A SAM Crumb goal three minutes from the end gave the Robins three valuable points against Ashton and Backwell United on Saturday, writes Kerry Miller.

Conditions were far from ideal for the return of Sam Crumb after a spell in the Southern League at Larkhall Athletic and the debut of imposing Sam Hedges at the back alongside another returnee in Tom Ellis.

With Mike Duffy, Harry Durant, Jacob Spence and Nick Woodrow on the injured list and leading scorer Jack Taylor suspended for one game, Dave Pearse and Karl Baggaley went with Jake Llewellyn up front on the left with Crumb.

When the dust settled Ashton had themselves to blame as they collected two sin-bins and had keeper Coombes sent off right at the end to finish with nine men on a day when they could easily have brought off a shock.

Happily, for the home crowd the win promoted the Robins up to third in the Premier Division

Morgan Williams was involved early on feeding Tom Llewellyn, but he was just crowded out then brother Jake intercepted a back pass for Tom to crash just wide of Coombes.

The visitors were lively and with Charlie Saunders and Mason Hardidge stretching the home defence it needed Ellis to time a tackle to prevent Hardidge from testing Jake Viney in the home goal.

George King then flicked on a corner which was cleared off the line as United began to dominate then Hardidge was cautioned for another foul on King which proved pivotal.

Regan Sollars was sin-binned after the award of a free-kick inches outside the area and when Jake Llewellyn’s shot was parried by Coombes, Willliams headed onto the bar before Greenwood nodded home the rebound for his sixth goal of the season.

Having gone ahead late in the half, the Robins were expected to go on to a comfortable win against the Bristol side who have only won two league games, but the game remained scrappy.

Their determined showing paid off just past the hour when Mason Hardidge got on the end of a flick over Viney to level against the odds.

Bridgwater Mercury: WINNER: Crumb is swamped by his teammates after he scores the winning goal (Photo: Debbie Gould)WINNER: Crumb is swamped by his teammates after he scores the winning goal (Photo: Debbie Gould)

Chances continued to be few and far between and after Tom Llewellyn and Ross Edwards had gone clear Greenwood slung in a cross from the left, Tom Llewellyn returned it across the face of the goal for Crumb to turn in the winner from a yard out.

Joe Bishop was then sin-binned leaving Ashton with ten before keeper Coombes went up front for the final play – a corner which was sent across the area and Coombes was inches away but clattered a home defender and was shown a straight red.

It was a bizarre end to a match which never really had a chance to flourish but it leaves Bridgwater third behind Tavistock and Bitton and in good fettle for Cadbury Heath away next Saturday followed by the big FA Vase 3rd Rd tie at home to Wessex League Bashley on December 11.