Arundel 0 Three Bridges 3: Bridges guarantee top-two finish to secure likely promotion to Bostik League
A brilliant piece of individual opportunism and two late team goals clinched a 3-0 win away to Arundel.
This result means Bridges cannot finish lower than second in the Southern Combination League Premier Division.
Reports suggest at least two teams will go up this season, meaning they have now secured promotion to the Bostik League.
In the process of this win, they also recorded their 100th goal in all competitions this season.
Arundel, understandably with fellow strugglers Littlehampton coming their way only two days later, were not at full strength, but Ryan Hallett saw an early effort deflected for a corner and Jack Kates fired over from distance as a gap opened up for him.
But Bridges soon settled and dominated possession without seriously testing home keeper Dan Stev in a disappointing first half.
Tyrone Berry headed just wide from a Connor French cross and Jamie Crellin also came close with a header, while a through ball from John Lansdale seemed perfect for Ben Bacon, who was only denied by a superb last ditch challenge.
Lansdale provided a string of chances with long throws and deep crosses, but Bridges huffed and puffed for large chunks of the opening half, and it was no surprise to see them come out for the second period with more purpose.
French had an early chance held well by Stev, who then flung himself across goal to keep out a goalbound effort from Berry.
But after 61 minutes came a moment of brilliance as Lansdale’s latest throw found French with his back to goal.
Unperturbed, he simply produced a superb overhead-kick which Stevens could do nothing about and Bridges were up and running.
They really should have settled the game after that, but chances came and went.
Nathan Simpson, who had an excellent game in his first appearance since the end of February, saw an effort deflected over, while Darryl Siaw broke clear but was denied at the last moment and suffered an injury in the process!
But with three minutes of normal time remaining, Bridges produced a brilliant counter strike with Bacon laying the ball off to Simpson on the left, and the resulting pinpoint cross being met perfectly by George Gaskin.
And two minutes later Gaskin broke clear on the left and unselfishly laid the ball across goal for the onrushing Nathan Crabb to visciously volley home a third, this being that magical 100th goal of the campaign.
There was still time for Stev to tip away another volley from Gaskin, but the 3-0 win meant that Bridges now have an identical +49 goal difference to leaders Haywards Heath, and they have scored four more.
Bridges: Thorp; Collins; Simpson; Lansdale; Peters; Crellin; Berry (Crabb 63); Grant (Hall 77); French (Gaskin 69); Bacon; Siaw.
Unused subs: Casselman, O’Neill
Arundel: Stev; Callaghan; Gibbs; Jephson (Richards 79); Tipper; Hunter; Hallett (Fuller 75); Ebling; Jarvis; Briggs (Rennie 65); Kates.
1. Dan Stevens
2. Scott Callaghan
3. Dan Gibbs
4. Jake Jephson (80 mins)
5. Scott Tipper Capt
6. Ash Hunter
7. Ryan Hallett (75 mins)
8. Jake Ebling
9. Dion Jarvis
10. Hayden Briggs (65 mins)
11. Jack Kates
12. Jake Fuller (75 mins)
14. Luke Richards (80 mins)
15. Craig Rennie (65 mins)
16. Nathan Madgewick