Rampant Street fire home seven
It was seventh heaven for Splott-based Bridgend Street on Saturday afternoon at The Willows, as the Mission returned to winning ways in some style against fellow Cardiff side Ely Rangers.
Manager Craig Dale may well have been scratching his head wondering where these goals had been during a winless streak against three sides battling at the wrong end of the league, but with a cup semi final against Division One Haverfordwest County on the horizon, the result was timely, even if hopes of promotion have faded.
It was another change of tactics for Dale who employed a 3-4-1-2 formation, utilising usual full backs Richard Noyes and Mike Lewis as centre halves either side of the continually impressive Ross Dingle, which provided plenty of attacking threat. Ely Rangers played 4-3-3, at times finding themselves outnumbered in the middle of the park against tactics not usually applied at this level.
It was experienced midfielder Paul Fowler who got the show on the road. Joel Croker had forced a corner after a quick throw from Nicky Davison. Burge stepped up to take the corner from the right and Fowler flicked a neat header into the far corner.
The rest of the first half was fairly even in play, although it was Street creating the chances. Jeff White caused the Rangers defence difficulties. Just on the quarter hour the former Carmarthen Town man won the ball on the right of the box and laid the ball into Nicky Davison. His pass went just behind Fowler, but he was still able to lay in Burge on the left of the box, only for his shot to be deflected wide.
On twenty minutes, striker Davison latched onto a through ball, but defender Adam Griffiths chased back and made a fantastic tackle in the box just as the striker was shaping to shoot. Ten minutes before half time Street got their second. Fowler’s strike was deflected wide and Burge’s corner – from the left this time – was flicked on and over Jack Perks in goal. The ball dropped to Ross Dingle, on the floor, who managed to prod home.
But Rangers were back in it minutes later. Josh Bendis, playing furthest forward in midfield, hit a long range strike that King in the Street net had to parry wide. The resulting corner again found its way to the far post where Sam Johnson hit home from close range.
That score line may have been a fair reflection of the first half, but there was more to come. First Burge hit the crossbar when well placed, but in the last minute defender Griffiths had a moment he’ll want to forget. A ball across the six yard box found the defender, who looked to clear but missed his kick and hit the ball up an onto his arm. A penalty was awarded, and Fowler struck.
Half time discussion still saw the game in the balance. But it took only minutes for Street to take a three goal lead. As Davison retreated from an offside position, Jeff White latched onto a through ball down the right flank. He may have been offside himself, but as defenders stood with their arms raised he beat Perks to the ball at the right apex of the box, then squared for Davison to hit home.
Ely Rangers let their heads drop and before they knew it the home team were out of sight. Davison latched onto a through ball and this time there was no last ditch clearance as he finished neatly for his second. Then, after a ball into the box, Jeff White hit the post from close range but was able to force home with a defender in close attention.
The game petered out for the final twenty minutes, but Street did add a seventh as the visitors stood static from a corner, allowing substitute Huntley to score from six yards. Josh Bendis fired home in injury time, a goal that offered little consolation.
FT Bridgend St 7 (Fowler 10, 45p; Dingle 25; Davison 50, 65; White 70; Huntley 88) Ely Rangers 2 (Johnson 40; Bendis 90)