Les Phillips Cup quarter-final
Bridgwater Town 3, Exmouth Town 1

A blistering start to this game caught Exmouth off guard and, in the end, Town progressed to the Les Phillips Cup semi-finals more comfortably than one might have expected, writes Mark Hollidge.

Town approached this difficult looking game with confidence, plenty of pace and good ideas and the first two threats on goal both produced goals.

Firstly, a Harry Horton cross was headed more up than out and when it dropped near to the penalty area Tom Ellis was there to thump it, left footed, on the volley into the net.

It was Ellis’ eighth goal of the season - not bad for a centre back.

Before Exmouth could respond, Town struck again.

Oscar Latas ran down the right and crossed towards Noah Coppin, who flicked the ball left to Jack Taylor.

From near the byline, he screwed the ball towards the middle and Sam Towler applied the finishing touch from five yards out.

Coppin was particularly impressive with his quick movement and skill and he was to go on to play probably his best game in the first team.

Exmouth tried to mark him closely but he regularly evaded their clutches.

It was very nearly 3-0 when an Ellis long throw located the head of the busy Latas but he got too much on the header and it just cleared the bar.

Around the half hour mark, Exmouth started to play as they know they can.

A James Richards free-kick from 20 yards was well hit and only an instinctive reaction from the reliable Jake Viney diverted it over the top.

Town now had to deal with pressure from their Devonian opponents, but they made life hard for themselves at times by dithering and dallying in defence.

A poor backpass needlessly put Viney under pressure to clear but his speed off the line ensured that no harm was done.

Exmouth scored during this progressive spell, as Callum Shipton’s through ball gave Jordan Harris a one on one with Viney and he slipped it into the net.

Two minutes before half-time, Viney maintained his team’s lead by making an agile save when he dived low to his left to keep out Shipton’s volley.

One might have expected Exmouth to pour forward at the start of the second half and keep Town under pressure.

However, it wasn’t like that and Town were rarely in danger of conceding for the rest of the game.

A fine move almost brought goal number three as Horton hooked the ball out to Coppin on the right. He immediately crunched a head high cross which reached Latas headed inches wide.

Within four minutes, Bridgwater had their decisive third goal.

Coppin was the provider with a shrewd pass forward to the galloping Taylor, who outpaced any defenders, rounded the keeper and scored.

This goal came when the hosts had been temporarily reduced to 10 men by the sin-binning of Latas for dissent.

The Robins coped manfully with their reduction of numbers and you wouldn’t have known that they were a man less.

Only once in the second half did Exmouth have a good chance to score.

A mazy run by Aaron Denny was ended with weak shot from 12 yards that Viney could easily pick up.

The final action of the game was a chance for Coppin, who dragged his shot wide, and Bridgwater could be very satisfied about a job well done.

Bridgwater Town: Jake Viney, Luke Manley (Dave Thorne 80), Jake Llewellyn, Ollie Morris, Mark Armstrong, Tom Ellis, Sam Towler, Harry Horton, Jack Taylor (Jake Brown 78), Oscar Latas, Noah Coppin.