It was a nervy afternoon at Regatta Way as West Bridgford welcomed in-form Blaby & Whetstone on a cloudless warm afternoon, the home side knowing a win would keep them on course for their league title push.
By John Burns
Bridgford brought in last weeks Man Of The Match Abou Sylla for the unlucky Kevin Spriggs.
The home side made a bright start with Sylla being an instant threat – Aaron Large also playing a prominent role. Large had an early shot well saved by Tom Holyoak who appeared to injure a leg whilst doing so.
Blaby were dangerous on the counter attack and home central defenders Jonathan Ventrella and Patrick Newsome made some timely tackles to keep out the dangerous Blaby marksman Aaron Preston.
The first half almost belong to Bridgford right back Dave Erentz who showed his forwards the way with a typical Erentz goal, in the 33rd minute a superb Ross McCaughey right wing corner was prodded in at the near post by Erentz for Bridgford’s opener and his 6th goal of the season. 1-0 (Bridgford)
The goal settled Bridgford’s nerves however the management duo were forced to re-think a minute later when an injury to Will Heath saw substitute and experienced midfielder Tom Coole enter the fray.
Bridgford kept up the pressure and Erentz nearly doubled the lead when a fine header was saved by Blaby keeper Holyoak – Sylla also had two surging runs down the left but failed to hit the target when in good positions.
The half ended with another Ross McCaughey corner being met by another powerful Erentz header that flashed just wide.
HT 1-0 (Bridgford)
The second half saw a much improved half by the visitors as they forced the pace seeking an equaliser. Fortunately the Bridgford defence were in superlative form marshalled supremely by captain Jonathan Ventrella.
Tim Hopkinson then came into the game forcing two saves from opposition keeper Holyoak. Substitutes Tomi Jayieola and Kevin Spriggs were also introduced for the home side as legs were starting to tire on a red hot day.
Bridgford who needed the three points had keeper Sam Clark to thank in the 87th minute when he made a quite brilliant save from Blaby’s Tom Hill. The home side then raced up the other and Tim Hopkinson’s run was halted by a crude foul in the box by Mitch Garner – Hopkinson took the resultant spot kick but saw his effort well saved by Holyoak however the ever alert Jamie Spiers slammed in the rebound. 2-0 (Bridgford)
The drama continued though when in the final seconds Blaby created a lifeline for themselves when midfielder Tom Hill’s long range effort took a series of deflections and landed in the far corner. 2-1 (Bridgford)
The home side kept their discipline to see the game through and move 12 points clear of their nearest rivals Birstall United.
FT 2-1 (Bridgford)
West Bridgford’s final home game of the season is on Tuesday 18th April against Radcliffe Olympic at Regatta Way
Man Of The Match: Dave Erentz
Joint Manager Stuart Robinson reflected at full time, ‘It’s another priceless win and another step closer to securing the league title. On the day I don’t think we were at our best – the poor playing surface hindering both sides quality on the ball. In the end though I thought we did just enough to deserve the victory’.
WBFC’s last game of the season is on Tuesday evening at Regatta Way v Radcliffe Olympic
The team are 12 points clear at the top of the table.