Somerset Premier Cup: Middlezoy Rovers 1-3 Bridgwater United

This was a curious game. United, playing some sublime football, completely dominated Middlezoy for 30 minutes and remorselessly built up their three goal lead, writes Mark Hollidge.

Thereafter, and especially in the second half, United stopped doing the things that had made them so successful earlier on and Middlezoy showed why they have made a respectable start to their first season in the Western League. It was as though the fizz had escaped from the bottle and there was no way of retrieving it.

It was a crisp night and the well grassed pitch looked in good condition and the Robins seemed determined to put on a fine display for the large crowd.

Ross Edwards tried a speculative low drive from at least 25 yards which maybe took a slight deflection on its way into the net. Otherwise you would have expected keeper Turner to save it.

The early reverse seemed to shake the home side who were often forced into panicky clearances and desperate tackles. Jay Murray in particular was able to show off his panoply of skills and he ran the defence a merry dance.  

His tricky run ended with a pass to Harry Horton and a shot saved by the keeper’s legs and when a rebound fell at Jack Taylor’s feet only a timely challenge diverted the ball out for a corner.

The second goal was created by Horton who swung over a cross from the left and Murray found space to head neatly into the bottom right corner of the net. Just two minutes later a Murray pass teed up Tom Llewellyn who got a bit too much elevation to his shot and it struck the crossbar and flew over.

Middlezoy were unable to keep the ball and the Robins looked thirsty for more goals. Again it was a Murray pass that allowed Taylor to romp past the back line, round the keeper and roll it in as he pleased.

Still inside the first half hour Murray rattled the ball against the overworked  keeper’s legs from Taylor’s headed pass and Jason Quick’s well paced through ball led to Murray shooting over the bar. This was the definition of one way traffic. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to stop.

From this moment onwards it was almost as if the Robins decided that enough was enough. For the rest of the game, there was no significant threat on the Middlezoy goal and no more clear chances to score.

Middlezoy began to move the ball around with more confidence as United regularly lost possession and opted to hoof it long. Jake Viney had to make a proper save from a well hit free kick, a couple of crosses flashed dangerously across United’s box, another deflected effort forced Viney to save by sprawling to his left.

With about a quarter of an hour left Middlezoy got the goal that their second half performance merited. George King was dispossessed just outside the penalty area and Hamblin immediately struck a swerving, dipping shot which flew high into the right section of the net.

After that, neither side looked like adding to the goals tally and it all petered out rather tamely.

At no point did it look like United would let this game slip out of their grasp completely but the lack of constructive football in the second half was puzzling because they had looked like world beaters in the first half hour!

The slick passing was absent and the urgent desire to attack, attack , attack was strangely muted.  Not to worry, the game was won and the Robins continue to battle on four fronts. Middlezoy would have been happy with a courageous second half showing and an excellent pay day.