Toolstation Western League: Saltash United 1-2 Bridgwater United FC

Despite the challenges of ‘Storm Ciaran’ United travelled to Cornwall on Saturday hoping to redress the balance of results against clubs from that county this season, writes Bob Buckingham.

After finishing last season as runners-up, ‘The Ashes’ results and league reflects their need to rebuild after multiple departures. That said, The Waterways stadium is always a tough place to visit with United being on the wrong end of the score line in both encounters since the return of Saltash to the Western League.

On a very wet but playable pitch, ‘The Robins’ were quickly on the front foot as two headed half chances for Jack Taylor were comfortably handled by the home ‘keeper.

As the game progressed and possession shared more evenly, it was the home side that increased their threat with crosses into the box causing the United defence some concern. That concern increased further after 24 minutes as Ethan Wright’s cross from the left to the far post was deflected past Jake Viney into the far corner, to put his side ahead.

Encouraged by this success, the home side were now in the ascendency as United struggled to produce the flowing, high tempo football witnessed in the majority of games this season, but the interval was reached without further alarm for either side.

Whatever was agreed at half time it certainly had an immediate effect! The much-needed early goal soon arrived as Jack Thorne’s cross from the left was superbly headed home by George King to level the scores after 50 minutes.

Clearly encouraged by this success, the visitors were now driving forward relentlessly, and it was this momentum that forced an error in the Ashes back line. Jack Thorne was immediately on to the loose ball which he hammered past the bemused ‘keeper to put his side ahead and take his tally for the season to 18.

The home side responded positively to these setbacks as, within minutes, a Tyler Love-Holmes’ 25-yard drive struck the foot of the post. A lucky escape.

As the final quarter was entered with both sides struggling with the underfoot conditions, that man Thorne looked to have secured the win with another strike well saved by Jordan Duffey.

Within minutes, the quality of that save was surpassed by Viney as he brilliantly tipped a low strike from Love-Holmes onto the post to secure the win and propel United to the top of the table.

Bridgwater United: Jake Viney, Jake Llewellyn (Capt), Ross Edwards, Jason Quick, Josh Phillips, Harry Horton (Morgan Williams 64), George King, Sam Towler (Tom Llewellyn 79), Jay Murray, Jack Taylor, Jack Thorne (Ben Griffiths 79)

Saltash United: Jordan Duffey, Ben Goulty, Ethan Wright, Ed Goodman, Hayden Greening, Laurence Murray, Tom Huyton, Aaron Goulty, Tyler Love-Holmes, Josh Toulson, Tom Badcott.