Toolstation Western League: Bridgwater United 4-1 Shepton Mallet

BRIDGWATER United completed their sixth straight win at home at the weekend against a Shepton Mallet side who have been going well lately, writes Mark Hollidge.

As has become the recent habit, United dominated the game and Shepton Mallet weren’t allowed to play. Their goal was a freak goal, and they didn’t register a single shot on target throughout the 98 minutes.

They competed well but the quality and tenacity of the United performance was simply too much for them. 29 goals scored in 6 games is a phenomenal achievement and indicates that a visit to Fairfax Park is to be feared by all and sundry.

The deteriorating conditions looked likely to mitigate against the way the Robins like to play. It was more difficult to play the one/twos, the sudden turns, the intricate passing patterns. In fact, it became difficult just to stand up. Instead, we were treated to a display of old-fashioned tackling, especially on the slide.

Up front, or more accurately just behind the front two, a full debut was given to Ben Griffith, and he had several sparkling moments and was unlucky not to score. He will add even more threat to an already potent attack.

It was from a corner kick that United went ahead. Rather than send the ball in directly, Horton and Llewellyn worked a short corner routine and Llewellyn’s cross to the far post was nodded in by Ross Edwards.

At the break though the score remained 1-0, perhaps due to the conditions, perhaps due to Mallet's intent on sitting deep.

The rain became really heavy towards the end of the first half and continued during the interval. So, when the players came out to play, the conditions had become more troublesome.

The conditions seemed to bother United less than their opponents and they were soon two up. What was an attempted Taylor shot became a shrewd pass when Jack Thorne slid in at the far post to toe the ball over the line.

United looked completely in control but presented Mallet with an undeserved goal. Maybe the heavy conditions were a factor but Jake Viney ‘s clearance didn’t have enough elevation. It struck Josh Jenkins on the body and rolled into the net.

The third goal, ironically, also arose from a charged down clearance. United were pressing hard and when the defender failed to get the ball away it spun into a space that was quickly filled by Jack Thorne. Once he gets away nobody can catch him, and he slipped the ball to the keeper’s right. 18 goals now for the league’s top marksman.

The Mallet manager Aaron Seviour was getting fed up and he incurred the wrath of the referee and was sin binned. Where do you go when you are the manager, and you are sent to the sin bin? Amusingly, he walked off towards the United dug out and had what looked like a friendly chat with Dave Pearse!

United love scoring goals and the final one was from just outside the box and was testament to the tenacity of Morgan Williams in winning the ball. King used his left foot for this one and the swerving, low drive was touched by Roberts, but he couldn’t keep it out.

For all the skill on display, this performance was underpinned by sheer hard work and desire.