Les Phillips Cup
Bridgwater Town 2, Tavistock 0

THE 501 enthusiastic fans who turned out at Fairfax Park on Friday night saw Bridgwater Town reach the Les Phillips Cup final for the first time in 16 years, writes Mark Hollidge.

This was one of the best games seen at this ground in recent times, with the Robins having learned some lessons from the FA Vase exit to the same opponents last month.

In the previous game, the worthy Tavistock had grabbed the initiative early on and the Robins spent much of the time on the back foot. Not this time.

Bridgwater were like greyhounds out of the trap, with Sam Crumb seizing on a defensive mix-up before seeing a low shot fumbled away by Tavistock goalkeeper Josh Oak.

The first goal - after just five minutes - was a big confidence boost for the hosts.

Mike Duffy gave the left side of the visiting defence a torrid time, and when he tried his luck from 20 yards out, the ball spun up off an attempted tackle and curled under the bar.

Within two minutes the Robins were grateful for the combined efforts of Dave Thorne and Tom Ellis, who repelled a goalbound header by Josh Grant, before Jack Crago dragged a weak shot wide from a good position.

Bridgwater then had a spell of 20 minutes when they were well on top and should have added more goals.

Twice in a minute Crumb had low shots from the edge of the box which tested Oak, then he headed in after Duffy's chip from 35 yards hit the underside of the crossbar, only for the offside flag to go up.

Five minutes after that, Ryan Brereton’s volley, following an Ellis long throw, smashed against the bar, before Jack Taylor was denied by Oak’s legs after cutting inside.

Tavistock threatened shortly before half-time, but Crago's header was comfortable for Liam Kingston to save, and the second half saw the visitors transformed.

The Robins’ goal lived a charmed life for a 10-minute spell, and perhaps the most significant moment of the whole game was when Crago went through a gap in the defence with no-one around.

He had plenty of time to size up the options, but ended up drilling the ball against the well-placed Kingston’s feet.

A few minutes later Jordan Annear rose to send a header against the crossbar, but at this point the home side pulled themselves together again.

Taylor was denied by the linesman's flag, and Bridgwater controlled the final 15 minutes.

Oak got in the way of another Taylor effort, but the Robins striker was not going to be denied much longer.

TAdnan Hiroli’s first involvement after coming on as a sub was to thread the ball through to Taylor in the right channel, and this time his low shot made it 2-0 after 78 minutes.

Sam Towler and Brereton had chances to make the margin more emphatic, but two goals were enough.

Bridgwater Town: Liam Kingston, Dave Thorne, Jake Llewellyn, Mark Armstrong, Jordan Greenwood, Tom Ellis, Mike Duffy (Adnan Hiroli 76), Tom Fry, Jack Taylor, Sam Crumb (Sam Towler 79), Ryan Brereton (Jamie Wilson 71). Unused subs: George Painter, Josh Williams

Attendance: 501

For the final, Bridgwater will play the winners of the Bradford Town v Hallen semi-final, at the Tannery Ground, Street, on Saturday, May 29.