Bridge Tavern 2-1 Shirebrook

After some excellent performances and recent results, the Bridge were to face the sternest of tests with a home game against Shirebrook who were riding high at the top of League 5. As it was the strongest of tests some of the players and yours truly had spent the night previous out on the lash in Leeds, visiting Woodgate and Bowyer’s favourite nightspot, and returning home just before the 5am curfew imposed by the football club.

Storms were forecast for the day, with national TV Weatherman Michael Fish not quoted as saying “We tried to inform the football club that “Hurricane Nuclear Stew” was due to hit the ground at around kick off time, before hilariously disappearing as the players and supporters drove away piss wet through”, and how right he proved to be.

The day had started brightly, not only was it not raining as I left home, but I remembered to carry my bacon butty money with me to sample the delights of the new “Bacon Butties R Us” van that is parked outside the entrance to the manor park. Wanting to follow the advice of the new government campaign on reducing salt intake to just 6 grams a day, I had 2 rashes of pig slapped on a lovely white bap, followed by a lovely cup of typhoo tea containing no less than 2 sugar roonies. Just as I was finishing of the butty and covering my chins in ketchup, the rain started, so a hasty retreat into the dressing room was in order. Luckily despite the state of folk the night before, every one turned up, and without an invite, referee Rob Styles barged in to tell us that if anyone swore or breathed whilst on the pitch, he would be sending them off.

Once again, player manager Manq decided on a 3-5-2 formation which lined up as follows:


I tried to note the substitutions down, but as the rain was lashing down, I decided to place the notepad back into my pocket. The press box at the Manor has no roof to it, so all journalists were exposed to the worsening conditions. As the match kicked off, we were beginning to enter the “eye of the storm” as the rain tested the fans loyalty to the brink and beyond.

Bridge warm up for the game

Amazingly it was the 1st action of the game that brought the 1st goal, Mellors played a great through ball (at first I thought Scott had done it, but my view was slightly impaired as me and pirate were being used as windbreaks for the rest of the crowd), with Manq getting on the end of the pass, losing 10 studs trying to control it, then turning sharply (I say turning, the wind probably was an important factor!), before superbly lobbing the keeper from the edge of the area, a superb start for the Bridge. The Referee went on and missed the most blatant hand ball since Maradonna did it in some sort of tournament against England, as despite being only yards from the incident, he failed to spot the visiting number 7 playing Basket ball. To play safe we made sure that following the game the referee's wife made an appointment for him at spec savers to take advantage of their 2 for 1 offer. To be fair the 1st half was a bit drab, the players probably taking the same action as their loyal fans, ie by trying to dodge the rain drops. It was about half an hour before the next action of note, Danny missed a sliding tackle on the half way line, and being caught of position resulted in a chance for the visitors, but Lormor was down low to save in the shallow end. There was excitement just after when Jay played the ball through the visiting defence for Gallagher to run on to, for him to then round the keeper and fall arse over tit, various scores of 5.4 to 6.9 from the judges were then recorded. Justice was probably done as Gallagher himself took the penalty and promptly hit the post, with the rebound accounting for nothing. Players were asked to leave the pool for the half time cup of tea, some dimbat had forgotten to fill the water bottles up, so the home side had to make do with a can of Dr Pepper between all of them

Half Time: 1-0

Luckily the 2nd half was much better than 1st, even though the rain continued to fall down. Jay started the shooting for the half fairly straight away, but his long range effort was well saved. The away subs began warming up in their posh all in one suits, whilst the home subs continued to have a fag near the half way line. Bread made way for Garlick on 55 minutes, and there could have been the need for another sub just after as Manq went down whilst fouling an opponent, Lormor who had the ball in his possession decided not to throw it out for a throw, but for a corner !!, resulting in the farce that once play resumed, the sporting gesture of playing it back in, was that there was one player taking a corner with no one in the box except Lormor who collected the pass.
James came to the rescue on the hour mark as Shirebrook went in the search of the equalizer, a cross from the right was headed down into the 6 yard box, and after the initial shot had been saved by Lormor, the rebound was goal bound until Ashley popped up at the far post to boot clear.

A slide tackle during the game
A comedy moment followed as injured Gav on the sidelines tried to catch a ball that was heading out of play, only to slip in the mud, and despite the crowd willing him to fall over, he managed to stay on his feet.
Manq had a great chance to finish the visitors of, but saw his effort well saved from the advancing keeper. The game was by now becoming more open, and Shirebrook should have equalized but the striker decided to blast over from 1 yard following a cross from the right. Lormor saved brilliantly with his feet to keep the Bridge in front, but by now Shirebrook were coming hard at the Bridge, and it was no surprise when they equalized following a floated corner in the box, that was headed home at the far post.
This game was to have a dramatic twist though, as just one minute later, the Bridge went in front again, Jay floated a superb free kick into the area that went straight in via. the keepers flailing hand, great stuff, with supporters throwing themselves around in the mud in celebration.
The visiting keeper went up for a couple of late corners in a desperation to get them level. The referee even tried to help, following an Ashley challenge that quite blatantly came of a forwards foot, only for him to give a corner. Luckily the referee was man marked from the corner to stop him heading home the equalizer. Lormor had one last dive in the mud as Shirebrook's last attempt came to nothing, before whistle man blew for the final whistle to start the celebrations.

And so following on from last weeks record win, probably comes the Bridge's finest performance, afterwards Manq spoke exclusively to this website and said "I forgot my Subs this week, can I pay next week".

Players struggle to find their cars after the game
The journalists in the press box took it in turns to rub each other down but that's another story for another website, whilst the supporters could only laugh as the rain stopped just as the game finished, sods law !

Lormor8Couple of fine saves and coped with the conditions well.
Bread7Came of for Garlick in the 2nd half but got stuck in when it mattered
Quiche8A jolly green giant in defence and stood firm under pressure
Ashley8Great save on the line when needed, although he was probably stuck in the mud to be there in the 1st place
Danny7Got caught out a couple times, played in defence but probably best position is midfield
Mellors7Got his nice shiny boots dirty in the mud, but defended well.
Scott7Part of a 3 man centre midfield, like the rest of em looked like a drowned rat at the end of the game.
Kirk7Couldn't get forward as much, especially 2nd half, but held firm.
Jay9Dream Team Star Man. Took the piste again with some nice touches and deserved the man of the match for his winner alone, great free kick.
Manq7Back to his best (although when he was at his best before, who knows!), confidence back and scoring again.
Gallagher7Dived for the penalty, the game has no place for cheating, but ran hard all day.
Garlick7Played well in the 2nd half role as Sub, got forward as well.


Written by Sponge Mike Squarepants