West Bridgford were without goalkeeper’s Martin Kearney and Sam Clark but gave a debut to reserve assistant manager Luke Gibbons between the posts as he gave a superb display.
By Match Reporter John Burns
Sat 4 Mar 15:00 – East Midlands Counties League – Premier League
The game was a typical local derby with Radford very direct in their approach attempting to capture their early season form. Early on the home keeper Joe Searson-Smithard was the busier of the two keepers making early saves from Aaron Large twice and Tim Hopkinson.
Radford responded with shots from Kenny Reeves and Errol Campbell which were excellently saved by Gibbons.
West Bridgford then clicked into gear – a slick move down the right hand side on the 21st minute resulted in a Jurgen Charlesworth goal following an Aaron Large cross-shot.
Jamie Spiers then had two goal bound efforts blocked but on the 34th minute Bridgford went two up when a Tom Coole free kick was headed across the box for Tim Hopkinson to nod home.
As it looked like a comfortable two goal half time lead Bridgford conceded a 44th minute corner when the evergreen Errol Campbell hooked home from close range after Bridgford failed to clear. 1-2 (Bridgford)
Unfortunately the half ended with home manager Glen Russell being sent off for vehemently arguing with the officials who in truth on the day were very poor.
HT 1-2 (Bridgford)
The second half was end to end – Bridgford standing firm with man of the match Patrick Newsome and centre back partner Dave Belshaw outstanding throughout.
Both sides made substitutions – Abou Sylla and Will Heath entered for the visitors. Sylla had an immediate impact resulting in Radford full back Ashley Miles being booked for shocking tackle, Miles was then substituted immediately by the home side.
The game changed dramatically in the 80th minute when French Winger Sylla was twice booked for kicking the ball away.
Against the ten men Radford were now pressing hard with on loan Notts County winger Tamar Clayton-Naure causing the Bridgford backline all sorts of problems.
The sucker punch arrived in the 97th minute – after more sustained pressure Joe Meakin fired home an equaliser from 20 yards past the helpless Gibbons – it was tough on the reds who had held firm for so long.
Man Of The Match: Patrick Newsome
Joint Manager Stuart Robinson spoke at the final whistle ‘We knew it would be a tough game and that’s exactly what it was, first half I thought we were the better side and created the more clear cut chances – to concede on the stroke of half time gave them a lifeline though and then to concede again in the 97th minute after defending so well with 10 men was tough on the players’.