cromer Reserves also went nap against Loddon Reserves to put themselves in pole position for the other promotion place.
Bradenham needed to win their final fixture at St John's Reserves last night to leave the Cromer team needing to win all their five remaining games to take the championship. Any slip up will hand the title to the Bulldogs.
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Bradenham kicked off defending the slope and soon got into their stride attacking the visitors' goal, however East Harling also knew that they needed a win to keep alive their own promotion hopes, especially with the uncertainty of how many teams will get promoted with a number of Ridgeons reserve teams rumoured to be leaving the league at the end of this season. They also attacked at every opportunity.
Harling carved out the first real chance after 10 minutes when forward Chris Bray found time and space in the box but blasted over from 15 yards.
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Bradenham opened the scoring a few minutes later when they put pressure on the Harling back line. A back pass to the keeper put him in all sorts of trouble, especially with John Allison bearing down on him, and he cleared the ball into the path of the onrushing Jamie Craig. He collected it 25 yards from goal and coolly lifted it over the stranded keeper and defenders into the empty net, much to the delight of the biggest crowd to gather at Hale Road this season.
Play gathered more momentum as two teams which like to pass the ball produced end-to-end play without any real clear-cut chances for either side. As the end of the half neared Bradenham forced a series of corners, and from a Richard Dickinson kick Jamie Craig was again on hand to head home at the near post, sparking celebrations not seen for a very long time.
Bradenham pressed for a third before the break, but were well satisfied with their efforts going in a the break two goals to the good.
Harling attacked right from the start of the second half, but stout defending and solid handling from keeper Luke Findlay kept the them at bay and the lead intact.
A Dean Garrod through ball on the hour mark saw John Allison burst into the box, hold off his marker and lash the ball home from 10 yards. Having picked up a knock in the previous game, Allison was then replaced by Liam Brown.
Another swift move down the right saw Craig's cross cause confusion in the visitors' six-yard box but eventually they managed to clear the danger. In the next attack Marc Galer chipped over the Harling back line, Rick Forder chased down the ball and with the keeper deciding to stay on his line he hit home from 10 yards.
It was one-way traffic as the Bulldogs made another two quick changes, one of the players coming on was Karl Sexton who was unfortunate to find himself on the bench after having a good game the previous week. He soon slotted into the back four.
From Sexton's through ball Forder again found himself in space to coolly slot home his second goal of the game and his 49th of the season to bring up the nap hand for the home side.
Harling were still trying to play football and got their reward in the last few minutes when a high ball into the box wasn't dealt with and their forward crashed home from five yards.
The last few minutes were played out without any further scoring, leaving the home side to reflect on a fine performance and to celebrate a very successful season late into the evening.