Pre-season friendly
Welton Rovers 2, Bridgwater Town 5

BRIDGWATER Town were a team of two halves on Saturday, roaring back from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Welton Rovers 5-2.

The Robins had the better of the early exchanges against their hosts (who play in Division 1 of the Western League, on level below Bridgwater), with summer signing Steve Murray going close on a couple of occasions.

But on 17 minutes it was Welton who took the lead, as visiting goalkeeper Steve Laker allowed a free-kick from Joseph Garland to slip through his fingers and into the net.

The Robins then found themselves two down seven minutes before the break, as poor defending enabled Louis Hoyle to break through and beat Laker.

Bridgwater made a raft of half-time substitutions, bringing on Jack Taylor, Sam Towler, Finley Wilkinson and Nathan Byrne.

And Byrne was on target just four minutes into the second half, converting Murray’s square pass after the latter had seen his shot saved.

Jacob Mead was unfortunate to see a curling effort hit the crossbar, but on 55 minutes the visitors were level.

Dave O’Hare drove forward and found Wilkinson, who sent Jake Brown through on goal to equalise.

The turnaround was complete in the 58th minute, as goalscorer extraordinaire Taylor found the net with a back-heeled finish.

The fourth goal came on 67 minutes, as O’Hare passed into Towler for an emphatic shot past the keeper, and in the 80th minute Ryan Burrows set up Taylor to slot home for his second goal.

Commenting on the second-half turnaround, Bridgwater co-manager Dave Pearse said: “I thought we were good in the first half, we just couldn’t score and made a couple of silly mistakes.

“In the second half we were much more clinical, fitness was a factor and the Reserves lads who came in were excellent.

“Nathan [Byrne] is an Under-18s player who’s come into the first team for this pre-season; he’s a midfielder who’s very good on the ball.

“Jacob Mead and Finley Wilkinson also came in [from the Reserves] on Saturday, and were very good.

“The first goal opened it up for us, and it was good to get a win after three defeats against Southern League sides.”

Tomorrow (July 23, ko 7.45pm) sees Bridgwater host Mangotsfield United at Fairfax Park (the fixture having been switched from Mangotsfield), before the Robins’ final two friendlies – away to Barnstaple Town (Friday, July 26, 7.45pm) and at home to Bideford (Tuesday, July 30, 7.30pm).

Pearse added: “Apart from a 10-minute spell where we conceded four goals at Dorchester, I’ve been very impressed [in pre-season].

“Karl [Baggaley, fellow co-manager] and I have some big decisions to make for the first day of the season – we’ve got options coming out of our ears.

“We are getting there; I’d say we have 15 or 16 pencilled in for the first team squad.

“But then you have players like Jacob Mead coming in on Saturday, and potentially throwing a spanner in the works, so you never know.

“It’s nice to see the young lads come in hungry, and putting pressure on the senior players.”