Bulldogs in goal spree

Bradenham Wanderers 9, St Andrews Reserves 2BRADENHAM'S Bulldogs went into this Dolphin Autos Anglian Combination Division Four fixture after an enforced lay-off third in the table after the teams challenging for the promotion places all won last week.

Bradenham Wanderers 9, St Andrews Reserves 2

BRADENHAM'S Bulldogs went into this Dolphin Autos Anglian Combination Division Four fixture after an enforced lay-off third in the table after the teams challenging for the promotion places all won last week. They are now second

With Tom Smart unavailable and Steve Cox picking up a serious knee injury that looks likely to keep him out for the rest of the season, changes were forced. The pitch was in first-class condition considering all the overnight rain and snow, a credit to the chairman Dale Brown and Ray Frary for the work they carried out.

Bradenham kicked off down the slope but without a wind advantage. St Andrews set their stall out to play attacking football, which suited Brasdenham as both sides tried to get the ball down and play. An even game was played out for the first 20 minutes with end-to-end football but no real chances were created.

Then a breakaway from the Saints saw a forward tackled in the box by Potter, the referee awarding a penalty from his position on the halfway line. It gave the visitors the lead.

It lasted 10 minutes, then a move down the right saw a Jamie Craig cross flicked on by John Allison and met a the far post by Dean Garrod who scored from 10 yards.

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From the restart Craig chased the ball down, put pressure on the Saints' defence and won possesssion. He beat his marker and found the bottom corner of the net. From 1-0 down, to 2-1 up in the space of a few minutes saw the confidence levels rise in the Bulldogs' ranks.

Bradenham came out of the blocks at the start of the second half firing on all cylinders and within five minutes were 4-1 up.

Les Tufts picked the ball up 30 yards from goal, and after taking it on a few yards hit a shot that flew into the top corner. Within a minute of that strike Rick Forder went through, picking up a Dean Garrod pass and finished in typical style.

It was all one-way traffic. On 60 minutes Forder seized on a lapse in the visitors' defence and doubled his tally and brought up the Bulldogs' nap hand.

Wanderers made a couple of quick substitutions, and one of these, Barry Taafe, cut inside from the right and coolly slotted home the sixth goal.

Marc Galer picked up a slight muscle pull and was replaced by co-manager Mick Alcock for the last 15 minutes. He soon got into the game and from his through-ball Forder went on to complete his hat-trick, crashing home from just inside the box.

From another weighted through ball, from the impressive Garrod, the same player scored again from a similar position.

Saints never gave up and were rewarded with their second goal. Frustration was creeping into their game and one too many comments to the referee resulted in a visiting player getting sent off. As the clock ran down, Forder went on to score his fifth goal and the Wanderers' ninth in the last seconds.

This was a fantastic second-half performance, just what was needed after the last two results. But this is a very difficult division to get out of, and this season it will go right down to the wire.

There are four teams in contention for promotion, with Loddon Reserves having four games to play, one point ahead of the Bulldogs who have a game in hand on them.

They are two points ahead of East Harling on the same number of games played and Cromer Reserves are a further eight points behind Bradenham, but with three games in hand.

It's going to get exciting towards the end of the season as Cromer have still got to play Loddon, and Bradenham have East Harling to play at home.

However, there are still three games to play before that fixture and maximum points must be achieved. It's all about which team keeps their nerve in the closing stages of the season.

This week there is a double header at Hale Road with the first team kicking of at 2pm against St Johns Reserves and at 4pm the Reserves kick off against Great Cressingham.